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Boycotting Micro Focus International

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year” is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell’s remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)

EIGHT YEARS AGO this site was born. This was motivated by the Microsoft-Novell deal. The deal heralded the beginning of Microsoft’s patent assault on GNU/Linux and Free software — an assault that continues unabated to this date.

Novell’s virtual assets are now being passed to a new entity called Micro Focus, which is Microsoft's "Partner of the Year". This has just been finalised [1] and there is press coverage about it [2,3], including some interviews [4,5,6,7], reviews [8,9], and analysis from the OSI’s President [10,11] amid SUSECon 2014 [12] that showcased and emitted some technical announcements [13-16] (not many, mostly one that’s actually significant).

SUSE has certainly received a lot of coverage over the past week (while my wife and I moved between homes), but one must remember that SUSE is not free from Microsoft; if anything, now it is more Microsoft-tied than before. People must continue to boycott SUSE, not just Novell (or what’s left of it). Attachmate did not give SUSE full independence, only symbolic. Just look who manages SUSE. It’s not independence. With Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year” in charge of SUSE we can expect to see the same pro-Microsoft agenda and sickening relationships inside SUSE (OOXML, Hyper-V, Mono and so on). It’s about Microsoft controlling and profiting from GNU/Linux, hoping to put Red Hat or Debian at peril.

For those who are still in denial over Micro Focus’s role in SUSE, read [17]. Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year” is now in charge.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Micro Focus International Completes Merger with the Attachmate Group
  2. Free as in Beer, SUSE News, and 7 Years Uptime

    The SUSE parent company Attachmate and Micro Focus merger is now complete and Sam Varghese has several interviews from SUSECon today.

  3. Wake Up Lil SUSE, Minty Goodness, and Caine Mutiny
  4. Lock-in a danger to open source, says SUSE official

    If there is one aspect in the open source world that can prove detrimental, it is companies that indulge in lock-in to the extent possible, according to Gerald Pfeifer, senior director of product management at SUSE.

    Speaking to iTWire on the sidelines of SUSECon 2014, the third annual conference of the Germany-based SUSE Linux, which is being held in Orlando, Florida this week, Pfeifer (lictured above) did not mention any companies by name, though he did make a passing reference to Oracle.

  5. Enterprise desktop has its own niche, says SUSE project head

    One aspect of GNU/Linux that does not figure much in discussion when commercial Linux is the topic, is the desktop. SUSE Linux is no exception.

  6. A brilliant mind: SUSE’s kernel guru speaks

    The man who in every sense sits at the nerve centre of SUSE Linux has no airs about him. At 38, Vojtěch Pavlík is disarmingly frank and often seems a bit embarrassed to talk about his achievements, which are many and varied.

    He is every bit a nerd, but can be candid, though precise. As director of SUSE Labs, it would be no exaggeration to call him the company’s kernel guru. Both recent innovations that have come from SUSE – patching a live kernel, technology called kGraft, and creating a means for booting openSUSE on machines locked down with secure boot, have been his babies.

  7. Chasing the Z/Linux market: A SUSECon attendee’s tale

    When Roger Williams wanted to increase the market for ShadowDisk/Z, a product made by the little Gainesville-based company he works for, he headed to meet the experts, those at SUSE Linux which has something like three-quarters of the market for all Z/Linux customers.

  8. OpenSUSE 13.2 review – Back in the game!

    Finally. After three and a half years of sucking, openSUSE is a top performance once again. This is an excellent all-around distribution, and it comes with some neat solutions both over and underneath the hood. You can’t deny its amazing looks, and with the 13.2 release, performance, functionality and stability are back.

    Now, openSUSE 13.2 has its problems. The screenshot thingie, subvolume handling, missing Samba printing option, plus that one inexplicable crash, which is probably the most serious item. And because of it, the final grade shall be lower. But all combined, the woes pale against the quality and general goodness radiating from this edition. Really, if you ignore the initial setup, and the one time freeze, there’s very little not to like about openSUSE 13.2. I’m pleased. And feeling somewhat fanboyish. But this is good.

