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Virtualization Makes For Strange Bedfellows

Posted in Deals, Novell, Virtualisation, VMware at 5:23 pm by Shane Coyle

Which companies haven’t made virtualization announcements this year?

Not to be left out of the coverage of the recent virtualization collaboration announcements, which seem to be all the rage these days, Novell and VMware have announced an agreement which will allow for independent software vendors to create fully supported custom virtual appliances built with Suse Linux Enterprise.

Novell also announced today a broad collaboration agreement with VMware to deliver SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as a fully-supported and optimised guest operating system running on VMware ESX, the industry-leading hypervisor. The two companies have signed a cooperative support agreement that enables Novell to provide enhanced support for customers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a guest on VMware ESX. In addition to Novell’s customary virtualisation-friendly subscription model, Novell is offering a limited time pricing promotion that gives an additional financial incentive to customers seeking to benefit from the companies’ collaboration.

Ala RedHat⁄Microsoft, there wasn’t any mention of any monetary or patent exchanges, nor was there any mention if Novell had to say they were sorry for trying to team up with Microsoft to "come after" VMware in an "open source way" a few years ago:

[emphasis mine]
Web services, that’s the proprietary aspects, making active directory and eDirectory work together- enterprise customers want to see that, virtualization is very very key, customers want to utilize Linux as either a host operating system with Microsoft as a guest operating system, or vice versa, and yes wea re going to support the XEN technology there, the XEN hypervisor technology, Microsoft is going to support it too. Yes, there is a competitive angle there, yes we’re coming at VMware yes yes yes we are, ok thats part of it because but we’re doing it in an open source way, so were going to support the XEN technologies in our server platforms and togther collaborate and ensure it works properly, supported properly, etc
Now as far as thats concerned, thats the technology aspects of it, now its broad from a Linux perspective, they’re essentially saying that anyone who is an OpenSUSE contributor is covered under the covenant. the covenant essentially is a patent agreement between Novell and Microsoft that says if you participate in the OpenSUSE distribution… as long as its not for commercial gain, that you are covered by this covenant, that they will not exercise what they believe is their patent rights…


Call for Advice and Help

Posted in Boycott Novell, Site News at 11:43 am by Shane Coyle

Hey folks, I need to lean a bit on our readership here and call for any and all suggestions for helping the site become more slashdot-proof.

We’re at the point of perhaps needing dedicated hosting, so maybe we’ll need suggestions for that as well, since my host company is getting tired of melted machines.

Too many http connections
One of your resold accounts (boycottnovell.com) was causing a considerable load on the server which your reseller account is hosted on. When I investigated this issue further, I discovered that this account is averaging more than 180,000 hits per day, with spikes as high as 700,000 hits per day. This is far too much traffic for a shared hosting environment.

I still believe that we can do this with proper caching and design, and I’m sure that it’s a problem that’s been solved before. Any suggestions?


Red Hat Does Good

Posted in America, Red Hat at 1:58 pm by Shane Coyle

No, I didn’t mean "Red Hat does well", although they apparently do.

Recognizing the woeful economic state of the U.A.S.S*, the good folks from Raleigh, North Carolina have decided that they should forego their annual holiday festivities and rather donate the funds to provide 800,000 meals to the needy.

The cash donation isn’t all. Red Hat workers are also running canned food drives. Raleigh executives are throwing their weight behind the drives by offering to donate cash for every 500 cans donated. In Dallas, workers are running a coat drive.

Sometimes I am overly cynical of events such as these and believe that corporations use them to garner positive coverage and publicity. If so, it worked like a charm on me this time.

Nice job either way, Red Hat.

* Union of American Socialist States, comrades.


G^H^H… Boo-Hoo!

Posted in Antitrust, Deals, Google, Law, Marketing, Search at 12:57 pm by Shane Coyle

Quick Mention

Google has announced that it will be canceling its proposed advertising arrangement with Yahoo!, due to a desire to avoid a protracted inquiry process by antitrust regulators.

“Pressing ahead risked not only a protracted legal battle but also damage to relationships with valued partners,” Google’s chief counsel, David Drummond, wrote in the statement. “That wouldn’t have been in the long-term interests of Google or our users, so we have decided to end the agreement.”
In a response, Yahoo (YHOO 13.93, +0.58, +4.3%) said it was disappointed by the move, which came after regulators signaled their opposition to the arrangement.
“Yahoo continues to believe in the benefits of the agreement and is disappointed that Google has elected to withdraw from the agreement rather than defend it in court,” the company’s statement read.

Does this failure signal the end of get-the-facts style marketing as we know it?


At Microsoft, Cutting is Shipping

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 10:56 pm by Shane Coyle

And Shipping is a Feature.

