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At What Stage Can Novell be Called “Microsoft Subsidiary”?

Novellsoft



Summary: Novell's latest moves clearly show a technical convergence with Microsoft, so why treat these companies separately?

OVER the past couple of days we've had the opportunity to comment on Novell's fawning over .NET. See the following posts:



As a quick summary -- based on this press release where Novell advertises Microsoft Visual Studio -- it becomes clear that Novell is merely a drone. To quote what Ramon Cahenzli told me about an hour ago, "I think it's hopeless now, what was once Novell is now a hollowed-out carcass operating in zombie mode for its overlord."

Novell's vice president, who is also a highly-groomed board member at Microsoft's CodePlex, is one among the Mono developers who are promoting Microsoft Visual Studio in their blogs (it's also a bit of a Vista 7 advertisement). Although he is trying to put a spin on it using some blogs that may address the gullible, more informed individuals form their own opinions and write for example:

Today, Tuesday November 10, 2009, Novell announces a Visual Studio plugin that allows support for non-Microsoft operating systems that use .NET code development on a platform known as Mono via a new product called Mono Tools for Visual Studio 1.0. This is not a cost free toolset. In fact, it's really quite pricey--starting at $99 for the Professional (Individual) version. Of course, compared to the exorbitant price of Visual Studio, that's a mere pittance.

[...]

What do you think? Do you think the SUSE-only limitation is too great for widespread adoption or do you think it's OK?


Microsoft is using Novell to increase use of proprietary software and sales of licences for Windows and Visual Studio. How is this beneficial to Free software? Had Novell wanted to promote cross-platform development and Free software at the same time, then it would allocate resources to projects like KDevelop. Instead, Novell has chosen to add features to Microsoft Visual Studio. As ITWire puts it in a new article:

Novell has produced technology like Moonlight, a clone of Microsoft's Silverlight, courtesy of its vice-president, Miguel de Icaza, who has morphed from a free software supporter into a Microsoft apologist. But this software obviously isn't ready for prime time; else why is Novell continuing to use Flash, with which Moonlight competes, on its own website?

Novell can also take credit for continuing to fund the Mono project, which is an attempt to clone Microsoft's .NET development environment. As De Icaza puts it, Windows developers will start developing for Linux because of Mono. Sure. And I'll be the next president of Mexico, senor.

If things are going so swimmingly at Novell and the Microsoft pact is salvation from on high, then why were nearly four percent of staff at Novell sacked recently? We haven't seen any sackings at Red Hat, have we? Both companies are operating in the same Linux space.

If the pact with Microsoft was to bring better times, why did Novell end fiscal 2007 with a loss of $US44.4 million? A year later, it was still haemorrhaging - the losses were $US8.7 million. And 2009 isn't looking so hot either.


Novell is currently very busy telling its lies to the public. Here is the joint Microsoft/Novell press release respun in order to defend the patent deal and also some feedback from real users of GNU/Linux:

i wonder what will happen if the sco mess ever gets finished. will microsoft buy novell or get novell to sell them unix. will they then come after the rest of linux ? If u want to get warts use gnome. if u want to not get warts use KDE.


In reply to the above, says a Linux Today regular:

I would think (and certainly hope) that a Microsoft take over of Novell would never make it past the regulators. But if somehow MS came into possession of the Unix copyrights, I doubt they would get very far in trying to use them to "come after Linux." Before the SCO vs IBM trial got short circuited by the copyright question, IBM was making mince meat out of SCO on the merit of the "claims."


Whose side is Novell on?

"Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft"

--LinuxToday Managing Editor

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