Quick Mention: Michael Löffler Quits Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nuremberg Bavaria

Summary: Another key person of OpenSUSE has decided to leave Novell

EARLIER today we wrote about the bad shape that Novell was in amid sale negotiations. Now it’s confirmed that Michael Löffler from OpenSUSE is leaving Novell.

As he puts it in a seemingly informal post, “after 7 years with SUSE and Novell I’ve chosen to change something in my life – and decided to accept a new job and will lay down my duties in the openSUSE project.”

Löffler returns to familiar territories and we wish him luck. “Just to stop any rumours,” he clarifies, “I leave Novell because I found a new job in the trade show management area close to Nuremberg.”

OpenSUSE has been having stormy conditions with that recent delay and other issues which Novell does not address as it’s closing down (in the development sense, i.e. going more proprietary).

Links 10/11/2010: Mageia Alpha in December, New ACTA Leak

Posted in News Roundup at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #3

      Some additional comments about operating systems with some more detail including MMUs, Amigas, old computer hardware and where computing is going, 16 minutes duration.

  • Google

    • Google Chrome OS: unlike Android, it’s open source

      Unlike Android, Google Chrome OS is open source.

      Whereas Android is coded behind closed doors — one big-name developer says it’s no more open than Apple’s iOS — Google’s imminent browser-based operating system is built — in large part — where everyone can see it. A portion of the project remains closed — Google’s boot-time-boosting firmware work — but like the browser it’s based on, Chrome OS is a platform that can serve Google’s ad-centric purposes even if its code is set completely free.

    • Chrome OS ARM Powered laptops could debut this month!

      Inventec may be preparing to ship 60-70 thousand ARM Powered laptops running the Chrome OS laptop starting later this month according to Taiwan based rumor and fact website Digitimes.com. This may be the absolute demonstration of the shifting trend to come in laptops, where Intel and Microsoft will not be needed anymore and laptops can run ARM Cortex processors with fast I/O, good RAM, flash based storage, very thin and light form factors with very long battery runtime and instant boot, all running full Chrome web browser OS, one that loads all websites at full speed and provides fast web browsing.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE versus GNOME

      Judging by the analysis above, it may look as if GNOME was a much better desktop manager than KDE, but that’s really not the case. Both are evenly matched on most areas, but there are still some elements making a difference, specially in terms of reliability and ease of use.

      The GNOME development community has lately invested many of its resources on the upcoming GNOME shell release. Because of that, the current GNOME desktop has not been experiencing the aggressive evolution that KDE is enjoying (and sometimes suffering from). As a result, GNOME has become more and more solid with each recent release, which I believe has played to its advantage. On the other hand, KDE is relentlessly evolving, and even if that aggressive development is risky at times, it is already bringing tangible results. I believe it just needs a small effort to rationalize all concepts and settle down a few features to more stable levels.

      If I had to say which one is best today, I would have to go with GNOME, if only because I consider its superior reliability a critical element. Looking forward, though, the picture is anything but clear. The GNOME shell has been heavily criticized and suffers from never ending delays (which may explain why Ubuntu has decided to drop its use and go with Unity). The latest KDE releases are achieving the exact opposite, getting users excited with recent releases and the vast improvements that came with them. I believe that the final release of the GNOME shell and KDE SC 5.0 (which may coincide in the second half of 2011) will be the decisive point that may tilt the balance one way or the other.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Frank Karlitschek Introduces Bretzn

        Current features of the API include categories, screen shots, change logs, commenting, rating, search and update notification. Furthermore, applications can be either free or paid; payment goes directly to the developer. Not all AppStore clients include all features right now. The KDE GHNS (Get Hot New Stuff) client is probably the most complete as it has been around the longest.

        Social features include providing notifications directly to the desktop using the Social Desktop API. This includes categories such as “what my friends like”, “what my friends develop” and Knowledge Base integration.

        The project is 3/4 complete, and the team intends to ship in December. They are working with other openSUSE developers to make a proof-of-concept openSUSE AppStore that they want to ship in the upcoming openSUSE 11.4 release.

      • Martin Eisenhardt

        Five years is a very long time in software; just look back to 2005 and remember how things were back then. Therefore, I do not have a clear vision as such, but rather like to envision a path into the future.

        I believe and hope that KDE will continue to be on the leading edge of modern desktops, and that it keeps developing the kind of neat little (and bigger!) tools that I really like about KDE right now.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Fork Mageia to See Alpha this December

        In light of continuing financial troubles, exiting developers and managers, and the uncertain future of desktop development, a group of former employees and developers–with community supporters–came together to fork Mandriva in order to preserve and further the beloved system. Things have been quiet since the initial announcement of Mageia, until recently. Some details of the plan and a roadmap have now emerged.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14: Who is Reviewing the Reviewers?