Folks here in America have likely been hearing all too much about "Joe the plumber" for the last few days – by some counts nearly two dozen times in last night’s presidential debate alone, which occurred about a half hour drive from here, featuring a few Long Island style left turns, at Hofstra University.

Well, Microsoft is never shy about mimicking something that seems to work, and has decided to feature their own "ordinary Joe" developer, Larry Osterman, to provide some ground-level perspective into the Windows 6 – I mean 7 – development process that is ongoing, or perhaps complete since he refers to the process in the past tense a time or two, as noted by the Register.

Microsoft has of course not said when Windows 7 will ship, but there’s a widespread belief Windows 7 will arrive next year.

According to Osterman, it’s the Windows 7 feature teams are calling the shots on cutting features with management “standing behind them.” “In Vista it would have been much harder to convince senior management to abandon features,” Osterman reckoned.

“One of the messages that management has consistently driven home to the teams is ‘cutting is shipping’, and they’re right. If a feature isn’t coming together, it’s usually far better to decide NOT to deliver a particular feature then to have that feature jeopardize the ability to ship the whole system,” he said.

Astute readers will have noticed Osterman is using the past tense when talking about Windows 7. This suggests engineering has been completed. The reality, though, is Windows 7 is far from finished and Microsoft has been working on internal builds.

*blink*, *blink* So, the process for dropping planned features is now easier than it was during Vista development? I mean, did I read that right? Arguably, the perception that Windows Vista suffered a "death by a thousand cuts" is one of the most persistently negative impressions that is held by many techies regarding Vista (although, some folks would disagree).

Other than Multitouch and baked-in virtualization, what planned features of Windows 7 are even compelling enough to notice if they were dropped? Of course, should one of those two features not make the cut, it would likely be equivalent to the loss of WinFS for Vista – embarrassing, if not catastrophic.

As Moore’s law keeps on trucking and hardware continually gets faster and more affordable simultaneously, Vista will lose the stigma of sluggishness and bloat that has plagued it amongst consumers since its first introduction, and forced Microsoft to embark on the Mojave and Seinfeld expeditions.

However, the lack of excitement amongst the technical user base is something that continues to plague Vista, and from the sound of things it doesn’t appear to me that Microsoft has learned anything in that regard from their Vista development process, save integrating the testing team into the development process from the get-go, a staggeringly ’90s realization.

To borrow another overused term in this year’s presidential race here in the ‘States, it seems like Windows 7 is an instance of Microsoft trying to put "lipstick on a pig", if perhaps a slightly more svelte one that may help steer consumers to their Windows Live services, they must surely hope.


Windows Update has Detected the Following Lawsuits are Available for Your PC

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Law, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 11:34 pm by Shane Coyle

Cancel, or Cancel?

Well, the Windows Vista-Capable class action lawsuit has taken another pretty interesting turn, with the plaintiffs lawyers having requested that Microsoft use it’s own Windows Update service to notify potential class members of the suit.

The Vista Capable lawsuit accuses Microsoft of duping buyers in 2006 and 2007 by letting PC makers slap a “Vista Capable” sticker on PCs when it allegedly knew that many of those systems would only be able to run Vista Home Basic, the entry-level version. The case, which began in 2007 and was granted class-action status in February 2008, claims that Home Basic is not representative of the Vista that Microsoft marketed to consumers.

Earlier this month, the plaintiffs in the Vista Capable case asked U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman to make Microsoft use the update service to send all Windows users a notice of the class-action lawsuit. The notice, which would pop-up on users’ screens, would include a link to a site where consumers could obtain more information.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft is not too keen on this idea, and says that it would not be possible for them to properly identify which Vista machines are qualified to be considered class members, and force them to essentially spam millions of uninvolved PC owners. Microsoft also decries the potential confusion and outrage that such a repurposing of the Windows Update features could cause – with the possibilities of users disabling automatic updates in revolt, or flooding the Microsoft help desk with questions or complaints.

Now, I find it hard to believe that Windows Update is incapable of identifying, with a fairly good level of granularity, potential class member PCs by identifying the operating system version and chipset – otherwise how does the system identify which patches are apropos to your system? Even if, using these criteria, some unrelated Vista PCs are incorrectly identified, I don’t think it would be the 120 million that they have claimed. Can anyone imagine, if the system were so obtuse, the havoc that would be wrought by a mis-applied update intended for Vista Premium with a particular Nvidia video card but was instead applied to all systems running Vista, regardless of version and hardware?

But, perhaps surprisingly, I agree with Microsoft that the Windows Update service should not be compelled to be used outside of its scope – if it is true that Microsoft has not in the past used this service for any informational or promotional purpose (I don’t use Windows so I don’t know). If the sole purpose of Windows Update is to provide patches and security updates, it should not be within the purview of the plaintiffs to change this arrangement between Microsoft and their customers – even the ones who could be potential litigants, in my opinion.

