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Posted in Microsoft, Virtualisation, Xen at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xen screenshot

Summary: Ian Pratt and Simon Crosby quit Citrix

THIS site has been critical of Xen since 2007 for all sorts of reasons which we provided evidence to back and support. Well, Microsoft’s ally Citrix was not quite the ideal home for the project based on the fact that Xen’s leaders are quitting:

The founders of Xen.org and the former XenSource- Ian Pratt and Simon Crosby — will leave Citrix to launch a new company called Bromium that will address the “intersection of security and virtulization.”

It doesn’t look like a big rift between Xen.org and Citrix, at least on the surface. Citrix applauded the two men and their new startup on its web site yesterday and wished its former CTOs the best. And Pratt and Crosby are entreprenaurs at heart — their former company, XenSource, was acquired by Citrix in 2007.

This is what happens to companies that get close to Microsoft. KVM is favoured by the Linux Foundation now and among clients I work for it is proving to also be a good replacement for VMware (a company run by former Microsoft managers and owned by a Microsoft ally).


Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company, It’s a Software Patents Company With Lobbyists

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Windows, Xen at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Ask the partner to give you heads up on customer situations – bribe them!”

Steve Winfield, Microsoft

Brian Behlendorf against Microsoft

Summary: How Microsoft’s money and unwatchable influence allow it to subvert laws in foreign jurisdictions while projects like Xen and Apache are paid money to keep quiet on the matter and occasionally defend Microsoft

Earlier this month we explained why Microsoft is the biggest enemy of “Open Source” and warned that IDG has a new spin blog (the “open source” blog in IDG is not pro-”open source”). This blog is currently peddling some hogwash from someone who is working for Citrix, Microsoft’s ally.

The message of appeasement is all too comforting, but Microsoft is not interested in it. Microsoft keeps suing, threatening, and lobbying to make “open source” illegal or impractical to use. A good example of Microsoft’s direct attack on “open source” is currently found in Europe, where Microsoft’s role is described under:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  12. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  13. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  14. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  15. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  16. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source
  17. Patents Roundup: David Hammerstein on Microsoft Lobbying in Europe; Harrison Targets Lobbying on Software Patents in New Zealand, Justice Stevens Leaves SCOTUS

The EIFv2 is a fine example not only of Microsoft’s lobbying for software patents (almost all of Microsoft's patents are software patents) but also the company’s unethical activities that involve AstroTurfing, cronyism, and intimidation in other countries. This is a company which is not interested in producing technology; rather, it bends laws, overthrows opposition, and bribes with great pride.

The Free Software Foundation Europe has just updated its Web page which shows what Microsoft did to Europe’s digital agenda through its lobbyists, essentially rendering it useless, discriminatory, and unfair.

EIFv2: Tracking the loss of interoperability


From our analysis, we can conclude that in key places, the European Commission has taken on board only the comments made by the Business Software Alliance, a lobby group working on behalf of proprietary software vendors. At the same time, comments by groups working in favour of Free Software and Open Standards were neglected, e.g. those made by Open Forum Europe.

As we speak, Microsoft lobbies to legalise software patents in Europe. When it does not sue it intimidates in order to earn “protection money” as it so often gets in the far east (where software patents bear some legitimacy, as in the United States).

It is important to say “United States” and not “America” because south America rightly disregards many unjust monopolies, Mexico is fighting against software patents, and Wayne gives a Canadian’s perspective:

Richard Stallman, one of the truly elite software developers has spoken out many times about the dangers of software patents. Curiously those most in favor of software patents appear to be lawyers from the Patent Bar.

Here is the term “Americans” used loosely in the second part of this essay.

One issue is that Americans think that their patent system is the be all and end all, and that everyone else should imitate them. Curiously a lot of Americans even believe that their Constitution requires that a patent system exist, due to a misreading of it.

One famous case where the system in the United States was shown to be corruptible involved the FDA (Microsoft connection noted), which has a close relationship with Monsanto because employees are shared among the regulators and the regulated company. Here are some “corporate takeover videos” from GM Watch:

One of the greatest concerns about genetic engineering is the way in which it facilitates the corporate takeover of the food supply. These videos show how GM crops are removing the ability of farmers to freely use their own seeds or grow food in the way they choose.