          Fedora has had a greatly expanding package set with each successive release… and during each release’s life cycle a significant number of new packages are added to the Fedora Updates repository even though they aren’t updates. A large percentage of packages have updated versions with new features and bug fixes and there are a lot of features for all kinds of users including desktop users. In fact, the amount of software overlap that exists between all of the mainstream Linux distros is a bit scary. There really isn’t that much of a difference with the most commonly used software packages across them.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity

          During the presentation Shuttleworth goes to great lengths to discuss the rational basis of choices made and the history of the project. That helps me understand what it is about. The goals of Unity and how they are progressing towards them seem appropriate and likely to succeed.

        • Linux Mint Not To Switch To Unity

          Mint is one of the most polished GNU/Linux distros based on Ubuntu. Canonical recently announced that they are abandoning the upcoming Gnome Shell and move to Unity along with a long-term plan to replace X with Wayland. This raises the question, what will happen to Linux Mint which is an Ubuntu derivative?

          Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint, told Muktware, “We’re not planning to switch to Unity but to keep our desktop as similar as it is at the moment. So it’s hard to say how we’ll achieve this technically but we’re aiming at using Gnome without Gnome Shell :)”

          This is good news for Gnome fans, who neither wanted the new Gnome Shell or Unity.

        • The Future for Linux Doesn’t Lie in Retracing Old Footsteps

          As the computing model shifts from desktop-centric usage to usage on mobile devices of all stripes, the world of Linux is responding in impressively fleet-footed fashion, but that’s not necessarily true of all users. Many Linux users still see the desktop computer as the Holy Grail, and foresee future success for Linux in mimicking the strategies of companies such as Microsoft and Apple, which historically focused on dominance on the desktop.

          For example, the Muktware blog ponders whether Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth can be the next Steve Jobs. Is that even what Shuttleworth’s goal should be, though?

        • Why Canonical should buy System76

          Canonical seems to be pursuing a very Apple-like strategy with Ubuntu. This might be a winning strategy, but the company is missing one major piece: Its own hardware. Canonical needs to stop waiting on mainstream OEMs to get excited about Linux on the desktop and buy its own OEM, like System76.

          In recent weeks the company has announced that it would be replacing GNOME’s default UI in its next release, and has embraced a replacement for X on the desktop called Wayland. Canonical have been putting much of its development muscle behind Ubuntu One in the last few releases, and on a lot of polish for the desktop look and feel, and they’ve been replacing many desktop applications with simpler software in an attempt to ensure that the Ubuntu desktop is suitable for mainstream users. But all of this isn’t worth diddly if they can’t get Ubuntu in front of more mainstream users — and Canonical is in for a long string of disappointments if they’re hoping Dell, HP, or any other major OEM will back Ubuntu in a real way.

        • on glorious leaders

          Yet, here’s the thing. Wayland’s been around for years. Anyone who’s moderately involved in Linux graphics stuff – even just an interested observer like me, hell, like anyone who reads Phoronix – knew about it already. The vision was out there for anyone who cared. Yet still, Mark saying ‘oh hey this looks neat’ becomes a huge splash. Why? I don’t know, really. Because Mark is Mark, I suppose.

          I’d get much more excited about a blog post from an engineer – oh happy day if it were a Canonical engineer – saying ‘hey, look at all this neat work I’m doing to make GTK+ work with Wayland’ or ‘hey, look at these improvements I’m making in nouveau to support Wayland use’ and then noting ‘this is because we want to take Wayland to the desktop’. But maybe that’s just my prejudice. I think it’s kind of sad that it seems like you need a Glorious Leader to have the world sit up and take notice of something, but especially in software, it seems like it’s the case.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Adventures in Kubuntu: Day two

            Yes, I know it’s been more than a day since the Day One post, but I didn’t really do anything with the Kubuntu machine the next day.

            Today I installed kubuntu-desktop on my laptop to see what it would be like to work all day in the KDE environment. I was emboldened by one of the commenters’ instructions on how to get a more “normal” desktop, so I tried that, and it worked. I figured, if I can just go back to that paradigm to get through the workday, I should be okay.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • First look at MeeGo v1.0 netbook operating system

          MeeGo Linux is a custom operating system designed for netbooks, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices. Today MeeGo v1.0 was released, and this video provides an overview of some of the features of the operating system.

