To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
Summary: Two weeks of proprietary software news from Novell
ANOTHER IDLE fortnight passes by and Novell is said to be facing more threats from Google’s expansion.
To be fair, Wave is still at an unstable, preview stage, but Google has seemed satisfied thus far just hoping the platform will evolve naturally as a tool for enterprises once companies like Novell and Salesforce.com have a chance to game around with it.
Summary: Novell’s most major announcement this time around is SUSE Appliance Toolkit and there is news from phone makers that pay Microsoft for GNU and/or Linux
OVER THE past couple of weeks there has been almost nothing to see here, until a few days ago when Novell announced SUSE Appliance Toolkit. Here are Novell’s PR people promoting it and here is the press release (also here). Some sites are pretty much reposting the press release (because it’s easier) and this product around “Appliance” is similar to Studio, so the very recent departure of Friedman is interesting. He played a key role in SUSE Studio. Anyway, here is IDG’s coverage of this: (also here, here, here, here, and here)
Novell on Tuesday will offer a package of tools enabling development of software appliances that bundle the application, application server, OS, and database into a single virtual machine image.
The toolkit costs $100,000 for enterprises but is free for ISVs, who would build a business model around Suse Enterprise Linux.
The other sources [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] still leave us with the impression that it’s very expensive. Who would select such a product and why? Similar things can be achieved free of charge given skillful people. Novell is selling proprietary software around SUSE. it’s not new.
Summary: Several reviews of OpenSUSE that we’ve netted, upcoming events, and a lot of technical writings assembled
LAST week was too quiet to be worth a post, so this is an accumulation encompassing two weeks.
Summary: Victories for ODF, especially in Denmark; other developments that bring about better ODF support, still facing the usual FUD from Redmond
NORWAY’S special story when it comes to document formats was told here many times before. It’s a mixture of huge Microsoft scandals (corruption followed by rewards) and an eventual victory for freedom and justice. Here is an encouraging new report:
Government Of Norway:Open Standards In Public Sector’s Websites With Effect From 1 January 2010
Taking effect from 1 January 2010 the content of public sector’s websites will be available in open formats. This new regulation will contribute to enhancing equal accessibility of users and suppliers to the information available on the websites of both central and local government.
In the light of this initiative, the Minister of Government Administration and Reform, Ms. Rigmor Aasrud, assured that, with this new regulation, users or suppliers seeking for information in the public sector’s websites will not be obliged to use a specific software anymore. This will help users to have equal access to public information, while establishing fairer competition conditions among software suppliers.
The biggest news for ODF this week comes from Norway’s neighbours in the south. Kim Bach writes from Denmark: “Chilling at Verdes after the hearing on open standards. It was the usual OOXML/ODF fight that has been going on for 5 years, its embarising [he meant embarrassing]“
He also notes: “Michiel Leensars of OpenDocSociety, ODF advocate, on OOXML/ODF in Parliament yesterday: “Go ahead, get another decade of anxiety” #itpol”
There are many articles about this in Danish, mostly from
version2.dk (at least initially). We have gathered:
Among the other articles on the subject (almost always in Danish), there are some automated translations, although some are rewritten properly in English and posted in Danish Web sites. Here for example is “Denmark dumps Microsoft”
As of April next year, Danish state office communication will be in the ODF format rather than Microsoft’s office format following a Parliamentary decision.
After four years of discussion, Parliamentary parties have decided to use the Open Document Format in all exchanges of documents between official institutions.
Wow. That’s quite a statement. The Danes apparently pushed it into Slashdot and eventually it made the front page. This ensures that many people in Information Technology (IT) are at least aware of this triumph right now. It will make things harder for Microsoft to sneakily reverse using its army of partners. Also see (for background):
Bart Hanssens (of the ODF people) is pleased with the news from Denmark. He writes: “It appears to be that Denmark voted for #odf as document standard (starting from 2011)”
Morten Vittrup writes: “BREAKING: ODF wins the danish document fight (ODF vs. OOXML)”
“Danish Parliament: ODF is in. OOXML can apply when they are ready”
–Leif LodahlAnother person writes: “congratulates #dk on deciding to use open document standards for all public documents from apr 2011. So far #ODF is the only one qualifying.”
Leif Lodahl, who promotes OpenOffice.org, summarises as follows: “Danish Parliament: #ODF is in. #OOXML can apply when they are ready”
In his personal blog, Lodahl calls it a “victory”:
The Danish Parliament has decided to create a list of allowed standards. The standards MUST be implemented before end 2011.
