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12.24.08

Links Xmas Eve: OLPC in Colombia, Mandriva 2009.1 @ Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 9:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

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Knowledge

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Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Markos Moulitsas, creator of the Daily Kos on-line political magazine 05 (2005)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Dell Makes GNU/Linux More Expensive Than Windows

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SOME days ago we wrote about Microsoft’s dumping techniques (Windows XP for just $5) and we also cover Dell's mistakes, but even if that were the case, why is Dell selling GNU/Linux PCs with inferior hardware to that of similar Windows PCs and for the same price?

Dell screenshot

This reeks of market distortion and it’s not just Dell.

Stephen Pollack (PlateSpin CEO) Quits Novell; More Shuffles in Canada

Posted in Novell, Virtualisation at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Management leaves the struggling former network juggernaut

Halloween hand
Adios!

Pollack is a figure whom we mentioned here before [1, 2, 3] because his company got devoured after a rather mysterious Novell acquisition that hardly made strategic sense at the time. Not much news has come since then, so to be brutally frank, it does not seem as though Novell made progress this way. It just needed to show its investors some concrete signs that it was changing and not staying idle while big losses carried on. Jack Messman, after all, was probably pressured out for being too passive.

It wasn’t long ago that Mark Pileski and Brett Johnson — both PlateSpin seniors — quit Novell. The former CEO of PlateSpin has been dancing a little with multiple companies recently [1, 2] and now it’s confirmed that he quit Novell.

So why did Pollack leave Novell? Was it time? And what are his future plans? I was able to catch up with him briefly, and asked him these very questions.

[...]

Pollack stayed on with Novell after the acquisition but has since left. Recently, his name surfaced again in the media and the blogosphere when he joined the Advisor Board of two startup virtualization companies: Embotics and Enomaly.

Didn’t Novell see it as an obligation to inform shareholders about this fairly major departure?

“Didn’t Novell see it as an obligation to inform shareholders about this fairly major departure?”This is actually similar to this month’s departure of a Senior Vice President (SVP) at Microsoft, who came to the monopolist after the acquisition of aQuantive where he was the CEO. Microsoft made almost nothing out of aQuantive and it continues losing billions of dollars online.

Speaking of SVPs, Novell’s Roger Levy, who will continue to report to Jeff Jaffe, is Novell’s Senior Vice President mostly responsible for strategy (and probably a major part of the PlateSpin decision). His remit or role is being extended to more areas right now and recently he had a sort of an interview with the Var Guy about these. We also remarked on Novell’s direction under Justin Steinman's increased power in leadership. Both him and Levy have made some damning statements that we covered in the past, so there’s reason for cautious concern.

There are other new moves in Novell that are worth noting, such as this one. Novell continues to suffer a leadership instability in Canada (too many head-changes).

With the promotion of Katie McAuliff to vice-president of channels, Novell Americas, Novell Canada turned to a long-time Novell mainstay in tapping the subsidiary’s chief technology officer, Ross Chevalier, to lead the Canadian operation.

We previously mentioned Ross Chevalier in [1, 2, 3, 4] and we also caught him breathing down a blogger's neck. Ross was also so ‘keen’ on promoting ‘Freedom’ that in October he said that “It’s not about replacing Windows with Linux, it’s about making it dead simple for the two to work together.”

Would Microsoft say that its intentions or ideas are “not about replacing Linux with Windows?” Novell seems to have been bamboozled if it’s too naive to spot Microsoft’s Linux FUD (“Get the Facts” is still alive). Novell has already pulled its pages that put down Windows. It targets Red Hat and UNIX instead.

Devaluing the GPL, the Microsoft Way

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Windows at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EVERY NOW AND THEN we warn that by paying SourceForge, for example, Microsoft markets Visual Studio as an “open source” development tool [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. By blurring the gap like this, the term “open source” ceases to mean what it once represented and some so-called open source software — never mind the licence — is made so dependent on the Microsoft stack that it permanently becomes Windows-only. MediaPortal is a new example of this and Heise covers its 1.0 release.

MedialPortal 1.0, a GPL licensed Media Centre alternative that has been five years in development, has been released for Windows XP, MCE2005 or Vista.

From the project’s Web site.

Supported operating systems

     * Windows XP 32-bit Edition with service pack 3
     * Windows Media Center Edition 2005 with update rollup 2
     * Windows Vista 32- and 64-bit with service pack 1

[...]

Operating System Components

     * Microsoft .NET Framework 2
     * Microsoft DirectX 9.0c or later
           o Note: Using MP 1.0.0 the installer will automatically install latest DirectX if necessary.
     * Microsoft latest avaiable Windows Media Player Version
           o Note: Using MP 1.0.0 the installer will automatically prompt you for the download of latest WMP.
     * Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86)
           o Note: Using MP 1.0.0 the installer will automatically install the Visual C++ Redist. package.

How truly “Free”. So when do DirectX, .NET, Windows and so on and so forth going into GPL realms? Free labour that promotes Windows and its accompanying technologies is exactly what Microsoft wanted and that’s why it deviates from standards like OpenGL and ODF.

Broken lens
Broken promise

Novell and Microsoft: All About Cooperation on (Intellectual) Monopoly

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED at 3:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

handshake black and white

THE OSI called it "Monopoly 2.0", whereas others call it a duopoly. Either way, the deal that Novell signed with Microsoft was intended to give power to Microsoft in exchange for ‘kickbacks’ (or financial benefits), cumulatively funneled into Novell in the form of SUSE coupons, which Microsoft outwardly calls “patent royalties”. This horrible deal is still mentioned in Novell’s annual report, the last of which was released yesterday. A summary of it can be found in MarketWatch or Yahoo and the full report is on EDGAR.

