SCO Sells Its Few Remaining Assets. Is Xandros Next?

Posted in Linspire, Novell, SCO, Xandros at 12:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Picture market

Summary: SCO’s sale of the software business is approved, bringing back memories of Linspire

SOME TIME earlier this month we wrote about SCO looking to raise more money after a seemingly-fake bankruptcy. An author who is typically a SCO sympathiser has just caught up with the news about the court approving SCO’s sale of its software business.

The SCO Group’s software business is up for sale, but that might not mean an end to its controversial lawsuits against IBM Corp. and Novell Inc.

Judge Kevin Gross in Delaware has approved procedures for selling off the Lindon company’s Unix business before the end of this year.

Such sales of assets are not so rare. In last week’s news, for example, we also learned about Novell’s familiarity with the practice. From Jon Oltsik about HP:

They company backed this up when it sold its identity management portfolio to Novell.

Two years ago Xandros bought Linspire’s assets (and threw away the trademarks, which it never truly used). Linspire failed for reasons which are explained in this month’s article from a former Xandros user and the sale of Linspire to Xandros is also mentioned in this new press release about Michael Robertson and others.

Here is where Xandros is said to be today:

Xandros – If you prefer a Linux distribution with a Microsoft connection, Xandros is the one for you. Rumors aside, Xandros and Microsoft collaborate in what’s known in technical circles as “cooperatition.” This means that they compete cooperatively. To find out more about this unique perspective, check out the Xandros About page.

It does not seem like anyone really uses or buys it anymore. It’s out of date. The same goes for Presto, which very rarely gets a mention anywhere. Xandros — like KNOPPIX — has not much of a story to tell anymore. The main Debian derivative which gets all the attention is Ubuntu, as pointed out now that Debian turns 17.

Many popular Linux distros are based on Debian and still heavily rely on ‘upstream’ development including the very popular Ubuntu, but also KNOPPIX, MEPIS, Xandros and many others. In turn, these distros have each been used as the basis for many other Linux flavors.

It would be interesting to know what Ian Murdock, Debian’s founder, is up to now that OpenSolaris/”Project Indiana” received a blow from Oracle. Murdock has been exceptionally quiet for years (especially since he joined Sun Microsystems).


Xandros Might Let Freespire Die Within Days

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Xandros at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Only days left for Xandros to decide that it wants to keep the Freespire domain alive; CNR Warehouse down for over 3 months

IT HAS been a long time since we last wrote about Xandros, which absorbed Linspire (both companies had signed a patent deal with Microsoft).

Xandros has already killed Linspire (the distribution), as it announced shortly after it bought the company. It said it would stay committed to Freespire, but it never made a release, not even of Xandros, for which it offers Microsoft patent 'protection' at the cost of $50. According to this thread, Xandros has only days left to renew the Freespire domain name. Will it do it? One former user is convinced that Xandros will make it “officially dead” (we too let our “Boycott Xandros” and “Boycott Linspire” domains expire last month):

According to this thread on the Freespire forum, the Freespire website and domain will expire on August 22, 2010, which at this time is a mere two weeks away. If Xandros doesn’t renew the website and domain and allows the Freespire website to go offline, then Freespire will be officially dead. Xandros cares more about kissing Microsoft’s ass and making insignificant OEM deals and killing off everything associated with Linspire, especially Freespire and CNR. The CNR Warehouse has been down for at least THREE MONTHS. Xandros, do you realize the money you could make from selling “Click N Buy” software on CNR?

That’s just what happens to almost every company which signs a submissive Microsoft deal.


Novell News Summary – Part II: Novell and IBM in Studio

Posted in IBM, LG, Linspire, Novell, Samsung, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 11:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken screen

Summary: IBM and Novell grow a little closer; Verizon and SpagoBI make use of SUSE as well; other Ballnux distributions have little to say


MOST of the SUSE news this week relates to IBM and/or Studio, starting with this article about IBM’s Power7.

Read the rest of this entry »


Novell News Summary – Part II: SUSE Reliant on IBM and Verizon, Hosts Proprietary Software or SaaS

Posted in IBM, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Male chameleon

Summary: A survey of the past two week’s news shows where SLES is gaining and where it is losing

NOVELL’S SLES is occasionally being listed as a supported platform on a variety of servers, but there are barriers to it. Red Hat is still way ahead of SLES when it comes to deployment:

Today’s data centers are moving toward only two important non-mainframe server operating systems — Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows — dominating the commercial operating system market. Proprietary Unix is on the downswing, with many Unix systems (AIX, HP-UX and Solaris), and the SCO operating systems being migrated to Linux or Windows. NetWare has been on a very steep decline for several years and Novell recently ended general support for Netware. IBM’s z/OS and z/VM are still holding their own as mainframe operating systems.