The decision includes two important things:
1. ODF is on the list – OOXML is NOT!
After the Helge Sander altercations, this is indeed an achievement. It is especially important as it is likely to inspire other countries to follow suit.
Lodahl receives some kind words: “This is great news. Enjoy your glass of Champagne! So IIUC Denmark now requires ODF & not OOXML by 2011. How large is the scope?”
Mads Foersom writes: “Hell has frozen over!? Danish gov finally chooses ODF over OOXML for document exchange.”
Let us show Denmark how much we support their brave decision to use ODF as the [only] document format.
Planet Fedora quotes Wildeboer: “Denmark goes ODF. Only ODF. Sorry, OOXML: Breaking news. If your danish is good enough…”
From his original post:
So from April 2011 all intergovernmental documents will be in ODF. If this will also mean a change to OpenOffice remains to be seen however.
It is rather clear that Wildeboer is from Red Hat, but citizens of Denmark deserve real standards, so this is not a case of one vendor fighting another for domination. It is one vendor fighting all others by eliminating choice through formats.
Daniel Schierbeck writes: “The Danish parliament has just voted to switch the state administration over to ODF. Success!”
And another remark: “Danish parliament has just voted favorably on ODF. Well, they have also determined that the ocean should not rise more than 2 cm. #yam #in”
Cartwright is among those who try to use Denmark’s judgment as precedence for the UK (Alan Lord does so too).
We’ve sent him some material to increase his certainty, so hopefully another article will come soon.
Anna Baileylrr apparently writes from Slovakia (looks like a spam account though): “Document freedom in Slovakia celebration, OOXML didn\’t made it into national standards and ODF can be used in any version! openstandards !”
Jeremy Allison is quoted a lot [1, 2, 3, 4] for his analogy that explains Microsoft’s half-hearted ‘support’ of ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. He said at LCA 2010: “Microsoft implemented ODF with all the grace of a 6 year old asked to tidy up their room”
Microsoft had no choice. As pointed out here a few days ago: “has Open XML displaced ODF? Even in Msft apps, it has not.”
As we noted some days ago in a separate post, ODF 1.2 is under public review; it was passed on after this milestone had been announced by Mary McRae (OASIS). Rob Weir explains: “Good ODF TC meeting today, starting discussion on post-1.2 “ODF-Next”: SVG, modularization, web profiles, harmonized packaging, etc.”
There is a lot of public communication over this. Dennis Hamilton said that he “Got up painfully early while lying awake obsessing about #odf 1.2 and #openformula.” He was pleased to see the end of that and his colleague Bart Hanssens wrote about “new #gnumeric version with some #odf improvements,” pointing to some improved support in version 1.9.18. We wrote about Gnumeric when it participated in OOXML, which was unhelpful [1, 2].
KOffice is also expanding and spreading the use of ODF. From KDE News:
KOffice Based Office Viewer Launched for Nokia N900
An alpha version of Office Viewer has been uploaded to the repositories for the N900. Users of Nokia’s smart phone can install the KOffice based app to view word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentation. The application can also be used to give presentations. “This shows both how portable and lean on resources KOffice is” says Inge Wallin, the marketing coordinator of KOffice, “we hope and believe that this is only the first port of KOffice to other mobile devices.
Core parts of KDE are getting more tightly integrated with ODF:
OpenDocument Thumbnail Plugin is a KDE file managers plugin (Dolphin and Konqueror) to preview ODF (OpenDocument Format) files as Thumbnails.
You do not need to install OpenOffice.org or any other office suite for it to work (it only uses KDE API).
OpenOffice.org is to be owned by Oracle, which will create a separate business unit for it. Oracle emerges as a new dominant force in ODF (and the TCs), having previously defended and advocated it (for years in fact). Here is an ODF paper in Oracle’s new turf (Sun.com) — a paper that hopefully informs while the ‘Microsoft press’ writes about it in at least 3 domains it has (Redmond-based [1, 2, 3]). This new article is quoting Microsoft-hired shills from Burton (now Gartner).
