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03.01.11

Novell’s (Microsoft-Funded) Anti-Ubuntu Propaganda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Ubuntu at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Novell

Summary: Novell employees still use the Novell-developed, Mono-based, Microsoft patents-infringing Banshee to smear Ubuntu

FROM the company which brought us Mono and Moonlight comes a sneaky attack on Canonical, which we last mentioned this morning. Canonical has been selling music for profit for quite a while now and things got complicated when Canonical started dabbling in Novell-copyrighted software with patent liabilities. Following the lead of Miguel de Icaza et al. comes another bigwig from Novell (a disclosure would be nice) taking a shot at Canonical and pretending to be a victim (“Canonical, you’re breaking my heart” is the title). The staff at Novell (Microsoft-funded) uses this patents-loaded Trojan horse (Banshee) to ruin Ubuntu’s reputation. They are portraying this as poor developers (Mono proponents) fighting the ‘giant’ which is Canonical when in fact Novell is a lot bigger, it gets money from Microsoft to promote Microsoft agenda, and the developers are paid by Novell to write Banshee. They are naming GNOME for sentimental blackmail, pretending that Canonical ‘steals’ money from GNOME. These people breed hate.

“They are naming GNOME for sentimental blackmail, pretending that Canonical ‘steals’ money from GNOME.”In some sense, Banshee is interfering with Canonical’s older multimedia-playing program (RhythmBox), which did not cause much controversy (neither because of referrals nor Mono-type complications). In my many conversations with Jono Bacon about this I warned him even a year ago that relying on Novell software is a bad idea not just because of Mono; he politely declined to do something about it. Inaction is sometimes suicidal, but again, Ubuntu is not the culprit here, it is just being characterised this way by Novell’s PR charade. It is them who hurt the community while trying to accuse their critics — yours truly included — of hurting the community. We just don’t have the PR power of Novell and neither does Canonical. Canonical should have never touched Banshee/Novell in the first place. It’s a case of asking for trouble when entering the Microsoft camp; however, lobbying from Novell is similar to Microsoft’s. If you decline their push (e.g. of Mono), then they label/call you a “hater”, or something along those lines. This is how Microsoft manages to get into many panels and events of its opposition. They use “hate” as a persuasion tool. Ubuntu and Canonical should know better that excessive tolerance of those whose interests are opposite to yours can be destructive.

In other news, LibreOffice is coming to OpenSUSE 11.4 and even though some lesser-known distributions have already come with LibreOffice, Sean claims OpenSUSE to be a first:

The first complete major Linux distribution to integrate LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.org is….

openSUSE 11.4

The Novell led openSUSE Linux distribution is out this week with RC2 of openSUSE 11.4 and in my view it will be among the first big Linux distros that has moved to LibreOffice in a generally available release.

Certainly other distros have LibreOffice in their repositories now, but just circumstances of release timing make openSUSE 11.4 the first. Ubuntu’s Natty and Fedora 15 will both likely include LibreOffice as well, but both of those release are still months away from general availability. LibreOffice itself just hit general availability at the end of January.

Sean ignores ‘smaller’ distros as though they do not count or even exist. Novell is not really the first here; The Novell/Go-OO people may have played a role in pushing OOXML into LibreOffice [1, 2, 3, 4], so what credit does SUSE/Novell really deserve? People treat them with suspicion; so should Canonical. Novell is funded by Microsoft and this funding comes with strings (obligations). Who knows… maybe Steve Ballmer will pat Ron Hovsepian on the shoulder for making Ubuntu look malicious, LibreOffice controversial due to OOXML exporters, and OOXML a ‘real standard’ that everyone can implement. Novell works for money and it knows where the money comes from; it’s the Microsoft funnel and its own proprietary software, not Free software.

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16 Comments

  1. termie said,

    March 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Just made an account so I could ask you what research you’ve done before writing this article? You’ve clearly completely misunderstood the situation, and I mean 100% completely, if you actually stand by and believe the statement you made:

    “They are naming GNOME for sentimental blackmail, pretending that Canonical ‘steals’ money from GNOME. These people breed hate.”

