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01.08.11

Mono Boosters in Ubuntu Have Conflicts of Interest, LibreOffice Under Similar Threat

Posted in Fork, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unwanted intrusions

The end of times

Summary: Banshee booster has history trying to put Mono inside Fedora and a new file format, ‘LOOXML’, is said to be pushed into LibreOffice possibly because of Novell’s influence

A FEW DAYS ago we wrote about OMG!Ubuntu! announcing that Banshee had been added to Ubuntu after a lot of insistence from Mono boosters. Over at Groklaw, Pamela Jones spotted the news and wrote, “Can Canonical find any more ways to stuff Mono into Ubuntu?”

Jones and Groklaw members — like many others including the FSF — have repeatedly warned that Mono should be avoided, and to quote one such opinion on it, “Banshee is just being pushed now in the latest Ubuntu Natty downloads, bad news.”

If one checks where the immense promotion of Banshee came from to OMG!Ubuntu!, it’s this person who says in his profile that he is “maintaining primarily Mono packages including Banshee.” He was to Fedora what Shields et al. are to Ubuntu — Mono pushforce. To quote a mail message sent to him from Matthew Woehlke and posted in his blog:

I’m going to guess a lot of that “disrespectful personal mail” revolves around the use of mono? And why shouldn’t it? Lots of people (myself included) have a special hatred of Microsoft’s Trojan Horse, and good reason to question the honesty and motives of people that push it. (Which is not to say I don’t believe there are honest people that are either deluded or simply don’t care.)

If you’re going to promote the technology of a Linux-hostile, GPL-hating, monopolistic bully of a company that regularly engages in racketeering, encourages people to violate the GPL, and is currently suing against Linux… well, some people aren’t going to like that :-) .

Personally, the only thing I would want to do with mono code would be to port it to !mono. YMMV.

This came around the time Fedora leaders were discouraging his lobbying for Mono inside Fedora by putting it more gently: “Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to not ship mono. Draw your own conclusions.”

Another source of Mono advocacy is Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza, whose promotion of Mono extends to CES and it’s not surprising that anti-Linux trolls support de Icaza. Microsoft advocates who for years troll and harass people in Linux forums are celebrating news about Mono for Android because they know it’s bad for GNU/Linux (there is only who person there who is a GNU/Linux advocate, others are rude trolls who thrive in an unmoderated forum, one is a Microsoft MVP).

The inclusion of Banshee in Ubuntu extends further into the panels, which are always running and usually within sight. They is increasing dependency on Mono at more levels, as this post helps show:

An update today finally sets Banshee as the default music player in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Since Banshee is now default, it has replaced Rhythmbox in the Ubuntu Sound Menu…

Mono is of course property of Novell (to be AttachMSFT), which received a lot of money from Microsoft in order to advance Microsoft’s agenda. Mono is part of this agenda and the relationship to Novell’s SLES can be watched in this new video. Novell helps Microsoft in turning GNU/Linux servers into .NET hosts and one of the main people from the FFII seems concerned about LibreOffice, perhaps because of the Go-OO connection. We are currently investigating just how much influence Novell has in this fork because Novell staff (including one whom the OpenOffice.org team rejected repeatedly) dominates the IRC channel/s and the gentleman from the FFII, who fought against OOXML, is concerned that LibreOffice is going to support LOOXML in spite of spin. He wrote: “Expect a fresh format flavour would then be named LOOXML, that’s a perfectly silly silly silly nerd pun on LOL (laugh out loud), XML (extensible markup language), LO (libreoffice) and OOXML (office open XML) and possible other British phrases of general interest. LOOXML is an OOXML-inspired format intended to approximate the OOXML-O10 which eventually is known as ISO/ECMA OOXML transitional. LibreOffice 3.3. will be released January 10. Feel free to put to popular vote if LOOXML or LOOOXML or LO-OOXML suits you best.”

Ubuntu was alleged to have adopted LibreOffice, but Canonical denied this later. All in all, yet again we see the toxic poison from Novell (paid by Microsoft) having a bad effect on Ubuntu and other projects. Boycott Novell to defend GNU/Linux.

09.28.10

LibreOffice is Launched, Offering Independence from Oracle

Posted in Fork, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Google, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 2:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Champagne

Summary: The Document Foundation and LibreOffice are formally announced, beginning an era of a vendor-independent office suite with ODF support, no copyright assignment requirements, and a clear direction with long-term commitment

The Document Foundation has just been announced and Techrights was briefed about it weeks in advance. Basically, OpenOffice.org is being forked, and that is probably a positive thing, although it may depend on one’s perspective.

