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Novell More of a Reflection of Microsoft as Weeks Go By

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Samba at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell Moonlight

Summary: Novell promotes Microsoft Silverlight, .NET, and other negative endeavours while demoting the GPL and reducing work on Linux

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is promoting Silverlight once again by stating that his patent-encumbered project might enable access to Olympic content. The real solution is for the Olympics to use standards instead of serving Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. What de Icaza is doing here is simple; he keeps regulators away from Microsoft*. We wrote about this before, particularly when Microsoft came under fire for Silverlight and US regulators stepped up. The Novell/Microsoft patent deal had similar ramifications in Europe (harming Samba’s case). Needless to say, Novell is behind de Icaza, so it is not just his personal infatuation with Microsoft. Novell’s tactless PR Director [1, 2] is endorsing de Icaza’s message:

Can’t get to Vancouver for the Winter Games? The Moonlight Team just made it that much easier to watch all the competition right from your desktop, anytime of day, in any part of the world.

Mono is a prerequisite and as we have shown several times before, Moonlight is still an unacceptable trap [1, 2, 3], so the following news coverage is misleading:

Microsoft also updated its agreement not to pursue patent claims on versions 3.0 and 4.0 of Silverlight. The software giant has also offered protection to third-party distributions of Moonlight, not just those using the Novell-sponsored Moonlight.

No, Moonlight remains suitable just for Novell customers (until January 2012 when the patent deal with Microsoft expires). Why is de Icaza doing all this? A couple of years ago he publicly expressed regrets and used as an excuse the infamous “pay grade” line. Here is what was said about it:

“What’s this about pay-grade? It’s a military term, often misappropriated by civilians who are avoiding an ethical decision. It’s a good excuse in the military: politicians are accountable for the decision to enter a war, while the military are oath-bound to follow orders at pain of court-martial and possibly execution, and are only accountable for the conduct of the war. But Miguel is no soldier. He’s the founder of a company previously merged into Novell, and would not be subject to treason charges or capital punishment over this issue. Others, like Jeremy Allison, chose to leave the company while Miguel stayed.”

Bruce Perens

A few months ago, Groklaw wrote: “Jason Perlow has responded to this article in an audio discussion with Ken Hess. They agree that I do not understand that Miguel has to feed his family and pay his mortgage. I believe that is called the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense. I will quote from Wikipedia:

In the Christopher Buckley novel Thank You for Smoking and its film adaptation, the main character Nick Naylor justifies his career to a reporter by telling her that “Everybody has a mortgage to pay,” and referring to his response as the “Yuppie Nuremberg Defense”.

In other words, de Icaza’s excuses are all very weak. He is helping Microsoft while harming GNU/Linux (it’s impossible to help both) and deep inside he might actually understand that. But it’s working well for him, personally. He even serves on a board now (even though it is Microsoft’s).

Anti-GPL, Pro-Mono

This latest post from Novell’s Jeffrey Stedfast, who is Miguel de Icaza’s close colleague from back in the days, is also a curious new find. Notice the part at the top which says: “All code posted to this blog is licensed under the MIT/X11 license unless otherwise stated in the post itself.”

“[De Icaza] is helping Microsoft while harming GNU/Linux (it’s impossible to do both) and deep inside he might actually understand that.”Novell just doesn't like the GPL. A good example of this is the project called Pinta, which we wrote about quite a lot in recent days [1, 2, 3, 4]. It is still being mentioned in some news sites where it is described as a “Paint.NET clone” which is written in Mono by a Novell employee. It’s not GPL licensed.

Another project that’s somewhat of a statement against the GPL is written by Novell employees who use Mono. It’s called Banshee.


Even after his departure from Novell, Joe Brockmeier promotes this Mono project that only Novell customers can use. Here is something from the latest post about it:

This means that Banshee 1.5.4 will be GNOME 3.0 ready.

We still worry that GNOME 3.0 might accommodate more Mono than before [1, 2]. Our reader Pawel shows us what he calls “another mono evangelist which is a gnome dev“:

People who know me also know that I think those anti-.NET people are disruptive ignorable people. I also actively and willingly ignore them (and they should know this). I’m actually a big fan of the Mono platform.

Going back to Silverlight, watch how Microsoft uses IronRuby:

IronRuby 1.0 Hits Release Candidate 2 (RC2)


Just as Novell is building an open source implementation of Silverlight dubbed Moonlight, so Microsoft is hard at work producing an open source implementation of the Ruby programming language for .NET and Silverlight. Charlie Calvert, C# Community program manager revealed that this week the team behind the project announced the availability of the second Release Candidate of IronRuby.

This project is a curse that mostly serves Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s an embrace-and-extend approach of Microsoft inside Ruby.


To Novell’s credit, it did participate in some important projects like RadeonHD which Phoronix mentioned some days ago.

