Bonum Certa Men Certa

Analyst Lies and Novell Business Growth

No Value



A reader from Brazil has just informed (even warned) us that Novell is trying in Brazil what it has already done in India [1, 2, 3, 4] and in China.



Novell's non-organic growth and proprietary niches aside, the company constantly deceives the public in order to earn some new business. In the process, Novell ridicules software like GNU/Linux (anything other than SUSE) and OpenOffice.org (in order to sell Go-OO support).

“Novell ridicules software like GNU/Linux (anything other than SUSE) and OpenOffice.org (in order to sell Go-OO support).”It's a horrible way of doing business, but that's just what Novell does, for Microsoft's benefit and with Microsoft's endorsement (sometimes assistance too). That's the key point. Watch what happened in India less than a week ago. Novell did exactly that.

Some readers might remember a bogus study on satisfaction with the Novell deal. It was conducted by the very 'impartial' (and increasingly-assimilated) Novell and Microsoft, then shredded to pieces [1, 2]. The public scrutiny and criticism did not prevent Novell's Justin Steinman from making outrageous statements like "I think the vast majority, and I’d quantify that at about 80 percent to 85 percent, of the open source community actually supports this deal [with Microsoft]."

Mary Jo Foley cites the new ComputerWorld article where I am interviewed, but she refutes my claims with the words of the Yankee Group.

Red Hat held firm and wouldn’t succumb to CEO Steve Ballmer’s infringement sabre-rattling. In March 2007, Yankee Group issued a study noting that Novell’s share was growing vis-a-vis Red Hat’s, and said Microsoft’s certificate distribution was the main reason. And Microsoft and Novell proudly touted customers who they claimed were eager to seek shelter from potential Microsoft patent lawsuits by signing up for SuSE Linux.


Yankee Group, eh? Their history with Microsoft [1, 2] speaks more loudly than their so-called 'research', which is merely being ordered by clients (IBM is one of them too). Would this study from the Yankee Group be anything like those other lies which they produced a few months ago and were later forced to retract for falsehoods?

"Open source is not a movement; it's a religion. It is a set of principles and practices that let everyone share non-existent or semi-existent intellectual property. Remember the Communist Manifesto: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." It is this generation's Woodstock."

--Howard Anderson Framingham
Founder of The Yankee Group (2007)



If anyone is interested in other figures about Novell's growth (or lack thereof), the results from Alfresco's barometer are worth revisiting. Alfresco's bias, if any, is in Novell's favour. As Alfresco's marketing VP stated some days ago, "I was at Novell when Novell vice-chairman Chris Stone and others began to feel their way toward Linux, first with the Ximian acquisition and then with the SUSE acquisition."

Analysts: "Just Ignore Them"



The last time we wrote about the Gartner Group was yesterday. Glyn Moody had kicked off quite a debate around the Web, stretching from CNET to OStatis and beyond.

Moody spoke to Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center who indicated that while license violations happen, a civil phone call explaining the situation results in companies willingly complying. Moglen indicates that serious consequences for an infringing company would only arise from a willing, persistent disregard for the applicable license.

Asay makes the further point -- a good one -- that a company should plain and simple have a plan for managing software whether it be open source or proprietary. I'd go so far to add that a plan is needed, regardless of company size or industry (it doesn't matter that IT isn't the business's main focus -- it is necessary to know what is running, where). Part of software management is license management -- and though there are differences between development licenses, and end user licenses, there are overlaps.

Software has rules -- regardless of whether the source is open or not. Businesses (and users) shouldn't think (or be led to believe) otherwise. But the open source method -- and approach to upholding the licenses -- seems a compelling reason to use it, rather than a liability.


Moody has just identified similar 'analyst' disinformation being disseminated, so he comments on "analyst cluelessness" yet again.

[F]or Wikipedia: nobody gets paid, but look at the results. In just a few years it has succeeded in creating an unmatched respository of human knowledge, to the point where it is pretty widely regarded as the first place to look stuff up, despite its undeniable imperfections.

As with Gartner, this seems to be a case of analysts simply telling their clients what they want to hear, rather than what they need to know. Hence my general contempt for the breed, with a few honourable exceptions - RedMonk and the 451 Group spring to mind - that both know what they are talking about, and tell it as it is.


The problem with analysts is not that they are clueless; their main problem is that in order to earn money they need to lie, spin, deceive, embellish and accentuate every now again, on behalf of their paying customers, future (prospective) paymasters [1, 2, 3], or former paymasters.

There used to be something that's akin to analysts who are less corruptible and less likely to be bribed; it was called academia, but that too is being deluged by corporations these days [1, 2, 3].

We will soon have a detailed FAQ that sheds light on Novell and its negative impacts. A lot of semi-truths are disinformation get spread by the press to confuse people and rewrite the story we all knew it back in 2006.

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