The questions are: Why is Novell, the second-largest commercial Linux server operating system vendor, being discounted as a serious Linux operating system vendor over the next few years?And what does this mean to you, the IT director?

Nat Friedman was promoting SLED (see these two videos which have just been uploaded [1, 2]), but he left Novell some months ago and Novell keeps talking about Vista 7 rather than SLED.

There are some new videos about SUSE Moblin and SLED, but Novell is not doing enough.

On the server side, Timothy Prickett Morgan mentions SLES as supported here, here, here, and here (along with RHEL).

IBM’s i 7.1 and AIX 5.3 and 6.1, and Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 5.5, and Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3 are supported on the blades. SLES 11 will be supported later this quarter when SP1 for that OS comes out.

Another one from Timothy Prickett Morgan shows the relation to IBM:

Big Blue juices OS formerly known as 400


This can be done quickly, and a partition can be trashed when the testing is over. i 7.1 logical partitions can create guest partitions based on i 7.1 or i 6.1. Guest partitions can also be spun up for AIX 5.2, 5.3, and 6.1 as well as the Linux distros from Red Hat and Novell.

Novell’s tag-team act with IBM (intended to sell its proprietary products) will lead to even more promotion of SaaS rather than Free software on one’s own desktop. Novell’s special relationship with IBM mainframes can also be seen here. SaaS at Verizon will involve SLES but not RHEL, which is not entirely odd but Verizon used to work a lot with Red Hat. Did half a billion dollars from Microsoft change Verizon’s mind?

Verizon also expanded the applications and operating systems supported by SaaS, adding SUSE Linux, which is commonly used in ERP packages; and Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) SQL Server 2008, which has been added as a click-to-provision server option. The addition of SUSE Linux and SQL Server 2008 augments the support for Windows, Red Hat, Apache and SQL Server 2005 that CaaS already supports.

More about Verizon here:

Enhancements to the CaaS offering include support for server cloning and the SUSE Linux operating system.

Here is the corresponding press release:

The SUSE Linux operating system is now supported on the Verizon CaaS platform as a standard service offering. Linux software is used with commonly deployed enterprise resource planning packages. In addition, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 has been added as a “click-to-provision” database server option.

Here is Microsoft piggybacking SUSE into HPC yet again. How does IBM feel about it? The Microsoft boosters sure seem happy about the whole thing.

The Linux and Windows interoperability efforts from Microsoft and partners such as Novell have evolved to the HPC market.

Ingres got closer to SLES recently. It’s because of Studio appliances, which the company covered in three new videos [1, 2, 3] and also mentioned in a press release.

The SpagoBI Analytical Appliance integrates SpagoBI, the only entirely open source suite covering all the analytical areas of business intelligence projects, Ingres Database, the leading open source database that helps organizations develop and manage business critical applications at an affordable cost, and SUSE® Linux Enterprise 11 from Novell®.

SGI still supports both RHEL and SLES, based on its new press release which says:

At the system software level, Cyclone offers a flexible computing environment with choice of Novell(R) SUSE(R) or Red Hat(R) Linux(R) operating systems, further performance-optimized through the addition of SGI(R) ProPack(TM).

Novell is the last distributor of GNU/Linux which poses a real problem because it pays Microsoft for each copy of SLES. Xandros is mostly unheard of at this stage and the only mention of it that we have found this month (in English) was to do with Linspire, which it had acquired only to bury. Michael Robertson still deals with litigation:

Robertson, the controversy-courting founder of MP3.com and Linspire, is preparing to roll out a new online music service called BYO.fm. He said that BYO taps into Web radio’s potential to enable users to act as their own program directors.

Michael Robertson’s lawsuit against Carmony (and vice versa) seems to have ended rather quietly. Maybe it’s better that way.


Novell News Summary – Part II: SUSE in Hush Mode, Lindows Called “Worst Product Ever”, Samsung’s Bada Revisited

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Samsung, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 12:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reptile on the hand

Summary: News and coverage concerning the distributions which joined Microsoft’s patent racket against GNU/Linux


GroundWork continues to favour SLES for some reason and there is a new press release about it.

GroundWork Open Source, Inc. (GWOS http://www.gwos.com), the leader in commercial open source systems and network management software, today announced it will conclude the GWOS barCAMP Deux sessions with an exclusive release of a SUSE powered Virtual Appliance package that integrates GroundWork Monitor Enterprise 6.1 with Zendesk (www.zendesk.com).

At the high end, IBM deploys SLES for some large companies with mission-critical systems.

