Ubuntu Has No Open Respect, Needs Introspection

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mono, Ubuntu at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open Respect

Summary: Suggestions for Canonical regarding eradication of Internet trolls in Ubuntu Forums and discouragement of trolling by Mono boosters who masquerade as Ubuntu members (or use such a duality)

I DON’T know exactly what’s going on inside Canonical, but after almost 7 years with Ubuntu (my first one was 4.10) I sense that the company got rotten from the inside. I was defending it when it came under scrutiny or dangers from all sorts of directions and spent many days of my life advocating its use. But I am almost done carrying water for Ubuntu, especially because its parent company is harbouring Mono boosters as members who troll this site in IRC and other means of communication. It’s understandable when this is done by former Microsoft employees who now promote Mono (they pulled the same tricks in our IRC channels before), but when people associated with Ubuntu engage in trolling, that’s too far and it shows what Canonical must cope with. Canonical needs to also remove people who are blatantly against GNU/Linux (e.g. a community which openly states this) in Ubuntu Forums because their presence there is, by definition, malicious. It’s not about censorship, it’s about behaviour. Rather than censor Mono critics (or push them away), Canonical should consider kicking out people who only try to cause trouble because they want Canonical to fail (and do so by trashing Canonical’s own platform, Ubuntu Forums).

“his shows the hypocrisy in boasting “Open Respect” banners in Canonical blogs while members with “ubuntu” cloaks (i.e. accepted for affiliation) are out there disrespecting even those who respect Ubuntu.”We are not going to feed troublemakers by naming them, but those who provoke to make up smears (based on answers from people who are not spokespeople or anything like that) are trolls who pretend to be “just curious”. It’s a trolling technique. It’s sometimes called baiting, too. This shows the hypocrisy in boasting “Open Respect” banners in Canonical blogs while members with “ubuntu” cloaks (i.e. accepted for affiliation) are out there disrespecting even those who respect Ubuntu. I contacted Canonical’s community manager for Ubuntu some hours ago and there has been no reply yet.

Trying to associate any site with rude people whose responses provide a convenient excuse to slam a platform rather than its message is a low blow. If Canonical allows people to do the same sort of thing by pretending to represent Ubuntu, then maybe it’s time to throw the towel on Ubuntu. There are many better options out there and without some ground rules there is anarchy. If “Open Respect” was ever to become a Ubuntu motto, then it must also become recognised as a top deficiency; there is a lot of work to be done there.

Novell Gradually Loses What’s Left in Mail and Collaboration

Posted in Google, Mail, Microsoft, Novell at 2:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another university is dumping GroupWise and some large clients move to Google (also moving away from Outlook/Exchange)

THIS is today’s last post about Novell, which is also the last Microsoft patent sellout to vanish anyway (Linspire, Xandros, and Turbolinux are out of the scene already).

Novell failed to grow its presence in the GNU/Linux space by signing a deal with Microsoft. Novell also continues to see its old business fade away. While Google drops Wave, which Novell tried to capitalise on using Pulse/Vibe, there is this announcement about Vibe OnPrem. Novell is hoping to sell GroupWise (proprietary) using free/open source code from Google, just as IBM uses some IM toys to sell Lotus. According to this Bomgar PR, “Novell Implements Collaborative Remote Support from Bomgar” (has anyone heard of it?).

Novell’s inability to provide real value in the mail and collaboration space (hardly any new clients are reported) may help Microsoft gain globally although some clients move to Google: “SOU switched to Google Apps because it is free for higher education institutions. Officials say it will save the university thousands of dollars every year. It will save the university about $2,500-a-year in energy costs, $18,000 in three years to not replace servers, and $35,000 annually for dropping their current contract with Novell GroupWise.”

Novell is still advertising GroupWise 8, possibly the last-ever release of the product. Here is another rush towards Google — this time a move away from Microsoft:

It is understood that Flight Centre’s 6000-plus employees will transition from Microsoft Outlook over to Google’s web-based Gmail system.