        • Comparing Netbook Desktops – Part 4, MeeGo

          After having looked at three more or less “traditional” Linux desktops on a netbook – Ubuntu Unity, KDE Plasma Netbook and Jolicloud – now I am going to look at a very un-traditional desktop, MeeGo. Descended from the Moblin project, and now being developed jointly by Intel and Nokia, MeeGo is intended to be a user interface for the entire range of mobile products, including netbooks, tablets, smart phones and more. As such, it is designed to be as general and flexible as possible, and is very “visual” and “touch” oriented. It will be intersting to see how this plays out in the market, if/when we finally start to see some MeeGo devices become generally available.


          In summary, I would say that I have been quite pleasantly surprised by MeeGo while writing this short review. When I have looked at it previously, both as MeeGo 1.0 and as Moblin before that, I found it quite confusing, and so buggy that it was difficult to determine what parts I didn’t understand and what parts just weren’t working properly.

Free Software/Open Source

  • NZ Open Source Awards winners announced

    This evening the NZ Open Source Awards 2010 celebrated and rewarded the best and most innovative in New Zealand’s open source software at a gala event attended by more than 200 people at the Intercontinental Wellington with Mark Cubey, Producer of Saturday Morning with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand, as MC.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Apache declares war on Oracle over Java

      Charging that Oracle has willfully disregarded the licensing terms for its own Java technology, the Apache Software Foundation has called upon other members of the Java Community Process (JCP) to vote against the next proposed version of the language, should Oracle continue to impose restrictions on open-source Java use.

      The nonprofit organization has also indicated that it could end its involvement in the JCP if the licensing restrictions stay in place.

    • The Java Trap

    • The LilyPond Report #22

      What’s not to love with GNU LilyPond? Meaning: is it at all possible, either to mildly appreciate it, or perhaps even to hate the hell out of it?

      On our reviews page, I recently stumbled upon Nicolas Sceaux’s statement that he used to have “a love-hate relationship” with LilyPond. Coming from arguably the most skilled LilyPonder in the world, this is somehow surprising.

    • Compiler Benchmarks Of GCC, LLVM-GCC, DragonEgg, Clang

      LLVM 2.8 was released last month with the Clang compiler having feature-complete C++ support, enhancements to the DragonEgg GCC plug-in, a near feature-complete alternative to libstdc++, a drop-in system assembler, ARM code-generation improvements, and many other changes. With there being great interest in the Low-Level Virtual Machine, we have conducted a large LLVM-focused compiler comparison at Phoronix of GCC with versions 4.2.1 through 4.6-20101030, GCC 4.5.1 using the DragonEgg 2.8 plug-in, LLVM-GCC with LLVM 2.8 and GCC 4.2, and lastly with Clang on LLVM 2.8.

    • Is it time for Free software to move on?

      As this section from the initial 1983 announcement of the GNU project shows, Stallman naturally focussed on the key software components of an operating system: kernel plus editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, etc. Once these were available, the idea was to move on to user space – things like text formatters, games and even a spreadsheet.

      Of course, this plan was rather derailed by the difficulty in getting the very first of these – the kernel – sorted out. It was only when a Finnish student working in his Helsinki bedroom offered his “just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like GNU” project that things finally began to fall into place. By then, nearly ten years had passed since the original call to digital arms by RMS, and the computing world had moved on.


      Of course, this did not mean that work on the lower levels of free software ceased. Quite the contrary: the Linux kernel and other infrastructural programs continued to advance, and soon came to dominate areas like supercomputing, where 91% of the top 500 machines run some form of Linux, and enterprise systems, where GNU/Linux is now widely deployed in mission-critical roles.

      One particularly important development in free software on the desktop was the appearance of Mozilla, and then Firefox. This reflected the corresponding rise of the internet as the principal motor of computing innovation. Aside from the respectable market share that Firefox now holds, its main effect has been to force Microsoft to support more open Web standards. This creates a level playing field for Web applications, whether or not people are using Firefox.


      As this makes clear, all the options of proprietary apps can be mimicked with this new system, including the ability to charge for them. But unlike the mobile apps on the iPhone, say, there will be multiple app stores offering such open web apps: no one company will be able to dictate terms for inclusion. Even better, these new kinds of apps will be cross-platform, thus reversing the tendency to lock users into one particular hardware choice.

  • Government

    • East meets West: the U.S.-India open government dialogue

      Both governments also agreed to work together to advance open government globally and to share best practices, encourage collaborative models, as well as to spur innovations that empower citizens, and foster effective government in other interested countries.

      And when it comes to “collaborative models,” can there be any collaborative model that has been more successful than open source?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Uncovering open access

        To the general public, “doing science” is all about discovery. But in truth, that’s only half the picture. Consider the experience of an obscure nineteenth-century Augustinian monk…

        From 1856 to 1863, Gregor Mendel cultivated and observed 29,000 pea plants and managed to unlock some of the secrets of heredity, including the concepts of dominant and recessive traits.