Added below is a popular video which shows what happened to Monsanto in Canada (where it didn’t have enough insiders). This might as well teach us about the role Microsoft entryism has played over the years, even in the European Commission (we gave many examples). Things also changed for Xen when Microsoft put its hands on the project, brought it to its back yard, and put Microsoft managers in it. Matt Taibi famously described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; perhaps Microsoft’s entryism is evidence that it became a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of IT just as Monsanto became a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of agriculture. Unless people emphasise a message of software freedom, Microsoft will continue its takeover of “open source” and suppress Free software, replacing it with software patents and so-called ‘interoperability’ that depends on them.


Microsoft-oriented Fund Grabs Ruby Applications Through Heroku

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Xen at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paying money to embrace and extend?

Confederate ship CSS Alabama

Summary: Microsoft’s extension Ignition Partners is putting money and board members inside yet another company that spreads Free software

LAST week we mentioned how former Microsoft executives who became Juniper managers [1, 2, 3] could lead to more services being offered to Microsoft and now we find this press release. For several years we have also argued that XenSource being sold to Citrix would render it irrelevant to Linux and this did actually happen. RHEL 6 won’t even have Xen anymore.

CBR says that “Citrix unveils new version of XenServer” and Microsoft is giving it “full endorsement” [1, 2].

XenClient, says Wasson, will be included in the “next major release” of XenDesktop and was developed not only in conjunction with Intel, but also PC makers Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which will be on hand to endorse XenClient at Synergy. Wasson said that Microsoft has given XenClient its “full endorsement” too.

It is important to remind ourselves how Xen ended up in the arms of Microsoft’s partner of the year (2008). We previously showed the role played by former Microsoft executives from Ignition Partners and now we find that the same arm is going after a Ruby company, which might in turn be tilted in favour of Windows Server.

Ex-Microsoft power pair puff Ruby cloud

Ruby cloud behemoth Heroku has sucked in some heavyweight power courtesy of two influential ex-Microsofties.

On Monday, Heroku announced that it’s been given $10m in VC funding, and the round is led by Ignition partners, home to Brad Silverberg – who established many of the Microsoft products you now take for granted – and Microsoft’s former chief information officer and chief financial officer John Connors. As part of the cash deal, Connors has joined Heroku’s board.

Heroku is home to 60,000 Ruby applications and it’s used by developers of all sizes, including giants like US consumer electronics retailer Best Buy. The company claims 1,500 applications are being added to its cloud each week.

Microsoft already has IronRuby [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] and we know extremely well Silverberg's participation in many of Microsoft's illegal activities because we have possession of evidence. Heroku now has Microsoft’s former CFO inside the board. It’s part of the deal. Why would former Microsoft thugs be interested in a company which is home to 60,000 Ruby applications? Judging by what they did to Xen, there is reason for distrust. See our previous analysis of Ignition Partners. It’s just loads of Microsoft veterans and they can use money to promote Microsoft’s agenda.


Novell News Summary – Part III: Last News Summary; SCO Updates and BrainShare Amsterdam

Posted in Java, Mail, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, SCO, Servers, Virtualisation, Xen at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell’s proprietary software as seen in the eyes of the past week’s news

THIS is the last “Novell News Summary”; the delivery format is about to change for the first time in years. Today we’ll address several areas in turn.


Pulse enjoyed some video promotion in Brainshare 2010 — promotion that has just been uploaded again because it’s a nice video (someone has also uploaded old Novell adverts [1, 2, 3]). Pulse has pretty much been forgotten about, perhaps except for this one sentence in an article about Wave.

Novell are working on Pulse, a collaboration tool that used to be separate, but after we announced Wave they started working to allow compatibility across product boundaries.

Novell is betting on piggybacking Google. It’s absent from the mainstream media for the time being.


Novell’s victory against SCO was covered in Linux News Log a few weeks late. The hearing about SCO's Java patent took place some days ago; here is what Groklaw wrote in advance:

The SCO bankruptcy hearing on the sale of the Java patent will be on April 20. That’s this proposed sale to Liberty Lane for $100,000, and that’s an LLC affiliated with Allied Security Trust, the anti-patent-trolls company, if you’ve dropped a stitch and can’t keep up as SCO’s assets get sold off bit by bit. If anyone else has bid, other than Liberty Lane, then there would be an auction on the 19th, but SCO told the court they don’t expect that to happen.

