02.28.09

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Trolls, Lobbyists, and End[ing] Software Patents (ESP)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intellectual Ventures revisited; Microsoft keeps busy promoting software patents in Europe; software patents under scrutiny with successful campaigning against them.

A very long post about the TomTom case [1, 2] is coming, but for the time being, let us look at other existing issues and developments that are part of the same important theme.

A new legislation for patent reform in the United States is set to be proposed next week, according to our sources. Until then, Microsoft is keeping busy lobbying and hoarding patents.

Microsoft-Funded Patent-Trolling

Nathan Myhrvold

Several days before the TomTom lawsuit came to light, CNET had pointed out that a risk to Free software is also the Microsoft-conceived and Microsoft-funded patent troll which goes by the name of Intellectual Ventures.

I ask because it’s almost certain that someone is going to purchase the IP, and it’s likely to be a Microsoft or Oracle (or, possibly worse, Intellectual Ventures), to the extent the IP is worth anything. Instead, now would be a good time for open-source patent-pooling collectives like Open Invention Network to buy up these assets and use them to protect open source.

In a later post from CNET it was also argued that “the real patent threat” is Microsoft’s patent troll but not Microsoft itself. Intellectual Ventures, unlike Microsoft, cannot be countered by OIN.

Hence, while the open-source world is up in arms about Microsoft’s TomTom patent suit, it should be far more worried about news that Intellectual Ventures has grabbed another 500 patents through a deal with Telcordia Technologies, as TechFlash reports. Intellectual Ventures, arguably the world’s largest patent troll, is set up to do nothing more than license its intellectual property, which it has done to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here is the report cited by the above.

Intellectual Ventures is adding to its huge pile of patents. The Bellevue-based firm, founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, is today announcing a partnership with broadband company Telcordia Technologies, giving it access to more than 500 Telcordia patents. Intellectual Ventures has also pledged to fund Telcordia research and development.

There are other large patent trolls, including Gates' own, and the endless possibilities in Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Mike Masnick ponders this outlandish idea of investing just in patents and running companies that are dedicated just to them.

European Law Under Microsoft-Funded Attack

We learn that in the 5th of March Zuck will be in in Brussels, as expected. He is already mucking about with an "open source" report on Microsoft's behalf and we are seeing constant reminders of the threat of the Community patent. Microsoft really wants software patents to be formally legalised in Europe. It essentially buys anti-Free software laws.

Absurdity of Software Patents Revisited

Several new posts question the legitimacy of patents as a whole. Examples:

i. Science Needs Permission?

Because GM crops are considered “intellectual property” of the companies that sell them, reearchers need permission from the company to plant them, even for research purposes.

ii. There Are No Good Arguments for Intellectual Property (and ‘Interaction Rights’!)

There are some decent arguments out there that argue in favor of a state, welfare rights, war, democracy, drug laws, and so on. They are all flawed, since libertarianism is right, but there are coherent, honest arguments that we libertarians have to grapple with.

But it is striking that there are no decent arguments for IP–as Manuel Lora remarked to me, “You know, I haven’t seen a good pro IP article ever.” This is true. One sees the same incoherent or insincere claims made over and over, such as:

1. It’s in the constitution (argument from authority; legal positivism)
2. Intellectual property is called property! (argument by definition?)

iii. More Examples Of Patents Harming Research

A group of scientists are now complaining about this to the EPA, but perhaps they should be complaining to the USPTO and Congress, as well, as it’s time that this sort of abuse of intellectual property was stopped entirely.

Here is an indicator of the very poor state with regards to software patenting.

I call them the ‘on the Internet’ patents. You can patent anything by adding the suffix – ‘on the internet’.

Visa feels the wrath of this bad system.

Visa has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly infringing a patent covering the notification and authorisation of transactions via text messages sent to cardholders’ mobile phones.

What about standards, which are being stifled by patents? How is that productive?

Both patents and standardisation are areas of regulation based on public benefit considerations. Succinctly put, a patent is a monopoly granted for a limited time by the government on behalf of its citizens to promote disclosure of breakthroughs that will in turn enable future innovation.