Oracle Does Not Understand Software Freedom

Oracle cannot be trusted with and around Free software. Its boss does not understand software freedom. To quote some old interviews:

Remarking on more recent events, Matthew Aslett wrote: “Only a few hours in to #oow10 and already detected a subtle but important change in how Oracle describes its relationship with open source. [...] Out goes “we have no open source strategy” in comes “we are are proprietary company that believes there’s an important role for open source”"

Is this a company that can be relied on in the long term? Well, as part of Oracle’s recently-announced transition to Fog Computing it was announced that the company would make better use of JavaFX to incorporate the Web and commitment to Java gets extended, just not quite in the way which preserves freedom. Zonker says that there is more than GPL compliance to stay true to and thus Oracle is failing. To quote: “The GNU General Public License (GPL) and other open source licenses dictate the things you’re allowed to do with code. Simply because the GPL allows parasitic behavior, doesn’t mean that Oracle can’t be called out when it’s not being a good community citizen. Some see the GPL’s reciprocal requirements as restrictive — but even the requirements to give back changes and share code only go so far. Open source licenses leave a lot of room for companies to behave poorly while still complying with the license. Oracle could ship GPL’ed code on DVDs in wallets made out of the finest baby seal pelts housed in ivory boxes, and it wouldn’t be against the GPL. But that doesn’t mean the house that Larry built should get a pass if it chooses to do so.”

On the OpenOffice.org side, new Developer Snapshots recently arrived, e.g. (from GullFOSS):

Beyond this release, the future of OpenOffice.org is unknown, whereas the future the LibreOffice is very much certain, thanks to the backing from many committed parties.

Oracle’s Bad Direction for OpenOffice.org

Here is an insight into Oracle’s plan for OpenOffice.org:

As such, it competes against Google Docs and the browser version of Office, Microsoft Office Web Apps.
The narrator in the Oracle Cloud Suite video touts the integration with Oracle Open Office (natch), the open document format (ODF) and is compatible with Microsoft Office. And Oracle Cloud Suite is accessible to the industry’s increasing mobile workforce.
But the International Business Times pieces raises a few questions about how viable the Oracle threat is.

“Oracle preps Google and Microsoft Office challenger,” says another headline:

The Reg understands Cloud Office is a closed-source product developed by Oracle, rather than a part of the OpenOffice Project.

Oracle has promised that Cloud Office uses web standards, but it will also use JavaFX – the currently closed Java scripting language for rich-internet applications and UIs Oracle inherited from Sun Microsystems.

With an imminent OpenOffice.org Hackfest, it is clear that OpenOffice.org is not being abandoned by Oracle, but increasingly it is taken in a proprietary direction where Oracle gains greater control. From Roberto Galoppini’s blog:

Few days ago I shortly mentioned the OpenOffice.org Hackfest, and today I asked my friend Florian Effenberger – OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Lead – to tell us more about the event, to be held on the 6-7 of November at the Attraktor in Hamburg.

How many will attend now that LibreOffice is where all the action is at?

Fork Announced

So, OpenOffice.org is being forked and here is what people need to know. The press release is appended below and documentfoundation.org contains more information as it has only just come live (9 AM Paris/Berlin time).

First of all, the fork is backed by many vendors, as well as non-commercial entities such as the GNOME Foundation. The licence will be LGPLv3 (and no copyright agreement is required, which is now one of the various pressures Oracle is putting on the community). The details are all at the bottom.

Why is it so necessary? To quote someone from the Steering Committee, the “situation with Oracle inside Openoffice.org is untenable… they don’t even want to commit after the 3.3… they refuse to communicate on roadmap… are getting insolently crazy on trademarks… are shutting down portions of our open development process…”

Asked about OpenSolaris as an analogy, we we told that it’s “a bit like that, but with less hostility… they don’t want to shut it down, they want to have it their way exclusively, so we are forking…. we [as in] Novell, Red Hat, Google, the Brazilian Government, its banks and largest companies, several international OOo associations (forming the backbone of the community), and we’re awaiting some more supporters such as the SFLC, the FSF, the OSI, the FSFE… in fact SFLC, Debian, OSI and FSFE are more or less already acquired… Canonical and Red Hat will ship our own binaries in their next version of Ubuntu and Fedora.”

Asked about the role of Novell, it turned out that they are included in this. There was “no choice”, but “the source code will be OOo vanilla (no go-oo patches) [...] but we’re using the ooo-build system (well, everyone on Linux uses it except Red Hat who made the decision now to switch to us).”

All the infrastructure was made ready about two weeks ago when they were “in the process of registering the trademarks”. Later on it was decided that “the Foundation will be named The Document Foundation [...] the office suite named LibreOffice.”

“Libre” is good in the sense that it conveys something better than just “open source”.