This Java patent was not a done deal yet. Here is another update from Groklaw which talks about the patent being sold.

Bankruptcy court gets more and more weird. Today’s scheduled hearing in SCO’s bankruptcy was cancelled at the last minute. No one told the U.S. Trustee’s Office, I gather, since our reporter showed up and so did that office’s representative. Meanwhile, the order approving the sale of the patent was approved and signed by the judge.

Groklaw then explains “What the Judge Still Has to Decide in SCO v. Novell”

We know that the jury in SCO v. Novell decided that SCO didn’t get the copyrights in 1995 under the APA or by Amendment 2 or any fusion thereof. That killed SCO’s slander of title claim as well. But that isn’t the end. There were some issues the parties agreed before the trial which would be decided by Judge Ted Stewart. That has yet to happen.

The most important remaining issue is SCO’s claim for specific performance. SCO’s alternative claim, should it fail to win on the copyright issue, was that even if it were decided that it doesn’t get the copyrights to date, under the APA Novell is obligated to turn them over now. I’ve seen some comments wondering if there will be another trial of these issues left for the judge to decide. The answer is no, I don’t think so. It was all tried together. The jury rendered its verdict, and next comes the judge’s. I don’t know of any time frame.

The following day and the day after that:

Novell has filed its Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in SCO v. Novell, one of the two documents that the judge has been waiting for prior to reaching his decision on the issues he was to decide after the jury reached its verdict on copyright ownership…

It seems like it never ends. Novell’s stock is still steady ahead of what seems like a takeover. This could certainly disrupt the case against SCO.

Old Products

iPrint adds some drivers and Netware continues to receive support from Arkeia [1, 2]. This was mentioned before; Netware has no real future, but it still has many users.


Red Hat has just officially dumped Xen (based on a beta of RHEL), but Novell keeps closer to Citrix, as expected.

While The Planet uses KVM running on Ubuntu, IBM adopted the Red Hat-branded version of KVM. Red Hat and KVM seem to have won another endorsement from Novell, which said it will support KVM in version 11 of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

But Novell still supports Xen, of course, and Citrix CTO Simon Crosby writes in his blog that Novell’s support of KVM is to be expected because KVM comes with the mainline Linux kernel.

Here is a lame new video about IWM, which is just a load of jargon and marketing hype for the movement of processes or VMs between servers.


Novell’s GroupWise is going nowhere special and here is a new rant about Novell Web Access:

• I almost feel bad stating the obvious, but it needs to be said: Let’s switch to Gmail already. In four years, I’ve heard nothing but disdain for Novell Web Access’ micro-sized inboxes and, as one former student and computer whiz told me, “a user interface that’s so counter-intuitive it’s not even funny.” USGA already passed a resolution advocating the switch, and could potentially engage a massive segment of disgruntled students with the proper outreach. Rally the troops, Tony Catalano, and make this one happen. We’re behind you.

GWAVA continues to develop for GroupWise, based on this new press release.

GWAVA is pleased to announce the release of version 1.8 of Retain for GroupWise®. Retain archives GroupWise messages in a secure and accessible format so that restoration is simple. By archiving older messages, data integrity is still maintained while storage costs are significantly decreased. Archiving with Retain protects organizations from costly litigation or liability issues.

GroupWise is mentioned very briefly in a few other new pages [1, 2] and also in this announcement from SKyPRO (mirrored here).

SKyPRO is releasing a public beta version of GWTalk, their Soft Phone Client developed specifically for the Novell GroupWise user communities.

GWTalk is a free soft phone client that integrates with Novell GroupWise. GWTalk connects all users to the GWTalk Network allowing them to make calls and IM each other for free.

SKyPRO was involved with Novell last year [1, 2, 3].

Here is something about the blunder which we mentioned earlier in the week:

Human error is being blamed for the action as the author used the auto-complete function in Novell’s email software to include the journalist’s address, along with those of five Gwent Police officials in the ‘CC’ field of the message.

This is also a security hazard.


A promotional piece from the Indian press presents the words of Naresh Shah, the director of Novell India Development Center. He speaks about fluffy notions such as “cloud computing”.