The US government too moves to Google [1, 2] as its tools improve [1, 2] and more clients fall into its proprietary software trap. Here is the latest update that we found about the LA migration:

Google also needs to add other functions to the e-mail service, such as auto-generation of confirmation receipts, especially for messages about legal matters such as subpoenas, McCarthy said. Without that feature, some employees had to retain access to the older Novell GroupWise e-mail system, he said.

Apart from the above, GroupWise hardly got mentioned in December, except perhaps in the context of Blackberry, Lepide migration tools [1, 2, 3], and CompanionLink’s sync [1, 2] that supports Novell GroupWise and Linux too. Well, Android form of Linux anyway [1, 2, 3, 4].

Novell’s decline is said to be global and according to IDG (more here), despite the WordPerfect case, Novell continues to depend on Microsoft, which is paying it for services (and maybe more compensation in the future).

The department is currently using a mixture of Windows and Novell technologies.

Novell is also mentioned in the article “Cloud Identity Trends in 2011″, this one about Softline (“virtualisation and Novell technologies” noted), and another one about AttachMSFT. That second one says:

Softline AG said Wednesday that it has taken over the profitable Norwegian IT service provider STOVER AS, a renowned specialist in identity management, security, virtualisation and Novell technologies with its head office in Oslo and a branch in Elverum.

Identity Manager has new vulnerabilities. Novell’s proprietary software gets rusty while management staff flees.

Co-founder of Novell Sells His Company

Posted in Novell at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Move Networks has eventually found a buyer, Echostar

Echostar is reported to have bought Move Networks. And its relevance: “The firm had been founded and ended up again in American Fork, Utah where founder Drew Major, a co-founder of Novell, is located.” Techrights mentions EchoStar quite a lot in reference to TiVo’s patent case. We previously reported shutdown.

Novell too will soon follow the footsteps of Move Networks. Here is a new article that recalls Novell’s golden age: “Don designed and launched Novell’s much-emulated global Authorized Dealer Program in the late 80′s. He currently heads the Capital Formation Committee for the Northern Virginia Technology Council.”

Also new:

I owned it a few years ago but its debt load scared me away in the past few years. Now the company has pulled debt down to less than stockholders’ equity, so I will take another look. The P-E is four. Back in 1995, Novell of Waltham, Massachusetts, had $2bn in revenue and was considered a rival to Cisco Systems in computer networking.

Cisco was then only 10pc larger than Novell by revenue. Today, with revenue below $1bn, Novell is less than 3pc of Cisco’s size. In November it agreed to be purchased by Attachmate for $2.2bn.

Novell is a story of failure after formation, then renaissance under Noorda’s leadership, followed by fast decline due to Microsoft. Below we are putting the past month’s financial news of Novell (NOVL) because the company will soon be taken off the market, assuming the takeover is OK’d.

Fake Coverage and Paid Apologists Not Enough for Microsoft and Apple

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Windows at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Dirty ‘marketing’ tactics from the proprietary software giants do not work out in the long term; Vista Phony 7 [sic] seems to be on its deathbed already

IN THE COMING days we are going to explain Apple’s and Microsoft’s latest plot to ‘compete’ in the mobile space using software patents — a tactic which is indicative of loss on technical grounds. Tim is still preparing material and evidence with which to post a good report on Microsoft employees who stealthily promote products like Vista Phony 7 (while also insulting people and rival products such as Linux). Here we have some ruthless companies that do not obey even marketing etiquette. They never did. Unlike Free software, ethics and integrity are foreign to them.

Let’s begin with Vista Phony 7, which is failing really badly. Well, just like Vista 7, it has been a lot of hype and massive disappointment for partners of Microsoft, as we last noted yesterday. Here is another post about it that says:

Microsoft’s young smartphone platform is definitely in trouble. In spite of a splashy ad campaign to spur the Windows Phone 7 launch, rumors of poor sales won’t go away. It doesn’t help matters that a big hardware partner of WP7 publicly admits that sales of the company’s phones have been disappointing. Can Microsoft right this ship?