Greed and Hypocrites

SUN claims to be in a transition to an open source identity, but its policy on software patents gives room for doubt. And in fact, based on this new article from India, SUN is accepting (almost reinforcing) rather than challenging a broken system.

Added Dr Jaijit Bhattacharya, director, government strategy, Sun Microsystems India, said, “The Open Innovation Portal will be complimentary to the existing IPR framework and will cater to those innovations that come below the bar for a patent application and will cater to those innovators who cannot afford the patenting process. This is especially true in the emerging economies scenario where standalone innovators may or may not have the financial wherewithal to file the patent.”

Kaspersky too has resorted to playing the game of software patents and Palm is no foe of stuff that’s antithetical to Free software despite its use of Linux, maybe for ‘defensive’ purposes (against Apple for example).

The Pre’s Combined Messaging: Patent Pending

[...]

Something missing from Palm’s CES presentation of the Palm Pre: jaunty claims that they’ve patented their innovations up the wazoo. Maybe it’s because they have a massive cache of smartphone patents in their portfolio already and didn’t want to toot their horn. Maybe they were just being coy. Maybe, though, they were just waiting for their various patent applications to get approved before they brought it up.

Campaigning

In order to end software patents once and for all, the End Software Patents (ESP) campaign pushes harder and harder. It has also earned media attention in:

i. Let’s keep the software patent debate on the straight and narrow

I very much hope that what the End Software Patents project comes up with in terms of studies, statistics and the rest of it does stand up to independent scrutiny. There could be a case for removing all patent protection from software – though I have yet to see one convincingly made – but it will not be advanced by manipulation and distortion. One thing that you can be sure of is that this blog will be watching very carefully for any signs of people being economical with the truth.

ii. Again A Desperate Attempt To Re-Vitalise Campaign Against CII-Patents

Now, according to a recent report, the Free Software Foundation has announced funding for the End Software Patents project to document the case for ending patents on computer-implemented inventions worldwide. A catalogue of studies, economic arguments, and legal analyses will build on the “in re Bilski” court ruling, in which End Software Patents (ESP) claims to have helped play a key role in narrowing the scope for patenting software ideas in the USA.

iii. FSF in Round Two Against Software Patents

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is persisting in its worldwide battle against software patents with comprehensive background information and has hired lobbyist Ciaran O’Riordan to fight the next round.

With Bilski at everyone’s disposal, a big final push to end software patents is practical and thus encouraged.

Linux users can help with the patent problem. “Talk about this problem. Educate ourselves and educate others. Instead of fostering innovation it’s hindering innovation,” he said. “We have a large amount of work to do to educate people about this.” Red Hat is also seeking prior art to help defend a lawsuit from a patent troll firm that is suing both it and Novell.

Inform peers, family, MEPs, etc. so as to end software patents for good. Without such patents, Free software sure will triumph much faster (as it should).

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 27th, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 27th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

02.27.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 27th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 27/02/2009: New XFCE Released, PC/OS 2009v2 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Bizarre Cathedral – 41

    Should I tell him the router runs on Linux?

  • Cisco Goes Deep for Linux and Open Source

    Without much fanfare or self-congratulations, networking giant Cisco Systems has become one of the top contributors to the Linux kernel and an active contributor to the broader open source community.

    It’s a message that Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) isn’t boasting about yet, but was willing to discuss with InternetNews.com. Cisco is the world’s largest networking vendor and a technology juggernaut that is seeing the value in using and contributing to open source.

  • It’s Not the Cost of the OS – It’s the Cost of Apps

    Software costs now dwarf hardware costs

    Times have changed though, pretty thoroughly: at this point you can get a pretty rocking computer loaded with RAM, a quad core processor, a great graphics card, and a gi-normous fast hard drive for about $700. And have room in the budget for a great big gorgeous color LCD to see it all on and maybe even a nice big graphics pen-tablet. Meanwhile, the cost of Photoshop and all the other creative software has not come down one iota. Something’s gotta give.

    So it was the lure of free-libre programs like the Gimp, Blender, Audacity, Inkscape, and Rawstudio that first drew me in. Actually, I think it was probably OpenOffice that was the first FOSS program I downloaded and installed onto Windows 2000. You see, with the relatively small amount of word processing and office type stuff I do, it seemed crazy to keep buying office software. (I used WordPerfect ages ago, and I’ve never used MS Office at all.) So I tried OOo and guess what? It was just brilliant, exactly what I needed and more. Wow, I thought, how can a program this good be completely free?