IWM strategy combines identity and security, systems management, and OS technology to manage workloads more securely and efficiently across physical, virtual and cloud computing environments. Novell places its IWM products into four different categories: build, where it has SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Studio, SUSE Appliance Toolkit and ZENworks configuration management; secure, where we find Identity and Access Manager, governance and login; manage, consisting of Novell’s acquired PlateSpin management software and more ZENworks; and measure, where it has Novell myCMDBTM and business-service measurement and management tools.

Novell has made very little out of PlateSpin. In fact, PlateSpin executives fled Novell.


Former Novell executives are reaching some other companies, with new examples that include:

1. Storage Startup Fusion-io Continues Rapid Pace

Many of those new-wave storage products are called SSDs, for solid-state drives, and are designed to fit in the same slots in the front of servers that house conventional drives. Fusion-io takes a different approach, offering devices that fit inside servers in slots that are typically used for graphics chips. “We get much higher performance,” says David Bradford, the onetime general counsel for software company Novell who was named Fusion-io’s CEO last year.

2. ContentWatch Names SageCreek’s Warner As CEO

According to ContentWatch, Warner replaces Jack Sunderlage, who is leaving the firm after a transition period. Warner was previously VP of Global Sales for Alianza, and also served at Altiris/Symantec and Novell.

3. Liz Carter: The serious businesswoman who would capsize a certain Georgia Democrat

Carter understands it all too well, having risen to a leadership position with Novell at the age of 22, having run her own consulting business for the past decade, and having had to face tough budget and spending decisions on more than one occasion.


Pan Communications, which we mentioned last week, mentions its relationship with Novell and Novell is also mentioned in coverage and press releases of other companies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. With the exception of SUSE Studio partners, Novell does not connect with many companies anymore.


Novell’s latest marketing message has no real meaning. There are no real announcements to make, either. So Novell just brags about a CRN award in its PR blog and even issues a press release about it [1, 2, 3]. These prizes are easy to just buy and they have little significance, except for on paper. It’s even less reliable (more corruptible) than an analyst’s “recommendation” — any analyst with whom one can sign a contract in exchange for influence. It’s not hard to find press coverage that mostly quotes Novell on the subject. It’s all marketing from channel chiefs who are also CMOs.

A new poster called “Dister” writes/talks about BrainShare and shares videos that we mentioned last week. Other BrainShare videos are being spread, including those preceding the keynote talks [1, 2] (we have already seen these older ones because they were uploaded before). Novell’s PR team then prepares people for BrainShare Amsterdam. It’s coming soon and it will go beyond Utah.

Red brick, blue sky
Utah building


The ‘Conspiracy’ of Mono

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Virtualisation, Xen at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Get the facts

Summary: Further analysis of the response to Mono criticism and the abuse directed against those who dissent against Mono

A COUPLE of days ago we joked about how people who ‘dare’ to criticise Mono and Moonlight are being labeled “conspiracy theorists” (or other such labels). It’s an ad hominem attack.

But let’s look at the facts; we are not suggesting that there is a ‘conspiracy’ (mind the scare quotes); rather, there are centres of influence involving people who may benefit from their belief that Mono is acceptable and that Microsoft is benign. We are talking about journalists like David Worthington, who even this week continues promoting Microsoft inside “Open Source” (like the PR effort mentioned some days ago).

Microsoft and its allies are spinning using the usual people, who are simply supportive of their cause. There is nothing new about Worthington’s coverage on these subjects [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and the latest highly-publicised incident [1, 2, 3], which Bruce Byfield decided to spin along with Worthington and Microsoft MVP de Icaza, is not exactly surprising. There is some history there, as Sam Varghese rightly points out:

Of Mono, apologists, and missing the news for the spin


But what is extremely interesting about this whole episode is the way that Bruce Byfield, a self-described computer journalist, has gotten involved and tried to make out that there was nothing newsworthy about De Icaza’s comments.

Byfield attempted to turn the focus on the fact that Melton and others had questioned the disappearance of the March 17 article. He lumped a link to my iTWire piece in a portion of his article which had a sub-heading “The Rumor Mill Grinds Coarsely” – though everything reported in my piece was strictly factual – and, for good measure, also took aim at Roy Schestowitz who runs the BoycottNovell website. There is some history between Byfield and Schestowitz.