    Anyhow, if you’re looking for a non-Ubuntu family release that can offer you a great blend and balance between looks, modernity, functionality, stability, and performance, then you have several worthy candidates to consider. CentOS is one of them, and now openSUSE has returned, mighty and strong, and sanity has been restored into the distro world, where for many years, there’s been an almost total dominance by Mint and Ubuntu, with everyone else lagging behind. OpenSUSE 13.2 is definitely worth testing and exploring. Final grade, something like 9/10, and this is with a whole 0.5 point taken off. So it’s good. Do it.

  9. Meeting the green lizard of openSUSE 13.2

    In the first week of November the openSUSE team launched the latest version of its operating system. The project’s release announcement highlights such new features as faster boot times, KDE 4.14, GNOME 3.14 and a technical preview of KDE’s Plasma 5.1 desktop. The new version of openSUSE has undergone some visual changes and presents us with new artwork and a more streamlined system installer. The distribution also offers updated versions of Linux containers and Docker. The project’s configuration panel, YaST, underwent a major re-write last year and should now be faster. The project claims better integration with systemd too. Prior to installing or upgrading to openSUSE 13.2 I recommend reading the project’s release notes where we can find a list of known problems and workarounds.

  10. Suse jumps into software-defined storage

    As its steady post-Novell recovery continues, Suse moves into enterprise software-defined storage

  11. Little Suse wakes up, Linux shakes up
  12. SUSECon 2014: Day One Highlights

    SUSECon 2014 kicked off in Orlando this week, with the company stressing an air of open communication and transparency with its partners befitting its commitment to the Linux open source platform.

  13. SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching Now Available

    “In addition to increasing service availability by updating critical kernel patches without rebooting, and reducing the need for planned downtime by patching frequently, SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching preserves security and stability by applying up-to-date patches,” said Matthias Eckermann, senior product manager for SUSE. “It’s a fully open source solution that features zero-interruption interaction with the system and a familiar deployment method. It’s ideal for mission-critical systems, in-memory databases, extended simulations or quick fixes in a large server farm.”

  14. Ceph-starter Suse to enter software-defined storage market
  15. SUSE Brings Live Patching and Ceph Storage to Its Enterprise Linux

    Enterprise Linux vendor SUSE today made a series of announcements at its annual SUSEcon event, providing users with new patching, storage and cloud capabilities.

  16. Philae Space Probe Landed on the Comet with the Help of SUSE

    The human race has sent a small probe called Philae to land on a comet and got it right the first time it tried. As expected, a Linux operating system has been involved in the success of the mission.

  17. SUSE’s new owner does not see much change ahead

    The new owner of SUSE Linux does not intend to move the company from Nuremberg or change its method of operation in any substantial way, the chief executive told iTWire on Tuesday.


    The deal has been ratified and is expected to be sealed on Thursday, 20 November.


OpenSUSE’s ‘Assurances’ Are Classic MBA School Hogwash

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: OpenSUSE is not part of any commitment, except for SUSE’s; the impact of the Novell/SUSE acquisition casts uncertainty on the project’s future

YESTERDAY we quickly commented on the news that Micro Focus, a very strong British partner of Microsoft, is taking over SUSE and Novell. The British press put it like that:

Attachmate once earned the ire of the open source community for taking on Novell and then putting 882 patents in its Linux portfolio up for sale to a consortium backed by Microsoft.

Microsoft’s strategy remains the same. It is using patents to attack Linux and it is determined destroy, co-opt, assimilate, acquire, destroy, etc. Microsoft can only continue to ‘sell’ licences (for Windows, SUSE, etc.) if competition is gone and this is the reason Microsoft keeps making SUSE its own. SUSE is basically “Microsoft Linux”, which is why Microsoft keeps advertising it as the only ‘true’ GNU/Linux.

Swapnil Bhartiya, an OpenSUSE sympathiser, correctly says:

The merger will once again ruffle some features at SUSE and openSUSE which have been under continuous financial instability.

Bhartiya also covered the message sent to the mailing list of OpenSUSE (documented by LWN). It states:

Dear openSUSE Community,

As you might be aware, SUSE’s parent entity, the Attachmate Group has
entered into an agreement to merge with Micro Focus, a UK-based
enterprise software company. As the primary sponsor of the openSUSE
Project, SUSE’s President and General Manager, Nils Brauckmann has
contacted the openSUSE Board to share the following key points

* Business as Usual: There are no changes planned for the SUSE
business structure and leadership. There is no need for any action by
the openSUSE Project as a result of this announcement.