The press started suspecting something wasn’t right with Windows Phone 7 sales when Microsoft sidestepped the issue of sales numbers at the CES. Now one of Microsoft’s largest hardware partners with the platform, LG, has admitted the company’s disappointment with the push of WP7 into the market. That’s about as bad as it gets for a platform builder like Microsoft.

The reader who mailed us this pointer titled it “Windows Phone 7 sales very bad” and moments ago he mailed us this report under the subject line “Windows Phone is dead!!!!”

Chitika, a Web advertising company, has posted some interesting graphs that show Windows Phone 7 isn’t doing so well. After analyzing data from more than 100,000 websites and about 3 billion monthly ad impressions in their advertising network, Chitika has concluded that visits from users running Windows 98 is still almost double the visits from Windows Phone 7 users.


How is Apple doing? Well, Linux has passed Apple’s hypePhone based on various independent metrics. Apple is just suing. There are also hypePad problems after the initial reviews that Apple bribed prominent bloggers for (Apple is controlling the press with legal threats too).

Apple’s hypePad DRM strategy is clearly failing and according to this new article, “Apple nixes free iPad subs for print customers”:

Apple is reportedly on the verge of launching a subscription service for paid apps, and the company appears to be ironing out some final details with publishers who plan to participate.

A number of European newspaper and magazine publishers have been contacted by Apple and informed that they cannot offer free subscriptions for iPad editions through the upcoming service to customers already paying for a print version of their publication, according to a report in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. In other words, once this subscription service finally launches, don’t be surprised if your favorite magazine does an iPad edition and you have to pay for it again.

Disgruntled Apple customers often turn to GNU/Linux (or Android), as we have shown in some recent posts. No wonder Apple is gradually losing to Linux.

Novell Promotes Proprietary Software, Including Microsoft’s Fog Computing and Apple’s hypePhone Prison

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Novell at 1:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blue trees

Summary: Novell keeps looking for love in all the wrong places, essentially by empowering those who attack Linux the most (e.g. with patent lawsuits)

FURTHER to the previous post about Novell’s proprietary software nature (see NetWare material and other legacy), here are some examples where Microsoft’s ally Novell advances the opposite of Free software and GNU/Linux, not just by giving more software patents to Apple and Microsoft. There are surely some cases where Novell cannot be held accountable (Novell Address Book Converter for example), but where Novell actively promotes proprietary software (Novell Privileged User Manager 2.3 for example) the company should be shown for what it really is. It is regrettable that many people still think of Novell and occasionally describe it as an “open source” company.

Recently, Novell has been fascinated with Fog Computing and here one can find Novell commenting on Fog Computing. Novell is preaching or at least talking about Fog Computing in all sorts of articles and also this new video (one among many). Is this a characteristic of an “open source” company?

Last month we wrote about Novell's preference of hypePhone over Android (hypePhone-only application for proprietary software has come from Novell). Right about now there is further discussion about this [1, 2], which helps show the absurdity of it [1, 2, 3]. Novell puts Apple before Linux, as we covered before. Nobody should be shocked.

Novell generally offers support to other companies’ “open source” clouds and increasingly it uses the buzz phrase “private clouds” — a term that’s intended to dodge the bad reputation so-called ‘clouds’ are gradually gaining. Here is an example of a recent article which covers Novell’s Cloud Manager:

We tested five private cloud management products — Novell’s Cloud Manager, Eucalyptus Enterprise, OpenNebula, Citrix Lab Manager, and Cloud.com’s CloudStack — to see if the current generation of tools is up to the task. We found that Novell’s Cloud Manager was the only product that had all of the features we were looking for. Therefore, Cloud Manager is our Clear Choice Test winner. We were frustrated by some of the other products, and a couple are not yet ready for prime time.

What’s a lot more distributing, however, is Novell’s support for Microsoft’s AZune [sic] cloud. Why does Novell brag about it to make so many headlines, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]?

