Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: BrainShare 2008 Overview

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Meeting, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian at 9:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have been tracking announcements and reports from BrainShare over the past week. Here is a quick roundup that hopefully sheds some light on what was happening.

BrainShare Opening

The conference was formally announced with this press release.

At its annual BrainShare user conference today, Novell unveiled products,
partnerships and its strategic vision for the future to customers,
partners, press, and industry and financial analysts. Novell’s BrainShare,
with 5,500 participants from 58 countries, features keynotes, business and
technical sessions, and demonstrations that illuminate Novell’s software
that solves customer problems today and Novell’s strategy for streamlining
computing in the future. Cornerstone sponsor SAP leads a group of 65
sponsors and exhibitors at the conference.

Zonker gave somewhat of an introduction the following day. It’s brief.

First thing this morning I went to the General Session (a.k.a. “keynote”) with Ron Hovsepian, Jeff Jaffe, John Dragoon, and Jim Ebzery. (If you couldn’t make it, or just want to relive the experience, the vids are already up on the BrainShare site here.) The room was packed — not sure how many people were at the general session, but it was a huge room, and looked quite full from where I was sitting.


In case you want to see what it looked like, here are some photos. Seems nice.

However Novell also provides plenty of down-time opportunities from pool tables, and huge TV screens showing episodes of the US version of The Office.

Agility, Agility, Agility

Yes, there was a theme which got rather tedious after you saw it dozens of times in the press. For example:

Free and open source software plus agility is Brainshare mantra

More of the “agile/agility” chorus:

Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO and EVP of business units, outlined the company’s technical vision at this week’s BrainShare 2008 conference in Salt Lake City, codenamed The Fossa Project. Jaffe explained that a fossa is an agile, cat-like animal native to Madagascar with no known predators. Fossa, he mentioned, also serves well as an acronym for “Free and Open Source Software with Agility.”

And again:

Speaking at the company’s annual user conference Brainshare, Novell’s CTO Jeff Jaffe has announced the company’s new technology strategy which it has rather curiously decided to name after an endangered relative of the mongoose – the Madagascan Fossa.

Despite keeping references to open source and Linux to a minimum, in this morning’s keynote speeches, the Fossa is obviously a play on Free and Open Source Software with the ‘A’ standing for agility. Novell claims that its going to revolutionise the IT world by focusing on creating “agile infrastructure”.

Even in headlines: Novell lays out vision for SUSE, IT agility at BrainShare

Mixed-IT environments are here to stay. And Novell Inc. wants to be the lubricant — that is, the infrastructure software company — that makes them all work together.

Another headline: Novell pushes agile infrastructure vision

Novell has kicked off its annual user conference by announcing ambitious plans to instigate what it claims is “the next revolution in the IT industry”.

Keynote and Beyond

Then came some more report about talks from the executives.

But some of the most interesting tidbits came in interviews held away from the glare and video cameras of the keynote spotlights.

And more on Microsoft’s involvement:

The widely criticized Microsoft Corp.-Novell Inc. interoperability agreement has been a success for his company, Novell CEO Ron Hovespian said Monday.

Speaking to a group of international journalists at the Novell’s annual Brainshare conference in Salt Lake City, Hovespian said the deal – signed in November 2006 – has worked because most enterprises have both Novell and Microsoft software deployed in their IT environment. And in order to keep the harmony between two software stacks like JSEE and .NET or between Linux and Windows, he said, Waltham, Mass.-based Novell will continue to foster a working relationship that focuses on interoperability and efficiency with Microsoft products.


Quite a few reports from Peter Galli, who was apparently there:

1. Novell to Focus on the `Agile Infrastructure`

The project is code-named Fossa after the agile animal living in the jungles of Madagascar that has no known predators.

2. Novell to Announce New, Expanded Partnerships

At BrainShare, the company also will announce a deal that will see the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 preloaded on hardware from a major vendor.

SALT LAKE CITY—Novell will use its annual BrainShare conference here March 17 to announce new and expanded partnerships as well as to show off some of the features and functionality of its upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.

On the CEO’s talk:

Novell’s chief executive officer and president, Ron Hovsepian, told several thousand people Monday that he has “quite a long list” of reasons to be proud of the company, including a burgeoning customer base and continued innovation.

Some more from the local press:

Top Novell, Inc., officials outlined a strategy Monday that includes an emphasis on products that allow companies greater flexibility to integrate various brands of software into a more seamless whole – and to move the social networking revolution into business.

From Jan Stafford, who is an excellent reporter:

At the annual Novell BrainShare user conference that started in Salt Lake City today, Novell unveiled its roadmap and loaded the car with new friends. The roadmap includes a new strategy focused on agility, called Fossa, and a new release of SUSE: SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. Joining Novell for the trip will be new partners bearing products such as SAP, PlateSpin and Atos Origin.