* Commitment to Open Source: SUSE remains passionately committed to
innovation through Open Source. This has always been the foundation of
our business and that will continue as we grow and innovate in new

* Commitment to openSUSE: SUSE is also fully committed to being a
sponsor and supporter of an open, highly independent and dynamic
openSUSE community and project. We are proud of openSUSE and greatly
value the collaborative relationship between SUSE and the openSUSE

The combination of the Attachmate Group and Micro Focus creates a
larger, global enterprise software entity, operating at a greater
global scale. This provides an even stronger foundation for the
continued investment in SUSE and our continued innovation through Open

The openSUSE Board would like to thank Nils and SUSE for this
reassuring statement. The Board is enthusiastic about the benefits of
the merger may bring to SUSE and ultimately also to our openSUSE

If anyone has any questions, there will be an opportunity to raise
them at tomorrow (Wednesdays) regular openSUSE Project Meeting at
15:00 UTC in #opensuse-project on the Freenode IRC network.


The openSUSE Board

Notice how Brauckmann does not say anything at all about a commitment from Micro Focus to SUSE and OpenSUSE. He speaks of a SUSE commitment to OpenSUSE. That’s it. This is a classic non-denying denial, where what one neglects to say actually says quite a lot.

Michael Larabel’s interpretation is that “Richard Brown relayed a message on the behalf of SUSE’s President and General Manager, Nils Brauckmann, that basically everything is alive and well.”

That’s MBA speak. As it was put by Susan Linton: “The Attachmate Group, announced a merger with Micro Focus leaving openSUSE users nervous.”

This nervousness is why Brauckmann, by proxy, relayed some face-saving talking points. The acquisition seems imminent:

Micro Focus buying Novell, Suse Linux owner for $1.2 billion


Micro Focus expects the deal to close by November.

Our assessment is that changes are afoot. SUSE is now at the mercy of a strong ally of Microsoft, which is likely to keep SUSE or run SUSE only in a way that appeases Microsoft’s interests.


OpenSUSE ‘Community’ is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE’s Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

Posted in Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell

Last week we were asked about Attachmate, which we no longer keep track of because Novell is pretty much dead and SUSE is not doing well. They are going extinct. The Xandros Web site is no longer even accessible and when it comes to SUSE, the community in particular, it is going down the same route. Well, judging by the declining volume of activity in OpenSUSE News, Greg K-H’s move to the Linux Foundation, the fact that community manager left (he works for ownCloud now) and now the departure of the chairman of the OpenSUSE board (more on that here), we think it is safe to treat SUSE as irrelevant, or not relevant enough for us to track. Here is the latest:

The openSUSE Board announced this morning that Vincent Untz has stepped down as the openSUSE Board Chairman.

Several days ago I spent some time looking at years’ worth of Novell news, Attachmate news, and SUSE news (I am still subscribed to dozens of feeds related to all those). This was done after a discussion in IRC. I am reluctant to bother with any of them because 1) there is not much news at all and 2) the news hardly relates to FOSS. Novell will go down the same route as Corel and SUSE will end up like Xandros. As for Xamarin, which was created after Novell/Attachmate had abandoned Mono, it is mostly an extension of Microsoft now (a bit like SUSE, which shows up in Microsoft sites because their goal is to tax GNU/Linux servers).

SUSE and Novell pretty much became what we foresaw and feared. Novell’s patents are in Microsoft’s hands now, SUSE serves no purpose other than taxing GNU/Linux for Microsoft, and Novell was not allowed to truly complete with Microsoft. AttachMSFT ensures that much of Novell’s proprietary portfolio is a dying breed. Mono became more closely tied and entangled with Microsoft.