        In 1865, Mendel presented his findings as a two-part lecture, “Experiments on Plant Hybridization,” before the tiny Natural History Society of Brünn (present-day Brno, Czech Republic). A year later, he published his findings in the society’s Proceedings, of which 115 copies are known to have been distributed. With that, his painstaking work disappeared—virtually without a trace—for 35 years. In scientific terms, an eon.


  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Conclusion Nears With “Technical Round” Set For Late November

          Newly leaked documents from the European Union shed new light into the latest ACTA developments, indicating that the U.S. and E.U. are nearing agreement on the outstanding issues and that a further “technical round” – seemingly round 12 by another name – is set for Sydney, Australia from November 30th to December 3rd (or possibly the 4th).

        • EU: ACTA Digital Lock Rules Don’t Cover Access Controls

          Newly leaked documents produced by the European Commission provide insight into the EU’s view on the ACTA Internet enforcement chapter. The analysis confirms what should be obvious from the text – ACTA retains the flexibility that exists at international law in the digital lock rules by linking circumvention with copyright infringement. The EU interpretation again demonstrates that the Bill C-32 digital lock rules go far beyond what is required within WIPO and now within ACTA. Indeed, the European Commission states unequivocally that ACTA does not cover access controls nor acts not prohibited by copyright (would could include fair dealing). This provides further evidence that compromise language that links circumvention with actual copyright infringement is possible within Bill C-32 that will still allow Canada to be compliant with WIPO and ACTA.

        • Draft November II Resolution on ACTA
        • Digital locks, iPod levy are Copyright bill contentions

          Bill C-32 passed second reading in the House of Commons Nov. 5 and has been passed on to committee for debate. At issue are the bill’s protection of digital locks, which can be used to prevent a consumer from copying a DVD to a computer, for example. The bill also excludes the collection of a levy to compensate creators and copyright owners for the legitimate copying of their works.

          The bill is the third attempt by the Conservative government to update Canada’s copyright law. It follows a series of public consultations held over the summer of 2009 by Industry Minister Tony Clement and Heritage Minister James Moore.

          C-32′s digital locks provision is a central element of the bill and those who argue against it are wrong, Moore said in the House during question period.

Clip of the Day

Virtual Desktops

Credit: TinyOgg

Quick Mention: Microsoft is Suing Over RAND

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, RAND at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: ‘Thief’ turns to whiner and bully as Xbox suffers the losses of defects and sales below production costs

JUST WEEKS ago Microsoft decided to sue Motorola over the use of Linux in Android (FAT). Now they sue Motorola over RAND, which mobbyists have been trying to tell us we should simply accept. This is breaking news that we’ll cover later. Here are the articles we’ve found about it so far:

What a bunch of bullying hypocrites. This is part of the legal fight which Microsoft started last month because it cannot compete fairly based on technical merit. Mobbyists already spin it in Microsoft’s favour. There’s nothing they won’t say to defend Microsoft’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. They try to normalise it.

Linux and ‘Open’ Core

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linus Torvalds

Summary: A quick word about the suggestions that Linux is “proprietary”, which helps some FUD-Meisters

Without delving into the specifics and the hyperlinks (deliberately omitted), there’s a debate right now about whether Linux is Free software or proprietary (or both). It is probably not the best question to ask. Linux — like Android — enables many people to move from a world that is purely proprietary into a world where freedom is favoured and companies adapt gradually, eventually realising that by making their program code (e.g. drivers) publicly available they get a lot of ‘free’ bug fixes and improved stability. This is true not just in Linux but in other layers of the system, even hardware. So, Techrights will not get involved in the counter-productive debate which at the moment just feeds enemies of freedom (they use Linux as ‘proof’ that free/open source software cannot succeed). Even the FSF learned to abstain from talking about it like that.

“Today many people are switching to free software for purely practical reasons. That is good, as far as it goes, but that isn’t all we need to do! Attracting users to free software is not the whole job, just the first step.”

Richard Stallman

On Fedora 14 With KDE

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fedora homepage

Summary: Quick endorsement of Fedora 14 and KDE 4.5.x

YESTERDAY there were almost no posts at all. The reason is, well… I was setting up a new machine that had arrived with Windows on it. Obviously I just wiped Windows and installed the latest Fedora 14 with KDE desktop. I am sorry to say that I have not found a single bug yet. Any person who looks for something that works brilliantly out of the box and is easy to use should take a look at the KDE spin of Fedora 14. I have not had a chance to test the main ISO, which is GNOME based. I downloaded it but did not burn it. Either way, I am sticking with Fedora and the least I can do is recommend it to other people. The KDE team also deserves praises for excellent work it did to deliver 4.5.x, which is polished. Another user of Fedora with KDE is Pamela Jones from Groklaw.

