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08.20.11

SUSE Wants Credit After Selling Out to Microsoft and Legitimising Patent Extortion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pencil and paper

Summary: Poor reporting on the subject of SUSE and Microsoft’s promotion of SUSE, which helps Microsoft turn GNU/Linux into its own cash cow

Sean Kerner has published a valuable article where he quotes SUSE as saying that they “Don’t Get the Credit [They] Deserve”. Funny, eh?

Have a look at this piece where Kerner does not neglect to mention the Microsoft ties (the incidental case of good journalism from him):

According to Clark, Attachmate didn’t buy Novell just to ‘milk’ the SUSE business, it bought it with the intention of aggressively growing the business. To that end, at the LinuxCon event, SUSE hung out a ‘we’re hiring’ sign. Clark said SUSE is hiring approximately 20 people to help staff various parts of the business.

[...]

SUSE has also recently extended its deal with Microsoft to the tune of an additional $100 million. As part of the deal, Microsoft resells SUSE Linux and works with SUSE on interoperability issues. Microsoft also provides SUSE with a patent covenant that it promises not to sue SUSE users over any alleged infringement of Microsoft’s intellectual property that might be in open source software.

Microsoft is funding SUSE to harm free distributions. Nothing has changed since 2006. Now, watch this weird new blog post from the 451 Group. Well, in an amazingly whitewashy piece, it is Jay (of all people) who neglects to see the bigger picture (Microsoft trying to injure Red Hat, for example, while turning GNU/Linux into its own cash cow). Jay lets it seem like Microsoft is the “world’s broadest supporter of Linux” (trollish headline). But to quote:

Despite the concerns about Microsoft’s control over SUSE Linux or Linux in general, the fact of the matter is Microsoft’s investment of both dollars, including its SUSE deals worth a few hundred million, and investment of of resources, such as the interoperability work with Novell/SUSE, the kernel contribution, the cross-OS and hypervisor support work with Red Hat and the support of CentOS, Microsoft is significantly supporting Linux development and use in the enterprise.

I wrote last year about the uncertainty around Novell/SUSE kernel contribution given the Attachmate acquisition.

Microsoft is still turning GNU/Linux into its own cash cow, which at the same time makes it harder for GNU/Linux to compete. It is the same strategy it uses to attack Android. How can anyone not see this?

As we pointed out yesterday, there are those who play the role of “apologist” for SUSE for purely technical reasons. There is that component called “OpenSUSE” (which organises events and contests), but its goal is to help sell Microsoft-taxed SLE* at the expense of Red Hat and Debian GNU/Linux, for example. Who benefits from this? We are not arguing that OpenSUSE is technically broken; in fact, based on this new review “[t]he only real sore point in the whole [OpenSUSE] experience was the perceived slight slowness of the system, though the numbers in the system monitor somehow did not bear that out. Otherwise, it’s stable, relatively user-friendly, quite professional, and reminds me of my favorite distribution, Linux Mint.”

But it’s not about the technical nature of the distro. Vulnerabilities too aside [1, 2], the main issue is that Microsoft is exploiting SUSE — OpenSUSE included — to make Free software a Microsoft cash cow. To give SUSE credit or to say that Microsoft is “world’s broadest supporter of Linux” is worse than stupid; it’s possibly dishonest, depending on intent.

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