Along the way we also came across this older SEC filing, which shows very clearly that the Novell/Microsoft deal is all about patents (text below), not about so-called ‘interoperability’. The story Novell ‘sells’ to the public is very different from that which is must tell investors, simply because it’s the law. Recently, however, we revealed how Novell was working behind the scenes. The story told even to customers changed to include the “peace of mind” chorus. Ian Bruce and Roger Levy already do that [1, 2]. They sell fear because selling just a product was not good enough (Novell is down, Red Hat is up).

Anyway, from sec.org:

MICROSOFT – NOVELL
PATENT COOPERATION AGREEMENT

This patent cooperation agreement (“Agreement”) is effective as of November 2, 2006 (“Effective Date”) by and between Microsoft Corporation, a Washington corporation having a primary place of business at One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington, USA 98052, and Microsoft Corporation’s Subsidiary, Microsoft Licensing, GP, a Nevada General Partnership having its primary place of business at 61000 Neil Road, Reno, Nevada, USA 89511 (“MLGP”) (collectively, “Microsoft”), and Novell, Inc., a Delaware corporation having a primary place of business at 404 Wyman, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA 02451 (“Novell”). Microsoft and Novell are herein referred to separately as “a party” or collectively as “the parties” and when capitalized as “Party” or “Parties” also includes their respective Subsidiaries.

RECITALS

Microsoft Corporation is the owner of its Patents (as defined below); and has licensed the rights to commercially exploit its Patents to MLGP.

The Parties acknowledge the ownership or control of Patents and a desire to grant rights to each other’s Customers and make certain accommodations to each other under certain such Patents.

The Parties expect to continue research and development that will result in ownership or control of additional Patents and therefore desire to grant rights to each other’s Customers and make certain accommodations to the other Party under certain such additional Patents.

In consideration of the mutual covenants and conditions stated herein and for good and valuable consideration, the Parties agree as set forth herein.

The Novell/Microsoft deal was about software patents. It’s time to stop denying it and portray the deal for what it really is.

“The only patent that is valid is one which this Court has not been able to get its hands on.”

Supreme Court Justice Jackson

It’s Not a “Crusade”

Posted in Apple, Google, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An above-the-average-Joe shrewdly dismisses critics with words

ZONKER, THE community manager/leader of the OpenSUSE project has offered some disrespectful characterisations for those who highlight the issues OpenSUSE faces due to Microsoft/Novell. He uses words like “tin-foil” and “crusade”. We saw this one particular word, “crusader”, used very recently and it’s not the first time that criticism is dismissed by Zonker (or the OpenSUSE crowd) just like that.

In this new interview with Henry Kingman, a good question was raised, backed by links to actual (and factual) evidence:

…DesktopLinux collared Community Manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier for perspective about what it all means. Enjoy . . . !

[...]

Q4 — That reminds me to ask about the criticism Novell has taken in the past for its partnership with Microsoft. Specifically, Groklaw looked at Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org and a couple of other documents, and concluded that Microsoft might be angling, through patent leverage, to get exclusive usage rights to work contributed to OpenSUSE.

A4 — I don’t want to dismiss people’s concerns. Nor do I wish to endorse them too deeply, however. With some of the criticism out there — we’re talking tin-foil hat time.

With regard to the Microsoft deal, there was some legitimate concern initially. But, we’re two years in, and it’s had no ill effect on the free software community at all. By now, I would hope that if specific contributors were deeply concerned, they would have moved on to contribute somewhere else, rather than making it into a personal crusade.

So with all due respect to Mr. Brockmeier, just as we don’t characterise Novell’s alliance with Microsoft as a “crusade” against the spirit of Free software or a “tin-foil”-like fear of Freedom, it would only be reasonable to discuss the points raised, and politely. Zonker totally ignored the observation made in the question, which specifically refers to Groklaw’s analysis. This response is similar to what we typically get when we raise this issue right here for OpenSUSE to respond to.

As we noted before, Zonker spends more time criticising Google and Apple than he does criticising his employer’s ally, Microsoft.

Even now he’s sort of attacking Apple and it does not seem like he ever criticises an abusive Microsoft that attacks GNU/Linux every other week.

If any company desperately needs a clueful community manager, it’s Apple. I’ve written before about the company’s issues with the App store and the way it treats developers (as have many others) but it looks like they’re still having a hard time getting a handle on developer relations.

And what about Novell? Did it consult with OpenSUSE developers? It’s important to remember why Ted Haeger quit.

There is a lot of hypocrisy coming from Zonker. He sold his interests for a wage, convincing himself that promoting greed at the expense of ethics is acceptable, but as readers from the developing world often remind us, this only means that he becomes part of the problem. He not only refuses to find a solution but he also opposes legitimate critique. That’s a bit like fascism, to be a little blunt.

It’s worth mentioning that some new download/update numbers have come out of OpenSUSE. They are not so stunning compared to counterparts.

Other numbers i have so far …

* 23518 smolt profiles uploaded. Please read this how to use it.
* 104742 updates (counted unique ip’s)

For the sake of comparison, from the openSUSE 10.3 release:

Approximately 40,000 for openSUSE 10.3 GM. 45,913 were counted, but you have to subtract pre-GoldMaster installations in October.

There are no analogous measures here, but if registered installations can be equated to smolt profiles (which they can’t), then this is not an encouraging figure. We know for a fact, based on conversations with people, that the shadow of Novell/Microsoft is harming OpenSUSE.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 23rd, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links Xmas Eve: Red Hat Leaps, Garmin Picks Android

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Markos Moulitsas, creator of the Daily Kos on-line political magazine 04 (2005)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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