In addition to quoting current Microsoft employees (the Burton Group analysts in question [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23] were later hired by Microsoft), the author from this Microsoft-serving media company is quoting people who downplay OpenOffice.org and also advertising Microsoft vapourware at the end. It’s an illusion of balanced reporting. The whole thing is constructed as a bit of an advertisement for Microsoft and mockery of ODF. Typical. █
“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”
“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).“
Summary: Further analysis (hopefully the last) of Apple’s “disappointing” product and how it compares to many GNU/Linux counterparts
A FEW days ago we showed how Apple had generated hype about its rather disappointing new product. Dave Rosenberg, a Mac enthusiast, calls it “important but disappointing”. They probably didn’t send him a free one, so he does not feel obliged to hail it. Yesterday we showed that even fans of Apple were disappointed by iPad, so it’s not just the opinion of one person. There are of course iPhone lovers like Stephen O’Grady (it’s fair enough that some people believe in accepting DRM without resisting), but he too has his doubts. There are even cartoons on the subject.
Is Apple running out of ideas and jumping the shark? Probably not, as Apple did have some other products which were total flops and neglected before they rose to fame. Every company occasionally makes such mistakes (Microsoft released Windows Vista for example). Can the Apple iPad challenge Linux-powered products that predate it? This question is being addressed here and here:
The kit, Amazon said, will comprise of sample code, ample documentation and, most importantly, a Kindle simulator that will allow developers to “build and test” their application in a virtual platform that mimics 6-inch Kindle and 9.7-inch Kindle DX in Mac, PC, and Linux environments.
Worth mentioning is the story about Apple’s total disregard for other people’s intellectual monopolies. Apple must have known that “iPad” as a trademark was already taken and there is a battle going on over it right at this moment.
Fujitsu: ‘iPad? That’s ours’
In addition to ignoring support for Adobe Flash, multitasking, and a few other niceties in its new iPad, Apple seems to have ignored one other important detail: it doesn’t own the name “iPad.” Fujitsu says it does.
That’s a good opening. Apple’s iPad is basically a toy without even some features of other phones (a lot of phones multitask for example). CNN dares to put “Oversized iPhone” in the headline, which is rather telling. A German reader of ours told us last night: “the ipad is a bad joke from a technical point of view. but usability seems to be good and innovative”
You might expect the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation to state with full confidence that Linux-based competitors will crush the iPad. Linux *can* compete in one area. $499 – $829 may be a breakthrough price for Apple and their margins, but it’s no comparison to the price competition Linux-based devices can offer. Vendors creating Tablets, slates, phones or other devices do not have to pay the per-unit pricing of other platforms. Apple products command a premium and Jobs will never cannibalize their pricing power.
Also in the news:
The “desktop” is easy to use in both environment, very similar application startup and indicators. The Ubuntu OS will run several applications in parallel while you will be able to use only one app ata time on the iPad. (see about this later)
Apple’s newly announced iPad has been touted as “magical,” “amazing,” and “revolutionary” by company officials. But, key deficiencies in the device provide opportunities for competitors, who can craft better tablets that run Linux or Android.
Acer’s cloudbook will be one of the first to the shelves, expected to ship around September in the US and in Europe shortly afterwards. Unlike Acer’s existing Linux netbooks, this product will run Chrome OS only, to keep battery life long and prices low. The company already offers netbooks running Android or other Linux variants, but always as a second option alongside Windows. Users can then rely on the Linux element for fast boot-up, low power and optimal web performance, and turn on Windows for more high power apps. Google claims Chrome OS, which is an ultralite browser-based OS – just an overlay on a very basic embedded Linux system – will bridge the divide and make Windows unnecessary, as the powerful services and heavy duty data will be held in the cloud.
Even last night we gave some new examples of GNU/Linux-powered tablets. The market is full of them because they work well, not because the vendors are “fans” of GNU/Linux.
Silicon Valley Watcher complains that Apple continues to distance itself from standards with each new device, the latest being iPad:
But over the past ten years, since the introduction of the iPod, iPhone, and now the iPad, Apple is becoming less and less open, it using fewer standard components and chips, and far fewer Internet technologies common to Mac/PC desktop and laptop systems.
The iPhone and iPad, for example, doesn’t support common Internet platforms such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. That means you cannot watch streaming video from Hulu, or Netflix.
And while iPhone chips are available from other manufacturers, the iPad runs only on the A4 processor — an Apple designed chip that no one else can buy.
This is a shame because Apple embraced UNIX but it seems to deviate from universality. Timothy Lee, a notable and effective critic of intellectual monopolies, has published “the case against the iPad” where he states that Apple also fights freedom of information:
Apple is fighting against powerful and fundamental economic forces. In the short term, Apple’s technological and industrial design prowess can help to prop up dying business models. But before too long, the force of economic gravity will push the price of content down to its marginal cost of zero. And when it does, the walls of Apple’s garden will feel a lot more confining. If “tablets” are the future, which is far from clear, I’d rather wait for a device that gives me full freedom to run the applications and display the content of my choice.
