Summary: Novell’s CEO has some regrets about the Microsoft deal while Microsoft discredits Free software to promote Windows
TWO YEARS ago, Novell’s CEO Ron Hovsepian admitted that he had had tiny regrets about the Microsoft deal. Now that he delivers a keynote at OSBC 2009 he is said to have expressed more regrets or issued a “semi-apology over the Microsoft pact.”
Speaking at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), Hovsepian said he could have done a “better job” of communicating about the deal and suggested he got caught up in thinking about customers, instead of the perception and possible fallout from dealing with Microsoft.
“I know the deal we did with Microsoft caused a lot of noise and flack in the market,” Hovsepian told OSBC on Tuesday. “And I wish I’d done a better job of communicating that. But the thing that caught in my head was the customer.
This shows Hovsepian’s inability to understand why undermining the GPL with Microsoft is a bad idea. The problem was not communication about the deal. It was the deal itself. No amount of spin (“communication”) can turn treasonous behaviour into something acceptable. Novell did try to police coverage by contacting journalists and prominent developers ahead of its enhancement of the Microsoft partnership in 2008.
An important point which the article above misses is that while Hovsepian claims that “at the end of the day we have to listen to the customer,” it was weasels like Susan Hauser who did surveys with customers for Microsoft’s benefit. These people still hijack the voices even of Novell customers. Microsoft basically told Novell what Novell customers supposedly wanted (software patents and all that), but to what degree was it true?
Our valued reader, Jose_X, explains why Novell makes GNU/Linux an “unnecessary layer”, or “middleware” (he actually says “middleman”):
In Microsoft’s world of tomorrow, there is this thing that will serve as an added unnecessary “middleman” layer called Linux. You will need Windows still because of all of its lock-in (secrets that will fizzle away when Novell has served their purpose). Novell pushes all technology (except for “Linux”.. that’s the embrace) that benefits Microsoft and gives Microsoft maximum opportunities tomorrow.
Novell: helping Microsoft embrace the FOSS world smartly and helping to put Linux into a position where it will simply get in the way tomorrow.
More comments can be found here and in The Register.
Going back to the article from The Register, it is worth adding that such articles arrive from Microsoft-centric writers like Gavin Clarke who attends OSBC on the publication’s behalf, but then again, OSBC 2009 is heavily influenced by Microsoft because Microsoft paid it a lot of money, as it did last year as well [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The conference is in fact organised by IDG/IDC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] where a Microsoft tie does exist.
“The conference is in fact organised by IDG/IDC where a Microsoft tie does exist.”As has always been the case, with subtle use of language and British humour the pro-Microsoft Gavin Clarke is doing what he can to make it seem like Free software is losing, so caution is needed when reading OSBC coverage from The Register. To share some of the latest from Gavin Clarke, here is Microsoft apologism and promotion from OSBC, as well as a trollish headline like “Hey, Red Hat – Open-source help still lousy?” with the subheadline ‘”Zealots” wanted’. What has happened to The Register ever since that deal it signed with Microsoft? The GNU/Linux-oriented writers all seem to have left except Timothy who joined.
IDG is not better off by the way. Paul Krill took remarks from Red Hat’s CEO slightly out of context* to issue a headline suggesting that GNU/Linux will never make it on the desktop. The anti-GNU/Linux crowd is using his article to spread such a message further (e.g. The Inquirer). It’s provocative. Also, regarding IDG, check out the main banner/headline: “IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems Among Speakers on Tap for InfoWorld OSBC 2009 in San Francisco.” Despite Novell’s keynote, neither Novell nor Red Hat make the official opening press release. But Microsoft is prominently there… on an “open source” conference that it conceived and funds.
Microsoft pretty much said that it had received a spot to speak "as part of this sponsorship." And what talk did it deliver? What was the message? That companies don’t migrate to “open source” at this time. Yes, they stay with Microsoft. That’s the message Microsoft tells the attendees of this conference which those people paid to attend and this is how Microsoft can crash or hijack events, according to its very own notes that court proceedings exposed.
The deceiving message from Microsoft is being echoed by Mary Jo Foley though it contradicts everything that we find elsewhere in the press nowadays. Novell is then presented by Paul Krill almost as though it echoes Microsoft’s views.
Microsoft, Novell ponder opportunities in sour economy
In separate discussions at InfoWorld’s Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) on Tuesday, executives from Microsoft and Novell cited opportunities presented by the current down economy.
They sure seem like a pair, don’t they? Two years ago it was pretty much the same when Microsoft and Novell stood shoulder-to-shoulder and made attendees rather uncomfortable.