Novell’s Hallmark of a Company That’s Already Dead

Posted in GNU/Linux at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Novell is a company where people come to end their career and we show this by going through two weeks of Novell news and demonstrating relative idleness

IT is quite shocking how little news there has been from/about Novell in recent weeks (and there was lots more four years ago, not just months ago). It’s like the company died and therefore it’s hard to find anything clueful to write about it. It has been about a fortnight since our last post about Novell’s progress, so here is yet another which is very concise unless and except in places where there is something worth adding.


Groklaw has kept track of SCO vs Novell and at the end of last month it posted an update:

Here it is, Novell’s appeal brief in SCO v. Novell. It’s responsive to SCO’s earlier filing, which you can find in our permanent Novell Appeals page.


Novell mostly appears in some news in the context of finance. Here are the headlines we have found of articles that mention NOVL (about 50% of all the items Google News has picked for “novell”):

In the links above, that last one is a reminder that the quarterly results come out next month.


GroupWise no longer appears in the news all that much. But Novell’s PR people try to change that and there are still some mentionings of the product (GroupWise is entirely proprietary), sometimes in the context of GWAVA and GWAVACon. That latter one is about Colleen O’Keefe and she is also mentioned here.

From IDG (also in this domain) we learn that: “Unfortunately, BES Express is still unavailable for Novell (NOVL) GroupWise and other corporate mail servers.”

This new item says: “These and other enterprises are benefiting from Cloud Sherpas expertise migrating users from on-premise platforms-like Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise-to the cloud with Google.”

GroupWise is mentioned in relation to Adium 1.4 and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro:

The fact that M+Archive was designed to seamlessly integrate with the municipality’s Novell GroupWise system was also essential.

GroupWise is additionally mentioned in yet another one of Messaging Architects’ new press releases (also here) and TechRepublic has published “Five tips for successfully migrating from GroupWise to Exchange 2010″ (TechRepublic is quite a Microsoft booster in general).

GroupWise made it into this article on mobile phone platforms and New Zealand’s Prime Minister office:

Our servers are a range of Microsoft and Novell. The reasoning behind the Novell environment is that Government has predominately been a Novell client and DPMC has for that reason retained its Groupwise email system. DPMC is extremely reliant on its use of email, so having Groupwise gives us the resilience and availability we require, and its support requirements are considerably lower than [Microsoft] Exchange. There is also the aspect of security of emails that has kept us with Groupwise.

GroupWise is supposed to add some Pulse functionality (the plan is not yet entirely known, especially after Google dumped Wave) and TechWeb, which Novell is paying (Novell is a sponsor), has just published not one but two articles that mention Novell’s Pulse (David Berlind’s article calls Pulse “island of technology” though):

i. Enterprise 2.0 Preview: Collaboration’s Next ‘Wave’

Novell is forging ahead with the development of Pulse, a real-time enterprise communication and collaboration platform that relies on Wave’s federation protocol. Announced a year ago, Pulse was made available to a limited number of users as a preview starting in March. The company won’t say exactly what it plans to announce at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, but chances are it will have something to do with wider availability.

ii. Twitter-Like Activity Streams: The New Center Of Gravity For The Social Enterprise

Philosophically, Novell is the closest to having the right vision. It’s just that it may have placed its bet on the wrong horse. At the last E2, Novell demonstrated how, using Google’s open Wave Federation Protocol (WFP), the same activity stream could be hosted in both Novell’s Pulse and Google’s Wave. The idea being that if you picked Google’s Wave as your company’s activity stream host of choice and your ad agency picked Novell’s Pulse as its activity stream host of choice, neither of you would have to compromise. Both of you could have visibility into the same events. But despite its open source nature, WFP is by no means a standard. Not only don’t any other activity stream hosts or “event providers” support it, Google discontinued development on Google Wave itself earlier this year. Theoretically, work on WFP can carry on. But so far, there’s been no rallying cry from the industry to get behind it. For all its good intentions, even Novell’s Pulse is an island of technology.

Here is another news article which mentions Novell’s Pulse:

But “people are going to use social tools for business whether the tools are provided by IT or not,” warned Wendy Steinle, marketing director for Novell Pulse. Yes, for business and for pleasure, the Twitter tweets and Facebook posts still fly from phones and computers all the day long, no matter what an employer has to say about the matter. Sure, a company can give an offending tweeter the boot but that’s a bit like locking the house after the burglar leaves with all your stuff. Sadder still if the offending post breaks compliance and the lawman locks you up for the burglary.


“If you’re the coach, you must know all the players” is a post on a subject we mentioned about two weeks ago and Novell’s PR does too. It’s an advertisement, but the statement in the headline goes a long way. In order to understand Novell’s impact one must also see where its former managers go.

