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05.22.11

Links 22/5/2011: Zenwalk 7.0, Mozilla Firefox 5 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The flexibility of Linux

    I’ll admit, I’m somewhat interested in Google’s Chromebook concept. The Chromebook is Google’s spin on the “netbook”. Announced in May last year, Chromebook goes on sale in mid-June.

    The Chromebook runs Google’s Chrome OS, which is based on Gentoo Linux. While Linux has appeared on netbooks in the past (and were the only option on the very first netbooks) this is another example of the flexibility of Linux. You can use Linux as a base for almost any computing platform – it’s small, fast, and supports a variety of hardware.

  • I shall build it and I shall call it gregBook

    Both my desktop and my laptop started working more slowly a few weeks ago. This indicated that something about the operating system (some version of Ubuntu Linux) changed in a bad way. Or, perhaps, since the slowness was mostly noticed in the web browser, the newer version of Firefox was somehow borked. It turns out that the latter is true to some extent because the developers of Firefox left Linux out in the cold with hardware acceleration (and despite the excuses for that I’m still annoyed … had the same issues applied to, say Windows, they would not have left Windows out in the cold). But that is a digression. It turns out that the cause was related to something I had installed that was related to the system. This little problem has been solved, but it brings up another issue, which has also been addressed on the blog Linux in Exile. This is what I wanted to talk about.

  • Linux vs Other Operating Systems : 7 common myths busted

    Myth 1: Linux is just for geeks

    Linux is for everyone. While Linux based distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Fedora are developed with the non-technical user in mind, Slackware and others appeal to the more geeky ones. Believe it or not, installing Ubuntu is actually easier than a Windows installation , and using it requires no special skills.

    Myth 2 : Linux can’t handle Excel, Word, Powerpoint

    Linux can handle all the major file formats when it comes to documents as it comes with a powerful opensource Office suite called Openoffice.org (soon to be replaced by Libreoffice). So, apart from doing all the spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing out of the box, Linux can do tasks like publishing, image editing using only free and open source applications.

  • Google’s Chromium OS on the Desktop

    That didn’t take long. A manufacturer plans to release a small desktop PC with Chromium OS in July. It’s Xi3 and their modular PC. One of the modules will be a Chromium OS…

  • Kernel Space

    • Help me come up with good questions for Linus at LinuxCon Japan 2011

      My previous plea for help worked out very well. The resulting video of the talk can be seen here, with one of the highlights being the phrase, “It is cheaper to work upstream in the kernel” from Dirk Hohndel who works at Intel. There’s a summary of the talk on lwn.net over here if you don’t want to sit through the whole video.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The Ubuntu GNOME Remix — an ISO is imminent

        I hoped Ubuntu would do the right thing and start an official derivative featuring the GNOME 3 environment. That has not happened.

        But there is a new project, the Ubuntu GNOME Remix, offering a PPA today and an ISO install image at some point in the near future.

        The project aims for a Canonical endorsement, as seen on its “about” page:

  • Distributions

    • Review: Zenwalk 7.0

      So what’s the verdict? It certainly is relatively user-friendly, and much more so than Slackware. It’s stable, and it definitely minimizes package redundancy. That said, it isn’t as fast as advertised, and the French and Japanese issues were annoying, considering that I thought I was downloading an English live medium (and I thought there would be different live media for different languages). Those are minor issues, though, and while I wouldn’t recommend it for a newbie, I would recommend it for anyone who wants the stability of Slackware without the hassle. Zenwalk isn’t the only kid in town, though; other Slackware-based user-friendly distributions with Xfce include Wolvix, Salix OS, and Vector Linux, so please do check those out too. You can the download Zenwalk install CD from here or the live CD from here.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Modders Make Android Work the Way You Want

          CyanogenMod is one of the biggest hacks to ever hit the Android mobile platform.

          It’s got an estimated 500,000 users. Many Android programmers use it as a starting point for their own coding projects. And according to the project’s founder, a number of Google employees have it installed on their Android devices.

