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Why Public and Private Records Keeping Systems Should Use Free Software.

Posted in Action, America, Antitrust, Database, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Identity Management, Law at 10:10 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Institutions which value their customer’s privacy should only use free software for their day to day business and record keeping. The rapacious behavior of banks, insurance companies and marketing firms has received a great deal of attention, and sane countries are making data privacy laws but the issue of non free software is seldom raised. Medical records are a particularly sensitive area where morals and ethics should trump profit. Ethical medical practitioners know that the records they create belong to the patient and that those records must be guarded and only surrendered to the patient or other health care professionals serving the patient. Bankers, insurance companies and other companies should be forced by law to abide by similar rules but no one can actually comply if they use propitiatory software which hides operations from users.

The US is in the midst of an insurance industry push towards electronic medical records. Tax breaks and other incentives have been offered to doctors who make the move to electronic records keeping. This will be good if adequate protections are in place.

The privacy of electronic records is supposed to be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, but there are obvious and gaping problems. Frequently raised concerns include nosy clerks especially at satellite institutions like pharmacies, unauthorized remote intrusion, court orders and a lack of action by regulators who take complaints. Mostly overlooked is the fact that software owners like Microsoft will have unfettered access to any medical record that any Windows system has access to. Google recently proved that Microsoft was spying on ordinary users, so the threat is no longer a theoretical matter of the company exercising the broad rights to snoop they gave themselves in their EULAs a decade ago [2] with or without your permission.

Every business and government office that uses non free software should realize this threat and end it by migrating to free software. Moving to free software won’t protect institutions from malicious clerks and other commonly mentioned problems but it is the only solution to unauthorized access to records by software owners. That access and power is at the heart of the bad deal propitiatory software has always offered but is exposed in an ugly way when all of our records are electronic and computers must be on a network to be considered useful.

Businesses that do not move out of customer and self interest should be forced by law. Customers and citizens concerned about their privacy should be protected. Because no such privacy can be guaranteed by propitiatory software, no propitiatory software should be allowed to operate on customer business records. Only software with the four software freedoms should be allowed.


Novell Products to Lose Identity Under AttachMSFT

Posted in Identity Management, Novell at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Novell’s Identity Access Management business is also at risk

BASED on what we learned in IRC from people whose job it is to sell/maintain Novell deployments, customers of Novell may soon rush to other companies like Microsoft, just because of the uncertainty around AttachMSFT [sic]. Novell’s financial results were already expected to be bad, but now it is going to be even worse because the Novell brand is likely to become history after decades out there in the market. Despite brand recognition, Identity Access Management is only one of Novell’s wannabe products these days and patents associated with it are being passed to a Microsoft shell. Novell’s PR people desperately try to create interest in Novell’s Identity Management [1, 2] and there is even a new press release in many sites [1, 2, 3]. It failed to generate news coverage and all we could find is this tiny mention. Given the tiny impact Novell’s Identity Management has had, is it likely that AttachMSFT will choose to keep it? Can such an asset be sold at all? It’s just proprietary software without a major userbase or any patents at all (Novell values patents).


Eye on Novell: Identity Manager 4 and Only More Proprietary Software

Posted in Identity Management, Novell, Security, Virtualisation at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Novell lost its identity as a “Linux vendor” and the news shows reluctance to do anything to change this

NOVELL HAS had virtually no news to tell this week, the only exception being a press release about Identity Manager 4. At this stage, Novell is just floating, waiting to be acquired (that’s what probably occupies the management right now). Based on this week’s financial news about NOVL [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16], there have been no major shifts. News about Novell was very scarce and casual mentionings of the company were made in light of historical things like Novell’s IPX:

PCs with documents to fax often “spoke” to their servers over proprietary protocols (eg: Novell’s IPX) and telephone carriers were the most common intermediary between those and other servers (and fax machines as well).

More about Novell’s past:

Microsoft on Wednesday reached a deal with New York City to supply software directly to local government but which avoids the controversial practices of earlier years.


Unbundling is a rare step for Microsoft, which has usually preferred mandatory licenses for its software whenever making a deal. The strategy helped marginalize Corel/Novell WordPerfect over the past two decades and also sparked some antitrust concerns, especially when Microsoft charged a per-computer Windows license even for systems that didn’t have Windows installed.