As a side note, Novell hired a heckler who dislikes the FSF [1, 2] and it is paying him to promote Fog Computing:

A few weeks after winning a top prize in our first annual Dister awards contest for excellence in the development of software appliances, Radical Breeze leader Bryan Lunduke talked about Linux, appliances and SUSE Studio on the Novell-sponsored Internet radio show Cloudchasers.

When Novell talks about “cloud” it talks about proprietary software, unlike Red Hat for example. Red Hat will never promote AZune, but Novell — being a Microsoft partner — finds that natural.

Fog Computing a Materialisation of New Microsoft Lock-in Threats

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Servers at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Snow flurries

Summary: Microsoft is trying to control people’s entire life — including health records — using Fog Computing as the marketing/excuse

AS we have shown over the past few years, Microsoft uses the server side to solidify lock-in that previous existed only at the client side. Microsoft found another AZune [sic] partner in spite of the departure of Ray Ozzie [1, 2, 3], which casts shadow upon it. A British Microsoft booster, Gavin Clarke, says that Microsoft co-opts NoSQL for AZune and following UK intervention from the likes of Richard Steele, parts of the British government is still in bed with AZune [1, 2] although it is mostly going underground and there is a similar arrangement reported by the United States Department of Agriculture [1, 2] (risking famine by Microsoft). Microsoft booster Mary Jo Foley promotes Azune too, but what else can be expected from her? Responsible journalism? No, it’s promotional.

One of the abominable areas where Microsoft tries to make the population depend on its existence is healthcare. It’s not a coincidence. If Microsoft can make people’s lives (e.g. health records) depend on its existence, then the company will be bailed out when it cannot repay its debt. Not so long ago Microsoft was treading on Canadian patients via Telus and the Calgary Herald has more to say (albeit not enough):

Telus and Microsoft partner to provide Canadians access to medical records


Telus wants to take medical records out of the filing cabinets of health-care providers and put them into the smartphones and laptops of patients.

Were clients asked for their consent? What happens when Microsoft employee leak this data, lose it, or take some of it home? It is inevitable, teaches history. What happens if/when Microsoft vanishes (no company lasts forever, unlike a healthcare system). There is another such bad decision being made, where the National Cancer Institute is signing a Microsoft deal, thus losing control of its own operations. Dana Blankenhorn says that Microsoft may even want to control the lives of Chinese patients now, based on this press release on the face of it. Here are two more examples of this kind. Microsoft is getting a lot of invaluable lock-in and pretending not to pursue profit with it. It’s about bailout, it’s about having people dependent on Microsoft. The abusive monopolist instantaneously becomes a matter of life or death to many, and that’s not a good thing at all. Who are the people that sign those deal? Therein lies the scandal. For that matter, Google’s analogous program for healthcare is not acceptable either. That too is proprietary and the software is run remotely. Will it take some death by ‘clouds’ to shake people a bit and pull their heads out of the fog? Why does Misys play along with Microsoft? No lessons learned from what happened to previous collaborators of Microsoft (press release is here by the way)?

“So, the question is whether Microsoft’s marketing efforts are good or bad for the cloud computing movement.”
      –Jeff Kaplan
David Linthicum’s headline alleges that “Microsoft is hijacking the cloud” and his summary says: “With TV commercials focused on the consumer, Redmond’s simplistic definition is obscuring the cloud’s full value”

Jeff Kaplan wonders “What Microsoft’s ‘To the Cloud’ Ads Really Promote” and the point he is making can be summarised as follows: “So, the question is whether Microsoft’s marketing efforts are good or bad for the cloud computing movement.”

Marketing Fog Computing is preaching ignorance, carelessness, and the following of someone else’s orders. Richard Stallman was correct when about 2 years ago he told the corporate press that Fog Computing was just marketing hype. More recently he wrote an insightful post on the subject. By that stage, more people have realised that he was right all along.