After a very fast start, the conference slowed down somewhat, at least in terms of announcement pace and magnitude. Var Guy thinks so as well.

Novell didn’t deliver any home-run news during BrainShare on March 17, but the software company did manage to smack a few solid singles during the day. Overall, the buzz from Utah sounded pretty upbeat. Here’s a look at Monday’s developments, and The VAR Guy’s take on the situation.

Future posts will look at some less Linux-oriented announcements and contain rather dull press releases. We must keep abreast of Novell’s strategy in order to understand how it may evolve and what this means to Free software and its future prospects.


Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part IV: Novell’s Partners and Industry Support

Posted in Africa, Mail, Meeting, Novell, Servers, Virtualisation at 1:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are various new products (software or otherwise) which relate to Novell in one way or another. Here is a fairly complete list which is based on the past week’s news (we still rely heavily on news ‘radars’).

Embarcadero’s new change management tool boasts SUSE support.

Linux version of Change Manager supports Red Hat Enterprise and SUSE

In South Africa, a complete solution for local businesses is based on Novell’s products.

A Linux-based desktop-to-server solution tailored to meet the needs of small businesses, the Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition combines the flexibility and cost efficiency of open source software with the support of an established enterprise software vendor, according to the distributor.

Yesterday we mentioned a fork of Novell’s Hula. We wish the best of luck to the Bongo developers, who continue where Novell left off. We also wrote about Bongo about 12 months ago.

In 2005, we thought that we had a solution when Novell released Hula, an open source version of Netmail. Unfortunatly, things didn’t went too far but it ultimately led to a fork called Bongo.

GWAVA, whose videos we showed here several times in the past, has won Novell’s partner of the year award.

Held at Novell´s global kick-off event in Orlando, Florida, and attended by hundreds of Novell´s worldwide sales and marketing staff, GWAVA was awarded due to its overall exceptional work and product support for the Novell GroupWise Collaboration Community.

Projity has hit the 1.0 milestone and celebrated this with a self-promotional press release that also gives Novell some bragging rights.

“Novell supports all community efforts to bring more applications to the Linux desktop,” said Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “OpenProj addresses an important customer need — the availability of an open source application for project management. As more users migrate to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and OpenOffice.org, these users will be seeking tools like OpenProj to help them complete their daily business tasks.” — Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions at Novell

Novell is listed among those who having presence in a new Parallels webcast.

There will be a launch webcast event (www.parallels.com/launchevent) with Parallels CEO, Serguei Beloussov on Thursday (January 31) at 11 AM Eastern U.S time that will further illuminate the Parallels strategy for the next generation of virtualization products. Joining will be executives from AMD, HP, Intel, Novell and SGI.

Novell seems to be flirting with quite a few virtualisation companies at the same time, but then again, so do IBM and Red Hat. it’s all about choice.


Novell/Microsoft Debate and Unwanted Consequences

Posted in GPL, Meeting, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coming soon is a debate on the impact of the Novell-Microsoft deal. The manager of a company whose product handles software licence compliance will take the lead. Recently, his company, which is called Black Duck, received a some attention owing to the gentle GPLv2-GPv3 clashes. It is something that this new article explores as well.

Another point Vasile makes to clients is that open source doesn’t mean anti-commercial. “That’s a big misconception,” he said. “Under the GPL, if you want to charge for software, you can. However, you then have obligations.”

Mainly, if you charge for GPL software, you must keep the core open. “If you get GPL code, modify it, and sell it, you have to give the people you sell it to the same rights you received. Your customers must be able to copy, modify, and distribute without difficulty,” he said.

This, in fact, is an interesting key point which, according to Moglen, has left Microsoft exoposed to nasty consequences. It almost makes Novell’s deal a beneficial one. And as far as risk goes, Ubuntu’s founder argues that patent trolls are the greatest threat, not predatory deals. He is also certain that Microsoft will have nothing by scare tactics to offer as a weapon.

In short, Microsoft will lose a patent trench war if they start one, and I’m sure that cooler heads in Redmond know that.


Novell/Microsoft Meeting: Mini Summary

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Meeting, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amid the latest discussion at Groklaw, some interesting information is becoming public. To quote bits of interest:

1. Both Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza are reported to have visited Microsoft to say that the patent agreement as written isn’t acceptable, and Microsoft said itself publicly that a change was needed. Where is the rewrite? When might we expect it? What will the changes be?


3. For Novell: You promised the community that you would use your patent portfolio to protect Linux. Now you ally with this Microsoft statement, that the deal is “enabling both companies to recognize commercial value from their respective patent portfolios.” Why did you break that promise? Do you care that the majority of the FOSS community is opposed to software patents? How do you reconcile the clear intent of GPLv2 that no restrictions, such as a patent license, can be added to the GPL and what you signed?

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