As Glyn Moody put it some days ago, “We [May Be] Entering the Golden Age of Forks”. OpenOffice.org was named by Moody:

Oracle’s high-handed approach to open source is fast making it Public Enemy Number 1 as far as free software is concerned (yes, even relegating Microsoft to second place). This means that people working on the MySQL or OpenOffice.org projects are going to be far warier, and more distrustful of the company’s moves in future.

Let’s get this ball rolling and the word spread as far as possible. In order for LibreOffice to succeed in a major way, people all around the world need to be aware of it.


OpenOffice.org Community announces The Document Foundation

The community of volunteers developing and promoting OpenOffice.org sets up an independent Foundation to drive the further growth of the project

The Internet, September 28, 2010 – The community of volunteers who develop and promote OpenOffice.org, the leading free office software, announce a major change in the project’s structure. After ten years’ successful growth with Sun Microsystems as founding and principle sponsor, the project launches an independent foundation called “The Document Foundation”, to fulfil the promise of independence written in the original charter.

The Foundation will be the cornerstone of a new ecosystem where individuals and organisations can contribute to and benefit from the availability of a truly free office suite. It will generate increased competition and choice for the benefit of customers and drive innovation in the office suite market. From now on, the OpenOffice.org community will be known as “The Document Foundation”.
Oracle, who acquired OpenOffice.org assets as a result of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, has been invited to become a member of the new Foundation, and donate the brand the community has grown during the past ten years. Pending this decision, the brand “LibreOffice” has been chosen for the software going forward.

The Document Foundation is the result of a collective effort by leading independent members of the former OpenOffice.org community, including several project leads and key members of the Community Council. It will be led initially by a Steering Committee of developers and national language projects managers. The Foundation aims to lower the barrier of adoption for both users and developers, to make LibreOffice the most accessible office suite ever.

The Foundation has chosen the LibreOffice brand as an alternative to OpenOffice.org, and will coordinate and oversee the development of the software, which is available in beta version at the placeholder site: http://www.libreoffice.org. Developers are invited to join the project and contribute to the code in the new friendly and open environment, to shape the future of office productivity suites alongside contributors who translate, test, document, support, and promote the software.

Speaking for the group of volunteers, Sophie Gautier – a veteran of the community and the former maintainer of the French speaking language project – has declared: “We believe that the Foundation is a key step for the evolution of the free office suite, as it liberates the development of the code and the evolution of the project from the constraints represented by the commercial interests of a single company. Free software advocates around the world have the extraordinary opportunity of joining the group of founding members today, to write a completely new chapter in the history of FLOSS”.

FSF President Richard Stallman welcomed LibreOffice release and it’s stated policy of only recommending free software. “I’m very pleased that the Document Foundation will not recommend nonfree add-ons, since they are the main freedom problem of the current OpenOffice.org. I hope that the LibreOffice developers and the Oracle-employed developers of OpenOffice will be able to cooperate on development of the
body of the code”.

“The Document Foundation supports the Open Document Format, and is keen to work at OASIS to the next evolution of the ISO standard”, says Charles Schulz, member of the Community Council and lead of the Native Language Confederation. “The Document Foundation brings to the table the point of view of developers, supporters and users, and this might accelerate the adoption process of ODF at government and enterprise level”.

Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google, Inc., has commented: “The creation of The Document Foundation is a great step forward in encouraging further development of open source office suites. Having a level playing field for all contributors is fundamental in creating a broad and active community around an open source software project. Google is proud to be a supporter of The Document Foundation and participate in the project”.

“Viva la LibreOffice”, said Markus Rex, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “We look forward to working with the Document Foundation to help develop a solid open source document software offering. Ultimately, we hope to see LibreOffice do for the office productivity market what Mozilla Firefox has done for browsers”.

Jan Wildeboer, EMEA Open Source Affairs at Red Hat, has commented: “All over the world, users, companies and governments are moving to truly open solutions based on Open Standards. LibreOffice delivers the missing link, and at Red Hat we are proud to join this effort”.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder and major shareholder of Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu, has declared: “Office productivity software is a critical component of the free software desktop, and the Ubuntu Project will be pleased to ship LibreOffice from The Document Foundation in future releases of Ubuntu. The Document Foundation’s stewardship of LibreOffice provides Ubuntu developers an effective forum for collaboration around the code that makes Ubuntu an effective solution for the desktop in office environments”.

“The Open Source Initiative has observed a trend back towards open collaborative communities for open source software”, said Simon Phipps, a Director of the Open Source Initiative. “We welcome The Document

Foundation initiative and look forward to the innovation it is able to drive with a truly open community gathered around a free software commons, in the spirit of the best of open source software”.