    Please investigate for yourself how much money banshee has generated and where it has gone. Please do some research. Once that’s done, please come back and amend this article with what you’ve discovered about how the money is distributed. I’d also love you to make a direct comparison with how canonical wishes to distribute the funds. Make specific reference to whether the recipient is a private corporation or not.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    We have already gone though these points (in great death/detail) and you can find the discussion in today’s IRC logs.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    s/death/depth/

    termie Reply:

    Without the facts to back up your claims, the article reads as just being a wild rant. Could you add them so that the basis for your accusations can be understood by all of us? Not all of us linger in your IRC logs nor are they available online, only yesterdays are. I’m just trying to see how you reached your conclusions which offer a completely different picture of events as compared to other blogs/articles covering the events. I’m curious as to what information you obtained and where you got it from!

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You can find it in my daily links in large numbers.

    Why don’t you just point out where you think there is misstatement of facts? Also explain. Making vague claims of “inaccuracies” is something we used to get a lot of from the trolls. One has to be specific when challenging in a debate as just because you do not like hearing something does not make that thing erroneous.

    twitter Reply:

    I don’t see any real refutation above, just more swipes at Roy’s integrity.

    conclusions which offer a completely different picture of events as compared to other blogs/articles covering the events

    That’s to be expected when all of the other articles have so far been from the Wintel press. The fact free nature of those articles and baseless trolling are more clues. Are you guys upset that Roy saw through another Microsoft set up so quickly?

    twitter Reply:

    I’d love to read this for myself. As you so clearly, completely, 100% completely know the answers, how about a reference? I’d have expected Jono or any of the Banshee developers commenting on his blog, or Canonical to have brought out the relevant facts. Why, exactly has that not happened?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    From what I’ve been seeing, people are unable to challenge this based on facts and when shown the facts they move the goalposts and find something else to nitpick.

    twitter Reply:

    Par for the course.

    termie Reply:

    I’m sorry, I thought i had made it clear the bit of information that I wanted you to clarify in my first post. Obviously not, so I’ll restate it here. I’ve added a second point I wish clarified that was not in my original post:

    1)

    “They are naming GNOME for sentimental blackmail, pretending that Canonical ‘steals’ money from GNOME. These people breed hate.”

    I initially asked you to clarify that statement. You appear to be implying that Banshee are not donating money to GNOME and that they are instead just pretending they are to earn some kind of sympathy vote. If this is what you are implying then you must not believe any of the existing blogposts about how much has been donated so far, and must not believe that the information available at http://banshee.fm/about/revenue/ is true and accurate. If this is the case, why do you believe all this to be a fabrication and what is your proof and backing for it? If this truly is a fabrication, the simplest thing to do would be for you to contact the GNOME foundation and I’m sure they’d be more than delighted to publicly denounce it. If it is true that they are giving gnome 100% of their affiliate revenue, well there’s your proof beyond doubt.. Also, I’m just some random Joe on the internet, please don’t accept my links as fact. Go straight to the source (GNOME), that’s the only reliable place to get this kind of information.

    2)

    You are implying that Novell/Banshee/Mono (I’m not sure which) has launched some kind of smear campaign against Ubuntu. That appears to be the entire point of this article. From that I understand that you believe that Banshee has instigated these events. However this is clearly incorrect as Mark Shuttleworth (current CEO of Canonical) has publicly stated that they handled everything badly [0]. His article states that they had approached the banshee team, they offered 2 choices and that these choices were then removed as options and only a single option was given to the Banshee team. The events in the recent week or three have been entirely instigated by Canonical, as he has admitted. As such, how did you come to understand that this is a Microsoft/Banshee/Mono/Novell smear campaign? Canonical made offers which were accepted by the Banshee team and then those offers were revoked. This is what riled the community. Would it not rile you?