  • More reasons to use Linux: How green is Linux?

    * First of all there’s the tickless kernel

    The tickless mode is an option in the newest kernels keeping power consumption low by having the processor staying asleep, in the normal state the kernel is waking up the processor on an automated interval. With the tickless kernel it’s possible to wake the processor only when there’s a real need for it. Effectively saving on power consumption in notebooks and servers alike.
    * Better virtualization support

    Which brings me to my second point, the tickless kernel brings great benefit in virtualized environments.

    [...]

  • Celtx jumps a version, releases 2.0

    After years of perpetual beta (it’s vogue these days), Celtx, the open source media pre-production and screenwriting application, finally earned its 1.0 status this past June. So it might seem a little odd that only eight months later, Celtx is making the jump to 2.0 (and it does seem a little sudden) so let’s take a look and see if this new version worth its version number.

  • The Linux Connection

    Turns out that all you need is a satellite dish (a one meter model will do), some knowledge of satellite communications (if you are of the geekish persuasion, you can become self-taught in these arts rather quickly) and familiarity with Linux, and tools (freely available on the Internet) for hacking Linux data feeds, you can access lots of useful data that is not supposed to be open to everyone.

  • Linux liberty: Are you overpaying for wireless data-collection devices?

    As the Wal Marts of the world increasingly press suppliers for real-time inventory tracking, the pressure gets passed right down the supply chain.

  • Training course in Leyte tackles 5-day Linux systems administration

    In order to provide professional training to students and current systems administrators who want to be familiar with configuring and managing Linux based systems in an integrated network environment, a five-day Linux Systems Administration I (LISA 1.3) course will be conducted from March 9-13, 2009 at the Leyte ICT Park, Academic Center, Palo, Leyte.

  • Linux Outlaws 79 – A Community Gone Wild

    In this episode, we talk about Koalas, training robots, a bunch o’Irish bastards, as well as some open source and Linux topics as well. Fab also reviews World of Goo for Linux.

  • Games

    • QuakeLive for Linux a “High Priority”
    • Quake Live beta opens to all, Mac and Linux support coming

      Quake Live, id Software’s experiment into taking its classic multiplayer shooter Quake III Arena online and integrating it with the Web, is now in open beta for all challengers.

      [...]

      By “PC,” the legendary id programmer also refers to Mac and Linux users, and their versions of Live are on the way. “It’s pretty high on my priority list to have the Mac and Linux support,” he told Joystiq.

    • Out of the Park Baseball 10 Announced

      OOTP 10, scheduled for release in Spring 2009 for PC, Mac, and Linux, is a further evolution of the game that GameSpy said, “is firmly atop the baseball general manager simulation heap,” offering gamers the ultimate in realistic baseball simulation.

  • Interviews

    • The Buzztard Project, Part 2: an Interview with Stefan Kost

      This interview with lead developer Stefan Kost continues my report on the development of Buzztard. As the interview reveals, Stefan’s work on Buzztard represents only one level of his deep involvement in Linux software development.

    • Interview: the return of the realtime preemption tree

      On February 11, realtime developers Thomas Gleixner and Ingo Molnar resurfaced with the announcement of a new realtime preemption tree and a newly reinvigorated development effort. Your editor asked them if they would be willing to answer a few questions about this work; their response went well beyond the call of duty. Read on for a detailed look at where the realtime preemption tree stands and what’s likely to happen in the near future.

  • Kernel Space

    • Video: Ted Ts’o on Ext4, BtrFS and first steps with Linux

      Linux Magazine Online took the opportunity of Fosdem 2009 in Brussels to track down and talk to kernel developer and CTO of the Linux Foundation, Ted Ts’o.

      Ted talks about the improved acceleration of ext4 and the difference between ext4 and BtrFS.

    • LinuxDNA Supercharges Linux with the Intel C/C++ Compiler

      Exciting news from the LinuxDNA project, which earlier this month successfully compiled a recent Linux kernel with the Intel C/C++ compiler (ICC). This is not just a compile without errors, this is — for the most part — a fully bootable, compatible Linux kernel that can boot into a full Linux system. The full system is based on Gentoo Linux, and utilizes kernel version 2.6.22.

