When enemies of the GPL (GNU) like Microsoft and VMware — not just GNU/Linux-friendly companies such as Red Hat — pay the Linux Foundation to get their way
Summary: The growing danger of a Linux Foundation which is funded not just by proprietary software giants but also direct opposition of Linux and serial violators of the licence of GNU (GPL)
THE level of entryism at the Linux Foundation has become way beyond acceptable and now that only corporations are involved in decision-making (see reminder below) we expect to see the verge of the farcical. How long before the Linux Foundation is not even pro-Linux but is instead pro-industry (for the industry giants that fund and thus dominate it)? Or, put another way, will it endorse things irrespective of the very spirit of both Linux and GNU? Whether something is or is not Free/Open Source software and whether it promotes (GNU) Linux? You know something is very wrong when the (paid-for) keynote speech at the biggest Linux conference is given by the company that called Linux “cancer” and continues to attack Linux to this date. That’s like having Donald Trump at the Democrat’s conventions and campaigns.
We have been trying to write more about patents, especially about the EPO, so not many articles mention Linux or talk about Microsoft these days. Microsoft’s latest patent attacks on Free software are revealing; Microsoft says it “loves Linux”, but its attacks on Linux definitely carry on (as recently as a couple of weeks ago or less).
“Microsoft’s latest patent attacks on Free software are revealing; Microsoft says it “loves Linux”, but its attacks on Linux definitely carry on (as recently as a couple of weeks ago or less).”The following points were mentioned a lot over the past 2 weeks, but we finally decided to write an article about it because sponsored articles (for Linux Foundation funders) continue to come out from the Linux Foundation’s Web site (this disclosure says IBM, but previously it was Microsoft). Why is the Linux Foundation simply morphing into a mouthpiece? Why, for example, is it willing to publish Microsoft lies? Just because Microsoft pays for it doesn’t mean it’s ethical or worthwhile. It reminds us of the years when Microsoft used (exploited) Novell for Microsoft marketing. I’ve exchanged nearly a dozen E-mails about this with Stallman this past week and he too is concerned about it.
The main subject of this article is actually VMware, a company that has been notorious for GPL violations for quite a few years (almost a decade). Some people wrote articles noting that Torvalds had publicly acknowledged the important role of the GPL at LinuxCon. Shortly thereafter, however, Torvalds blasted GPL enforcement. A week ago we saw at least two articles about exactly that [1, 2] (related but less relevant is this article).
“VMware recently poached Dirk Hohndel from Intel (head of Open Source [sic] or whatever they call it) and it was him who interviewed Torvalds as his trusted colleague less than a fortnight ago at LinuxCon, just shortly before the above attack on Kuhn et al.”Journalists then saw a rant in the mailing lists and decided to inform readers regarding Torvalds’ public rant against the Conservancy [1, 2] (these link to the original from the mailing list). A few more articles about the subject have been published since (these are in our daily links) and they serve to reinforce suspicions that Sandler (not just Kuhn) from the Conservancy got pushed out of the Linux Foundation, causing a lot of backlash about a year ago. The backlash was about abandonment of funds (material support) to the Conservancy; it happened after VMware had joined the Linux Foundation and the Conservancy got involved in a GPL enforcement lawsuit against VMware.
But here comes the interesting thing — an observation which I mentioned last week (in passing) over at Tux Machines. VMware recently poached Dirk Hohndel from Intel (head of Open Source [sic] or whatever they call it) and it was him who interviewed Torvalds as his trusted colleague less than a fortnight ago at LinuxCon, just shortly before the above attack on Kuhn et al. It reinforces the suspicion that the Conservancy’s decision to uphold the GPL on behalf of a client made Hohndel an enemy and then, by inference, made Torvalds somewhat of an enemy. Remember that a lot of ‘ex’ Microsoft executives now run VMware (look who has been running the company since 2008) and the company famously violates the GPL (this has been known for many years), just as Microsoft did when it created a shim for its proprietary, back door-compatible Hyper-V (that too was a GPL violation, but Microsoft moved quickly to comply once caught [1, 2, 3])?
“How long before the Linux Foundation is truly/entirely incapable of defending Linux from patent lawsuits and upholding the GPL because Linux foes and GPL foes develop financial strings, making them harder (or riskier) to publicly criticise?”The above observations came out late (I did not wish to write about the subject), but when Microsoft attacked Linux with patents it became too much to skip (I only say “Linux” because it’s Android in this case). How long before the Linux Foundation is truly/entirely incapable of defending Linux from patent lawsuits and upholding the GPL because Linux foes and GPL foes develop financial strings, making them harder (or riskier) to publicly criticise? █
Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software
Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.
Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:
VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).
Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.
VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.
In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.
Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:
The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”
Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.
Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.