The Economist ponders verbing Novell like people have verbed “Google” and this one article from the Middle East says something odd:

Novell, the leader in Intelligent Workload Management (identity)…

The thing about Novell’s “Intelligent Workload Management” (not identity) is that it owns it, so it’s not the “leader” in it. Some other new articles from the Middle East cover similar grounds [1, 2]. Novell tries growing its market there. It is mostly about proprietary software though, as articles name Identity Manager 4 and WorkloadIQ. Novell has been spreading self-promotional/self-serving ‘studies’ recently and these are being used to market Fog Computing, which Novell wishes to control using proprietary software like WorkloadIQ.

Another piece of proprietary software from Novell is GroupWise and this one too received some coverage this week, even though it was very minor, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. GWAVA announced a keynote speaker for GWAVACon. Additionally, “LiveTime and Novell Announce the Launch of Novell Service Desk Software” says this item:

LiveTime Software, a California-based provider of Web, Software-as-a-Service, cloud-based ITIL 3 Service Management, and Service Desk software, announced a partnership with Novell, for worldwide distribution of LiveTime as Novell Service Desk.

Novell’s marketing type Grant Ho has just had a placement at ZDNet. It’s for identity management, which Novell has a new release of [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Novell’s identity management bags this new partner:

Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) has deepened its relationship with Novell by bagging distribution rights to the software vendor’s identity and security line-up.

People with history at Novell are being mentioned in some releases and articles this week, for example:

Bradford served as CEO of Fusion-io and was senior vice president of Novell. He is now chairman of Fusion-io’s board, “giving me a little more time for LDS.biz.”

Lastly, Novell was mentioned in the following couple of items (minor significance):

i. HP ExpertONE Targets Cisco Training with New Certifications

They never mention Cisco by name, but it does seem a little late to be targeting Novell CNEs as a major source of pre-trained candidates.

ii. Swicon360 set to shine as Silver sponsor at Saphila Conference

Swicon360, in association with partners Vodacom Business and Novell, will be represented as a Silver sponsor at the event, which is co-hosted by The African SAP User Group and SAP South Africa.

Up to a point this year we were publishing Novell news on a weekly basis. News about Novell has become very scarce though, so we stopped. The company is now on the verge of being no more and given its focus on proprietary software, a takeover won’t be loss to FOSS. In some ways it will help demote/eliminate a distribution which Microsoft unfairly extracts revenue from (dubbed “Ballnux”).


Novell’s Transition Into a Fog Computing (Proprietary) Asset and Its Legacy Remembered

Posted in GNU/Linux, Identity Management, Novell, SLES/SLED, VMware at 1:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell in Provo

Summary: A bundle of Novell news emphasising the company’s Fog Computing (‘cloud’) moves, former Novell staff, and space sharing (amid the company’s shrinkage and approaching end)

THIS post accumulates one week of Novell news, excluding the imminent sale of the company. Earlier this month Novell or some surrogate account threw some “success stories” at YouTube [1, 2]. It’s not entirely clear why Novell should even bother marketing itself at this stage.

Moving on to SUSE (probably to become VMware’s property soon), SUSE received a special mention in the following press release some days ago:

Zend Server Supports SUSE Linux Enterprise Server


Zend Technologies Updates Zend Server PHP Web Application Server and Zend Server Cluster Manager

Another item says that “Novell Announces New SUSE Linux Certification Programmes” (probably old news reposted) and there is some news about Packman in SLE*:

The Packman software archive is now offering a multimedia software package for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 (SP1). As well as a range of media players, including VLC and MPlayer, it includes a number of codecs for proprietary formats. These include a Windows Media codec package and several GStreamer plug-ins which can be used by applications such as Totem, Banshee and Rhythmbox.

There is little about OpenSUSE except some security alerts [1, 2]. As a takeover by VMware seems highly likely, Novell continues to promote its proprietary Fog Computing agenda with Cloud Manager, which received belated coverage from [1, 2, 3]. There’s a quiet new release of another proprietary software product from Novell.

“Swicon360 takes HCM Spectrum in the Cloud service online” says this new press release about an adoption by a site which “represents a key step in an industry-leading initiative involving the joint expertise of Swicon360, SAP, Vodacom Business and Novell.”