So, Novell is sending out the message that business is not too good. Isn’t it funny that Red Hat’s business is still going up significantly (revenue up about 20% as per yesterday’s results)? And isn’t it funny that OSBC steals the thunder from Red Hat’s good news, which would bode well for GNU/Linux in a down economy? Brian Proffitt specifically complained about this throughout OSBC 2008 when he was still the managing editor of LinuxToday. OSBC 2008 overshadowed Red Hat’s good results because of Smith’s patent FUD.
Maybe Novell’s choice to share a fate with Microsoft has proven to be a poor one. Not so with Red Hat. It’s interesting, isn’t it?
“Two years ago it was pretty much the same when Microsoft and Novell stood shoulder-to-shoulder and made attendees rather uncomfortable.”Meanwhile, Microsoft's 'open' charade continues. It’s as deceiving as intended. According to Matthew Aslett of the 451 Group, Microsoft is again using the “choice” meme to substitute “free”, “open”, or “fair”. It did the same thing with OOXML, particularly in Malaysia [1, 2, 3].
Todd Bishop put it well when he said that the message Microsoft is trying to convey and pass on is: “Bad economy a boon for Linux? Not really.”
This, in turn, would drive GNU/Linux people out of OSBC and let Microsoft inherit more control of an important scene for media exposure. That is part of their plan. The same thing happens in other events where Microsoft throws in some cash, the latest example being Cloud Computing Conference.
Matt Asay, who is a major part of OSBC, wrote about Novell’s keynote. Novell’s Justin Steinman turns out to be spreading some new Red Hat FUD, and not for the first time either.
Steinman’s response? Interoperability. Steinman notes that while Red Hat has announced its own interoperability deal with Microsoft, it’s fairly light. Novell, for its part, has done work with Microsoft to ensure that Microsoft technologies such as ActiveDirectory and System Center work alongside Linux deployments.
Sam is parroting some of this over at OStatic where he also talks about that IDC 'study' which Novell paid for this time around. It means very little in practice, but it’s a marketing routine that’s effective and drapes the pockets of professional liars.
Outside of OSBC, the Microsoft ecosystem does its usual thing, pushing Microsoft PR into Slashdot (it’s being gamed by Microsoft marketing people, as confirmed to me personally by someone who used to manage it). The not-so-news is about Microsoft trying to grab portions of Free software that are typically tied to LAMP stacks. Microsoft wants everything to run on Windows and this is covered in quite a few places like Linux Magazine, JupiterMedia (Sean Michael Kerner), ZDNet, eWeek, and IDG.
Microsoft is in the process of building out a marketplace for open-source applications that could work like an equivalent to an app store for applications, services and support for open-source technology that runs on the Windows platform. At MIX09, Microsoft released several components of the Microsoft Web Platform, an integrated set of tools, servers and frameworks that work seamlessly together and interoperate with popular open-source applications and products that are used in the community. Microsoft is looking at Windows Azure as a potential distribution platform for these applications.
Website builders who choose to run on Microsoft’s Web platform but also want to use open-source software are in for a pleasant surprise. Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 installs PHP, the popular website scripting language, and includes a collection of popular open-source Web applications. For some, the inclusion of PHP is a shock, because the free scripting language competes with Microsoft’s ASP.NET for use in developing websites. ASP.NET is popular among enterprise developers, but Web 2.0 startups and homebrew sites are often built atop PHP.
Let’s recall the role of SpikeSource in this anti-GNU/Linux strategy [1, 2] It’s not enough to just woo Free software developers away from GNU/Linux; Microsoft is also trying to scare them using lawsuits against Linux. It is a sort of aggressive strategy whose core is suing GNU/Linux while calling developers to escape and find shelter in Windows, so Microsoft is behaving a bit like a thug, a pirate.
One of our informants from India has also shown us how Microsoft uses MSPs in India and 'compensates' them for spreading Microsoft lock-in around the country, thereby battling Free alternatives. There are new photos too.
Ain’t Microsoft just so adorable? █
“Gates’ gimmick of becoming a philantropist repeats the Rockefeller scam almost one to one a century later.”
–Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation
* Because, as Mark Shuttleworth agrees, the concern when it comes to the desktop was profitability, not userbase.
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Summary: Early reviewers of the latest SUSE release are not entirely satisfied
SLED and SLES 11 have been released. Selected journalists appear to have received copies of it in advance, specifically for reviewing purposes. What did they think? Let’s find out.