Latest SUSE: More Microsoft-Serving, More Microsoft-Controlled

Posted in OpenSUSE at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The lesser-explored side of SUSE, which is being hosted by freedom-hostile companies including Microsoft

OpenSUSE 12.2 is officially dead now [1] and blogs begin to advertise a new release of the Microsoft-friendly (and funded) distribution, perhaps unknowingly helping Microsoft. One such site says that the new release is now offered in Microsoft-owned servers, demonstrating patent and control issues, not to mention privacy issues. Other reports mention SLE* (SUSE) [2] on Amazon, the CIA’s privacy-infringing special partner. This is the very opposite of what the GNU/Linux world should strive for. At the same time, Microsoft is “openwashing” its datacentre [3] and so does the Microsoft-owned (partially) Facebook [4,5], which is a censorship/surveillance company (users are the products, not the customers, and the business model is brainwashing them, also with pseudo “search” like Microsoft’s). Amazon has already shown us how “open” it is when it started paying Microsoft for GNU/Linux, deleted files (remotely) from people’s devices, and kicked out Wikileaks from its hosting plan at its most critical time (censorship).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. openSUSE 12.2 Is Officially Dead

    The openSUSE Project has just announced that openSUSE 12.2 has reached end of life (EOL) and it will no longer be supported.

  2. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server now available on AWS GovCloud
  3. Microsoft open sources datacentre architecture, will other major providers follow suit?

    “These servers are optimized for Windows Server software and built to handle the enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure, our global cloud platform. They offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40 percent server cost savings, 15 percent power efficiency gains and 50 percent reduction in deployment and service times,” Laing said.

  4. Open Compute Project Takes on Converged Infrastructure, Saves Facebook $1 Billion

    The Open Compute Project officially got started in 2011 as a way to open up Facebook’s server designs and help the broader IT community — it’s an effort that is paying off for Facebook and many others too.

  5. Facebook Saved Over A Billion Dollars By Building Open Sourced Servers

    Facebook is reaping the benefits of designing its own energy efficient servers. Today at the Open Compute Summit, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “In the last three years alone, Facebook has saved more than a billion dollars in building out our infrastructure using Open Compute designs.”


In Proprietary Software, Back Doors Should be Assumed by Default

Posted in GNU/Linux, OpenSUSE, Security, Ubuntu at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: GNU/Linux hypocrites and their addiction to proprietary software like vBulletin leads to password leakages

Ubuntu and SUSE are too rather dumb projects (in their management) because they let Microsoft spy on their users and they use proprietary software like vBulletin in their forums, showing just how apathetic they are towards software freedom.

Last year Ubuntu Forums got cracked (no surprise, as it was proprietary software) and now it’s OpenSUSE Forums [1]. What do they have in common? Yes, proprietary software. It’s like Canonical’s mistake (leaking out passwords of users) did nothing to teach SUSE a lesson. vBulletin is a mess and it does almost nothing to guard passwords (which many people reuse across sites). In OpenSUSE’s case they say that only E-mails got leaked, but who knows if they’re honest…

What’s hard to grasp is why some companies continue to trust secret code and systems which earned no respect through independent audits.

In the next post we are going to share some of the latest revelations about the NSA. It is clear that back doors are often there by design, so it’s not a matter of whether or not a piece of proprietary software is secure, it’s a question of where there is a back door. See [2-5] below. The FBI requests that US companies make back doors and the NSA even bribes for it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. openSUSE Forum Hacked, Everyday Linux, and Mageia RC Delay
  2. More Security Experts Cancel Speech for RSA Conference
  3. Infosec experts boycott RSA conflab over alleged ‘secret’ NSA contract
  4. What It’s Like When The FBI Asks You To Backdoor Your Software

    At a recent RSA Security Conference, Nico Sell was on stage announcing that her company—Wickr—was making drastic changes to ensure its users’ security. She said that the company would switch from RSA encryption to elliptic curve encryption, and that the service wouldn’t have a backdoor for anyone.

    As she left the stage, before she’d even had a chance to take her microphone off, a man approached her and introduced himself as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He then proceeded to “casually” ask if she’d be willing to install a backdoor into Wickr that would allow the FBI to retrieve information.