Novell is increasingly moving in the direction of Fog Computing, as we have stressed and demonstrated for months. The article “Cloud Computing Investors Need to Consider Architecture” says

BasisOne is using Novell identity and security solutions for its platform that deploys SAP ERP solutions as a service using Vodacom (News – Alert) Business’s private cloud, TMCnet reported. Novell’s solution enables BasisOne to extend an enterprise organization’s security policies onto the applications that are running on virtual servers at Vodacom Business’s state-of-the-art data center.

Novell has not bought a single company in a long time, but memories are brought back about one company which sold identity management to Novell a long time ago:

“It’s a great asset, a market-leading company,” says Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. He notes ArcSight’s main competitors today include RSA with its enVision product, as well as vendors Q1 Labs, LogLogic and LogRhythm. Oltsik admits he was a bit surprised to see HP going out to snag ArcSight since HP has not built up a large security product portfolio and has at times divested products, such as its identity management suite, which it sold to Novell.

Elsewhere in the news we found Novell partners but no key announcements of any kind. Here is Novell plugging itself into an IDG report:

Mary Jo Swenson, a manager with Novell Training Services, says her company “looks for someone who knows the technology and can present well.” To ensure a trainer meets those criteria, Novell wants him to be a Certified Novell Instructor, or better yet, an Advanced Certified Novell Instructor with significant hands-on product experience. The instructor must hold the certification for the course he is teaching, and must stay current on Novell product knowledge. He can lose his status as a trainer if he doesn’t stay current on Novell products. Swenson says the trainer also should hold the Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification, which validates that the person can perform classroom management duties and handle the “teaching” portion of being a trainer.

Former staff of Novell gets mentioned here:

Microfueler was founded in 2008, and has 25 employees. It’s based in Paso Robles, Calif., and is founded by Tom Quinn, who invented and holds the patent for the motion-game controller used by the Nintendo Wii. Its management also includes Bruce Padula, former VP of sales at Novell.

The Novell Technology Center in Provo turns out to be sharing room/space/place with other companies (maybe due to Novell shrinking over time). From this week’s news we have:

VMT (Vernier Moon Torque) Technologies, a development and licensing company headquartered at the Novell Technology Center in Provo, Utah, is developing a positively engaged, metal-to-metal infinitely variable transmission. The Universal Transmission, which uses an engaged drive chain rather than a friction belt, will be able to increase fuel efficiency by up to 30% or more while generating high torque performance, according to the company.

More space sharing with Broadcom got reported this week: “They will join other market leading companies including Novell, GMAC, and Honeywell, already based at the business park.”

Another last tidbit:

The heart of the laboratory is a 225-gigabyte database of environmental and agricultural project records running on six HP servers and two Novell servers storing the data and running the software being tested.

Novell’s sale in two parts can prove rather disruptive to existing Novell customers such as this one. It sure has been a huge distraction.


Novell News Summary – Part III: Plugs in the Press and SCO Case Galore

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Identity Management, Mail, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, SCO, Security, Virtualisation, VMware at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lake Powell, Utah

Summary: Novell news from the past two weeks (excepting SUSE/OpenSUSE)

THERE is a heap of stuff to be shared here this week, but none of it is groundbreaking.

Read the rest of this entry »


Novell News Summary – Part III: Novell Drives Nowhere Special

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Mail, Marketing, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Red Hat, Security, SLES/SLED, Videos at 9:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Long road

Summary: Dull week passes by, but we pick up and present some of the minor developments surrounding Novell

IT is a holiday, so this one will be short.

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Novell News Summary – Part III: AutoZone-SCO Case Ends, Financial Leftovers, Partner Academy Launched in India

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Mail, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, Security, Virtualisation at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zion national park

Summary: The latest catchup with Novell news that might not affect GNU/Linux in any direct way

NOTHING particularly special can be seen here this week, but the SCO case is worth starting with because of some key issues.

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Novell News Summary – Part III: WordPerfect Changes Hands Again, SCO Case Updates, and More

Posted in Corel, Finance, Identity Management, Mail, Novell, Office Suites, SCO at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grand Canyon

Summary: Novell’s legal, proprietary, and increasingly SaaS-based business as defined by the past week’s news

IT may seem repetitive, but this week too saw no major announcements from Novell.

Read the rest of this entry »

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