          Essentially, CyanogenMod is a tricked-out version of the software you’re already running on your Android phone.

          Every Android-powered device comes running a version of the operating system, from 1.5 (Cupcake) all the way up to 3.1 (Honeycomb).

        • The Android Tablet Ecosystem Is In Need of Major Changes

          Huang made very clear that he thinks Android tablets have to come in at lower price points, emphasizing Wi-Fi over 3G for connections. Meanwhile, there are also strong concerns being voiced over the marketing of Android tablets, or rather, the lack of any unified marketing for them.

          That hasn’t stopped powerful new players from entering the Android tablet space, though. Dell has announced plans for an Android tablet, among several other hardware makers.

        • Google Deodorizes Sniffable Android Security Flaw
        • The Android Empire Rules the Smartphone World

          The Android platform tops the list in sales of smartphone operating systems for the first quarter of 2011, according to a report by market researcher Gartner (NYSE: IT).

          Total smartphone sales accounted for 23.6 percent of global handset units overall, and various phones sporting Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android OS took 36 percent of that market. They sold more than 36.3 million units in the quarter. Next in line was Symbian, taking 27.4 percent of the market share. Following were Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS platform with 16.8 percent and Research In Motion’s (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry platform at 12.9 percent.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

Clip of the Day

GNU Parallel 20110522 (‘Pakistan’)


Credit: TinyOgg

Producing TechBytes

Posted in Site News at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TECHBYTES has had to do some research into recording shows with Free software. It was actually our intention since the early days of the show (November 2010) to look into a pipeline which is entirely Free software based. Because of convenience or laziness, we settled for and ended up recording the show under Skype, then doing the rest with Free software. We actually started by experimenting with SIP to some extent while simultaneously looking into a recorder which was compatible with Skype for GNU/Linux. As the show involved many guests (especially at the start) we needed to facilitate Skype access and curtailed the pursuit for a SIP replacement until more recently. Then came the time to record with Richard Stallman, which coincided with the disturbing rumour that Facebook would buy Skype. Eventually it was Microsoft, which can be seen as equally bad.

This post summarises my findings and to some extent Tim’s observations too. We spent many long hours researching the subject, testing many packages, testing the process inside many calls, and making a lot of test recordings, then refining them and adjusting parameters including volume levels. Some listeners provided valuable advice. Some gave application recommendations and here is what was found after a fairly thorough exploration.

Read on…

Links 22/5/2011: Mageia RC1 is Out, Canonical Expects Well Over 10 Million PCs with Ubuntu to Ship This Year

Posted in News Roundup at 9:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • New Linux Laptop from ERACC – Self-Review

      The user ordered a serial Express Card for use to control some hardware that needs a serial connection. He said the serial control is not something that is a critical need, just desirable. This needs to work from within the Windows 7 Professional VirtualBox virtual machine. The serial express card is working just fine from Linux. I connected a MultiTech 56k MultiModem to the serial port and used minicom to send AT commands to the modem. I was able to control the modem from minicom. Unfortunately I could not get Windows 7 in the VirtualBox virtual machine to use the serial port. I tried every permutation of serial configuration over a period of about two days and never got Windows 7 to “see” the serial port. The client is going to keep the Express Card so we can keep trying to get it working with remote support. This is in the “iffy” section because it may work in the future even if it is not working now.

      The good. Everything else I was able to test works. The sound is working. The wireless NIC connected to our wireless router and pulled an IP address from the wireless router after I entered the WPA2 security information. The wired NIC, when connected to our LAN switch, pulled an IP address from our Linux internet gateway. The DVDRW drive is working to read and write DVDRW discs. USB ports are working. The external headphone and microphone jacks work. I do not have any eSATA hardware, so could not test the eSATA port. As already reported above, the Express Card port works. Even the 1.3 Megapixel Web Camera works. I started Kopete and ran the video configuration to test this.