    • Linux Foundation Unveils Plans for Upcoming Summit

      The Linux Foundation — the not-for-profit that keeps Linus in keyboards, and most recently, has been looking to glam things up a bit — earlier this month provided a first glimpse into its plans for the 2009 Collaboration Summit, to be held April 8-10 in San Francisco.

  • Xfce

    • Xfce 4.6 final released

      After more than two years of development, Xfce has been updated to version 4.6 which includes several bug fixes and new features. The open source desktop environment for Unix and Linux platforms aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and adhering to standards.

    • A Visual Tour of Xfce 4.6.0

      Since desktop icons have been introduced in Xfce 4.4, people have expressed the need to allow the selection of multiple icons (rubber banding). With Xfce 4.6, the Xfdesktop manager finally implements this feature: you can select multiple icons, move them, remove them, etcetera…

  • Distributions

    • Debian Variants

      • Mepis 8.0 Desktop – A Debian Joyride

        Overall Mepis 8 is snappier than ever. Needless to say it is rock solid based on Debian Lenny. I have been tinkering with it for 3 days, but it has never borked. And the best thing in using Mepis 8 is that you can you can enjoy very easy Linux computing yet access thousands of Debian applications.

      • Debian 5.0 Continues Strong Linux Tradition

        Version 5 of the Debian GNU/Linux open-source operating system offers the same top management tools and processor support that previous versions of the Linux operating system have. There also are a host of updates to open-source components, and the Linux distribution is still a great fit for servers and a solid desktop choice. However, the top reason for upgrading from version 4 may be the relatively short three-year security fix window, less than the coverage time offered with Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux-derived CentOS.

      • A Short Review of KNOPPIX v6.0.1

        What can I say but Knoppix is a great distribution! Always has been. Even back when I was in college I used to use Knoppix on the Microsoft Windows 2000 client desktops just so I can remain somewhat sane and continue to work in an environment I was more comfortable in. Even when I used to be a service technician, Knoppix was always around to be able to perform data recovery/transfers from one medium to the other. Over the years I have continued to use Knoppix as the excellent tool for data recovery that it is. To those less familiar with the GNU/Linux operating system, Knoppix is based off of Debian and designed to run from a CD/DVD. It is a good way to run an operating system without installing it, which also gives you access to all your hardware. The latest CD image is only 661 MB.

      • 5 Minute Comparison – Ubuntu 8.10 and Debian Lenny
      • Ubuntu Variants

        • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 5 Screenshot Tour

          The fifth alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (codename Jaunty Jackalope) was uploaded a few minutes ago on the official mirrors. As usual, we’ve downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up to date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.04 development.

        • Jaunty Alpha 5 released

          Welcome to Jaunty Jackalope Alpha-5, which will in time become Ubuntu 9.04.

          Pre-releases of Jaunty are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing bugs.

        • Review: Ubuntu Mobile Edition

          Overall this version represents a good start toward making the Linux operating system a viable alternative to Windows for these ultra portable devices. You can follow the development on any of the Ubuntu mobile mailing lists and IRC discussions listed on the UME wiki.

        • PC/OS 2009v2 released

          Today, Thursday February 26 2009 we are happy to announce the general availability of PC/OS 2009v2. The new release also introduces the new PC/OS WebStation 1.0. PC/OS OpenDesktop 2009v2 and PC/OS OpenWorkstation 2009v2 have been fully tested and ready for broad consumer adoption.

          Some of the changes include a slightly tweaked user interface and updated packages and all important security updates applied. Some of the updated packages are as follows.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • First impressions of the Neuros Link

      Having recently constructed the BoxeeBox, I naturally was eager to check out Neuros Technology’s somewhat similar IP-TV set-top box. Though currently at a “gamma” release, the Neuros “Link” shows great promise.

      [...]

      Even in its current, “gamma” state the Neuros Link strikes me as an irresistible gadget for early adopters itching to connect their TVs via the Internet to a wide range of TV shows, movies, and other A/V content. On top of all that, it’s a Linux PC!

