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Novell Befriends Microsoft, Attacks Red Hat and Ubuntu

Stating the obvious, but presenting new evidence

InfoWorld (of IDG) presented a reasonable question when it doubted Novell's open source citizenship.

In New models, challenges for open source businesses, Neil McAllister asks, "Does offering proprietary, albeit innovative, technologies built on top of open source mean Greenplum is not a 'real' open source company? I leave that for you to decide. Is IBM an open source company? Is Novell? Is Google?"


Novell is not an open source company, by its very own confession [1, 2, 3, 4]. It's therefore surprising that Matt Asay, for example, is still comparing Novell to Red Hat as though they are comparable. Novell's proprietary components are much larger, and yet dying [1, 2]. Regardless, Asay has explained how Microsoft and Novell tried to harm Red Hat together, without much success thus far.

In selling longer-term deals, Red Hat is successfully blocking competitive pressure from Novell, Microsoft, and other companies that might want to cut into its accounts.


Red Hat is not the only company that Novell is attacking along with Microsoft, particularly on the server side. That recent Greg K-H incident is still causing unrest in Ubuntu. Why attack those who participate in peer production and not those who persistently attack this peer production?

It's a shame really because Novell not only has negative influence on the Linux Foundation [1, 2, 3, 4], which it funds. Novell has the Foundation just attack Solaris and Sun [1, 2] (despite Java and OpenOffice.org, among other things) while inviting Microsoft to the table [1, 2, 3], calling for respect to this thing.

Novell and Greg K-H turn out to also have influence on OSU, which has just gotten itself a new Advisory Council.

CORVALLIS, Ore. th The Oregon State University Open Source Lab, home to growing open source communities, today announced the formation of its new advisory council. Featuring leaders from global open source projects and vendors such as Apache, Perl, Drupal, the Linux operating system, Google, Novell, Acquia and Joost, the advisors will assist the Open Source Lab with its overall strategy, service development and outreach to industry partners.

[...]

Greg Kroah-Hartman. A senior fellow at Novell, Kroah-Hartman is a maintainer of the Linux kernel, the core of the open source Linux operating system. He is also an author of articles and books on Linux development.


The above is worth noting because Novell is likely to welcome Microsoft into the OSU, just as it always does. Novell is Microsoft's ticket.

Going back to Greg, here is an article claiming that "Greg K-H Attacks Canonical."

Greg Kroah-Hartman of Novell accuses Ubuntu supporter, Canonical, to be non contributing to the development of Linux kernel.


Using the offensive word "nerds" (geeks without social skills), the following article puts things in another perspective. Once again, Greg's behaviour is being criticised.

Interestingly enough, Canonical seems well aware of its lack of kernel work. In a response to Kroah-Hartman’s talk, Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu’s CTO, writes, “No one, certainly not Canonical, has ever claimed that Canonical does as much Linux development as Red Hat or Novell.”

Zimmerman goes on to call Kroah-Hartman’s talk “trolling.”


So what does Novell do for GNU/Linux anyway, other than bashing its server and desktop leaders, whom its engineers obvious envy? It seems like a lot of Novell's work revolves around Microsoft, whose technologies it embeds inside GNU/Linux against people's will and interests. Microsoft has already said that it did not port Silverlight to GNU/Linux because of Novell, which works hard on "poor man's Silverlight" instead.

Microsoft officials have said MIcrosoft planned to support a variety of operating systems and browsers with Silverlight. The company released the Beta 2 version of Silverlight 2 for the Mac in June. Microsoft has given Novell its blessing (and some help) on the Silverlight port to Linux, codenamed “Moonlight.”


This demotes GNU/Linux, making it a second-class citizen [1, 2] simply because Novell is permitting this to happen. Novell is not interested in the desktop; it's incorporating and promoting Microsoft technologies (patent poison) on everyone's desktop instead. As further indication of this, how about yesterday's post from Miguel de Icaza, who will present Mono at a Microsoft conference (presenting for Microsoft/Novell not for the first time by the way).

As usual, Microsoft uses Novell as its excuse that 'it plays nice with FOSS', provided one has software patents and a common agenda to harm companies like Red Hat. Here is a new article which demonstrates just how it works.

Microsoft was a company focused on intellectual property claims where “not more than two years ago claimed that Linux software infringed on some of its 235 patents,” said Jay Lyman with The 451 Group. Yet, he added, it’s hard to argue with the work that the software giant is doing with Novell, and of the presence it has on SourceForge, the development and download repository of open source code.

Indeed, the company announced the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center this year, which was essentially a unification of the Open Source Software Lab opened in Redmond, Wash., three years ago, and the Microsoft/Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Mass., a year ago.

While the Center may not physically be one building, the unification “was really an opportunity for us to pull the work together to be very focused on a few areas,” said Tom Hanrahan, director of the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center.

With a total of 15 staff between both locations, the Center is funded by Microsoft but resourced by both Microsoft and Novell. The Cambridge Lab, for instance, has an even split of Novell and Microsoft staff.


Why not rebrand it to reflect on the fact that the lab serves Microsoft in excluding Free software? It's all about patents and it's about selfishness, selective punishment.

Microsoft Novell

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