    • Linux Desktop vs. The Rise of Tablet Computers and Smartphones

      There of course, is no problem with competition. However, with the rise in the consumption of smartphones and tablet computers, the importance of desktop is slowly waning. Linux on the other hand, is just starting out on its quest for world domination. Will Linux be able to match these new and ‘viral’ trends in technology? Or, will it go down as an operating system that was never meant for normal users? If you ask me, I think Linux has a fair chance of beating the hell out of these tablets and smartphones. Here’s my side of the argument:

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Using Kernel Linux 2.6.39

      As soon as the new stable kernel has been released by Linus Torvalds, i downloaded them and install it on my workstation few days ago. It was a nice release, and one thing i would like to test is the new EXT 4 SMP scalability and also further performance improvements after they removed the BKL (Big Kernel Lock) and many other patches from the kernel developers. At that time, i didn’t install it on my desktop first, since i’m not really sure whether the current NVidia driver already supported this new kernel or not.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Tiny Wayland Compositor Emulates Four Displays

        One of the Clutter tool-kit developers has announced a tiny Wayland compositor that was written and it provides support for multiple display emulation. This Wayland compositor is capable of emulating four displays and for now basically serves as a technical example.

      • Bumbleebee brings NVIDIA Optimus graphics switching to Linux

        NVIDIA’s Optimus technology allows laptops with the latest Intel chips and NVIDIA graphics cards to automatically switch between Intel’s integrated graphics and NVIDIA’s higher performance graphics depending on what programs you’re running. This allows you to get better battery life when you don’t need bleeding edge graphics, while giving you the ability to play high performance video games without rebooting your computer to manually switch graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Revisiting the tabbed desktop

      One of the things I had time to try, but didn’t have time to write about, was a revisit to someone else’s idea. I do that quite often, now that I think about it.

      This time it was urukrama’s tabbed desktop from a couple of years ago. Things like that tend to roll around in my mind, and then bubble up after a while.

    • Where ends the Workspace and where begins the Application?

      When we look at the thread, we can distinguish three groups of people participating:

      1. Users – they either like or dislike the behavior
      2. Application developers – they consider the behavior as a bug which breaks their application. They want the behavior either weakened or disabled by default
      3. Workspace developers – they consider the behavior as a feature provided by the workspace. It is not a bug that the window can be dragged. No application gets broken by it; in the worst case it’s an annoying, but very consistent behavior.

    • Desktop Summit Team Unveils Exciting Program of Talks
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Open Governance Roles and Responsibilities

        Last week, in my blog on the Maturity Level List and in the previous week’s Maturity Levels, I left some indications of what would be expected of a maintainer of a portion of the Qt codebase. In this blog I’d like to explain a bit more what’s expected of people working via the Qt Open Governance, what roles will exist and what responsibilities will each have.

      • Activity config UI for Contour and Active

        this short video shows the new ui for the configuration of an activity: right now you can configure the activity name and wallpaper, probably more options to come (even tough it will remain as simple as possible). It is accessed by a button on the activity switcher weel or from the activity itself (if the used Plasma containment provides a config button)

      • Meet the Gang!

        In between demoing his comic art and joining in the discussions during the meeting, an artist’s hands are never idle! So Animtim prepared this little collection of Krita hackers and artists… Only he himself is missing! So meet the gang, rendered by the Sketch brush!

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Greeters

          I’ve been watching the Ubuntu “power users” group set up with enormous interest. Although Ubuntu has aimed squarely at being easy to use, I’ve never seen it as being particularly unfriendly toward power users, and the idea of needing a specific area in which people can talk about power user issues seems somewhat odd. However – judging from the activity, it seems to have hit a real nerve. Whether or not it is a good idea in the long term remains to be seen: I’m firmly of the opinion that splitting communities into factions is a bad idea, so how they will overcome that in time will be a challenge, but clearly it’s meeting a real need.

          [...] the need for Fedora to be open and welcoming is more important now than ever.