Additional information, including the mission, are available on the web site of The Document Foundation: http://www.documentfoundation.org

Biographies and pictures of the founding members of The Document Foundation are available here: http://www.documentfoundation.org/foundation/.

There is a specific page for people interested in contributing to the development of the code: http://www.documentfoundation.org/developers/.

The Document Foundation has a Twitter account: http://twitter.com/docufoundation and an Identi.ca account: http://identi.ca/docufoundation.

The announcements mailing list is at: announce+subscribe@documentfoundation.org.

The discussion mailing list is at: discuss+subscribe@documentfoundation.org.

The Document Foundation

The Document Foundation is an independent self-governing democratic Foundation created by leading members of the former OpenOffice.org Community. It continues to build on the Foundation of ten years’ dedicated work by the OpenOffice.org community, and was created in the belief that an independent Foundation is the best fit to the Community’s core values of openness, transparency, and valuing people for their contribution. It is open to any individual who agrees with our core values and contributes to our activities, and welcomes corporate participation, e.g. by sponsoring individuals to work as equals alongside other contributors in the community.

Media Contacts

Florian Effenberger (Germany)
Mobile: +49 151 14424108
E-mail: floeff@documentfoundation.org

Olivier Hallot (Brazil)
Mobile: +55.21.88228812
E-mail: olivier.hallot@documentfoundation.org

Charles H. Schulz (France)
Mobile: +33 6 98655424
E-mail: charles.schulz@documentfoundation.org

Italo Vignoli (Italy)
Mobile: +39 348 5653829
E-mail: italo.vignoli@documentfoundation.org

APPENDIX

STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Sophie Gautier

Francophone project co-lead, former Project Lead Education Project, former Community Council Member for Native Lang projects category

I’ve been deeply involved in the OpenOffice.org Community since its very beginning in 2000. First I participated to the Documentation Project, then I’ve been the lead of the French-speaking project from 2002 to 2007, then the co-lead in 2009 until now. I’ve represented the Native Language Confederation at the Community Council since its launch until last year. Now I’m managing the French localization of the OOo product and satellite sites and participating to QA, Documentation, User Support and Marketing. In my daily job, I’ve worked as an OpenOffice.org consultant and trainer on my own first, then for the Linagora Group from 2006 to 2010 and I’m currently unemployed.

Thorsten Behrens

GSL Project co-lead, OASIS ODF TC / ECMA TC45 / ISO SC34 WG4 participant

Thorsten was part of OpenOffice.org almost from the start, when he joined the then-Sun-Microsystems development team back in early 2001. He’s a computer scientist by education, and a Free Software enthusiast by heart, a geek from early childhood – and someone who was lucky enough to turn a hobby into an occupation.

During his now nine years of tenure in the project, he’s spent most of his time hacking the code, in areas ranging from build system, platform abstraction libraries, Impress and Writer. Thorsten is currently co-lead of the graphical system layer project, member of the OASIS ODF technical committee, the ECMA TC45, and technical advisor on the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 working group 4.
He’s sponsored by Novell to work full-time on OpenOffice.org.

Florian Effenberger

Marketing Project Lead and German MarCon, Distribution Project Lead

Florian Effenberger has been an open source evangelist for many years. He is lead of the international OpenOffice.org marketing project as well as a member of the management board of the non-profit OpenOffice.org Deutschland e.V. He has ten years’ experience of designing enterprise and educational computer networks, including software deployment based on free software. He is also a frequent contributor to a variety of professional magazines worldwide on topics such as free software, open standards and legal matters.

Caolán McNamara

Former Writer Project co-lead and member of the OpenOffice.org Engineering Steering Committee

Caolán is a Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat, Inc, and has over 10 years experience in developing OpenOffice.org. Starting 2000 in Hamburg as an employee of Sun Microsystems developing StarOffice before its subsequent release under the LGPL as OpenOffice.org later that year. From 2000 to 2005 Caolán specialized in improving the the binary MSWord import/export filters, building on his prior experience developing libwv, libwmf and other free software projects to parse Microsoft binary file formats.

From 2005 to present Caolán has been employed full-time by Red Hat, Inc. to maintain, improve and enhance OpenOffice.org, typically focusing on GNOME desktop integration, font and glyph replacement, Indic text layout, linguistic components, tooling to improve overall code quality, debugging the type of problems no one wants to touch, while retaining an interest in MSOffice compatibility.

Olivier Hallot

BrOffice.org CFO, Community Council Member, Main translator for pt-BR

Graduated Electronic Engineer in 1982, MSc in Digital Signal Processing in 1985 and MBA in Oil&Gas industry in 2001.