Implementing an IBM System z10 Enterprise Linux Server helps EFiS EDI Finance Service AG save money and the environment

Here is some guidance for anyone who wants SLED 11 installed on this HP hardware:

However, we still tested the stock version and came away impressed. For the vast majority of computing tasks – using Evolution to check your POP mail, burning a DVD disc using LightScribe (included with this SLED build) and even playing games or watching movies – the Elite 7000 is up to the task. Where we noticed a performance degradation is when we compared Linux-to-Linux between this system and a home-built PC that uses an SSD drive, an Nvidia Quadro CX graphics card and has 6GB of RAM. There was no comparison, of course – the home-built system was snappier even for popping up Firefox, copying files and running simulations with a program like Autodesk Revit Architecture (which normally prefers a workstation PC).

That’s about it when it comes to SLE*.


Another distribution that we name “Ballnux” would have to be Xandros because Linspire and Turbolinux are more or less history. Here is a little new rant about Xandros:

Linpus and Xandros aren’t looking quite so exciting. Of course, that could change as smartbooks with ARM-based processors start to hit the market, since they’re not capable of running Windows.

Not looking like Windows does not make something deficient. People don’t need Windows, they just need something that works. But anyway, Lindows, which was bought by Xandros in its “Linspire” form, is now being called one of the “worst products ever”.

9. Lindows
The hype was palpable surrounding Lindows: it was going to be a Linux operating system that provided full compatibility with Windows. Microsoft didn’t take kindly to this and even sued, unsuccessfully, saying that Lindows was infringing its Windows copyright. The court case just added to the excitement.

Xandros never did anything substantial with Linspire, not even with CNR.


Microsoft is also extorting Linux phones and Samsung lets Microsoft get its way. Here is a new discussion about Samsung’s Android phones and about Bada:

Many people think of it as a poor thought, but Samsung has made it clear that Samsung Bada is being launched to make smartphones accessible to everyone. The smartphone market is still in its growing phase and Bada platform aims at improving the current situation.

Bada is mostly a layer and the platform that’s underneath benefits Microsoft if people buy their phones from Samsung.


What Would Happen to “Boycott Novell” If Novell Was Sold in Pieces

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Mandriva, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Site News, Turbolinux, Ubuntu, Xandros at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A little interlude about where the site is going and why it needs help from readers

There is some discussion in the IRC channel about what may happen to Novell next. We are still producing almost 1 megabyte of IRC discussion per day (usually about 600 kilobytes on average), which makes up about 95% of feedback from readers (Boycott Novell is approaching an audience of 10,000 unique visitors per day, but commenting requires an account).

We thought it would be reasonable to say something about the future now that Novell is at a mortal crossroad because of a vulture fund that had a coup planned for 3-4 months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. We append some more references at the bottom.

“If Novell was bought and dismantled, this Web site’s name would remain for all all sorts of practical/technical reasons and considerations.”Four GNU/Linux vendors (as opposed to users of it, mostly those who embed it in hardware) signed a Linux patent deal with Microsoft in 2006-2007. The GPLv3 may have stopped this flood of feeble vendors which ended up joining the racket. Linspire got picked up by Xandros, which appears to have almost quit the GNU/Linux market, Turbolinux sort of collapsed onto another firm in Asia, and Novell is now the last one standing. This is major as it means that almost all the companies we boycotted are dying, as opposed to those who kept it ‘clean’ (notably Mandriva, Canonical, and Red Hat). This just comes to show what happens to those who foolishly take Microsoft’s side.

The main issues are still the digital hydras known as Apple and Microsoft, both of which are now legally attacking GNU/Linux with software patents (Apple versus HTC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], Microsoft versus TomTom, SCO versus IBM, et cetera).

If Novell was bought and dismantled, this Web site’s name would remain for all all sorts of practical/technical reasons and considerations.

We will try to focus on delivering news summaries on a daily basis (these are the most popular items here) and also address threats to Free software. With a Ph.D. completed, I hope to write Boycott Novell full time (sacrificing an academic career to advance the freedom of software), but it would not be possible without help from readers. We estimate that there are many thousands of regular readers who have enjoyed this site for over 3 years (almost 10,000 blog posts were published here), so if each reader was willing to donate a few bucks/quid, that would enable us to carry on going. At the same time, we realise that such moves rarely work as they do not bring in funds, so we are left reluctant to ask for financial assistance (even though it’s needed). Any advice would be appreciated.
[1] How Much Will Novell Go For? [The 451 Group reckons Novell's sale is inevitable]

As bargains go, Novell’s (NOVL) valuation in the recently floated bid from a hedge fund is a bit like a ‘crazy Eddie’ discount. Earlier this week, Elliott Associates offered $5.75 for each of the roughly 350,000 shares for Novell. Altogether, the equity value totals about $2bn.