Patrick from Novell becomes CEO of Apperian:

Prior to xkoto, which was acquired by Teradata, Patrick was vice president and general manager at Novell Inc., where he managed the SUSE Linux and Netware operating system lines. He joined Novell in 2003, as part of the acquisition of Ximian, where he was president and CEO. He also served in senior roles with The Learning Company, Mattel, WordStar, Sun Microsystems, Ashton-Tate and Lotus.

Yves Michali is another former Noveller who entered a new company:

Additionally, the company also announced its board of directors, which includes Yves Michali (formerly of Novell, Microsoft, Mobiclick, and Groove Network), Yvan Morel de Westgaver (formerly an executive at EDS), and Bart Luyten, general partner at BAMS Angel Fund.

Gordon Jones, Novell’s former CIO, becomes CTO of Infogroup:

He has also worked as CIO for Novell (1990 – 1995), Franklin Templeton (1995 – 1999), Beyond.com (1999 – 2000), ToysRUs.com (2000 – 2001), eBay and formerly Wells Fargo subsidiary, BillPoint (2001 – 2003).


The Provo-based Novell campus is mentioned for the following reason:

The Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum (UVEF) will induct Hal Wing of Wing Enterprises into its UVEF Hall of Fame tonight at the Provo Novell Campus. Inductees represent individuals and organizations with an enduring legacy of entrepreneurial excellence.

A scrap yard is also coming nearer to Novell, just not to shred the company.

Now, through a series of agreements with Provo city, UTA and others, this 2 1/2-acre scrap metal yard will be moving to a 53-acre property at 1776 S. Colorado Ave. (East of Novell) and into a new state-of-the-art recycling center.

Novell could use some recycling. The company itself needs to be recycled.

Identity Manager 4

The news about Identity Manager 4 is no longer news (it’s about a month old), but some sites were spreading the news late and covered IDM at Novell (it’s a proprietary software business).

In addition to minor mentions Novell got this belated coverage from Adrian Bridgwater:

The company specifies that its new product will simplify the identity management provisioning process and deliver a consistent framework for managing identities across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

Self Praise

In a self-promotional press release, Novell mentioned that so-called ‘magic’ quadrant from Gartner, which is a corruptible analyst that one needs to pay to receive some good words. From the opening paragraph:

Novell today announced it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for User Provisioning.* Covering vendors and solutions that manage identities across systems and applications, the Gartner report cites compliance as the main driver for uptake of products.

The thing about those ‘prizes’ though, is that they’re open to abuse and this one too is potentially a new example:

Trend Micro swept the Product Innovation category of Network Security Software, beating out nearest competitors Novell and Websense.

Who judges this and how?

Intelligent Workload and Other Marketing Fluff

Novell has made almost nothing out of PlateSpin, which it spent hundreds of millions of dollars on. PlateSpin’s sale to Novell is mentioned in the Canadian press again;

This fund, which is closed to new investors, has outperformed its peers largely because of a fortuitous investment in software maker PlateSpin Ltd., which was bought in 2008 by Novell Inc. “That is the fundamental holding which drove the returns,” said Scott Clark, managing director of Covington Capital Corp.

A lot of PlateSpin’s main people have left Novell since then and Novell’s Intelligent Workload Management or more of a rebrand. It managed to get some press, especially from Vodacom at the moment. The latter article says: “By using Novell’s WorkloadIQ solutions, Vodacom Business services can support a customer’s IT environment through workload migration, virtual and physical data replication and protection to achieve a scalable cloud.”

It is the same here. Proprietary software from Novell finds some way to have itself promoted. Usually Novell is just mentioned in a long list of vendors with an offer in virtualisation (some additional examples omitted from this post) and here is an example of how these things go:

CED Solutions is a Microsoft CPLS, Certified Partner for Learning Solutions; Cisco Learning Partner Associate; EC Council, Novell, SCA, and training partner with many other vendors.

Another new example:

Storage software provider Novell had also launched Novell Cloud Manager, an umbrella operating system that controls virtualized operating systems working on multiple hypervisors. It currently supports hypervisors including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and open source Xen operating systems, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Microsoft Windows server and Red Hat Enterpries.

It’s common to find Novell listed like this. Not many articles are written just about Novell anymore. Here is IDG giving away exam details for “Novell Certified Linux Administrator”. It is more of a content dump from IDG, it’s not journalism at all.

Marketing fluff (e.g. “Clouds over Manhattan”) is the main thing that keeps Novell in some news while the management arranges the sale of their company. Over in YouTube there are over a dozen videos like [1, 2] from account Novell ChalkTalks, which we never saw before by the way. It’s probably another account held by Novell.