I initiated my career as Assocate Researcher for digital signal processing in the IBM Scientific Center in Brasilia, Brazil, for the Oil&Gas industry in seismic data processing and high performance computing. Later I moved to marketing and sales for the same industry all over Latin America. In 1998 I joined Oracle Brazil in sales for the Oil& Gas industry and later as Alliance relationship manager for large hardware manufacturers as well as with the Oracle academic initiative. Since 2002 and on my own, I have participated actively in FLOSS projects notably in OpenOffice.org as one of the translators for
Brazilian Portuguese and volunter CFO of BrOffice.org NGO. I am now senior consultant in OpenOffice.org technology for large corporations on migration projects.

André Schnabel

Coordinator for German localization, former Project Lead QA Project, former Community Council Member for accepted projects category

André is involved in the OpenOffice.org project since 2001. Being a software developer in his professional live he focused his voluntary work for OpenOffice.org on user support, documentation and quality assurance. He has been Co-Lead of the Germanophone project as well as project lead of the Quality Assurance project and member of the Community Council for several years. Today he is maintaining the German localization and working on a translation process based on open standards. André is also founding member and chairman of the board of the German non-profit OpenOffice.org Deutschland e.V.

Charles-H. Schulz

NLC Lead, Community Council Member (Lang Representative)

Charles-H. Schulz (The “H” letter standing for his second name “Henri”) is a French technologist, Free Software and Open Standards advocate. As a long time contributor to the OpenOffice.org project he helped grow its community from a few mostly european communities to over a hundred communities and teams of various sizes. In the end of 2009 he was elected at the Community Council of the OpenOffice.org project. He is currently the lead of the Native-Language Confederation and a member of the Community Council. He also contributed to the development and adoption of the OpenDocument Format standard through the company he co-founded, Ars Aperta. Member of several international organizations he helped to create the Digital Standards Group and is part of the OASIS standards consortium, of which he is now one of the directors.

Italo Vignoli

Italian MarCon, President of Associazione PLIO (Italian National Language Project)

Italo Vignoli is president of PLIO, OpenOffice.org Italian National Language Project, a not for profit association that represents the community of volunteers who promote the free office productivity suite. In everyday life, is partner and president of Quorum PR, a public relations agency with a strong bias to the integration of traditional media and social network. He has almost thirty years of experience in marketing and communication of high-tech companies in Italy and at international level, and is responsible for the social networks practice within the Italian Federation of Public Relations.

Since 1984, it is connected to the network with a portable PC and a messaging or e-mail system despite a degree in humanities from the University of Milan, where he has been a researcher on urban geography. He is working as a freelance journalist since 1972, writing about sports, music and IT. He blogs in Italian about libre software at http://www.cwi.it/blogs/sistemaperto/.

MESSAGE FOR ORACLE

Gentlemen – as founders and principle supporters of the OpenOffice.org Community during the past decade, we’re giving you advance notice that we will shortly be announcing the launch of an independent Foundation to take the Community forward into its next decade.

You will be aware that this has been discussed many times over the years. We now feel the time is right to make the move. We believe it will be more powerful if the move is initiated by the Community itself, which is why we are launching this initiative.

We do of course hope that you will be able to move with us on this exciting new journey. As custodians of many OpenOffice.org assets, your continued support will be most warmly appreciated.

Signed on behalf of the group:

Sophie Gautier
Thorsten Behrens
Florian Effenberger
Olivier Hallot
Caolan McNamara
Christoph Noack
Charles-H. Schulz
André Schnabel
Italo Vignoli

MESSAGE FOR THE COMMUNITY

Dear OpenOffice.org community members,
Dear leads of the native-language projects,
Dear project leads,

Today, we would like to introduce you to an idea that has grown very concretely during the past weeks. We ask you to NOT share it with anyone else at this moment. There will be plenty of time to discuss and work on it soon.

Over the past decade, thanks to your great help, support and enthusiasm, OpenOffice.org has grown to a important open source projects.

Now that we are approaching our tenth birthday, it is time to mark a major step in the evolution of OpenOffice.org. For the last ten years, the idea of an independent OpenOffice.org foundation has been existing (see http://www.openoffice.org/white_papers/OOo_project/openofficefoundation.html) but has never been realized.

We feel now is the time to make the vision from the very beginning of the project a reality. Therefore, a group of long-term community contributors, is about to establish a foundation called

“The Document Foundation”
(http://www.documentfoundation.org from September 28th on)

and will publicly announce these plans on Tuesday, September 28th

Our mission is to facilitate the evolution of the OpenOffice.org community into a new open, independent, and meritocratic organizational structure within the next few months.

We invite you to join us in these efforts. Help us to bring our community and our software to a new level and shape the next logical step of its evolution.

