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01.29.10

Turbolinux is History After Microsoft Patent Deal

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Turbolinux, Xandros at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TurboLinux
Google trends for TurboLinux (search volume)

Summary: iSoft buys TurboSystems and Novell is in a state of disarray

THE company known as TurboSystems lost its way after it had signed a patent deal with Microsoft. It sold out. According to the news (most of the coverage is in Asian languages), “iSoft Infrastructure Software Co Ltd, a Chinese software company, yesterday announced that it has bought a 51% stake in Japan’s TurboSystems, which belongs to Turbolinux and specially engaged in researching and developing the Linux technology, sources reported.” The headline says that “China’s iSoft buys Japan’s TurboSystems”, so it’s likely to be a complete acquisition (or a majority stake). There’s heaps of coverage in Chinese and it can hopefully draw an accurate picture.

Turbolinux seems like it’s over. Our last update on its terminal state showed that it was just one of those companies that lost GNU/Linux focus after Microsoft deals. What happens to Turbolinux right now is similar the story of Linspire-Xandros. Linspire got absorbed only to be put in its deathbed. This is okay because both Xandros and Linspire sold out to Microsoft, deciding to promote OOXML and to pay Microsoft for imaginary patents. The fewer of these companies that are left, the better. It’s down from 4 to just two now, Xandros and Novell.

“The problem of distributions that sell out to Microsoft is made more densely contained as their activities are ebbing.”Xandros said that it was more or less quiting its “Linux” direction and Novell too seems more focused on Microsoft technology (this one is from yesterday, posted by a Microsoft MVP who is a Novell vice president), just like Corel after the Microsoft deal [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

The problem of distributions that sell out to Microsoft is made more densely contained as their activities are ebbing. Novell is arguably the only sellout left now; it makes it a lot easier for us to track the problem with distributions whose use is harmful for GNU/Linux and Free software. Back in 2007 the problem had spread to four separate distributions, 3 of which merely followed the “Novell model”. That’s what makes Novell so unique, except for its size.

As for Novell itself, its SUSE efforts are shattered by the abandonment of Zonker (the latest among several managers like Levy, Jaffe and Friedman, who leave Novell as well). SUSE is crumbling and Michael Löffler looks for a new Community Manager:

In the meantime, I will be working with Andreas Jaeger and other Novell colleagues in marketing and engineering to cover openSUSE community relations activities.

The comments there are interesting too. Back in 2006 SUSE was probably the leading GNU/Linux distribution for the desktop (exceeding even Ubuntu). The deal with Microsoft turned Novell from hero to zero overnight.

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