“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”
All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users. █
Among the VMware managers who are former Microsoft employees there is this guy who, after the Linux Foundation let Microsoft get closer (to OpenDaylight), becomes the Executive Director. “Until now, the OpenDaylight Project has not had its own Executive Director, but that has changed,” says this article. So now we have a former Microsoft manager in charge of a Linux Foundation initiative. Wonderful! What could possibly go wrong? █
The SAN array of the backend server server seems to have lost 3 hard disk at once now.
That means the array with the built RPMs is broken atm. We are currently checking and replacing from backups – but since not all binary parts of the projects are in backup it means that we will need to rebuild some of them afterwards. This will take time until Monday, 2012-01-16.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Now On Dell Cloud With VMware vCloud DC Service
SUSE has announced that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the first Linux distribution for Dell’s new VMware software-based cloud offering, Dell Cloud with VMware vCloud Datacenter Service. SUSE Linux Enterprise offers the broadest application portfolio, as well as optimisation with the VMware cloud infrastructure suite. Now, Dell customers can efficiently run a wide range of ISV applications, on demand with maximum performance, while receiving streamlined support from Dell and SUSE across the Dell public and private cloud offerings.
Here is another take which goes like this: “The new Dell Cloud Datacenter Service has embraced SUSE as its first Linux platform. The hidden twist: The Dell-SUSE announcement is likely built on the SUSE-VMware relationship, which seeks to counter Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.”
Not that this means Microsoft is going away. It just means they will become steadily less relevant, and steadily less required. Because people will want to work, and play, with handhelds and tablets, and they won’t put up with applications that require a desktop-with-Windows. And that’s good news.
Microsoft is busy trying to hijack or tax those who win in today’s market. The solution is to boycott those who serve as proxies of Microsoft. █
Summary: Novell becomes an historical symbol of rapid business demise
IN MY DAYTIME job I happen to see the staged disposal of VMware as a result migration to Free software such as KVM, the preferred Linux solution which is also gratis, not just free/libre. As we pointed out before, VMware is now managed by former Microsoft managers and it is said to have been close to buying Novell last year. According to this new article, VMware and Novell have things in common other than the Microsoft connection. To quote: “So where does this leave Microsoft? As Wittmann pointed out in his analysis of VSphere 5, it feels like VMWare is becoming a bit like the Novell of old: Novell provided a dominant network operating system but let Microsoft creep up with features that were good enough and, most important, cheap enough to eventually win over IT pros and developers. VSphere 5 may be a great way to distance VMWare’s offering from the rest of the pack, but how long can the virtualization stalwart fend off other players, especially with the resulting community unrest over pricing?”
“As for Novell, some years ago it bought a virtualisation company (PlateSpin) whose heads quit Novell shortly thereafter.”Linux virtualisation solutions now have the same features as VSphere, so it will be hard for VMware to justify its prices. The other day we came across reports that suggest Hyper-V from Microsoft is not doing particularly well. In fact, we hardly hear about it anymore. Microsoft sure does not rave about it much. As for Novell, some years ago it bought a virtualisation company (PlateSpin) whose heads quit Novell shortly thereafter. Based on some new reports, PlateSpin is not dead yet, but the”remaining two PlateSpin products, PlateSpin Orchestrate and PlateSpin Recon, were apparently not enhanced at this time.” There is more information here. Is Attachmate serious at all about competing in this area? Maybe it is too early to find out, but there were layoffs. And in other news involving Novell, “Colin Byrne, EMEA credit and collection manager at Novell (Ire) Software Ltd, says: “Every day we have a new case of a customer delaying payment and it always relates to the knock on effect of them struggling to recover cash from their own customers. We do try to be flexible where we feel a customer needs a little elbow room. However, there are certain companies taking advantage of the “crisis” to attempt to push terms out unnecessarily – and these are the cases where we try to stand firm.
“Personally I’d like to see banks giving more support, particularly to the SME sector. But also, tougher sanctions on larger companies who are contributing massively to the cash slow down by deliberately paying smaller suppliers late. I cannot understand how this can be a genuine long term commercial strategy, given the blatantly obvious impact it is having.”
That’s just generally one of the dangers of having one’s servers dependent on proprietary products like VMware’s and Novell’s. How long can these two companies justify the expense? █
VMware is telling customers that two Windows 7 security patches have left the VMware View desktop virtualization client unable to access the View Connection Server, which brokers the connection between a user’s computer and a virtual desktop.
This led Gartner virtualization analyst Chris Wolf to write a blog post titled “Windows 7 Update Breaks VMware View Client” that says this week’s event is “an important lesson in BYOD” deployments that let workers bring their own devices to work.