Update: I guess I’ve been brainwashed by my iPhone not to notice this, but the other glaring flaw, as this post explains, is the lack of standard ports. The net effect of this is, again, to give Apple complete control over the platform’s evolution, because the only way to interact with the thing is through the proprietary dock connector. Again, this made a certain amount of sense on the iPhone, where space, weight, and ergonomics are at a premium. But it’s totally unacceptable for a device that aims to largely displace my laptop. Hell, even most video game consoles have USB ports.
In the words of another person, “iPad is scary, but its strategy is moreso: #Apple unveiled by far the most restrictive platform ever seen.”
An ‘Apple Cult’ site (CultOfMac.com) has brought up the FSF’s campaign against the iPad, which is a good sign. It means that the issues are being raised and the most sensitive crowd is receiving a bit of increased awareness of what Apple does to the users’ rights and freedom. This is not a case of preaching to the choir or to the converted, so well done, FSF.
Novell’s Zonker denounces this great campaign from the FSF, but then again, he happily tells lies about the FSF by misquoting or misrepresenting. Novell is no friend of the FSF. █
Summary: Response to the financial deception which Microsoft has just spread to unsuspecting journalists (and the sobering reality)
MICROSOFT is bluffing big time, but almost nobody calls them on it. We contacted one Microsoft-focused journalist (Joseph Tartakoff) who was parroting Microsoft only to find that in defence of his writings, he only repeats more Microsoft talking points*. A lot of reporting is done by one journalist who echoes another, who is affected by seeding from Microsoft’s PR people (whose role is by definition to deceive and it comes to show how far PR goes). Yesterday we explained why Microsoft is lying in its report, so we won’t be doing that again. Microsoft can claim to have only “embellished” the results, but the outcome is still the same. Microsoft can adjust their expectations (for analysts to be “surprised”) and it does this all the time. We have shown this repeatedly for years. Since 2008 in fact, we have exposed the ways Microsoft was spinning, cooking numbers, and lying about its results. Microsoft is almost obliged to lie in order to paint a good picture to its clients. It’s a form of mass hypnosis.
“Microsoft can claim to have only “embellished” the results, but the outcome is still the same.”Anyway, few people did actually engage in some investigative reporting and got hold of the real numbers. These show that Microsoft is down in almost every area of business, even compared to the slump of last year (right after Wall Street had crashed) which should be easy to beat. Many companies beat that quarter, many by huge numbers (like hundreds of percentages in profit growth).
Joe Wilcox deserves credit for actually doing some work and extracting real numbers from Microsoft’s bundle of lies. In his article he states that “Business [is] down 3 percent from $4.88 billion a year earlier [is] Online Services Business [is] down 5 percent from $609 million a year earlier [and] Entertainment & Devices [is] down 11 percent from $3.26 billion a year earlier.”
And this is what Microsoft calls a good quarter? A lengthy discussion about this took place in our IRC channel yesterday. It starts here.
Chips B. Malroy explains that: “Overall, I see this quarter as a failure for MS in dollar terms, once the deferral is out of the picture, it looks like a decrease to me. In fact some divisions lost, especially Xbox360 lost. Wilcox article actually shows decreased on most things.”
DaemonFC says that “they don’t like to lose, so they force themselves to put up with loss every quarter in divisions that are never going to do well.”
And on it goes…
Microsoft employees from Mini Microsoft are apparently not foolish enough to believe the spin from Microsoft. One commenter writes (identity unverified): “if you take out the deffered revenue out of the report, microsoft missed on the revenue side by about half billion dollars and barely makes it on the earning side due to cost cutting. summary: expect more cost cutting since that seem to have neautralized the revenue miss.”