    • Debian Family

      • Stepping Outside the Repository

        Package management and the repositories of software in distributions like Debian GNU/Linux are one of the great features of GNU/Linux. For most individuals and organizations, installing and updating packages from the repositories will be the best way to manage IT. Most of the work is done by the package managers and the end-user can do periodic or instant updates according to his needs.

      • Love of Money is the Root of all Evil

        The state of MA, whose IT is run by that other OS even fell prey to this thing and, for weeks, account information and access to accounts was given to a band of thieves. The malware hid itself and used multiple APIs of that other OS to infect PCs on the LAN and every USB drive inserted. Isn’t it time for this nonsense to end? Use Debian GNU/Linux and take control of your PC.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Psensor 0.6.2.8 Released, The Best Way to Display System Temperatures in Unity

            Psensor 0.6.2.8 has been released and is now available in its unstable repository. Psensor is a graphical temperature monitoring tool for Linux. Psensor has already been added to Ubuntu 11.10 archives so it will be available to download from software center in Oneiric.

          • Evolution 3.0 in Ubuntu 11.04

            With the great GNOME 3 PPA for Ubuntu, you get most of the GNOME3 desktop.

          • Meet Unico, The New GTK3 Theme Engine in Ubuntu 11.10

            Gnome 3 stack is steadily landing into Oneiric. Work is also being done to port default themes Ambiance and Radiance to GTK3.

            Light themes in Oneiric will most likely use Unico theme engine and not Murrine as some style guidelines for GTK3 themes have changed. Unico was actively developed in past but the work stopped as the new overlay scrollbars in Natty took precedence. Unico engine is already present in Official Ubuntu 11.04 repositories but that should be only meant for testing purposes as it is far from being finished. However, the development has resumed now.

          • Data From Canonical…

            “We will pre-load well over 10 million PCs with Ubuntu this year and we are more than doubling users every year in India and China.”

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Will Mint be the new Ubuntu?

              I’ve been sick. Or, as our British-speaking readers might say, I’ve been ill. Just about as ill as you can be and still manage to drag yourself in to work. Congestion, fever, sore throat, ugly disgusting gunk ejected in huge heaving coughing fits. Lost my voice, too, more or less. Not completely, but enough that I sound like a bullfrog. Ill.

              This is to explain the stasis.

              But to break the stasis, I bring you soaring praise of Linux Mint 10.

              As regular readers may remember, I switched my laptop to Mint 10 two weeks ago. The more I use it, the happier I am with it. It has been absolutely rock stable, no interface glitches whatsoever. It boots fast, it looks great (although part of that is my doing, from tweaking the fonts and themes and adding Docky and such). I’ve grown fond of the Mint menu and am starting to prefer it over the default Gnome menu. Applications look great and come up fast. KDE apps work and look fine too. It never crashes, never locks up. Nothing breaks it. Even the shutdown splash – traditionally a crapshoot in Ubuntu-based distros since they adopted Plymouth – works consistently.

              It just works.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • T-Mobile plans huge summer Android splash, according to leaked roadmap

          T-Mobile has an aggressive lineup of predominantly Android-based smartphones planned for this summer, starting with the 4.3-inch HTC Sensation 4G on Jun 8, followed later by a slider version of the MyTouch 4G, according to a leaked roadmap. Meanwhile, Android continued to make gains in the latest Millennial Media and Gartner studies, with Gartner pegging Android’s global 1Q smartphone share at a dominating 36 percent.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Dell’s 10.1-inch Streak Pro tablet breaks cover

        Dell is set to roll out its long-rumored, 10.1-inch Streak Pro tablet in June with Android 3.0, according to an industry report. The business-focused tablet is said to run on an Nvidia Tegra 2, and offers dual cameras and up to a 64GB solid state drive (SSD).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Read-only nation: can Open Source change the British way?

    We asked if open-source software had a part to play in increasing technological innovation in the UK. It seems that for a nation with such a great engineering heritage, we have too easily passed the tech leadership flag over to the US and to the emerging economies.