Early adopters of Vista 7 may gradually discover that it is a risky option. Needless to say, GNU/Linux users are unaffected in this case. █
It was so much easier when Microsoft PR just blamed an unnamed third party…
Summary: KIN Data Service is dead; Now that Microsoft blames not an unnamed party but actually accuses — along with its boosters — the ‘client state’ Yahoo!, there is rejection of accountability
Vista Phony 7 [sic] is supposed to cancel, erase, or annul all memories of the disastrous KIN, which has got to be one of the least successful products to ever come out of Microsoft. “Microsoft Kills Disastrous KIN Phone’s Data Service” based on this article which Girts has just mailed us. It says:
…the ill-fated KIN project was neither well received nor hot selling.
Later on Tuesday, Yahoo issued another statement, this time shifting some of the blame to Microsoft. “Yahoo! Mail is widely available on tens of millions of mobile phones, including those running on Apple iOS, Android, Nokia Symbian, and RIM,” Yahoo said in a statement to CNET. “The issue on the Windows Phones is specific to how Microsoft chose to implement IMAP for Yahoo! Mail and does not impact Yahoo! Mail on these other mobile devices.”
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, VMware said that Maritz is no longer president of the company, but rather just the chief executive officer. And now he has four co-presidents reporting to him. Carl Eschenbach, who was previously VMware’s executive vice president of worldwide field operations, is now co-president of customer operations. Richard McAniff, who used to be executive vice president of products and chief development officer, is co-president of products and chief development officer. Tod Nielsen, who came to VMware after a long stint at Microsoft like Maritz, was VMware’s chief operating officer, and he’s now co-resident of applications platform. Mark Peek, who was chief financial officer, is co-president of business operations and chief financial officer.
There are some other Microsoft executives in VMware’s management. What’s interesting is that Yahoo! does not just sit back while Microsoft passes blame. Things just don’t go Microsoft’s way nowadays. █
Summary: OpenSUSE Conference largely fails to attract press coverage, which may show that Novell no longer cares so much now that it negotiates selling SUSE to VMB_ware
EARLIER TODAY we wrote about the expectation that VMB_ware will take over OpenSUSE, which is currently a Novell product/project. A key member of SUSE who is also a Novell employee did not want to talk about it and shown above is a very recent video we found of VMB_ware and Novell chatting about their relationship. The talk is focused on virtualising SUSE and it ends with Studio, which is also a virtual appliance paradigm. OpenSUSE is not mentioned.
As stated earlier in our audiocast, a lot of people did not know about an OpenSUSE Conference (OSC) which took place this week [1, 2, 3]. Novell hardly advertised this. Brian Proffitt too has realised that something is amiss. As an OpenSUSE user he stated that it’s time for “introspection” at OpenSUSE:
I don’t want to be rude, but could somebody tell me what happened at the openSUSE Conference last week?
I think it’s a confluence of reasons, really. First, Novell, the platinum sponsor of the event, did not seem to put a lot of PR effort into the conference. This might be because Novell is supposed to be the acquistion target of VMware. “Supposed” to be because just because the media reports it doesn’t mean it’s a done deal yet. Presuming this goes forward, though, I can see why folks at Novell might be distracted.
I would also speculate that perhaps the openSUSE community didn’t want a big fuss about this conference.
Even more recently, a survey of the openSUSE community produced a SWOT document that displays two sides still trying to figure out their relationship.
With its new Community Manager Jos Poortvliet and renewed calls for finding a direction for openSUSE, I have a strong feeling that the openSUSE Conference was not about making headlines or generating a big splash within the Linux community. Rather, I believe it was used as a chance for introspection.
Jos Poortvliet, the community manager of OpenSUSE, responded in the comments and also published impressions from the conference. Pascal Bleser too responded to Proffitt. People from OpenSUSE generally took offence in it. Thinq.co.uk was apparently there at OSC for interviews, but more examples of media coverage from OSC is generally scarce. Here is some OSC coverage of KDE:
THINQ cornered Will Stephenson, an OpenSuSE developer working on KDE, at this year’s OpenSuSE Developers Conference to find out what’s in store for the future of the project.
Stephenson, who is employed by principle OpenSuSE sponsor Novell but who works full-time on the KDE project, explained that KDE is a major focus for the OpenSuSE community with around 68 per cent to 72 per cent of all downloads of the platform shipping with the K Desktop Environment.
Another SUSE blogger had these comments to make; it’s a point about making OpenSUSE look different:
So, I just saw how OSX Lion has the new features showing up and I couldn’t help but notice that their idea about launching apps looks a lot like their way of launching apps on an iPhone. The other thing I noticed is that it looks a lot like my idea of switching desktops, especially about the dots at the bottom of the screen. Who would have thought? Are we all in the end making the same resolutions about desktop interoperability?
The problem is not that OpenSUSE lacks ideas. The problem is that Novell appears to be neglecting it and VMB_ware would not be a better steward. OpenSUSE ought to fork and make its escape route from being associated with Microsoft through Novell. █