    • Phones

      • Comment: Android beyond the phone

        Look out, Microsoft, I’m seeing signs that Google’s Android could wind up in netbooks, digital picture frames and a host of embedded devices as a friendly, app-rich face for Linux.

        In this recession-battered economy, designers will turn to open source code whenever they can. After all, Windows is often one of the most expensive components in a system, prompting some to dub it the Redmond tax.

      • The Android Developer Experience

        With the success of the Apple iPhone, a new surge of development opportunities has arisen in the consumer mobile computing space. However, due to Apple’s walled garden approach, some developers have been less compelled to spend a lot of time investigating its SDK.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 9-inch netbooks seeing sharp price declines
      • Freescale Plans Reference Design for Linux ARM Netbooks

        When will power-saving and affordable ARM netbooks become available? Freescale Semiconductor has ventured into an advanced standard, albeit with their homegrown i.MX515 chip.

      • Still room on the netbook bandwagon for Nokia + Linux + ARM

        Nokia has invested considerable resources in building a robust Linux-based platform for ARM. The Maemo operating system, which is used on the company’s Internet Tablet devices, provides a relatively complete stack that could easily be adapted to run on a laptop.

      • Telephony stack ports to Moblin, Moorestown

        Open-Plug is working to integrate its Linux feature-phone telephony stack with the Intel-sponsored Moblin stack for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) running on Intel’s “Moorestown” processor. Open-Plug’s ELIPS Linux Telephony Stack will voice-enable Moblin- and Moorestown-based MIDs when they ship next year, says the French software vendor.

      • Linpus Linux To Launch QuickOS Next Week

        During the CeBit conference in Germany, Linpus Technologies is set to introduce Linpus QuickOS, which is their new quick booting Linux distribution. According to the information we have received, QuickOS boots in a speedy manner due to “fine-tuning and maximizing software performance for less powerful hardware platforms” and removing unneeded Linux libraries.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla/Browsers

    • Thunderbird 3 Beta 2 is Now Available

      We’re happy to announce the release of Thunderbird 3 Beta 2, now available for download.

    • FSFE engages in the EU browser case

      Free Software Foundation Europe today announces that it will support the European Commission’s antitrust investigation against Microsoft and to this effect it has formally requested to be admitted as an interested third party.

    • Arora, a refreshing new Qt/WebKit browser

      The Gentoo Qt maintainers have been doing a fantastic job of getting cutting edge Qt software into shape with the qting-edge overlay. I’ve been running Qt 4.5 since beta1 and am pleased with the direction it is going. Recently the devs bumped the Arora ebuild to version 0.5. Arora is a lightweight browser based on Qt and WebKit.

  • Sun

  • Government

    • Digital Ombudsman, a Brazilian government free software project, starts taking complaints for more public and private sector organizations

      OUV is one of many software applications developed and released by CELEPAR. While Brazil’s government is saving millions of taxpayer dollars using free software and cultivating a digital community that encourages citizen participation, Microsoft is kind enough to offer US taxpayers some volume discounts for government organizations.

    • Open Source Vendors welcome new UK Government policy, but want more action

      Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems was the first person The H called. He was pleased to see the updated policy, “It’s a great thing to see it published, as the 2004 policy didn’t help very much”. The new policy had “a lot of good things in it” such as the costing in of exit, or as Phipps calls them, sundown costs and the preference towards open source because of, as the policy puts it, “its inherent flexibility”. Phipps explained “Open source has inherent benefits in that it gives a CIO control of the complete life-cycle. The four freedoms put the CIO in control”.

      Although Phipps is still disappointed by some aspects of the policy, he says he is “A little disappointed to see the loopholes in the area of open formats and I would have liked to have seen a timetable for the action plan. For this to succeed the government CIO needs to put an aggressive timetable in place”. The policy document omits any dates on the action plan items, and he felt that without that, the policy may not gain traction. Phipps also noted that without changes in how systems are purchased, open source may still find itself on an uneven playing field. Phipps preference is to move from “procurement led” buying and to an “adoption led market”.