Security updates, and customer relationships in general, require a certain amount of trust – any actions by Microsoft outside of their espoused purpose for the Windows Update service will indeed negatively impact their perception amongst customers and might even cause the feared backlash of users disabling the service out of concerns that Microsoft could once again make changes to their terms of service at a later date and begin targeting PC owners with self-serving "informational" and advertising notifications.

Anyway, this is just my two cents and all I usually am offered is a penny for my thoughts – perhaps that’s why I am so quiet usually, every time I open my mouth I lose money…


Are Mac Users More Patriotic?

Posted in America, Apple, Interoperability, Interview, Marketing, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 9:11 pm by Shane Coyle

For Apple fans, it’s time to "Get the Facts", it seems.

In a recent interview, Joe Biden, the U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate for the Democrats equated paying more taxes with patriotism, saying that it was time for wealthier Americans to "jump in" and "help get America out of the rut".

Well, I’m glad to say there may be hope for the good ol’ U.S. of A., since it seems that many Apple customers are just the sort of patriots that Mr. Biden was looking for. According to a recent interview with Microsoft’s Brad Brooks over on the "Beyond Binary" blog – Apple customers are repeatedly, and willingly it seems as their market share grows, being "taxed" when they choose a Mac.

There really is a tax around there for people that are evaluating their choices going into this holiday season and going forward. There’s a choice tax that we talked about, which is, hey, you want to buy a machine that’s other than black, white, or silver, and if you want to get it in multiple different configurations or price points, you’re going to be paying a tax if you go the Apple way.

There’s going to be an application tax, which is if you want choice around applications, or if you want the same type of application experience on your Mac versus Windows, you’re going to be purchasing a lot of software. And even at that you’re not going to get the same experience. You’re not going to get things like Microsoft Outlook, you’re not going to get the games that you’re used to playing. There’s a technology tax–Apple still doesn’t have HDMI, doesn’t have Blu-ray offerings, doesn’t have e-SATA external disk drives that work at twice the speed of FireWire. And so you’ve got all of these things that are truly taxes.

You’ve also got an upgrade tax. The only machine, as far as I know, within the Apple lineup that’s actually upgradeable is the Mac Pro, the $2,800 version, which is (more expensive than) just about any PC configuration that you get from any one of our manufacturers.

The part I found interesting was when Mr. Brooks pointed out that products such as Outlook, Visio and Project are all unavailable on the Mac, as well as characterizing Mac Office as "stripped down". I mean, these are Microsoft products – no?

The only reason that these features and applications are unavailable on the Mac is because Microsoft doesn’t offer them – intentionally, it would seem – in order to prevent or at least slow a mass exodus from their platform by keeping competing platform versions lagging technologically. Unfortunately, this behavior is nothing new for our friends from Redmond, just I can’t recall them ever being so blunt about it.

Interoperability the Microsoft way: one-way, that is.


In A “World Without Walls” or Fences…

Posted in Bill Gates, Humour, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Linspire, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 5:44 pm by Shane Coyle

Oh, you know the rest.

I’ll admit, I found the fact that Bill Gates was using his rather famous (in Geek culture, anyhow) mug shot in the first of those ill-fated Seinfeld ads for Microsoft to be uproarious – even if the commercials were so-so. The fact that he’d embrace the image that has so often been used to poke a bit of fun at him, I found that to be pretty humorous and ‘big’ of him and Microsoft.

More humorous, to me, was the revelation that Microsoft’s latest set of advertisements for Windows would be mimicking the popular “I’m a Mac” campaign from Apple and using the slogan “Life Without Walls” after all of those sayings that were so popular some years ago. Of course, these ads are just awful – to the point where I want those Seinfeld ads to continue.

Well, there may be another aspect to this other than Microsoft showing it’s sense of humor, and that is trying to possibly undermine the supposed pending trademark of a competing Operating System company, G.ho.st.

An unusual Israeli-Palestinian joint venture start-up, which makes a cloud-based Web operating system letting users access their desktops from any computer with an Internet connection, is alleging a trademark violation by Microsoft in its new $300 million advertising campaign.

G.ho.st, which stands for “Global Hosted Operating System,” is claiming it has a pending trademark registration for the tagline “no walls.”

For it’s part, Microsoft claims that they are aware of no such trademarks, and dismiss the claim as “without merit”. Of course, we all know that Microsoft has a dubious history with trademark suits involving competitors, ala Lindows/Linspire, so it’ll be interesting to see how far they take this one before either backing down or making a large payment.

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