Novell Staff Travels to Other Companies

Posted in Novell at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell keeps disintegrating


Summary: Novell’s management is continuing the mass departure, finding greener pastures while Novell gets sold in pieces

FOR REASONS we explained here before, the effect of one’s former colleagues/friends/employers makes it worthwhile to track managers (influential workers) as they move out of companies like Novell. Today we summarise a few recent examples, starting with DecisionWise, which adds Linda Linfield as a Director [1, 2]. Linfield worked for Novell beforehand: “In her prior role as Director of Learning & Development for Novell, she worked with leadership and management teams across geopolitical and cultural boundaries, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and throughout the Americas. Linda currently has responsibility for the DecisionWise international network of associate consultants.”

Joe Panettieri highlights Bob Davis, the new CFO for Kaseya. Panettieri explains further: “I first met Davis roughly two decades ago, when he was senior VP and GM at Novell (1986-1994). Davis was one of the key people who had helped Novell to emerge as the leading PC LAN software provider.” This was mentioned later in this post and in this post from the same publisher.

Another new CTO comes from Novell. This one is Stephen Henkenmeier, who joins ClickSquared [1, 2]. We mentioned him recently, but newer articles/PR add that “prior to M|C, Henkenmeier was vice president of finance for Novell, a leading global provider of infrastructure software and solutions. Henkenmeier also managed global strategy and planning in this role, and was a member of the global executive leadership team.”

“A VP and General Manager at Novell (coming from Ximian) finds himself in another new ‘home’.”Joel West elaborates a bit on Eric Schmidt in Novell (recollections), as so many publications these days do, but this one is nothing major. A VP and General Manager at Novell (coming from Ximian) finds himself in another new ‘home’. To quote: “Patrick was formerly the CEO of xkoto, a cross platform enterprise database virtualization software company which was acquired by Teradata. Prior to xkoto, he was VP and General Manager at Novell. Patrick joined Novell in 2003, as part of the acquisition of Ximian, a Linux and open source software company, where he was President and CEO.” This is definitely worth watching, in case Mono and Moonlight, for example, get promoted there.

There is also Jeff Porcaro, who previous worked at Novell. To quote: “With extensive expertise in global enterprise software engineering and quality assurance, Porcaro brings over 20 years of senior management experience at major technology concerns, including Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq: SYMC | PowerRating) and Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL | PowerRating), to the recently-created position focused on overseeing the development of and feature enhancements to Central Logic’s entire patient flow solutions portfolio.” More can also be found here: “Porcaro has previously served at Symantec, Altiris, WordPerfect, and Novell.”

As always, there are less senior Novell workers who are reported to have moved elsewhere. To give just one new example, “BYU senior anthropology student Whitney Andersen attended Saturday’s ceremony with two friends, Karthik Chandrasekaran and Vegin Abraham Varghese, both of India, here in the U.S. working as temporary consultants for Novell.” On notability scale, departure of non-managerial workers is low, so we generally omit that from posts.

The general trend is that as Novell leaders see the company fading away, many of them leave and find greener pastures. People who buy from Novell at this stage are taking a huge risk.

Novell Does More Harm Than Good at This Stage

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stop button

Summary: An overview of Novell’s activities over the past month, showing both weaknesses and threats to the Free software community

NOVELL is already an historical company, whose trademark may stay for a while because it is widely recognised. Novell is generally mentioned in the Utah press because of its proprietary legacy, not the new paths which did not work out after Microsoft had joined. Also from Utah (“Salt Lake marketers offer advice for 2011″):

Mark Steele, a Marketing Manager at Novell offers this terrific advice, “ If you want to sell your stuff through a third party channel, take a look at your product and potential customers, to help you decide whether to take any and all partners to sell to all the many that buy your product; or focus on a few that will reach your select clientele.”

Novell is still a proprietary software company stuck in a proprietary mindset. The people who were community members as well as employees got laid off so that Ron Hovsepian, the CEO, can enjoy his massive bonuses which equate the annual wage of something like 100 full-time developers. And yes, that’s just the bonus for one single person in a collapsing firm.