Since being let go by Novell last year where he worked on the RadeonHD Linux graphics driver and X.Org support within SuSE Linux, Luc Verhaegen has continued work on his VIA Unichrome DDX driver as well as other X.Org code and he has also become involved with the CoreBoot project that aims to create a free software BIOS for most chipsets and motherboards on the market. Luc has worked on support for flashing the BIOS on ATI graphics cards, native VGA text mode support, and other work to help the CoreBoot project. Today at FOSDEM in Brussels, Luc Verhaegen is about to give a talk on reverse engineering a motherboard BIOS.

Novell seems to be focusing less on kernel space [1, 2] and more on .NET these days. Novell consciously laid off this important developer of RadeonHD. What’s the logic here?

How Novell CEO Changed a Quarter of His Staff

The following piece was published earlier this month and it contains some very interesting parts, such as:

One of the toughest challenges facing public companies in this country is figuring out how to satisfy Wall Street without decimating their loyal but costly workforces. I’ve met no one who has defined this problem more strikingly than Ron Hovsepian, the CEO of Novell.

In an interview a couple of years ago, Hovsepian told me that over the course of the preceding year, he replaced a quarter of his workforce in order to acquire the skills he needed:

One thousand of our 4,000 employees are new to Novell. So the change we’re going through is pretty significant. Candidly, among all the good revenue stories and the profit improving, people don’t realize how much we’ve really gone in and changed our workforce to get the right skills here.

Maybe some of those “changes” in workforce better align the company with Microsoft's objectives. We previously showed that Novell was hiring more .NET developers while generally laying off many people.

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

* Miguel de Icaza publicly took Microsoft’s side in the antitrust litigation in Europe.

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  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 14, 2010 at 8:05 am


    Microsofters like Miguel very often use excuses to try to absolve personal responsibility for the harm they cause. The excuse that the decisions were made ‘elsewhere’ or ‘above’ them is very commonly heard, even in if in some instances they themselves were involved. Whatever the level of Miguel’s involvement in decisions ws or wasn’t, is not relevant on his own personal involvement in carrying out the alleged decisions. Just because he makes a claim that someone else made the decision, it does not mean that he should have carte blanche to continue. This is just a variant of the childhood excuse of ‘he made me do it’

    Miguel did not necessarily have a Eureka moment in regards to his criminal behavior. He had a Eureka moment in regards to tacking a shot at getting people off his back for being part of the trouble by claiming that someone else told him to do it.

    Sure that group on the corner selling crack or the group in the van selling hot hardware are just doing a job to take care of their kids, too, so lay off them, right?

    I respect Bruce in many ways, but have to point out that civilians can commit (and be punished for) treason. We know what MS Exchange and MS SharePoint do to data and data communictions, we know what MS Windows does to computer security, so why allow either to get into government or military installations?

    There are also other relevant parts of law, besides treason, such as manslaughter and various stages of accessory. We know what MS Exchange and MS SharePoint do to data and data communictions, we know what MS Windows does to computer security, so why allow either to get into hospitals or national infrastructure?

  2. williami said,

    February 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm


    About the Olympics part: Come on NBC!!!!! You can do better than using DarkSliver to stream the 2010 Olympics online, you may as well use Flash, which is at least a little better than DarkSliver and has free software support, or better yet: HTML5 with Ogg Theora.

    And I can record it with my Dish Network DVR, skipping this inconvience in the first place!!!! Sheesh, NBC-Universal.

  3. verofakto said,

    February 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm


    I seem to remember you rationalized being ‘bribed’ (your words) by Jason Calacanis to upgrade from an unpaid spammer to a paid one in exactly the same way, to the dismay of your pal ‘Homer’ a.k.a ‘Slated’.

    Just paying the bills and all that?

    By the way, when did you stop working for Netscape Communications? If you ever did stop?

  4. your_friend said,

    February 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm


    Are the mono people really so offensive and potty mouthed as “the mind of Philip”? It reminds me of that Microsoft intern from a few months back that told Richard Stallman to F-bomb off. I suppose this is how people learn better manners but it is sad to see them learn the hard way.

    verofakto Reply:

    Are the mono people really so offensive and potty mouthed

    No more than you, I gather.

    your_friend Reply:

    “Gather”? I think you misspelled “fabricate.” Begone, you strangely obsessive and twisted little troll.

    verofakto Reply:


    I have a link somewhere in my Firefox bookmarks of an anonymous post with a list of links to comments made by a certain group of accounts on a certain FOSS community website. These comments are, to put it mildly, invective, defamatory, disgraceful and generally just unpleasant to read. One could call the author “potty-mouthed”, if you will. Like the “mono people” you so petulantly accuse. And there’s quite a lot of them.