    [0] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/611

    3)

    This is just a further clarification on your position regarding the distribution of funds, not a question about the article.

    Currently, to the best of everyones knowledge, Banshee gives 100% of its affiliate revenue to the non-profit GNOME foundation. For the sake of this argument lets assume that this is true and no money is being added/removed from this revenue stream. This money is then distributed by GNOME to help fund development of GNOME related projects.

    Now, Canonical have publicly stated that they will redirect 75% of these funds to their own commercial enterprise. A private company has decided that funds which were previously destined for a non-profit should now be redirected towards a for-profit enterprise. So, as a matter of principle do you stand by the decision of the Banshee team to keep 100% of the money going to GNOME or do you agree that a private entity is entitled to take from this revenue stream as they see fit? From the tone of your article it appears that you are in favour of Canonical and of this decision they have made. Is this the case?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I will tackle your 3 points in turn as you mostly omit contextual information from this analysis.

    1) the inclusion of GNOME in this debate is a little deceptive because Banshee is a Novell project, so the reality is that you have two companies, one being Canonical and the other being the much larger Novell. By comparing sizes you see that David is Canonical and Goliath is Novell with its ally (sugar daddy, funding source) Microsoft. They’ve tried to reverse that. See my response to (3) regarding the role of GNOME here.

    2) You wrote: “You are implying that Novell/Banshee/Mono (I’m not sure which) has launched some kind of smear campaign against Ubuntu.” No, I treat this as an opportunistic situation where Novell employees saw an opportunity to make Canonical look bad. They succeeded. Once Canonical handled the situation badly there was major backlash and Mark Shuttleworth had to backtrack.

    3) You still concentrate on suggesting that I deny the payments to GNOME; this is not the case at all. In order to explain this, you must account for the fact that Ubuntu/Canonical does Banshee a big favour by even including Banshee in the first place. There are other, IMHO better, multimedia players for GNU/Linux. None has made similar demands for Canonical to meet. Thus, in your explanation you focus too much on a straw man. In my humble assessment, Canonical should have just dumped Banshee (along with the Mono liability it brings) as soon as this whole argument began. I will just add what I wrote a month ago; what Banshee does in GNOME might be an attempt to gain influence inside GNOME (like steering committee) and the last thing you want is even more Mono boosters making decisions for GNOME. Just look what ACCESS did in GNOME land.

    twitter Reply:

    Thank you for taking the time to put forward some concrete facts. In the last six months or so Banshee’s Amazon affiliate revenue has brought Gnome $4,073 in a manner that appears to be growing. This much no one can disagree with, but I’ve asked for a breakdown of Gnome Foundation obligations and without that, no opinion about self interest can be drawn.

    I do not agree with your interpretation of the facts and see them as part of a malicious, Microsoft originated smear campaign against Canonical. This incident reinforces the reasonable opinion that the mono project is Microsoft poison and that Novell is SCO 2.0, a Microsoft directed suicide bomb designed to damage, coopt, divide and discredit the free software community. There is nothing altruistic going on. This campaign has wrestled a great deal of distribution control away from Canonical and will be funding enemies of free software. It is mud on Novell, Banshee and Canonical.

    In the first place, the sum is a pathetic quantity for a company the size of Novell to brag about on their web pages. Amarok, for example, earned three times that much for KDE from Magnatunes in it’s first check, with nine times that much split between artists and Magnatunes half each, while Banshee has given about $37,000 to RIAA member companies who are enemies of software freedom. I understand that Novell is having a little trouble making ends meet now that the Microsoft money is all spent and the disastrous results of Novell’s partnership are hitting home, but the smear job has caused far more than $5,000 of damage to all parties involved.

    That was the point, I think of the long list of Microsoft press articles that ran fact free smear jobs of the “Ubuntu is teh evil empire robbing poor little Banshee developers” type. Mono boosters have a long list of such drama to their credit which have targeted GNU, GPL3, RMS and other perceived threats to Microsoft.