  5. What The Intelligence Community Doesn’t Get: Backdoor For ‘The Good Guys’ Is Always A Backdoor For The ‘Bad Guys’ As Well

    Bruce Schneier, over at the Atlantic, recently made nearly the same point in talking about the massive costs of all of this NSA surveillance (as well as talking about the near total lack of benefits). There’s the cost of running these programs that are massive. There is the fact that these programs will be abused (they always are). There are the costs of destroying trust in various tech businesses (especially from foreign users and customers). But just as important is the fact that the NSA, FBI and others in the intelligence community are flat out weakening our national security by installing backdoors that malicious users can and will find and exploit:


SUSE in Microsoft’s Fog Computing

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, Red Hat at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A new OpenSUSE is out and it is in Microsoft’s Azure lock-in, helping Microsoft tax GNU/Linux while controlling it entirely

The Microsoft-funded SUSE gets integrated with Microsoft Azure following a lot of Azure openwashing. The VAR Guy says this may be part of a bigger battle, fought between Linux and Ballnux (Ballmer-taxed Linux). To quote his new article:

Red Hat and SUSE are shifting their old Linux battle to a new market: Big Data. Both open source companies made major Big Data statements this week, but they are attacking the market using completely different strategies. Here’s what channel partners need to know.

Techrights ignored the release of OpenSUSE this month. It ought to be remembered that the role of SUSE as a whole, now financially tied to Microsoft, is to normalise Microsoft ‘Linux tax’. This site was founded to oppose exactly that.


Former Open Source Novell Manager Pessimistic About SUSE

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Matt Asay in clouds

Summary: Matt Asay writes about SUSE and despite its funding from Microsoft Asay is not too hopeful

A pro-Microsoft ‘news’ site asks, “Does SUSE Linux have a future”? He “cloudwashes” SUSE. This is from Asay of Novell, who had been interviewed for a job at Microsoft as well. Here are some numbers from SUSE and plans for an event. That’s about all we know about SUSE thse days. We hardly ever mention SUSE anymore. It’s dying on its own despite cash infusions from Microsoft, which hopes to use SUSE to tax GNU/Linux use.


SUSE Fans Walk Away, Tuxera Linux Tax Still Abound

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Beach walk

Summary: Patent tax on Linux is still far from dead, due to proxies of Microsoft

Several months ago (almost half a year) I started just simply ignoring all SUSE and OpenSUSE news, including stories of Microsoft patent tax coming through SLE*, but this one I could not just ignore because it’s posted in the OpenSUSE site and it says:

If thats the way of support we may experience in the future, I am forced to stop actively promoting the project.

Some sites which promoted the project for years sometimes still do so, but I could name a few which no longer cover it, or very rarely do. SUSE is now funded by Microsoft and the 'old Novell' still tries to get money from Microsoft for its abuses in the 90s. Here is the latest:

Novell has filed its opening appeals brief [PDF] in the Novell v. Microsoft antitrust litigation regarding WordPerfect.

Another company that turned from a controversial Linux contributor (NTFS driver) into a Microsoft taxman is Tuxera, which now offers several patent tax options for several platforms including Android. From its latest press release:

Tuxera comprehensive file systems portfolio for storage solutions and other embedded devices include Tuxera NTFS, Tuxera exFAT, Tuxera HFS+, and Tuxera FAT.

Those are Microsoft patent Trojan horses. Just like SUSE in its different ‘flavours’, these should all be avoided. For those who think that Apple file systems (HFS+) are benign, remember Apple’s patent aggression against Linux and consider this latest action which involves software patents:

In ongoing legal proceedings in California, Apple has added six new devices to its patent infringement claims against rival Samsung, getting them in late Friday evening ahead of a deadline on changes to the scope of the complaint. The new additions essentially cover just about every piece of Samsung hardware now available in the U.S. market, with modifications that also account for recent software updates.

We should reject every technology which is associated with Apple. This branding company clearly still wants war. Groklaw, which covered the above case better than anyone, has just received a sort of award and finished putting all the trial transcripts from Oracle vs. Google online:

I’m happy to tell you that we now have all the remaining trial transcripts from the Oracle v. Google trial, and you can find them all in the Oracle v. Google Timeline by date.

These attempts to tax Linux/Android using patents have been largely facilitated by the USPTO, but they are not successful yet, with the exception of Microsoft’s FAT patents.

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