    So, if your overlord (who kindly allowed you to nymshift here yet again to avoid embarrassment) doubts my claim, I’ll email the list to him if he wants. It’s difficult to tie an account on one website to another, so my proof would be relevant only to the one person who knows you control both of them (or in this case all two dozen or so). That’s the advantage of having so many personalities, is it not?

    So be careful when you use words like “fabricate”. They have a tendency to backfire on you.

    your_friend Reply:

    I’ve followed a small portion of your links and it’s obvious you are a liar. You attack me because Philip’s behavior is impossible to defend and the whole thing is weird. Thank you for goading me into looking at Philip more carefully. If this is a genuine Gnome developer blog, it tells us something about what’s going on in the Gnome world.

    What “petulant” things do I accuse the mono people of? That’s a whopper no one needs to follow links to see. Are people who describe reprehensible things “petulant” because the things they describe are repulsive?

    Do you like the things Philip has to say and think that’s the way people should act? Telling “religious extremists” to “fuck off” because they bothered to use the comment form on a web site? To hypocritically lash out at people who would reimplement mono code in a less encumbered language? It makes him angry that people have warned him that his platform of choice is a patent trap and he accuses those people of being “haters” and “religious extremists”. Somehow these warnings impose on him, so much that he gets excited and curses, yet he has the nerve to tell others, “Please don’t rewrite softwares (that are) written in .NET”? Should we call him an “immoral” hater of all other languages? Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation are “anti-.NET”. Are these “disruptive ignorable people”? There’s something oddly Balmeresque in his chest pounding. It’s as if he wants to strut around and shout, “I love .NET!” Free software is all about sharing, community and making things work they way you want them to. It’s not supposed to be about “making the F-Spot guys jealous” and it’s not about calling people idiot morons. The guy needs to take a deep breath and relax.

    Another thing that’s strange about that blog is that it’s a response to some kind of harassment he got from a mistaken mono advocate. “This (super) cool .NET developer,” he tells us, “came to me at the FOSDEM bar to tell me he was confused about why during the Tracker presentation I was asking people to replace F-Spot and Banshee.” His response is a cringing apology. Do mono people go around and make sure the Gnome developers are all faithful proponents of mono? Is this why he would compare the use of .NET to religion? What kind of weird games are these people playing? Is this the way Microsoft agents infiltrate and corrupt free software projects?

    verofakto Reply:

    Please don’t try to be clever with me. I didn’t post any links, nor am I defending anyone, whether they are defensible or not. You are a hypocrite for calling someone “potty mouthed” when you are on published record telling the Ubuntu Community Manager to go fuck himself. And that’s without referencing your vitriolic effluvia elsewhere.

    Beyond that, your faux indignant verborrhea fails to impress, as always.

    your_friend Reply:

    Again, you avoid the subject and stoop to personal insult because you are wrong. Again, you give me pause to think about Microsoft’s role in all of this.

    Again, thank you for focusing attention on Philip by goading me because it is important to understand what is happening to the Gnome community. I did not know that he was behind recent accusatory banner adds and the call to leave GNU. That is worse than potty mouth. It is a shame that Philip deleted the post from “truth-teller” because posting it would help us understand his anger and perhaps manipulation of the Gnome community. Given the strange policing which lead Philip to his cringing apology in the first place, I have to wonder if Microsoft people are acting as agent provocateurs to keep the mono people angry and off balance. Microsoft people are rude here, so we should expect them to be rude everywhere. Evangelism is War for them and we already know they pretend to be GNU/Linux users here. It is in their best interest to divide as much free software from GNU as they can. Is this how they manage to create enemies of software freedom within free software groups?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You’re really just feeding the trolls here, but anyway:

    The most famous “participation” case was the “Barkto incident”. A person calling himself Steve Barkto appeared in OS/2 discussion groups claiming to be a big IBM customer in Oklahoma who had adopted OS/2. Barkto had nothing good to say about OS/2 or IBM, and many of the things he said were outright lies. His posting was traced back to an account that was paid for by the credit card of Rick Segal, a high Microsoft executive.

    robert.e.clayton Reply:

    I’d like to point out that further down you change your mind to Philip being bullied by Mono developers, which means it’s not the “mono people” at all who are “potty-mouthed”.

    Spin faster, your_friend. The lies you tell are catching up to you.

    your_friend Reply:

    Mono evangelists are “mono people” to me. There is no inconsistency or dishonesty here, unless you intend it.

    Bully is a good word. Do mono people bully each other the way it looks like they do? Are you here to bully people?

  5. robert.e.clayton said,

    February 15, 2010 at 9:00 am


    If you nutjobs had done any research at all, you’d see that Philip van Hoof is a developer on Rhythmbox, Tracker, and Vala (among other things) – all of which compete with Mono.

    He’s written no software that uses Mono afaict.