“Novell is rapidly becoming a big liability.”The management of Novell may still rely on some apologists, such as Bruce Byfield, who is still standing up for corporate abuse of power (he always defended Novell). It is always amusing that apologists for corporate abuse of power try to describe other analyses as “conspiracy” while the conspiracy exists (a rebuttal to this piece was linked here some days ago). Well, here it is again with an even sillier headline (containing the word “Conspiracy” too).

Novell is rapidly becoming a big liability. As Jan Wildeboer of Red Hat put it, “even if procedural, indication of a change in #CPTN setup. New partners joining? Some partner(s) leaving? [...] CPTN withdrawal raises bigger question: Is #AttachMSFT/NOVL deal in troubled waters? At least doesn’t go as planned AFAICS.”

The head of the FSFE replies to him by posting the “[o]riginal FSFE letter to German competition authorities re Novell, CPTN” and as our reader Satipera put it: “Again. The original reasoning behind patents involved public disclosure yet Attachmate has not even listed the patents. NDA’s proliferate…”

Wayne has responded to disinformation about it, coming from WatchTroll as we noted the other day.

Gene doesn’t think that Open Source or Free Software is a good idea. He’s wrong, mostly because he doesn’t understand what Free Software really is (and he’s not alone in this). He also doesn’t seem to understand the difference between Free Software and Open Source.

We could go on and on giving new examples of Novell’s failure as a company (see Nick Farrell’s “Ye book of Revelation of Novell” and Nick Farrell’s coverage about the CPTN scandal). Novell gets treated as a problem, not merely a victim.

Groklaw points out that Singer, the vulture who put Novell on sale against its will, is crowned one of the “The Most Profitable Hedge Funds, Thanks to Fees — Not Performance

OZ Master, by Daniel Och for Och-Ziff Management, ranked sixth in profits, and Elliott International, by Paul Singer for Elliott Management, ranked seventh, but they tied for 99th in performance: a 6.7% return. According to Bloomberg Markets, the S&P 500 index gained 6% over the same span. Not much value added there for those fees.

Novell’s planned acquisition is mentioned in [1, 2] (mostly annual roundups) and another site points out that: “As part of the transaction, Elliott Management Corporation, one of Novell’s largest shareholders, will become an equity shareholder in Attachmate Corporation.”

“The truth of the matter is that Novell is on its last foot/toe…”See this report [1, 2] which claims: “Back in 1995, Novell Corp. of Waltham, Massachusetts, had $2 billion in revenue and was considered a rival to Cisco Systems Inc. in computer networking. Cisco then was only 10 percent larger than Novell by revenue. Today, with revenue below $1 billion, Novell is less than 3 percent of Cisco’s size. In November it agreed to be purchased by Attachmate Corp. for $2.2 billion.”

As another site claims, “the stack providers have gaps, which makes Red Hat and a portion of Novell interesting.” Well, Novell might not be around for much longer. Someone from the comments section in CNET says that “Novell’s vaunted BrainShare (finally) died awhile ago.” Novell will attend the National Retail Federation Show, but it’s nothing like having one’s own event. The truth of the matter is that Novell is on its last foot/toe and Novell customers/users face uncertainty, which helps not at all. Timothy Prickett Morgan explains: [1, 2]

Thoma Bravo was also one of the investors in the Attachmate conglomerate, which added together host access and application transformation vendors Attachmate and WRQ and systems management and security tool vendors NetIQ and PentaSafe. By the way, Thoma Bravo has a hand in the $2.2 billion acquisition of Novell by Attachmate, which was announced two weeks ago.

Thoma Bravo is showing legacy software businesses more attention than either IBM or Novell have done in a decade. If you have ever wondered what you would do if you could buy the IBM midrange business, think about this: Orlando Bravo and Scott Crabill, the managing partners at the private equity firm who have been behind all of these investments, do not have to wonder. They seem to be doing it, bit by bit, and they know.

In summary, all we can state is that Novell is irrelevant to Free software and all it does to it right now is elevate risk to it, not just with the patent sale but also with OOXML, Mono, Moonlight, and other bits of Microsoft enablement. Why are some people still defending Novell?

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