As it is yet uncertain whether we will get the OpenOffice.org trademark from its owner, Oracle Corporation, we plan to establish a new brand for the product, called
“LibreOffice” (http://www.libreoffice.org from September 28th on)

We have invited Oracle, which we owe much respect for all the good things that they have done in the past years, to become a member and partner of our initiative, and we hope they will join us together with the Hamburg development team, so that LibreOffice indeed is a temporary placeholder, which is our true wish.

We have already seen wide support from companies like Google, Novell and Red Hat as well as our friends from the Brazilian BrOffice.org community. Others are in favour of our plans and might actively join our initiative soon.

As of today, about 25 well-known and long-term contributors to the OpenOffice.org community are part of our initiative. We have formed an interim Steering Committee to drive things forward.

We currently work hard to put all the needed infrastructure at your disposal, to be able to quickly communicate with the community.

All this and maybe more will be announced on

Tuesday, September 28th

You are invited to join our

* official mailing list by subscribing at discuss+subscribe@lists.documentfoundation.org

* IRC channel at #documentfoundation on irc.freenode.net (irc://irc.freenode.net/#documentfoundation)

* initiative by signing the manifesto at http://www.documentfoundation.org

All the above addresses will be available from September 28th on.

We are here for any questions and suggestions that you will have. We hope for your support in this next major step and are sure that you will as be thrilled by this new project as we are, which is in fact the continuity of our community.

Yours truly,

the members of the Steering Committee and founders of the Document Foundation
Sophie Gautier, sophie.gautier@documentfoundation.org
Thorsten Behrens, thorsten.behrens@documentfoundation.org
Florian Effenberger, floeff@documentfoundation.org
Olivier Hallot, olivier.hallot@documentfoundation.org
Caolán McNamara, caolan.mcnamara@documentfoundation.org
André Schnabel, andre.schnabel@documentfoundation.org
Charles Schulz, charles.schulz@documentfoundation.org
Italo Vignoli, italo.vignoli@documentfoundation.org

08.28.10

Quick Mention: Novell Does Not Support OpenOffice.org Like it Used to

Posted in Fork, Novell, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sale men

Summary: While Novell is looking for a buyer it also reduces spendings on Free software projects which are essential

NOVELL INC., a forker of OpenOffice.org [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], no longer pays anything to sponsor an annual OpenOffice.org conference. Brian has attempted to find out why, but he cannot get an answer. His summation says that things don’t compute and his summary is: “Why isn’t Novell a sponsor at the upcoming OpenOffice.org Conference?”

If you’re waiting for information on OpenOffice.org from Oracle, you may need to wait a little bit longer.

[...]

Sources inside the company cite that as the main reason why they are not willing to discuss business issues, such as OpenOffice.org, at this time.

[...]

When checking out the conference sponsors, I noted that Novell was nowhere to be seen on the list. I did dig into the conference program, and found that Novell has a presence in the participations, so they will be there.

This is notable to me, at least, because lately Novell has been sending out little hints that they’ve been less than thrilled with how collaborative the OpenOffice.org community has been. This is nothing new, mind you: they were complaining about the same thing when Sun was the big OpenOffice.org backer.

There is no taking away that fact that Novell is a big contributor to OpenOffice.org, but their absence from financially sponsoring the major OpenOffice.org event of the year is something to note. Is Novell about to take their ball and go home? Were there more transparent ways Novell was involved in this particular conference? Or is Novell worried about the future direction of OpenOffice.org, too?

What is going on at Novell?

05.27.10

Why OpenSUSE Should Pay Attention to Novell’s Prospective Acquirers

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chameleon

Summary: OpenSUSE 11.3 and OpenSUSE Build Service 2.0 are nearly ready, but Novell’s situation casts some doubt

LATER on today, Novell will possibly speak about an acquisition (if not on Friday, well after market close). OpenSUSE should pay careful attention because not every possible acquirer has an interest in Free software as a strategic direction.

“Why not try OpenSuSE 11.2,” asks one writer and the answer might be, “because it’s tied to Novell.” Had the OpenSUSE community forked the project, that would be a different situation. With automated testing and adoption in schools, the future of OpenSUSE matters to all of us and it’s dangerous to make it rely upon Novell, whose days are numbered.

A few years ago the LUG opensuse-nicaragua has the project named “Escuelita opeSUSE” this project was to provide basic courses for the people opensuse.

And the last week, we finally made it!!!

OpenSUSE 11.3 and OpenSUSE Build Service 2.0 are coming out soon [1, 2]. OpenSUSE should think carefully about what will have happened by the release dates.

Novell’s openSUSE developers have been a busy bunch this week.

Today openSUSE 11.3 milestone 7 is out which is the last stop ahead of a Release Candidate in June and a final release in July. The openSUSE Build Service 2.0 Beta 1 came out yesterday with a final release now set for June 10.