As Pogson puts it:
The figures are now in. That other OS client division brought in $2.8 billion more revenue than in the same quarter last year. The sad thing is that $1.7 billion of revenue counted this quarter was deferred income from sales of Vista (with upgrade rights to “7″). That means they got a 20% increase in revenue when PC production returned to normal from the slump. That means no “pop” in the quarter in which “7″ was released. The CPU and PC sector saw 30 and 15% increases. Up-selling is just not working…
Yes, Microsoft growth from Vista 7 debut is outpaced by overall growth in the market. This is telling. One of our readers told me yesterday: “They can only fake things for so long of course. The bang you are hearing in the future is MS hitting a brick wall.” Not even a brand new release of Windows managed to put a smile on the face of Microsoft’s CFO. He quit the company last month and the Seattle Times reveals that he got himself a “hush deal”:
In addition to the $1.9 million sayonara payout disclosed last month, Liddell’s Dec. 1 “resignation agreement” bars him from ever writing, speaking, blogging or podcasting anything about Microsoft and its executives covered by a confidentiality agreement he signed in 2005.
Going back to the numbers, Chips B. Malroy says: “Wilcox, big fanboi that he is, still does dive into the numbers more, for that I too give him some credit”
Compare that to Joseph Tartakoff, who is parroting Microsoft’s claim: “Msft has sold 60 million Windows 7 licenses over two quarters #pcbuzz”
These are of course fake numbers and we have already explained why (many times in fact). Microsoft used exactly the same tricks with Windows Vista. These numbers are bunk, just like Microsoft’s results, which will easily have the readers forget that Windows revenue was down by a staggering 40% in the previous quarter (Microsoft announced this on the very same day that Vista 7 was released, so the financial news was buried by design). █
* For instance, he uses “official” Microsoft numbers when he writes that “MSFT headcount down 8 percent year over year #pcbuzz”. Many more were temporary and external staff, but Microsoft does not want reporters to pay any attention to them. I also told him that “MSFT faked their results through deferral” and he then referred to analysts, whose expectations are always being beaten because Microsoft ensures they are set that way by revising them. The state of reporting is depressing when people who call themselves “journalists” become lazy and prefer to be told what to write (by companies).
Summary: Operation of the SCO cowboys continues to be scandal-rich and a large fine is coming
Germany is repeatedly fining SCO and the last time it did this (in 2008) we argued that Germany should also fine Microsoft for slandering GNU/Linux. The latest fine comes rather shortly after scandals like the Hans Bayer scandal (and attributed to breach of regulations):
According to a letter seen by heise online, the German Federal Office of Justice last week launched summary proceedings against The SCO Group GmbH for “breaching regulations pertaining to the publication of its accounts.” The proceedings were suspended after the imposed fine was paid. No information on the size of the fine is available. According to the agency’s website, the fine can range from 2,500 euros to a maximum of 25,000 euros.
The German reader who showed this to us last night added: “I still think that somebody some day will go after the puppet master behind SCO:”
Here is an overview of posts that we have about the SCO case. Groklaw is apparently the only Web sites that properly reported on this case this month, the latest posts being:
Hot off the presses, the bankruptcy court has denied SUSE’s motion to lift the stay so as to complete the arbitration. What? This surprises you? This court favors SCO, as it is a bankruptcy court, and it says SCO doesn’t have the money to do both; if SCO fails in Utah, the arbitration won’t be necessary; and the bankruptcy court has no way to know who is likely to prevail, so SUSE can’t meet one necessary prong to get a stay lifted.
Novell has filed its Reply to SCO’s Opposition to Novell’s Motion to Set Aside Judgment…
The Notice of Agenda [PDF] is up, letting us know what will be handled on the 27th in bankruptcy court. All that is on the schedule is the motion [PDF] by Edward Cahn, SCO’s Chapter 11 trustee, to approve SCO board members issuing some stock options to themselves after they forgot to timely do so, without first seeking approval or apparently even telling Mr. Cahn first. The story is they voted in August to issue them, but then they forgot to actually do so for some months.
Well, here we go. The new judge in the redo of SCO v. Novell, the Hon. Ted Stewart, has issued his decision on the two Novell summary judgment motions, and I’ve only skimmed them, but it looks like if it’s Novell, he says mostly no and if it favors SCO he says yes, which is what I expected. That means the hearing set for February 4 has been cancelled. No oral argument. Weird. And he ruled on a motion that I don’t see anyone asking him to decide.
Here’s the Memorandum Decision and Order Denying Novell’s Rule 60(b) Motion for Relief from Final Judgment [PDF]. Here’s Rule 60(b). He says they should have appealed the matter. That’s the motion about the money from Microsoft and the other SCOsource licensees.
“Money from Microsoft,” eh? Well, Microsoft has funded both sides of this legal war. It keeps them distracted, fighting one another. █
“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”
–Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO
RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates
Site Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content
Site Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page
IRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time