[2] Will Novell Finally Be Acquired? [from the 'Microsoft press']

[3] Novell Gets $2 Billion Takeover Offer From Elliott

Whether they’re interested in breaking Novell into pieces or simply after Novell’s patent portfolio or intellectual property remains to be seen at this point. Either way I don’t see the acquisition being good for Novell or Open Source though. Which brings the next question. Is another suitor likely to jump in at this point. the Var Guy lists IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Computer Associates as potential options. I’d add Cisco as another potential Dark Horse candidate, but agree that IBM and HP are exceedingly unlikely. The realty is that Novell is going to be difficult to digest from a strategic standpoint. They have at least four divergent businesses and Linux only makes up about 20% of the company’s revenue. That means a private-equity firm taking the company private and restructuring may be the most viable option at this point.

[4] BBC America: Palast Hunts the Vultures [hedge funds are so unethical that some consider banning them]

Some vultures have feathers, but some have fancy offices and huge homes. Tonight, BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast follows the trail of one “vulture fund” chief, from a locked office door in New York to mud-brick houses in Africa.

How strange. When I arrive at the offices of Eric Hermann at hedge fund FH International, just outside New York City, the company’s corporate sign is unbolted from the wall and the suite number removed from the door.

But wait … I hear noises inside the office. Huh? I knock on the locked door and out steps the office building’s security manager.


Novell News Summary – Part II: Update on SUSE, OES, Linspire, Samsung, LG, and Kyocera Mita

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kyocera Mita, LG, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Samsung, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baby lizard gecko

Summary: News about the different types of “Ballnux” distributions (ones from which Microsoft extracts profit through intimidation and collusion)


THERE HAS BEEN NO major news about SLE* in the month of February, but the product in being used or deployed in some areas. Novell’s marketing people write about the SUSE appliance of ROC EasySpooler. Here is the press release (also here):

ROC Software Systems Inc. announces the first release of the ROC EasySpooler SUSE-powered appliance. Based on the reliable ROC EasySpooler core technology and a fully supported version of SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell, the appliance provides the highest level of print output management available to any business environment.

Here is something related that was mentioned two or three weeks ago when the press release came out.

Read the rest of this entry »


Turbolinux is History After Microsoft Patent Deal

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Turbolinux, Xandros at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Google trends for TurboLinux (search volume)

Summary: iSoft buys TurboSystems and Novell is in a state of disarray

THE company known as TurboSystems lost its way after it had signed a patent deal with Microsoft. It sold out. According to the news (most of the coverage is in Asian languages), “iSoft Infrastructure Software Co Ltd, a Chinese software company, yesterday announced that it has bought a 51% stake in Japan’s TurboSystems, which belongs to Turbolinux and specially engaged in researching and developing the Linux technology, sources reported.” The headline says that “China’s iSoft buys Japan’s TurboSystems”, so it’s likely to be a complete acquisition (or a majority stake). There’s heaps of coverage in Chinese and it can hopefully draw an accurate picture.

Turbolinux seems like it’s over. Our last update on its terminal state showed that it was just one of those companies that lost GNU/Linux focus after Microsoft deals. What happens to Turbolinux right now is similar the story of Linspire-Xandros. Linspire got absorbed only to be put in its deathbed. This is okay because both Xandros and Linspire sold out to Microsoft, deciding to promote OOXML and to pay Microsoft for imaginary patents. The fewer of these companies that are left, the better. It’s down from 4 to just two now, Xandros and Novell.

“The problem of distributions that sell out to Microsoft is made more densely contained as their activities are ebbing.”Xandros said that it was more or less quiting its “Linux” direction and Novell too seems more focused on Microsoft technology (this one is from yesterday, posted by a Microsoft MVP who is a Novell vice president), just like Corel after the Microsoft deal [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

The problem of distributions that sell out to Microsoft is made more densely contained as their activities are ebbing. Novell is arguably the only sellout left now; it makes it a lot easier for us to track the problem with distributions whose use is harmful for GNU/Linux and Free software. Back in 2007 the problem had spread to four separate distributions, 3 of which merely followed the “Novell model”. That’s what makes Novell so unique, except for its size.

As for Novell itself, its SUSE efforts are shattered by the abandonment of Zonker (the latest among several managers like Levy, Jaffe and Friedman, who leave Novell as well). SUSE is crumbling and Michael Löffler looks for a new Community Manager:

In the meantime, I will be working with Andreas Jaeger and other Novell colleagues in marketing and engineering to cover openSUSE community relations activities.

The comments there are interesting too. Back in 2006 SUSE was probably the leading GNU/Linux distribution for the desktop (exceeding even Ubuntu). The deal with Microsoft turned Novell from hero to zero overnight.

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