Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Novell/Microsoft Trust and Their De facto Assault on Free Software

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Geir Isene has been one of the main people who covered the OOXML scandal in Norway. He covered earlier controversies and incidents too. It is encouraging to find that he has caught up to the point of realising Novell's role in the whole thing. He asks Microsoft the following good question:

What question?

Here we go: “Dear Microsoft, how is this good for your shareholders Return On Investments?”

A public company has an obvious commitment toward its shareholders ROI. It has a business and moral obligation toward those who has invested in the company. All strategic decisions must focus on a greater monetary return.

So, ask not how the deal is good for Novell. Ask how the deal is good for Microsoft. Ask not how OOXML as an ISO standard is good for the world. Ask how it benefits the Monopoly’s profit.


It's a sure thing that Microsoft underpaid for Novell's soul. Novell has given so much to Microsoft, whose only 'help' to Novell has been coupons that it now calls "patent royalties". In other words, Novell, which now sees itself as a Microsoft partner, makes Windows, Office, XAML, .NET and so many other things the 'standard'. It empowers a monoculture. It also gives Microsoft all that anti-Linux fuel it craved for and in return it gets the 'privilege' to collect software patent money on behalf of Microsoft, for unsubstantiated claims even where these unreasonable claims are invalid [1, 2]. Talk about reciprocity.

In Microsoft's journey to assemble everyone around its de facto standards (or down-your-throat international 'standards', e.g. OOXML), it creates other programs, such as the "Interop Vendor Alliance". Call it the "New Trust" if you will, the equivalent of the rationale for anti-Trust laws (video). It's unfortunate to find another vendor being consumed by it.

Symark International Joins Microsoft Interop Vendor Alliance



Strengthened Interoperability Enables Organizations to Extend Microsoft’s Group Policy Functionality to UNIX and Linux Systems using Symark’s PowerADvantage to Enhance Security and Compliance Posture

AGOURA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Symark International, developer of the PowerSeriesâ„¢ information security solutions for managing privileged account access, today announced its membership in the Interop Vendor Alliance (IVA), a community of software and hardware vendors working together to enhance interoperability with Microsoft systems. Enhanced interoperability with Microsoft’s Group Policy will strengthen the benefits of Symark’s PowerADvantage, an integrated authentication and configuration solution that extends Microsoft€® Active Directory’s functionality to UNIX and Linux systems.

[...]

About The Interop Vendor Alliance

The Interop Vendor Alliance is an industry-wide group working to identify and share opportunities to better connect people, data and diverse systems through better interoperability with Microsoft systems and to jointly market interoperability solutions of its members. The organization serves as a collaborative forum for developing and sharing common technology models, facilitates scenario-based testing of multivendor solutions and works to communicate additional best practices to users. Since its formation in 2006, alliance membership has more than doubled as the IVA has developed five interoperability labs for Systems Management, Centralized Directory, Federated Identity, Content Management, and Open XML. Additional information about the Interop Vendor Alliance can be found on its Web site at http://www.interopvendoralliance.org.


All of this makes a consortium equivalent where the chairpersons are all from Microsoft. Everyone needs to pay Microsoft. Microsoft is the one to decide on how technology evolves and all others must simply comply and pass Microsoft-predefined royalties. It supersedes and even stomps on the existing frameworks and also what we know as standards bodies. It's truly not the way to go and for reasons that are mentioned in this new Op-Ed it makes it harder to have GNU/Linux adopted on the desktop.

The problem again? No one is willing to put out the money or the effort to unseat Windows as the dominant Desktop Operating System. It's a sad Catch 22 situation: No one will put out the money until there is acceptance and you won't get acceptance without a commitment from commercial Linux vendors.


Unless Linux remains free, as in based on truly free (and RAND-free) standards, it will be harder for it to compete. Microsoft knows this, so it's merely part of its plan of com batting the #1 competitor. Luckily, the European Commission is coming to grips with this plot and it's far from satisfied.

Microsoft hopes to defeat Free software using laws. But it's a two-edged sword and as Microsoft will continue to find, regulatory law will have it punished for it. If not in the United States, whose government is pathetic, then elsewhere.

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