Another new video from novacoast on Novell File Management Suite has been uploaded, as well as a couple from account Novell Labs, which speaks about Fog Computing in a box. They call it “Microburst” [1, 2].

There is another upload of Novell’s Justin Steinman sucking up to IBM and a video with the new Teaming 3.0 UI

Here is a post about IBM adopting SUSE Linux Enterprise for WebSphere Appliances. Only Novell’s PR people seem to be covering this:

In the next installment of our Novell partner podcast series, Liz Padula, senior marketing manager at Novell, talks with Marc Haberkorn, product manager in the WebSphere team at IBM, about how IBM is working with Novell to deliver a portfolio of software appliances across many of its brands, including WebSphere, powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Novell has also just put out this press release to tell people that SLE* is not dead. It’s just probably on its way to VMware, along with OpenSUSE which has new/interim leaders interviewed. Novell is not a good place to be right now, definitely not when it comes to job security. GNU/Linux and SUSE are not going away because they are GPL-licensed, but what will keep SUSE safe from competition? Here is one new article about Teradata:

The cluster runs Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, the Teradata 13.10 database, and has a management console that runs on Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003. This DMA 560 machine is being positioned not only as an entry data mart box, but also as a BI application test and development machine.

It’s important to remember that the future of Novell is quite orthogonal to the future of GNU/Linux because the code will live on and companies like Teradata do not rely on SLE* as they can use RHEL too. To say negative things about Novell is by all means not to harm GNU/Linux; Rather, it’s to defend GNU/Linux from Microsoft patent tax.

KINect’s Fate Could be Similar to KIN’s

Posted in Hardware, Marketing, Microsoft at 2:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Splash mountain

Summary: Microsoft’s actions suggest that it is losing a lot of money on KINect, so there is no guarantee that the project will exist for a long time to come


ICROSOFT advertises KINect like advertising budget restraints have been abolished. According to a source we cited recently, close to half a billion dollars are spent just marketing this thing, which is not even in the hands of many people yet (will it ever?). We talk about it a lot in our show, TechBytes, especially because Tim — an Xbox 360 owner — keeps track of the product and ridicules the KINect in his blog this week:

I think you will be the guinea pigs and we will be reading about issues you have with the device in the coming months.

When/if one cancels out all the marketing noise, it becomes evidence that KINect has many problems which we covered in posts such as:

“Hacker unshackles Kinect from Xbox,” The Register is reporting:

An amateur hacker claims to have freed Microsoft’s Kinect from the Xbox, a feat that allows him to control the the just-released motion-tracking game device from his Windows PC.

The claim was documented in two videos released over the weekend by a member of the Natural User Interface Group. In one, Kinect’s motorized-tilt is shown being controlled with the moveup and movedown buttons of his Windows 7 PC. Normally, the movements can only be tracked when Kinect is connected to an Xbox 360 game console.

A second video shows the Kinect outputting color and depth data to the hacker’s PC.

By themselves, the videos don’t prove that the Kinect has been completely rooted, but they suggest that the NUI Group member AlexP is well on his way. The videos surfaced a few days after Adafruit Industries, a seller of DIY electronics kits, offered a $2,000 bounty to the first person who published open-source drivers for the Kinect.

There is a debate over whether Microsoft makes money from KINect or just gives it away with subsidy, thus incurring a financial loss. Either way, only time will tell if KINect too will end up in the pile of dead products from Microsoft. In the past 3 years Microsoft has killed nearly 60 products (those which we documented anyway) and even Apple is starting to kill some of its products. Here is what Pogson said about Apple exiting the servers market:

The first Apple server I saw was a box on the doorstep of the school left during Christmas Break. I was not in charge of receiving parcels so I put it inside and left it there. I went in and found we had not Internet access. The fools at Head Office sent us an e-mail, during Christmas Break. I struggled to find what was wrong locally. Everything seemed fine. Finally, I phoned Head Office and was informed that the box contained our new router which Head Office was allowing to connect to the WAN and no others… Sigh. I reminded them about Christmas Break… “Oh!” the voice said… Anyway, I plugged in that server and had DHCP and a route once again. That was the year I first installed GNU/Linux on top of that other OS. I have had a stomache-churning response to seeing Apple servers ever since. Fortunately there are not many out there. Now there will be fewer over time. Too bad I will retire soon. The world is becoming a better place.

Marketing is not enough for success. It can help create initial hype (like KINect’s and Silverlight’s, or most famously Vista with the “show us your wow” campaign), but if the products fail in practice (Xbox 360 RRoD for example) then it’s all doomed to fail sooner or later. Marketing is deception and it’s a short-term investment because people cannot be deceived indefinitely.