In other words, Melton, I and Schestowitz comprised the rumour mill. The oracle of truth was apparently Byfield.


De Icaza begins the March 25 blog post by saying “It seems that David’s article on Windows strategy tax on .NET lacked enough context for my actual quotes in there.” But, as Melton, who, in truth, shows more of an analytical mind than both Byfield and De Icaza combined, points out, De Icaza had already congratulated Worthington on the article, posting a tweet: “@dcworthington I am in whole agreement with you there; Btw I loved the article, good balance.”

Let me echo Melton, who, in a long analysis of the episode, asked: “So did the article lack enough context or was it a good balance?” It surely can’t be both!

Byfield, of course, did not bother about minor contradictions like this. He was on a path to uncover the “The Mono Mystery That Wasn’t” – that’s the headline for his article, which makes it appear to be some kind of fairytale, as indeed it turns out to be.

Basically, Varghese shows that it’s extremely unlikely that the article was removed by accident; it looks more like a cover-up and ‘damage control’. Byfield is attempting to look professional while using words like “conspiracy” to just smear those whom he and his friends do not agree with. That’s just the type of treatment one receives from Mono bullies and Varghese goes further in a newer article by claiming that “Mono apologists drive developers away”.

When Hubert Figuiere, a developer who had lost his job with Novell in the first quarter of 2009, released the note-taking application Gnote on April 1 last year, one doubts that he had any idea about the kind of attacks which would be launched on him by Mono advocates and apologists.


Figuiere’s sin? Gnote is a port of the note-taking application Tomboy, which is written in Mono and is an official part of the GNOME Desktop. Gnote is a port of the same code in C++/GTK.

Mono, for those who are unaware, is an attempt by Miguel de Icaza, co-founder of the GNOME desktop project and a vice-president at Novell, to create an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET development environment. Mono has attracted a fair share of controversy as many in FOSS circles fear that it may pose patent problems.

Figuiere received abuse from the pushers of Mono. Eventually he left the project at the hands of Fedora where it’s maintained.

As we pointed out a couple of days ago, it is important that people find the courage to speak out against Mono. A lot of influential voices prefer not to be entangled in controversy, even if they know that Mono means trouble. The Source continues to take a careful look at Mono-related issues and a few days ago it also found this interesting new item. It shows what Xen really thinks about “Open Source” after joining Microsoft’s Partner of the Year (2008), Citrix.

This is ultimately another “let’s point out a software problem that applies to both Open and Closed Source and pretend like it only applies to Open Source” bit of misdirection.

It sure seems like a lot of entities in the GNU/Linux world — the Linux Foundation included — move away from Xen (Citrix) and mostly adopt KVM. Microsoft tends to just ruin projects that it touches.


Novell News Summary – Part III: Pulse Beta and Many New Adverts

Posted in Mail, Marketing, NetWare, Novell, Security, Servers, Videos, Virtualisation, Xen at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell’s proprietary news from the week of BrainShare 2010

THIS week was mostly about BrainShare 2010 and Bob Sutor turns out to have given a talk at BrainShare.

Read the rest of this entry »


Citrix and Amazon Climb on Microsoft’s Bed

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Red Hat, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows, Xen at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Playing with Windows toys rather than mission-dedicated GNU/Linux

Sweet dreams

Summary: Citrix is promoting if not prioritising Windows Server and so does Amazon, which continues to discriminate against GNU/Linux

Microsoft booster Paul Thurrott writes the article “Microsoft’s Virtualization Jihad” — an article in which he describes an issue that has worried us for quite some time. All along Microsoft has just been buying its way into virtualisation and disrupting many companies in the process. This includes XenSource, which was acquired by Microsoft’s ally Citrix (Novell too plays a role in this).

“All along Microsoft has just been buying its way into virtualisation and disrupting many companies in the process.”According to many articles [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], Microsoft and Citrix grow even closer. “Microsoft squeezes Citrix into Windows server pack,” says this one report and one blogger asks: “What’s Microsoft’s real reason for killing VECD?”

We are actually made a lot more concerned not by Microsoft’s increased relationship with Citrix but about what goes on at Amazon.