We wrote about the release of SLE* 11 a short while ago and therein we mentioned the review from Jason Perlow, an IBM employee who also writes for ZDNet and blogs in his private space. He used to advocate OS/2 vigorously and OpenSUSE is one of his favourite distributions, Ubuntu being another. Regarding SLED 11, he contacted us to show his review which concluded SLED 11 lacks polish. This is particularly embarrassing because what sets apart OpenSUSE and SLE* is supposed to be polish. Novell seems to have rushed this release out the door. It was not long ago that OpenSUSE 11.1, on which SLED 11 is based, got released.
Moving on to another review, we have Sam Varghese. Unlike Perlow, Varghese is a critic of the Microsoft/Novell deal and he is a vocal opposer of Moonlight and Mono. SLED 11 didn’t do it for him. In fact, it hardly even worked at first.
Novell’s latest SUSE release, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11, appears to be unable to boot from DVD on a PC on which another Linux distribution is installed. If you have Windows XP installed, the same DVD boots as it should.
I’ve just tested this out on two PCs, one running Debian Lenny and the other running MEPIS – both of which boot from a dozen other Linux and non-Linux discs without any problem – and a Windows XP PC. SLED 11 only boots from the drive on the PC with XP.
One of these Linux PCs is a single-core AMD64 and the other is a dual-core AMD64. The XP PC is a dual-core AMD64.
You, gentle reader, can draw your own conclusions. For me it looks like this is the height of interoperability!
Critics of his review say that it was unfair, so another reviewer, Jason Brooks (recipient of Vista 7 laptop), is worth taking into consideration. According to his review, SLE* lacks features. The heart of his critique can be summarised as follows:
Novell’s desktop Linux OS is too limited in the software packages it offers, especially when compared with its community-centric relative, OpenSUSE.
The comments in Linux Today were mostly harsh because readers over there dislike the Novell/Microsoft deal and therefore resent SUSE to a degree. Here is a commenter who asks, “Who would actually buy it?”
Why on earth would anyone want to run a stable, secure and lean OS like Linux on an unstable, insecure and bloated OS like Windows?
What is the attraction of Silverlight and Windows media? Flash dominates, MPlayer (and a host of other free players) plays Windows Media files and a whole host of other things just fine, and ogg will be part of HTML 5.
Who needs SLES to provide Silverlight and Windows Media in a Windows desktop replacement? What most people looking for a Windows replacement are looking for are replacements for Windows applications, and a free (as in beer) desktop OS.
In my opinion, Ubuntu is more user friendly than SLED or for that matter Windows XP.
Novell relies very heavily on Microsoft, which adopted SUSE as its patents-encumbered trap for GNU/Linux users. As Netware revenue continues to dwindle, Novell absolutely must rely on other areas and the only growth area seems to be SUSE. The big money comes from large contracts which sometimes involve negotiations with or via Microsoft. Novell therefore has some obligations to Microsoft, which it usually fulfills by advancing Microsoft technologies.
SUSE is not about GNU/Linux. It’s about making Microsoft happy because it improves chances of selling SUSE coupons/vouchers, which Microsoft openly calls patent “royalty payments.” █
“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”…”
–Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008
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Summary: “SideShow” pretty much dies quietly and Microsoft’s identity management gets delayed for at least another year
THERE ARE MORE SIGNS of weakness at Microsoft and some readers say they appreciate knowing about them, so here is a quick roundup.
Last week we saw Microsoft shutting down yet another product/service. It is part of an ongoing process or trend (cost-cutting). It appears as though another quiet death that almost nobody noticed is Vista’s “SideShow”. Does anyone even remember SideShow?
In the run-up to Vista’s launch, industry observers and journalists expressed a great deal of interest and even excitement about the concept. But then a funny thing happened: Manufacturers didn’t add SideShow displays to their products. With rare exceptions (such as one Dell XPS desktop), they ignored it outright.
It’s not that the PC industry is resistant to change; it just doesn’t appear to want to follow Microsoft’s lead. The most significant change in the shape or function of personal computers in recent years — cheap, ultra-light “netbook” laptops — not only didn’t happen on Microsoft’s watch, it outright threatens Microsoft, since so many of these machines run the open-source Linux operating system.
Eventually, GNU/Linux sort of took over where Microsoft had failed. For example, here is a something very recent:
The device, manufactured by mini-box.com, also has Linux drives that work with LCDproc, a software package that pioneered Sideshow-like concepts by using small LCDs to display bits of information through a variety of plugins.
Going back to the news, Mary Jo Foley has identified a product that Microsoft sort of hid and failed to deliver on time.
Microsoft identity-management product running a year late
Microsoft is telling customers and partners that it has pushed back the final delivery date of its “Identity Lifecycle Manager 2 from early 2009 to the first quarter of 2010.
