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Novell’s Decline, OpenSUSE, Ballnux Tax, Proprietary Software and Fog Computing Obsessions

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell as moon

Summary: A comprehensive look at one week of Novell news, which ought to help show the company’s sad direction (which decreases emphasis on freedom over time)

Novell’s value is now far lower than Red Hat's. A glance at some financial news reveals that Novell has “[m]arket cap of $1,994B. Price/Cash ratio at 1.91.”

That’s under $2 billion. How low need it go before Novell is bought? It’s time for OpenSUSE to rush and escape Novell, which will totally control the project otherwise.


Some people still favour OpenSUSE and longtime supporters of it write about the latest milestone:

On Thurday, September 2 two leading Linux distributions released milestone developmental versions on the road to their next releases. OpenSUSE released Milestone 1 of 11.4 and Ubuntu released a beta of their upcoming 10.10, codenamed Maverick Meerkat, for developers and community testers.

There is some more news in the OpenSUSE Web site [1, 2], but it’s rather quiet and not all is well (OpenSUSE has lost to other distributions of GNU/Linux). It’s not just OpenSUSE that deals with flaws; Novell’s proprietary software too has new problems:

Today’s vulnerability is a Novell NetWare parsing buffer-overflow flaw.

We’ll come to NetWare in a moment.


Google’s Tim Bray writes about his new Tab (which is subjected to Microsoft tax of the first kind, just like other Korean products including this new Android smartphone from LG):

Friday afternoon, Fedex brought me my Samsung Galaxy Tab, and from here on in let’s just say “Tab”, which I predict everyone will and may represent mad product-naming skillz from Samsung. Since then it’s been in my pocket and living room.

It is a tad disappointing that Google does nothing to protest — let alone to mention — Microsoft tax on these products. This type of tax is the main reason Techrights came into existence (as the “Boycott Novell” campaign). Nearly 4 years later we are still facing the problem of Microsoft tax on Linux from numerous vendors (inspired by Novell). At least Microsoft has not managed to spread this tax much further since 2007 (most patent deals were signed back in 2007 and then GPLv3 was released, closing a loophole that Novell had identified and exploited).

Dell’s new server has SUSE support, but as Rui Seabra put it earlier this month “[o]nly idiots want to pay for Novell” because it’s irregular and expensive for no good reason (Microsoft tax). Seabra needs to deal with this mess because of those “idiots” as he calls them.

Proprietary Software Galore

Last month we saw a Novell account in YouTube uploading an advertisements archive (see for example [1, 2, 3, 4]). It’s not just from recent years as there is more from the 90s and about a decade ago. Novell “success stories” were meanwhile uploaded by Novell’s main YouTube account [1, 2, 3] while other accounts promoted Novell Data Synchronizer [1, 2, 3, 4], Novell Secure Login [1, 2], Accounts Payable Scanning Showcase [1, 2], and a Sentinel Log Manager presentation [1, 2, 3]. New adverts arrive at the video site owned by Google [1, 2, 3, 4] and the VAR Guy helps promote the company’s agenda, still [1, 2]. It is all proprietary software by the way, unlike Google’s Wave, which will see its liberated code exploited by Novell within a proprietary context (GroupWise):

It seems unlikely that Wave in a Box will compete with Novell Pulse in the enterprise in terms of features — but if the developers are there, I believe Wave in a Box could attract some enterprise business.

Zonker writes about Wave and mentions his former employer:

A few companies, like Novell, are still soldiering on with products based on Wave.

Eskom is dumping Novell for even worse lock-in right now.

Eskom is in the process of upgrading its information technology architecture, which includes migrating from Novell to Microsoft.

Despite Microsoft et al. spreading FUD about the large-scale Los Angeles migration, Novell loses a major contract there too

Previously, Los Angeles used Novell’s GroupWise suite for email and other productivity applications. In all, once the project is complete, more than 30,000 employees will be using Google’s hosted apps for email, calendaring, documents, spreadsheets, instant messaging and video. The city also will use Google Sites, a website creation and sharing service.

Another little bit of interest (also proprietary):

For those who do not use computers on campus and are unfamiliar with Active Directory, it is a new service on campus which has replaced the Novelle Directory which was previously used. Active Directory allows students to create their own personal accounts within the network.
“One thing we’d never done with Novell is we’d never created accounts for students,” Joe Newton, director of Information Technology said. “We decided it was time that we should be able to give students their own personal accounts within the active directory system.

Fog Computing

Novell’s PR blog was only marketing proprietary BSM software last week [1, 2] and the company’s relationship with VMware (proprietary) is still in some news items [1, 2] along with Intelligent Workload Management, which is proprietary software for Fog Computing/virtualisation. Here are Novell’s PR people explaining what this proprietary addon to SUSE can achieve:

In two conference presentations, Novell experts detailed how cloud-enabling technologies like the SUSE Appliance Program, Novell Cloud Security Service and Novell Cloud Manager are helping enterprise organizations solve the complexities of cloud computing by helping them better understand and leverage the intelligent workload management market.

Robert L. Mitchell writes about Fog Computing and mentions Novell as follows:

Private cloud architectures may be gaining a toe hold in the enterprise, but standards to facilitate managing across competing platforms are still many years away, says Benjamin Grubin, director of data center management solutions and product marketing at Novell. Grubin dropped by Computerworld’s offices today to talk about Novell’s approach to private cloud management.

Watch Novell in this new panel discussing Fog Computing.

Former Novellers

Former employees of Novell may matter too, e.g. Chris Lundell who becomes the CEO of Corda:

Prior to LANDesk, Lundell served in a variety of roles at Novell, including head of North American marketing, where he cultivated relationships with many of Novell’s largest customers and partners.

Jaffe, Novell’s former CTO, is mentioned in this article. He is in the W3C now, not causing any real damage so far (he is pro-software patents).

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