Early this morning, we received an announcement from Amazon the company is launching a pilot for EC2 customers to allow your enterprise organizations to move existing Microsoft Windows Server licenses to Amazon and receive a proper discount for the new EC2 instance.

As we explained last week [1, 2], Amazon grew increasingly hostile towards GNU/Linux, which it sold out to Microsoft [1, 2, 3] after it had hired many former Microsoft employees. Amazon is now encouraging adoption of its Windows servers using “discounts” [1, 2, 3] and one must not forget that Microsoft’s lawyers were first with the news that Amazon will pay Microsoft for Red Hat servers. No “discounts” from Amazon for GNU/Linux? No “opt-out” for “Microsoft tax”?

As a SAAS blogger states in his new headline, “Microsoft really, really, hates the cloud” and Microsoft is trying to marginalise GNU/Linux where it is really successful, using racketeering tactics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. This is not the behaviour of a software company, whose former employees changed Amazon like they were part of a political movement.


Microsoft Brand Far from Respected (Says Fortune), Company’s Future May Resemble Sun’s Trajectory (Says BNET)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, SUN, Virtualisation, VMware, Xen at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fortune brands

Summary: Microsoft has issues evolving, its brand is falling down the ranks, its attempts to mimic open source mostly fail (despite media blitz), and Red Hat copes with Microsoft’s attempt to swallow virtualisation

MICROSOFT’S exacerbating financial performance (see analysis of the latest results in [1, 2, 3, 4]) may explain its increased racketeering (last example from yesterday). With ever-decreasing margins, Microsoft must find an alternative business model. So far, Microsoft has failed to mimic Google’s model (Microsoft loses over $2,000,000,000 per year in this area), so it decided to use regulators and lawsuits by proxy to hurt Google. Microsoft did the same thing to GNU/Linux by funding SCO, for example.

Microsoft’s control of the mainstream media usually prevents access to simple facts that are not hard to show and to defend. When some single firm from the UK hailed the Microsoft brand last month, nobody dares to question the data, the methods, and the population questioned. In fact, that single source was quoted extensively outside the UK in order to sell the impression that the Microsoft brand has power.

“When some single firm from the UK hailed the Microsoft brand last month, nobody dares to question the data, the methods, and the population questioned.”CNN/Fortune has just released a list of “The Most Admired Companies in the World”. Apple and Google top the list and Microsoft is not even in it (it is not among the worst brands, either). In any case, it is clear that Microsoft dropped sharply and this agrees with 3-4 similar surveys from 2008. They have all shown that Microsoft’s reputation was declining rapidly.

“Windows breeds fear and ignorance,” said this one blogger a couple of days ago. “And I put the blame squarely on Windows,” he added after explaining an experience with an indoctrinated individual. A few days ago we also cited a post from Jeremy Allison — one where he speaks about his days in Sun Microsystems. Here is an example of a company that was once so gigantic and formidable. Where is it today? It is in Oracle, which some notable people whom we cannot name just yet are about to leave (we received private communication about it).

“Sun Fell Prey to Open-Washing,” says BNET in the headline that continues: “Who’s Next? Microsoft?”

Here is a key part of the argument:

Openwashing is similar to greenwashing, in which a company markets itself as environmentally friendly but is actually faking it. A high tech firm openwashes itself when it makes noises about open software but is really interested in preserving its proprietary offerings and hampering free open systems practices.

So basically, BNET explains that excessive desire for control over developers cost Sun its existence. This agrees with what Jeremy Allison wrote and Bradley Kuhn wrote about that too.

Meanwhile, I’m less optimistic than Jeremy on the future of Oracle. I have paid attention to Oracle’s contributions to btrfs in light of recent events. Amusingly, btfs exists in no small part because ZFS was never licensed correctly and never turned into a truly community-oriented project. While the two projects don’t have identical goals, they are similar enough that it seems unlikely btrfs would exist if Sun had endeavored to become a real FLOSS contributor and shepherd ZFS into Linux upstream using normal Linux community processes. It’s thus strange to think that Oracle controls ZFS, even while it continues to contribute to btrfs, in a normal, upstream way (i.e., collaborating under the terms of GPLv2 with community developers and employees of other companies such as Red Hat, HP, Intel, Novell, and Fujitsu).