A fork would increase this project’s sustainability, not reduce it.

05.26.10

Why Novell is the Next Sun and OpenSUSE Should be Forked

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Oracle, SUN at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Assuming that Novell’s buyer will only care about immediate profit, the OpenSUSE community should start considering independent life outside Novell

Reuters has been the leading source so far when it comes to Novell acquisition news. It reported the number of bidders and about 3 months ago it also broke the news about Elliot. Novell is still up for sale and another new article from Reuters reveals a possible parallel. “It’s picking the Sun technologies that are commercializable and focusing on those,” said Larry Ellison, “and ignoring those that are not. They are just science projects.”

“It’s picking the Sun technologies that are commercializable and focusing on those and ignoring those that are not.”
      –Larry Ellison, Oracle
This leads to the question, would Novell’s buyer be committed to the Free software projects inside the company? Oracle has already suppressed or shut down some Free software projects that Sun created and/or maintained. The same can happen to Novell when it gets bought. So regardless of raves about Novell’s proprietary software, it is time to think what would happen to Mono, Moonlight, and OpenSUSE. SLES and RHEL are quite swappable, so there is no risk for GNU/Linux as a whole, but what about OpenSUSE?

OpensuseNovell’s Markus Rex speaks about the mainframes this week, but there is no risk there because Red Hat would be better off kicking Novell (with Microsoft tax) out of those IBM mainframes anyway.

The big question is, should OpenSUSE volunteers already begin forking OpenSUSE (there was at least one major derivative before)? OpenSUSE is owned and controlled by Novell, which also owns the trademark. A few days ago we stressed this point and expanded on it.

06.20.09

Whisper Campaigns Against Gnote

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The secret

Summary: Response to disinformation about Gnote, a substitute to the Mono-encumbered Tomboy

OVER the past few weeks we’ve come across all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that Gnote would not carry on being developed and maintained. To those who say it, this is a prophecy they wish to fulfill using smears. Microsoft calls the broader scheme of this strategy “the Slog” [PDF] and there are recent examples of another strategy called “whisper campaign” — damaging and false rumours being disseminated [1, 2]. Boycott Novell too has totally false accusations brought against it in an attempt to shoot the messenger because of the message which cannot be refuted (regarding Mono). Needless to say, these injurious false accusations and smears come from proponents of Mono who carefully cherry-pick things and take them out of context.

Going back to Gnote, Stefano Forenza took it upon himself to present refutations to the whispers/rumours regarding Gnote. Here is an overview:

In a thread on the ubuntu-devel mailing list, where Danny Picirillo asked to consider replacing Tomboy with Gnote, a long discussion followed. Ultimately Mackenzie brought up some points that the Gnote developer, Hubert Figuiere felt needed to be answered.

Stefano summarises his post as: “Putting an end to the disinformation about Gnote in the Ubuntu community.” To give an example of scare tactics, Canonical’s Scott James Remnant writes:

One of my principal concerns would that Gnote is simply a code port of Tomboy from Mono to C++, with little development of its own. This means that should the maintainer tire of converting C# to C++, the project could quite quickly die.

This type of logic can be applied to any project, even Microsoft Money [1, 2]. If it had, then where would today’s projects come from? All projects start small and to refuse acceptance of GPLv3-licensed software is somewhat dubious (the licence is actually better than Tomboy’s in the sense that it secures ownership and control by its respective users). The code is right there.

“This type of logic can be applied to any project, even Microsoft Money.”As for Tomboy, it is merely “the hobby” of a Novell employee (to use the wording of those close to the project), so the same logic could be applied to it. Figuiere, on the other hand, appears to be working on Gnote full time and it will be included in Fedora by default this December. Perhaps Red Hat should hire him.

Scott Grizzard wrote to explain the point of view of Mono skeptics (“anti-Mono” is too strong a phrase because we believe that Mono can have a place in the repositories, just not included by default and thus imposed despite risk).

The basic conclusion the anti-Mono crowd reaches (and if I am wrong, please let me know) is this: you shouldn’t use Mono, because Microsoft could come back later (after it has gained wide acceptance) and claim patent violations, gaining control (or at least significant influence) over open source software that uses it. They are especially vehemently opposed to using Mono for any core packages (or packages that gain widespread use), because that places Linux at considerable risk from Microsoft.

[...]

As the anti-mono people are right to point out, you shouldn’t use Mono for new Open Source projects, especially core projects – the potential threat from Microsoft is just too large. But, remember that Microsoft’s power is market power first, and its political power is derived from that. Anything that reduces that market power should be seen as a “good thing”. Mono in the core of Linux distributions has the potential to endanger Linux, but used properly, Mono makes Linux viable for many more people, giving them more choice, and more choice is “good”.