New Ph.D. Thesis Shows How Finnish Government Moved to Free/Libre Software

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 2:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Karjalainen Martti's thesis

Summary: Finland’s story of migrations to OpenOffice.org is told in a comprehensive formal document; Romania goes the other way and ISO continues to show why it is severely flawed

Tampere University has just released this 234-page thesis whose PDF version has been downloaded nearly 700 times and whose abstract reads as follows:

This study investigates the largest transition in Finland to an open source office suite and to an open standard for office documents. The IT environment of the open source OpenOffice.org migration involves more than 10 000 workstations in the Finnish Ministry of Justice and its administrative sector.

Methodologically, the research is a longitudinal innovation adoption study covering the 7-year time span from 2003 to 2010. The study applies and tests the organizational innovation adoption process model originally developed by Everett Rogers. In addition to the theory-testing approach, the study includes artifact-building and artifact-evaluation activities of design research. The research view of the study introduces a participatory researcher’s implementation perspective where the researcher as a staff member of the organization has been in charge of the adoption of the innovation in the organization.

The findings of the study provide contributions both to IS research and practice. The events of the study give reason to suggest that the characteristics of the open source software with low-cost licenses call for improvements in the organizational innovation adoption stage model. The findings suggest that the predefined order of stages in the innovation process and sharp distinctions between stages should not be expected in organizational innovation adoption. As a new model and method, the study provides a complementary framework for the instrumentation and documentation of the open source innovation process in the organizational context. The study confirms several results from previous research and practice, especially the importance of top management support, systematic open source skill building and the presence of innovation champions in the adoption of open source solutions.

For IS practice, the study shows that the transition to an open source office suite is feasible in a large-scale context and that substantial benefits can be achieved as the result of the transition. For the user organizations of open source software, lower cost has been the most commonly cited benefit and one of the main reasons for adopting open source. Other often cited considerations include strategic goals like the facilitation of more sovereign IT governance and the reduction of vendor dependence through open source solutions and open standards. The study addresses several practically important issues involved in the adoption of open source, e.g., the analysis of software functionality and interoperability, cost evaluations, installation and configuration issues, local language support issues, additional tools to support the migration, user training and support, technical support, and software usage measurements. The evaluation of costs in the study indicates that the migration to the open source office suite platform will benefit the target organization of the study with impressive cost savings when compared to the deployment of a comparative proprietary office suite platform. The study applies numerous best practice approaches which together with the rich insight provided by the research should benefit other organizations considering open source office suite adoptions both from the perspectives of management and implementation.

As summarised by Arjen Kamphuis:

Phd thesis on succesful migration to #openoffice by Finnish gov.

For some background about Finland also consider reading:

One would expect Finland to be ahead when it comes to Free software, at the very least because it’s the country Linux came from. In Romania, which some people have just told us is known for higher corruption rates, Microsoft manages to reign, still. One Romanian reader messaged us yesterday to say that: “While EU is abandoning proprietary software, Romanian civil servants learn to use MS Office http://tinyurl.com/33j8xwk (Google Translate)”

For more information about the situation in Romania see:

A few of the links above (especially the last two) speak about how Microsoft seemingly corrupted the vote on OOXML in Romania. In turn it forces a lot of the population to buy Microsoft Office or be called “pirate”.

Finland’s migration to OpenOffice.org is not unique. There are other countries that do the same thing, Malaysia for example. The important thing is that parts of the Finnish government will be able to exchange information with the public in ODF format. OOXML (and other Microsoft Office formats) is proprietary, so no government should ever use/require it, thereby imposing the purchase of a particular set of products from one single company with dubious history.

Speaking of OOXML, it turned ISO into a launching stock and it seems to be happening again. Andy Updegrove writes:

After sixteen years of working in parallel to the traditional standards infrastructure, the World Wide Web Consortium has taken an interesting decision: to begin submitting selected W3C Recommendations to that same system for endorsement. In doing so, it joins the small handful of consortia (seven, to be exact) that have applied for this option out of the hundreds of consortia currently active in the information and communications (ICT) to apply for that option.

If this process sounds vaguely familiar, that’s likely because this is the same process that OASIS used to gain global endorsement of its OpenDocument Format (ODF). Microsoft took a similar, but procedurally distinct, route with OOXML, its competing document format, when it offered it to ECMA, which enjoys a special “Fast Track” relationship with JTC1. What won’t sound familiar is the conditions that the W3C has successfully included in its application to make submissions, on which more below.

It was only last week that W3C was involved in a separate controversy because of Microsoft. Glyn Moody links to this article about W3C becoming an official submitter to ISO and adds: “not sure this is good: wouldn’t it be better to ignore ISO after OOXML?”

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