    Nice try at smearing the Mono developers based on his comments, though. Spin spin spin.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s also the guy behind the call the depart from GNU and the one who spread a banner meme for Mono.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:


    robert.e.clayton Reply:

    That may be, but he’s not employed by Novell and he’s not a Mono developer (or even contributor).

    Perhaps he’s just sick of the trolls who spread lies about Mono like you and your friends, hmm?

    Look at the accusations you and your friends level against him in IRC:

    cubezzz Philip Van Hoof-in-mouth :) Feb 14 20:17
    cubezzz why is he defending .NET? Feb 14 20:17
    pawel_123 he probably has some interest in this Feb 14 20:18
    cubezzz $$$ I suppose Feb 14 20:18
    pawel_123 exactly :) Feb 14 20:18
    pawel_123 I don’t respect such people Feb 14 20:19
    pawel_123 and things they do
    schestowitz Maybe intimidates or marginalised, knowing how Team Mono operates Feb 14 20:37
    schestowitz They play the “intolerant card” Feb 14 20:37
    schestowitz “Microsoft hater!” etc.

    And again, accusing the Mono developers of something you have absolutely no proof of.

    Sort of like how you accused Mono developers of bullying one of your friends – where you linked to one of your friends bullying a FOSDEM organizer who told your friend to get lost after your friend disrespected him.

    So basically, anytime someone disagrees with you or your troll friends, you immediately write up an article accusing Mono developers of attacking you – 180 degrees from the truth.

    Likewise with the Canonical incident where you accused them of censoring Mono opposition. The forum moderators banned your friend, not because he didn’t like Mono, but because he was abusive toward other people on their forums. Once again, what your article stated was 180 degrees from the truth.

    your_friend Reply:

    We do have proof that a Mono developer pressured him, it’s the first Philip mentions and the reason for his post. See above where I quoted it. His fear of the troll war that he knows will explode on him is more of the same. Novell, Microsoft and Mono people police the web in a very unpleasant way. Would you know anything about that kind of policing Clayton?

    robert.e.clayton Reply:

    So now the Mono developers are attacking him? A minute ago you guys were attacking him saying he *was* a Mono developer.

    Which is it? Can’t keep your story straight?

    You also claimed he was a Mono developer when he suggested that GNOME separate from GNU.

    Then you also attacked the Mono developers for his use of curse words. So if he was being “bullied” by Mono developers, why did he attack *you*? Yea, I’d bet anything you are aka “truth teller”. And why did you label him as a Mono developer?

    Your logic is so twisted I’m surprised you can make it out of bed in the morning.

    You guys simply title him as whatever will fit into your warped sense of reality. If it suits your purposes to attack the Mono developers by naming him a Mono developer, that’s what you’ll do. Otherwise you’ll name him as someone who is bullied by Mono developers.

    He also didn’t say a Mono developer attacked him, he said a Mono developer was confused and asked him what he meant.

    But if you are so sure you’re right, why don’t you ask him?

    your_friend Reply:

    Yes, Clayton, you are confused but now I think it is intentional and malicious. I do not know if you are officially connected to Gnome or mono but it is fair to say that you are a rude and insulting mono advocate.

    It is not a good idea to ask Philip if he feels bullied. Ultimately, that is something he will have to decide for himself. He’s obviously trying to prove that he’s all for mono right now and would deny negative feelings. Victims of crime and intimidation do not have to be conscious of the abuse dumped on them to have been abused. They wake up sore later, as all of the mono people will. We can decide the issue better from an emotionally detached and non invested position. It is something to study and judge later after more observation.

    robert.e.clayton Reply:

    You might have noticed, had you read the mailing-list thread, that not a single person associated with the Mono project supported David & Philip’s call to separate GNOME from GNU. Not one.

    Yet here you are (and in your latest “article”) lumping this on the Mono developers, accusing them of being behind it all. Where’s the proof?

    Fact is, you have none. You are simply trying to demonize them for something they aren’t even involved in.

    clayclamp Reply:

    It must have hurt when he called you ignorant and disruptive, so you have to whip up an ad hominem, as usual.

  6. robert.e.clayton said,

    February 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm


    I find it telling that Roy refuses to publish my last 2 comments

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm


    Akismet put many comments (not just yours) in the moderation queue.

    clayclamp Reply:

    If he becomes too annoying (i.e., making uncomfortable points) you can just delete his account, like you deleted two of mine and a few others. No need to blame it on your spam plugin.

  8. clayclamp said,

    February 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm


    Check this out before you even think of replying to “your_friend”, who predictably enough is now doing the good cop/bad cop routine with Schestowitz. They’ve played this game many times before here.

  9. your_friend said,

    February 16, 2010 at 11:41 pm


    I agree that everyone should read that smear job and follow the links to see what kind of time, attention and malice is focused on GNU/Linux advocates. As I said before, it’s obvious that the author is a liar.

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