The moral of this story is that control over what developers could and could not do is what drove many people away and made Sun history. Microsoft is facing similar problems right now and it tries to ‘embrace’ (in “EEE” sense) the Free/open source arena in order to recapture developers. It’s not quite working.

A reader sent us this pointer to a Microsoft project yesterday. “Pay Microsoft more money to secure insecure Microsoft software” is how our reader described it. He said that “it’s released under an ‘open-source license’, except it only runs on Windows, the monoculture.” To quote from the project’s page: “U-Prove is an innovative cryptographic technology that enables the issuance and presentation of cryptographically protected claims in a manner that provides multi-party security: issuing organizations, users, and relying parties can protect themselves not just against outsider attacks but also against attacks originating from each other…”

If this is an example of “open source” at Microsoft, then it’s more or less a farce. Microsoft’s own ‘news’ site, MSN, has just published some promotion of the “Microsoft-seeded foundation”.

A Microsoft-seeded, open-source organizer picked a Headspring Systems project for its first non-Microsoft sponsored effort.

Yes, Microsoft is organising a bit of a press tour [1, 2] to promote the CodePlex Foundation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], where Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is on the board. Here is the ‘Microsoft press’ promoting a .NET obfuscator. That’s the type of stuff Microsoft calls “open source”. It’s all about Windows, .NET, Silver Lie, etc. And how typical it is for CIOL to be pimping (with links) Microsoft’s smears of Free software, under the confusing headline “Open source slowly gaining momentum in India”. Are they trying to pretend that Silver Lie is “open source” or just lump Microsoft in? Here is part of it:

Developers in India are not much aware about open source technologies and there aren’t much good development tools and support for them, says Joydip Kanjilal, ASP.NET professional at Microsoft, in conversation with CIOL.

In another new article, CIOL promotes a form of EDGI that goes under the *Spark banner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. CIOL is rewriting many press releases, as we pointed out before, but its shallow promotion of Microsoft requires some criticism too.

Another branch of the ‘Microsoft press’, namely the Microsoft Subnet at IDG, is doing some PR for Microsoft by saying that there is “much fanfare” over Red Hat support in Hyper-V (whose fanfare? Microsoft’s?).

With much fanfare, Microsoft first submitted said drivers to the Linux kernel way back in July (its first, and so far only, contribution to Linux, for obvious reason). Those drivers were already tested to work with Red Hat and, of course, SUSE. And in October, Red Hat and Microsoft announced that they were joining each other’s virtualization partnership programs, and validated that their products worked on each other’s virtual machines. So what took Microsoft so long to release these Red Hat drivers to the public?

People have other virtualisation options, they don’t need Microsoft’s proprietary one. Let’s not forget the GPL violation that’s associated with Microsoft’s offering [1, 2, 3].

Regarding the virtualisation arrangement Microsoft has with Red Hat, it is a subject that we summarised a year ago. Red Hat is now backing virtualisation research (yes, Free software conducts research too, contrary to myths).

Red Hat is funding a new research centre at Newcastle University that is looking into areas such as grid and cloud computing, virtualisation and middleware.

Among Red Hat’s competitors in this area there’s Microsoft, its ally Novell, and VMware, which is run by former Microsoft executives [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is a new article on the subject:

Red Hat sees the virtualisation market developing into a three-way fight between itself, Microsoft and VMWare as the technology is increasingly taken up in the business space, Red Hat’s senior director of virtualisation, Navin Thadani, said today.

However, he said, the advantage would lie with the two operating system companies, adding that although Novell and Citrix had teamed up to contest the same space, they stood more of a chance in the desktop virtualisation arena.

A year ago we explained how Microsoft distorted the Linux and virtualisation markets. With former Microsoft employees running VMware, a Microsoft ally running Xen (Citrix), and another Microsoft ally seemingly trying to conquer KVM (that would be Novell), the pressure is on Red Hat, which arguably bought KVM’s parent company because of Microsoft’s disruptive moves.

“Microsoft is unique among proprietary software companies: they are the only ones who have actively tried to kill Open Source and Free Software. It’s not often someone wants to be your friend after trying to kill you for ten years, but such change is cause for suspicion.”

Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)

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