Here is another new post on the subject:

So why can’t Mono just be moved to the repositories? Why is Ubuntu remaining silent on this issue? How come other Linux distributions don’t have to use Mono?

There is no reason to ignore the performance advantages of Gnote, let alone the other important factors.

05.17.09

Gnote Enters Debian, UbuntuOne Has No Mono

Posted in Debian, Fork, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Mono, Ubuntu at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Gnote penetrates distributions at the speed of lightning

OVER AT Identi.ca, gdk writes: “Yay! #Gnote is in !Debian”

seraphyn adds: “Surely better than the mono-litter on !debian. I dislike mono”

This was probably inevitable and Ubuntu might soon swing the same way. Fedora already has it as well, not to mention Debian Sid.

“Fedora already has it as well, not to mention Debian Sid.”Someone wrote about Novell’s iFolder and Mono in relation to UbuntuOne, stating wrongly that “The client side seems to be free software and based in mono.”

This is not correct. If one looks at the source code, then it’s clearly all wrong.

The problem with Mono is old news to many. Applying some simple logic and considering what’s at stake, here is one way to put it. To repeat a message I sent elsewhere, if Microsoft hates something, it means it’s bad for Microsoft. Examples may include GNU/Linux advocacy, critics, and law enforcement. When Microsoft assists something, it’s means it’s good Microsoft. It might help to think along the lines Mono, Moonlight, OOXML plug-ins, Hyper-V support, and SLE*.

Microsoft openly states (both Ballmer and Ozzie) that open source and/or GNU/Linux are the biggest threats to Microsoft.

Does anyone really think Microsoft will help its biggest threats?

Microsoft is a business. It operates for shareholders. It works to defeat its competitive threats.

This is obvious, but Mono and Novell apologists just ignore the warning signs. Microsoft has already sued Linux (probably SCO to an extent, then TomTom, maybe others). What more proof does one need that Microsoft does battle this so-called “cancer” and so-called “IP” is its weapon of choice? It’s only rational to react responsively.

04.29.09

The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Out Buying a Linux Company”

Posted in Database, Fork, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice, Oracle, SUN at 12:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Correction: the old title mistakenly stated 'The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Not Out Buying a Linux Company”''. This is an unfortunate error that led to a wrong assumption.]

Gates on SUSE

Summary: Increasing proximity between Microsoft and Novell across publications this week

LAST WEEK, the smaller Australian press suggested that Microsoft might buy Novell. This week, news.com.au cites a top Microsoft executive and here is the summary in bold:

MICROSOFT plans to spend its way out of the recession by developing new products and services but has ruled out buying a Linux company or increasing its stake in Facebook, a senior executive said.

[...]

For now, it doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to acquire a firm that deals in open source-based software such as Linux.

But Microsoft had great partnerships with companies such as Novell through interoperability agreements, he said.

A few months ago, Microsoft admitted that Novell was more or less its GPL labourer. Novell is applying changes to GNU/Linux and Free software so as to advance Microsoft’s goals. In return, Novell receives generous payments from Microsoft. It is therefore quite unnerving to find the following in yesterday’s news:

Oracle-Sun deal renews calls for OpenOffice.org’s independence

[...]

Michael Meeks, a developer at Novell Inc. who is overseeing Novell’s custom branch of the OpenOffice.org software, is more blunt. “We need to fix the deeply conservative, entrenched group think around development process in the project,” he said. “Currently, we have a total mess in this regard.”

Novell has already begun seizing control of the project [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], to which it inserted components that strengthen Microsoft’s position in the market.

This involvement from Novell is something to watch out for. Novell wants to do to OpenOffice.org what Monty wants to do to MySQL, but Novell — unlike Monty — is serving the equivalent of Oracle, which competes against Free software.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Microsoft is aggressively boosting Novell and it already gets things in return. Looking at the news, there is some more new evidence this week.

Last week, Sys-Con (Microsoft's anti-Linux PR or planters), the Redmond/Microsoft press, and IDG [1, 2, 3] all promoted Novell and Microsoft. Now we find a new addition to a Microsoft-bent site bearing the headline/title “Advantages of Building Virtual Appliances on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server.” In the main branch of the same Redmond publisher we find another article that compares Novell to Microsoft (as well as promotes Novell).

The company is also trying to tailor its program to different categories of partners, and if some of what Novell is doing sounds similar to Microsoft’s current and forthcoming partner efforts, that’s no accident-the recently appointed Hale says he’s taken lessons from Microsoft into his new gig.

More of the same in Sys-Con, which has just published:

This vicinity between Novell and Microsoft makes it hard not to become suspicious. Are any more announcements imminent?

Microvell

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

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