Standards/Consortia

  • MEDIA ADVISORY: Realizing Government Transparency and Openness Through Standard Web Technologies

    The World Wide Web Consortium’s eGovernment Interest Group will hold a special stakeholder meeting hosted by the American Institute of Architects on 12-13 March in Washington, DC to address the goals, benefits and limitations of implementing electronic government. The two-day meeting provides a global forum for IT and policy representatives from government and industry to address the political, legal, financial, and social factors that impact the successful implementation of open government initiatives. The goal of the forum is to document progressive solutions for electronic government as well as to develop a road map for developing Web standards to realize open and interoperable solutions.

Leftovers

  • The Tech Lab: Bruce Schneier

    Welcome to the future, where everything about you is saved. A future where your actions are recorded, your movements are tracked, and your conversations are no longer ephemeral. A future brought to you not by some 1984-like dystopia, but by the natural tendencies of computers to produce data.

  • Censorship

    • Phorm Phorces Which? To Retract Critical Survey, Uses Defamation Threat

      The retraction came in so quick, we hadn’t even seen the original press release. Under legal pressure, consumer mag Which? on Wednesday hastily called back a survey it issued indicating public opposition to on-ISP behavioural ad targeter Phorm. Which? sent the following statement…

      “Urgent withdrawal of press release from Which? – Internet users say: don’t sell my surfing habits. Which? has received further information and representations from Phorm about the proposed Webwise service, and it has agreed to withdraw the above press release, issued under embargo on 24 February 2008, while we consider them. Some of the information in the press release and related article is said to be inaccurate and as a consequence may be defamatory. You are strongly urged not to write an article based on the press release or the related article ‘Online privacy matters’ in Which? magazine.”

  • Copyrights

    • Music Executive Ridiculed at Pirate Bay Trial

      Laughter filled The Pirate Bay trial here Wednesday when John Kennedy, the chief executive of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries, testified that people would have purchased every music track they got free file sharing.

      Kennedy answered an affirmative “Yes” to Pirate Bay defense attorneys when asked whether that was true. Bursting laughter could be heard from the audio room beside the courtroom where the trial’s sound was being broadcast.

    • Why Are Book Publishers Making The Same Mistake The Record Labels Made With Apple?

      Back in 2005, we noted that Apple’s dominance over the online music space, which upset the record labels tremendously, was actually the record labels’ own fault for demanding DRM. That single demand created massive lock-in and network effects that allowed Apple to completely dominate the market. If the record labels had, instead, pushed for an open solution, then anyone else could have built stores/players to work as well, and it could have minimized Apple’s ability to control the market. Yes, everyone is now opening up (including Apple), but it took a long time, and Apple had already established its dominant position.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Elmer Rivera updates us on the Xubuntu lab’s use 01 (2009)

Ogg Theora

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

Virtualization Makes For Strange Bedfellows

Posted in Deals, Novell, Virtualisation, VMware at 5:23 pm by Shane Coyle

Which companies haven’t made virtualization announcements this year?

Not to be left out of the coverage of the recent virtualization collaboration announcements, which seem to be all the rage these days, Novell and VMware have announced an agreement which will allow for independent software vendors to create fully supported custom virtual appliances built with Suse Linux Enterprise.

Novell also announced today a broad collaboration agreement with VMware to deliver SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as a fully-supported and optimised guest operating system running on VMware ESX, the industry-leading hypervisor. The two companies have signed a cooperative support agreement that enables Novell to provide enhanced support for customers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a guest on VMware ESX. In addition to Novell’s customary virtualisation-friendly subscription model, Novell is offering a limited time pricing promotion that gives an additional financial incentive to customers seeking to benefit from the companies’ collaboration.

Ala RedHat⁄Microsoft, there wasn’t any mention of any monetary or patent exchanges, nor was there any mention if Novell had to say they were sorry for trying to team up with Microsoft to "come after" VMware in an "open source way" a few years ago:

[emphasis mine]
Web services, that’s the proprietary aspects, making active directory and eDirectory work together- enterprise customers want to see that, virtualization is very very key, customers want to utilize Linux as either a host operating system with Microsoft as a guest operating system, or vice versa, and yes wea re going to support the XEN technology there, the XEN hypervisor technology, Microsoft is going to support it too. Yes, there is a competitive angle there, yes we’re coming at VMware yes yes yes we are, ok thats part of it because but we’re doing it in an open source way, so were going to support the XEN technologies in our server platforms and togther collaborate and ensure it works properly, supported properly, etc
Now as far as thats concerned, thats the technology aspects of it, now its broad from a Linux perspective, they’re essentially saying that anyone who is an OpenSUSE contributor is covered under the covenant. the covenant essentially is a patent agreement between Novell and Microsoft that says if you participate in the OpenSUSE distribution… as long as its not for commercial gain, that you are covered by this covenant, that they will not exercise what they believe is their patent rights…

Novell Spreads More .NET in Mac OS X, Windows, Leads to Patent Trouble

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Windows at 5:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell brings its Mono development tools to proprietary platforms and ignores the TomTom-imposed warning signs.

SEVERAL days ago we stressed that Mono is intended to ratify Microsoft's .NET as a 'standard'. This was the explanation provided by one person and evidence is quite extensive. The following new article from Heise shows that Novell is bad influence not just to GNU/Linux users but also to Mac and Windows developers, whom Novell is trying to lure into .NET using its development framework, MonoDevelop.

A blog post by Mono development team member, Miguel de Icaza, has announced plans to bring a stable version of MonoDevelop to Windows. There is currently an alpha version of MonoDevelop available for Mac OS X.

Since Mono is patent trap to everyone but Novell, this is very foolish and very, very harmful. In fact, now that Microsoft is suing Linux for FAT-related patents [1, 2], it is more than clear ever before that Microsoft can use Mono to justify the same/similar action.

Patent suit tells us why we should shun Mono, Moonlight

Microsoft has shown the world exactly how friendly it is towards open source by going to court to claim damages over patents which have been allegedly violated in an implementation of the Linux kernel. And that’s a good reason why FOSS users should avoid Mono and Moonlight like the plague.

[...]

He was then asked by Mozilla engineering vice-president Mike Schroepfer whether there would be the same protection if one downloaded and then distributed the code for Moonlight

“There is a patent covenant for anyone that downloads [Moonlight] from Novell,” he answered and was then forced to admit that “as to extending the patents to third parties – you have to talk to Microsoft.”

That’s exactly what Microsoft was saying to TomTom before it sued the GPS maker on Wednesday – talk to us and sign a licensing deal. Is that what FOSS users want to do – pay royalties for using software?

[...]

Only OpenSUSE has Mono in abundance – why, Evolution, the default mail program is dependent on it and once you remove Mono, you have to bid goodbye to Evolution as well. But then there should be no surprise about this – Novell owns OpenSUSE, a project which is facing some problems right now.

Novell should really know what it’s doing. As Byfield points out, Novell knows the wrath of patents. Now, if only he didn’t just characterise us as the “anti-Novell lobby”… typo there in “Go-OOO” as well. It’s Go-OO or Go-OO[XML]. There is no “Go-OOO” but there is Go-Mono[nono], which can only hope to be The Real Thing. All of these Novell projects are strengthening Microsoft.

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

Novell CEO Loots the Company: Receives Huge Bonuses for Failed Business

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, Ron Hovsepian, SLES/SLED at 2:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

breaking the bank

Novell’s poor results are a subject that we covered last night. Talks about layoffs have begun to materialise. For example, we have:

For the quarter, Novell’s sales fell by 7 per cent to $214.9m and were hurt by a dramatic drop off in software license sales, which fell by 29.7 per cent to $28.3m. Services sales at the company fell even more dramatically, down 31.7 per cent to $27.8m, while maintenance and subscription sales helped offset declines a little by growing 5.8 per cent to $158.8m. Net income fell by 36.5 per cent, to $10.7m, and what is immediately clear is that if Microsoft had not extended its SUSE Linux coupon deal with a $100m extension last year and agreed to kick in $25m this quarter, Novell would be at a loss. Quite literally.

[...]

That’s exactly what Novell has said publicly it would do. But that is a net employee headcount change. The number of employees let go could be higher in one division or department if the company was also hiring in other divisions or departments. Novell has not said this is what has happened, but the persistent rumors of larger layoffs could be the result of such hiring and firing practices.