    Another point made by the noise is the usual Microsoft non free propaganda about “moral obligations”. If Banshee is free software, users are free to remove sections they consider obnoxious. Most free software advocates consider funding Amazon and the RIAA obnoxious.

  2. gnufreex said,

    March 3, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Gravatar

    Termie, I think what you ask is red herring. None of that matters, your premise is wrong. You behave like Banshee owns all the money and that is what Novell’s marketing want you to think. Well, that’s wrong.

    Here are some facts that every “Banshee got riped off” post from Novell PR department conveniently omits:

    1. If Canonical don’t ship Banshee, they don’t get _any_ money from Canonical.

    2. Although Mono encumbered, Banshee is shipped under license that allows modification. Basically, banshee folks are crying that Canonical modifies it to suit their needs.

    3. Money that Ubuntu derives is only reasonable to go to Canonical unless it is otherwise arranged previously. For example, Firefox is known to have revenue model and defends it by blocking trademark. Banshee didn’t do this, AFAIK.

    4. Obviously, banshee didn’t mention any money before it stuffed itself into Ubuntu, probably from fear that Canonical might back of from peddling their stuff. They behave like they are entitled to money now that Banshee is included, and they try to paint picture that Canonical is ripping them off. They first made sure they got place in default install (not mentioning the money), and then made trojan plugin to make them money. (And plugin is for Amazon store, a company that pays Microsoft racket like novell, how convinient)

    5. Most vocal screamers (pun intended) in this dispute are Novell employees or banshee affiliates. So saying that this is Microsoft funded PR campaign is in place. Novell is hardly anything more than MSFT subsidiary, and they already smeared ODF and promoted OOXML to suit MSFT agenda. See http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101219121621828 That is to say not all crticizing Canonical are Novell employees, but Novellers are inciting it and they started this mess. You can verify that by searching posters names on linked in. The guy that wrote pathetic “Canonical broke my heart” diatribe is from Novell, for example (I can’t find that post now, if you find it, drop a link). Also, you might know this guy https://twitter.com/migueldeicaza/status/40878260325859328 and this is OpenSUSE community manager http://identi.ca/notice/65802613 All novellers are unanimously throwing sticks and stones at Canonical. The later one is misleading about Apple, it is not 30% of same pie. Model works completely different. We are talking about percentage of *profit* here, while Apple’s 30% is profit margin. 70% goes to RIAA dogs. Apple doesn’t share their profit with anyone. They get 100% of their 30%. While Canonical gets just 75% of their profit now. Who writes the music player is completely irrelevant, it is Ubuntu One music store by Canonical, and they can route it through Rytmbox or anything the want.

    6. Banshee is pushed into Ubuntu almost by brute force, by FUDing Rythmbox (see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1078732 ) and by convincing Ubuntu userbase that Rytmbox is dead so if they don’t support banshee, they are going mute.

    7. They try to hide beyond “it is not for us, it is for GNOME”. They don’t have right to donate other people’s revenue to GNOME, just like they don’t have right to claim it is theirs. Ubuntu’s belongs to Canonical and banshees are lucky they got 25% they don’t deserve. Canonical can donate to GNOME on their own if they want, they don’t need to be mandated by Banshee screamers.

    Also, note than numbering isn’t response to your numbers. It is my numbers. I hope Roy will respond to your numbers.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are some more examples where Novell employees are “throwing sticks and stones at Canonical,” as you put it. They’ve managed to persuade some non-Novell people to play along. They breed anti-Ubuntu hate.

    gnufreex Reply:

    I know and I have read most, but I didn’t bookmark it and I have trouble finding it. They did manage to set the tone and now practically everyone speaks about big bad Canonical and omits the fact that Banshee did a bait and switch and that Novell is behind it.

    I think Canonical sometimes deserve criticism but definitely not this time.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The same goes for Google. Microsoft’s ‘ecosystem’ loves to accentuate/fabricate existing criticism.

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