    Steve George from Canonical speculated that open-source software could inspire more people to engage with technology, and that the UK’s firmly closed-source infrastructure could be stifling innovation, making us less competitive on the global stage.

    And then you, the beloved readers of El Reg, joined the fray.

    Most people seem to agree that the UK could be doing better. Oliver Jones offers the following: “In computing terms, I have long thought of the UK as being a ‘read-only’ nation. They love shiny Apple products and Sony PlayStations, but have zero interest in learning how to make something better.

  • Open-source platforms benefit developer and user

    As a software developer for federal agencies, our company might have reason to be afraid of a new trend — giving away software products for free. Sounds like a losing business model, doesn’t it?

    But, in fact, we think it’s a great idea for government and our company.

    How government benefits…

  • Events

    • 2011 FOSDEM & Embedded Linux Conference videos published

      The team at embedded Linux site Free Electrons have published videos from this year’s Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) and Embedded Linux Conference (ELC). The eleventh annual FOSDEM event took place on 5 and 6 February in Brussels, Belgium, and the Embedded Linux Conference was held on 13 and 14 April at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco.

    • Solutions Linux & LinuxTag 2011

      I was traveling last week to attend two events: Solutions Linux in Paris and LinuxTag in Berlin. It was a bit unfortunate that they happened during the same week, as they conflicted for two days — which means I missed some days for both events. And on top of that, the Ubuntu Developer Summit was also last week, which resulted in some people missing the events…

      Compared to last year, both events had a quite visible difference in terms of number of visitors. I’m not exactly sure why this is so; it could be because there were conflicts with other events, or also because they moved to first half of May, which is different from previous years.

      What was most amazing, however, was to be present at booths just one month after the GNOME 3.0 release. For both events, we had tons of GNOME 3 PromoDVDs (kindly offered on behalf of the openSUSE project) to give away, and that was a big success: I think we gave around 600 of them at Solutions Linux and probably a similar amount, if not more, at LinuxTag (Tobias would know better than me here).

    • Gentoo LinuxTag 2011 and static gallery generators 2011-05-21
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 5 Beta Is Here, What’s New?

        So what’s new in Firefox 5? The release notes mention support for CSS animations as the only new technology included in the release.

      • The Next-Generation Browser: No URL Bar

        Being able to type the address of a website is one of the most essential features we expect from web browsers today. Yet it is the URL bar and its purpose that is now being reconsidered by both Google as well as Mozilla for Chrome and Firefox. The next major revision of web browsers will include options to hide the URL bar. Further down the road, it is inevitable that the URL bar will become what it is supposed to be: A tool – not more and not less.

      • What’s Inside Mozilla’s Firefox 5 Beta?

        Mozilla has released the first Firefox beta under its new rapid-release model: a program designed to ensure more frequent updates to the browser at the expense of huge, sweeping changes between new Firefox versions.

        Case in point—the company just sent Firefox 5 from the newly designed Aurora development channel to the public-facing Beta channel. That means that it’s available for public consumption and feedback. However, the list of new features might seem a bit scant at first, especially if one takes into account the historical jumps that have previously occurred between Firefox version numbers.

        “The shift to a rapid release development cycle delivers cutting edge Firefox features, performance enhancements, security updates and stability improvements to users faster,” reads the blog post announcing the Firefox 5 beta release.

  • CMS

    • Chris Rock using Drupal

      A lot of the recent “scores” I’ve listed on this site have been from serious institutions: ING, Investor.gov, The U.S. Small Business Administration, and The World Economic Forum.

      But don’t think for a moment that Drupal’s losing any ground in other areas. I was in NYC recently, the mecca of the media and entertainment industry, and Drupal is about to get really big there — that’s food for another blog post that I’m planning to write.