Ron Hovsepian, Novell’s president and chief executive officer, said that software license and services sales were both below expectations, and in a conference call with Wall Street analysts, he said that “the pipe fell apart” in the last two to three weeks of the quarter and warned that it could happen again.

[...]

Looking ahead, Hovsepian said that Novell was “investigating all opportunities to lower costs,” and that might mean more layoffs. (He did not use the L-Word).

Here is another new report.

Novell could axe jobs on falling demand

[...]

The company, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, should have a better idea of whether it needs to reduce its workforce later this quarter, Russell said today in an interview.

Hovsepian smiles

Wealth for the Hovsepians

An ongoing outrage right now is to do with those people who receive huge bonuses and public money even in the form of stimulus/bailout (i.e. public looting). They expect a form of socialism to rescue them from their own corruption. That only applies to managers of course — those who are managing themselves in unaccountable, private, unregulated tyrannies. They reward themselves for the utter failures which they are collectively responsible for.

Ron Hovsepian too is an example of this trend. According to this news report:

Information technology icon Novell, Inc. (NDAQ: NOVL ) fared poorly even in this economy: down more than 50% over the last 12 months. This didn’t stop CEO Ronald Hovsepian from getting compensation valued at almost $7 million for the year, with nearly $3 million of that in cash.

Who in their right minds are giving bonuses to failing/failed executives that are buying small, irrelevant companies while sacking employees (largely GNU/Linux engineers to begin with)? Here is additional information about Hovsepian’s personal gain, which has always seemed a tad suspicious, not just unfair.

We happen to have studied this and found out that Novell’s management recently embarked on luxurious vacations in Mexico just before dropping ‘the bomb’ (delivering the results). Novell is no exception in today’s tough economy, but some of its moves are outright irrational. Even its own employees are disturbed by it. For example, says one person: “Look at what Hubert Figuiere hinted at in his blog post as to Novell’s rudderless position. Acquisitions in Novell’s state and in the current climate and laying off employees? WTF?”

SUSE Down Sharply

Novell continued to deny large-scale layoffs, but as we stressed strongly, the company can't be believed. In fact, it already mentions this as a possibility (see Russell quote above). Novell’s layoffs are inevitable because its business diminishes too quickly and even SUSE — supposedly Novell’s area of great growth — is “down sharply”. ZDNet’s editor states:

Novell’s fiscal first quarter results were a mixed bag and Linux invoices fell sharply as the company failed to sign big deals.

They are dependent on Microsoft of course, by their own choice.

Matt Asay’s analysis is good (he used to work at Novell and he has friends there). The headline is alarming though.

Novell puts Linux on sale as earnings disappoint

[...]

That should be Novell’s concern, not Microsoft’s. If Microsoft feels any compunction to assist Novell, it’s certainly not to help prop up Linux, but rather to try to hurt Red Hat. This isn’t the basis for sound, long-term strategy.

And guess what? It’s not working.

[...]

That environment hasn’t been good for Novell’s overall business, but it’s helping fuel Red Hat’s. Perhaps Novell should be looking to Red Hat, not Microsoft, for clues as to how to rejuvenate its business. The industry could use Novell as a stronger Linux player. Microsoft won’t be the source of that strength.

So the big winners here are probably Novell’s rivals in the GNU/Linux universe. Those are the companies which don’t pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux and don’t market themselves using software patents and intimidation.

Here is yet another article about the end of BrainShare [1, 2, 3], which symbolises Novell’s demise.

Next month would have marked the one time in the year thousands of technology professionals make the trek to Salt Lake City to figure out whether Novell has the wherewithal to be the world’s most successful blend of open source and proprietary technology. Except that this year, for once, the global economy as a whole is actually doing worse than sales of Open Enterprise Server. There won’t be a BrainShare 2009, and who knows about next year. We’re bracing for what gets cut next.
I found BrainShare an extremely worthy event the last time I went there, but the industry, suffice it to say, will survive its loss.

More Financial News

Associated Press (via Forbes) has the report “Novell profit drops 36 pct, still beats Street” and MarketWatch published “Novell’s first-quarter net income slides to 3 cents a share” (also in Fox Business). Reuters just states that “Novell Q1 earnings fall.” Novell must tell its investors what it intends to do next. This debate is private.

No Value

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

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