Why is nobody else covering this major delay?
Well, while Microsoft AstroTurfs Twitter using Waggener Edstrom and using Federated Media it pretty much controls what people think about and talk about. The Inquirer is not terribly impressed by it, either. Yesterday it published:
Twitter takes the Microsoft shilling
WIBBLESOME HOME OF SMALL UTTERANCES, TWITTER has taken Microsoft money to launch a web site called ExecTweets.com
When will Microsoft join the ranks of honourable companies that do not AstroTurf? This only shows that there is no “new” Microsoft. █
- LawMedia Group May be Another Confirmed Microsoft AstroTurfing Agency
- The Microsoft Connection with Dewey Square Group and DCI/New Media
- Microsoft ‘Bribes’ Mac Bloggers to Slam Apple, Gartner Hosts Google FUD
- Microsoft, TCS, DCI, Edelman, and Those Fake Letters About IP/SCO/Monopoly
- James Plamondon: Microsoft Guerrilla
- FullSIX and Mr. Youth LLC May Be Ruining the Web (AstroTurfing) on Microsoft’s Behalf
- Microsoft: 800 lb. Guerrilla
- Astroturfing Examples: Learning How Microsoft Tames the Internet
- Waggener Edstrom, Maureen O’Gara and Other Microsoft Shills
- Partial Index: Summary of Bribed Sites, Journalists, and Bloggers (Vista 7)
- Waggener-Edstrom Behind the 2008 Laptop Bribes, Edelman Behind 2006′s
- Manipulation, Astroturfing, and What Governments Can Do
- Beware the OOXML AstroTurfer: “The Wraith”, “multivac1”, “hAl”, Among Other Nyms
- Microsoft May Have Bribed India for OOXML Pressure
- Microsoft Has Been Rigging Votes/Polls for Ages
- Gary M. Stewart (aka “Flatfish”) About Microsoft AstroTurfing: “It’s made me A LOT of money….”
- Former Microsoft Shill Openly Confesses, Alleges Microsoft Still Does This
- Respecting AstroTurfers?
- Some New (But Very Old) Microsoft AstroTurfing Examples
- Joe Barr, Linux.com Editor – My Obituary
- Joe Barr Knew Microsoft’s Tactics All Too Well
- 66 Pages of Microsoft Evilness
- Another AstroTurf Scam Exposed?
- Quick Mention: Sony is AstroTurfing, Just Like Microsoft
- Memo to Novell: Leave YouTube Alone
- Microsoft Blast from the Past: Ads Banned for Spurring Violence
- Is YouTube’s “NovellVideo” a Novell AstroTurfer?
- Microsoft/Munchkin ‘Breaks’ the Web to Break Open Document Standards (Again)
- Rob Enderle Guarantees “Amazing Numbers”, Show E-mails to Microsoft
- Microsoft Agents from Waggener Edstrom Airbrush Wikipedia, Glorify Paymaster
- Microsoft Unleashes Proxies at Journalists to Defend Vulnerable Vista
- Microsoft’s OOXML Viral Marketing Reaches YouTube
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Summary: Now that VMware’s COO and CEO positions are filled by former Softies, yet another Microsoft employee joins the management
VMWARE is an excellent example of how companies gets ‘stolen’ from the inside. The reason this is happening right now is because VMWare is pretty much an asset of EMC, which is a very close partner (and partner of the year) of Microsoft. As background to what has happened so far, see:
Todd Bishop sees this VMware-Microsoft relationship tightening and as Mary Jo Foley puts it:
At the rate it’s going, VMware is going to be Microsoft’s alumni clubhouse No. 1.
On March 24, VMware announced it had hired former Softie Richard McAniff as Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer. McAniff will be responsible for R&D for VMware’s Serer and Desktop Business Units and will report to yet another former Microsoft exec, VMware CEO Paul Maritz.
The COO too is a Softie. What was VMware thinking? Or rather — what is EMC thinking? This obviates the issue really. It’s the ‘new’ VMware, going downhill since Tucci had demoted/sacked the CEO of the company and turned it into a ‘client state’ of his close partners at Microsoft.
Once the management of VMware is filled with enough Microsoft folks, it becomes hard to reverse this. They become decision makers. It’s almost as though they tell their former colleagues: “come and join us at Microsoft’s new home, VMware.”
So, at the end of the day, the original management is permanently out. Tucci et al, boasting a strong alliance with Microsoft, have taken over the operations for the benefit of Tucci’s close ally, Steve Ballmer, along with many of his former employees/peers. Those who cannot see how obvious it is probably have not been following the news. █
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