Clip of the Day

SSS(11 of 14) Homeopathy, Magnets, and Quackery


Credit: TinyOgg

Eric Doyle: Novell’s Bright Hopes for SUSE Failed to Shine

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A British journalist explains how, based on his sources, Novell was used by those who conspired to wage anti-competitive wars

JOURNALIST/COLUMNIST Eric Doyle has a couple of interesting posts about Novell, and about SUSE in particular. Now that AttachMSFT separates SUSE from itself, Doyle’s well-researched commentary suggests that “Novell’s bright hopes for SuSE failed to shine, but a chance encounter in a London bar may explain how the downhill run started…”

AttachMSFTBe sure to read the part after the encounter is described. “Not quite an “apres-ski binge” but, nonetheless, an alcohol-fuelled encounter around 10pm in a London hotel bar during an Infosecurity conference” he explains. “I fell into conversation with a fellow delegate who claimed to be a pig farmer involved in RFID tests. Given my agricultural background, he had picked the wrong journalist to con and I soon blew his cover. After around four hours of elusive badinage about his real identity, he eventually cracked and confessed to being a former Novell employee.”

“After around four hours of elusive badinage about his real identity, he eventually cracked and confessed to being a former Novell employee.”
      –Eric Doyle
Notice how he uses our picture of Steve Ballmer riding SUSE’s mascot. We made this picture for “Boycott Novell” and what he says about the conspiracy to unseat competition only further validates our suspicions. There is also an accompanying article from Doyle. Excellent work and a case of real journalism. It says that “Four divisions will house Attachmate’s products and those gained through its purchase of Novell” (Novell sliced down and reorganised itself about a year and a half ago).

So anyway, where does this whole mess leave the GNU/Linux component of Novell? It turns out that Teradata’s use of SUSE (more in [1, 2]) is likely to persist along with Fujitsu’s (it also runs SUSE), whereas SAP seems to be getting back into Red Hat and it’s not alone. Companies just don’t trust SUSE after Novell's collapse. Even OpenSUSE is hardly active anymore. Susan Linton — as we originally noted in our daily links — shows that OpenSUSE becomes a Ubuntu me-too and older releases of the distribution reach end of life quite quickly. If someone wants to buy the SUSE division, then it probably won’t cost much. It is quite likely to happen.

Novell Ebbing in Attachmate’s Hands

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Under the leadership of AttachMSFT, Novell products still fail to maintain their userbase

AttachMSFT would love to make it seem like it should be trusted. Oracle did the same thing when it acquired Sun. It makes business sense to always make everything appear healthy, even when it is not. Just watch the latest news headlines for very recent examples of that [1, 2]. There is a diversion from discussion about the layoffs.

On the ground, things do not appear so promising. Novell dumped at Racine Unified cannot be good news and according to this other new report, a “school system is planning on switching computer operating systems from Novell Netware to Microsoft Server 2008.”

This whole Microsoft-Novell deal and AttachMSFT acquisition is turning out pretty well for Microsoft. It is not a good time for those who developed for Novell platforms. Yes, Novell is mentioned in this press release too. Condrey Corporation seems to be targeting a dying platform. What have we seen from AttachMSFT so far (except layoffs)?

The SD Times publishes the results of some survey which compares Novell to Microsoft:

Zeichick’s Take: Novell is (was) super-stodgy; Microsoft, not so much

That’s the result of a highly nonscientific survey, conducted over the past couple of months, by yours truly. As you may recall from my Feb. 7 column, “Stodgy old Microsoft,” a radio analyst referred to the folks in Redmond that way during a story about their quarterly returns.

It’s time to share the complete results. Several hundred people filled out the survey, which was linked in my column, tweeted out and put on Facebook. Although there was no statistical rigor, the rankings are revealing.

The press near Novell publishes a look back at the company and Novell eulogies too. As one puts it:

At Novell’s peak in the ’90s, 70 percent of the world’s computer networks were run with its system management software. More recently, the company’s fortunes have faded under pressure from Microsoft and other Web-based competitors — prompting Novell to try to reinvent itself as a distributor of the free Linux operating system.

Novell chose to be crushed in Microsoft’s hands rather than liaise with Microsoft’s rivals. It was foolish judgment. What Novell then descended to is the selling of Novell’s acquired proprietary software which sometimes targeted SUSE or only Windows [1, 2, 3]. It hardly promotes the use of GNU/Linux. Later on Novell also pushed Fog Computing (it is still doing this), which is no better than proprietary, even if it is offered gratis (initially). We may never really know just how those leaderless products perform under AttachMSFT’s wing because it’s a private and fairly secretive company.

What Happens to the Novell Boycott

Posted in Boycott Novell, Site News at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dark question

Summary: Clarifications about our goals, which never really changed at all

“BOYCOTT NOVELL” is the most significant part of the Techrights Web site. It is also the genesis of the site. Now that Novell is dead we are going to follow parts of Novell that are impacted by the patent deal with Microsoft. Needless to say, since Microsoft and Novell signed their patent deal the plague of patents has spread further, largely thanks to Novell’s approach. But this means that we merely continue to track the very same problem. It just takes a different corporate identity (or several). The problem was all along software patents, since the very first day this was site was erected and then advocated. It is not enough to have good software which is free/libre if companies design the law such that this software becomes non-free or illegal.

Hovsepian, Russell, O’Keefe, Shah, Hale, Kavanagh, Semel, Ebzery and Many Others Leave Novell

Posted in Novell at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some of the latest confirmed departures, which appear in the press just weeks after the acquisition of Novell

Novell is pretty much collapsing, as expected. Some acquisitions are smooth and unshaky, but this one is not. Top managers are leaving in droves based on this one summary which says: “Several of Novell‘s top executives — including Ronald W. Hovsepian, Dana C. Russell, John K. Dragoon, Colleen A. O’Keefe, Scott N. Semel and James P. Ebzery — have exited the company following Attachmate‘s recent buyout of Novell. Sources say Novell has made additional staff cuts”

We wrote about Dragoon when he himself announced that he was leaving (here too). His Novell blog, just like many of the rest, has been silent since then. Novell.com became somewhat of a ghost town as even the PR staff says nothing (on average it used to have output once in a couple of days). Let us remember that Dragoon was CMO, where “M” stands for marketing. We wrote about his departure before and he was not alone among those who left just before the deal with AttachMSFT got finalised. It does not seem as though many or any of Novell’s managers are going to stay as even SUSE got shaken up. All of them will probably get a compensation package that others will not. They don’t need sympathy and those below them will probably just envy. People who sell out to Microsoft receive millions in bonuses while those who do all the real work receive nearly nothing.

Further down the management chain there are departures of significance. Alan Murray has also left, based on an article which says: “Murray was most recently vice president of product marketing at Novell Inc., where he oversaw the company’s Systems and Resource Management and Identity Security and Management units. Before joining Apperian, Welch was senior vice president for worldwide sales at Aveksa. He also held sales management and business development positions at Netegrity.”

Another departure of potentially high impact is the departure of Naresh Shah, who becomes a vice president of engineering at one of Novell’s old partners. To quote the Indian press, “Shah joins HP from Novell, where he served as Managing Director of Novell’s India Development Centre (IDC) and Vice President of Global Engineering Strategy, responsible for overall product development activities.”

“People who sell out to Microsoft receive millions in bonuses while those who do all the real work receive nearly nothing.”Steve Hale is another one who is making his move. “Hale came on board U.K.-based Sophos from Novell, where he held the position of vice president of global channel sales in the security, systems management and operating platform group, specializing in driving Novell’s “Workload IQ” partner sales and delivery approach to the Intelligent Workload Management marketplace, according to Hale’s LinkedIn page.” This is further verified here.

Kavanagh has left too and to quote The Australian, “James Kavanagh joins RSA’s Brisbane sales team, responsible for accounts including Queensland government customers and leading financial services companies. He has toiled for Directory Concepts and Novell.”

These people may not have left very recently, but they are in fact out. It is news to us. There are several more examples and this new article mentions Colleen O’Keefe. Novell’s Vice President (one of them) is seen here or here:

Scott Lewis, Novell’s Vice President of Partner Marketing, commented on this merger of two leading Novell (NOVL) services partners. “Novacoast’s acquisition of Data Technique, Inc. is a significant channel development for Novell customers,” said Lewis. “This merger combines the reach and service levels of two strong Novell Partners for our shared customers. Both companies have services capabilities that combine with Novell and other products to meet customers’ needs for Intelligent Workload Management from physical to virtual to cloud computing environments.”

So many vice presidents have left.

Well, another former Noveller is mentioned here and Novell’s vice president Miguel de Icaza is confirmed to have left or been laid off now that he moves into startup mode, despite apparent trademark issues. This Microsoft MVP announced Trojarin and the first publication to do an interview with him about it is ‘Microsoft press’. To quote one bit of this promotional piece (the Microsoft proponents still groom de Icaza):

But Mono never truly flowered under Novell, de Icaza said, especially in the mobile space. In fact, one of the reasons he is sanguine about the layoffs is that he and his Mono mates have been trying to spinoff the technology from Novell for more than a year.

This probably just says that Novell too was not particularly interested in Mono. Microsoft was. It still is.

Mono Microsoft brain

Novell’s Takeover Smells Ever More Dodgy as Wizard Parent LLC Provides Shady Financing

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money under the mouse

Summary: Hundreds of millions involved in the Novell deal, which is tied to some secretive entity called Wizard Parent LLC

NOVELL is history, but part of its history involves the case against Microsoft, which the Microsoft boosters spin upon antitrust scrutiny expiry (oversight ending). For instance:

Some issues may still live on concerning Microsoft’s past competition practices. An appeals court this month cleared the way for Novell (newly acquired by Attachmate Corp.) to sue Microsoft over antitrust claims associated with WordPerfect, which Novell owned in 1994. Novell’s complaints are associated with the use of the operating system market control to exclude applications, as well as allegations that exclusionary agreements were in place with original equipment manufacturers, hurting WordPerfect distribution and helping Microsoft Word.

We hope that AttachMSFT will carry on with this case. There is fishy stuff going on and the acquisition of Novell turns out to be even more bizarre. As John Cook from Seattle put it and reminded us, the secretive companies behind the acquisition (run by a bison slayer, who was previously arrested] had to take a loan and spoke to Elliot even before Elliot made the bid for Novell and put it on sale. We wrote some more about Elliot in posts such as:

Here is what seems too strange about the deal, in addition to the involvement of that vulture, Paul Singer.

Attachmate is one of Seattle’s oldest software companies, with a history stretching back to the early 1980s. But did you know that it operates under the name of Wizard Parent LLC? We didn’t, and now that entity has appeared in a recent SEC filing as having raised $377 million.

Why? A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that Wizard Parent owns The Attachmate Group, but she declined to offer details about the financing.

It appears that the money is tied to Attachmate’s acquisition of Novell, a deal which was first announced last November and closed late last month. On April 27th, Attachmate published a short two paragraph press release about its acquisition of Novell.

The company which put Novell on sale is a group of thugs who use financial instruments to coerce others. There is a lot of history there. Maureen O’Gara, the SCO fan, says that Elliot has a new victim to prey on:

The acquisition should close in 45-60 days. Iron Mountain is under pressure from Elliott Associates, one of its shareholders famous these days for its role in putting Novell in play, to get out of the information storage business and into real estate. The assets being sold were at best breaking even.

It is sad that such companies are allowed to operate. They offer nothing to society and they monetise destruction. We might never know just what really happened to make Novell a goner. There has been too much secrecy and back-room negotiations. One might say that Elliot conspired with someone to sell Novell cheaply while making a big profit, dissolving some of Novell’s efforts in the process. Will the legal cases against SCO and Microsoft still be pursued? We foresaw such a problem 4 years ago.

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