Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell More of a Reflection of Microsoft as Weeks Go By

Novell Moonlight



Summary: Novell promotes Microsoft Silverlight, .NET, and other negative endeavours while demoting the GPL and reducing work on Linux

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is promoting Silverlight once again by stating that his patent-encumbered project might enable access to Olympic content. The real solution is for the Olympics to use standards instead of serving Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. What de Icaza is doing here is simple; he keeps regulators away from Microsoft*. We wrote about this before, particularly when Microsoft came under fire for Silverlight and US regulators stepped up. The Novell/Microsoft patent deal had similar ramifications in Europe (harming Samba's case). Needless to say, Novell is behind de Icaza, so it is not just his personal infatuation with Microsoft. Novell's tactless PR Director [1, 2] is endorsing de Icaza's message:



Can’t get to Vancouver for the Winter Games? The Moonlight Team just made it that much easier to watch all the competition right from your desktop, anytime of day, in any part of the world.


Mono is a prerequisite and as we have shown several times before, Moonlight is still an unacceptable trap [1, 2, 3], so the following news coverage is misleading:

Microsoft also updated its agreement not to pursue patent claims on versions 3.0 and 4.0 of Silverlight. The software giant has also offered protection to third-party distributions of Moonlight, not just those using the Novell-sponsored Moonlight.


No, Moonlight remains suitable just for Novell customers (until January 2012 when the patent deal with Microsoft expires). Why is de Icaza doing all this? A couple of years ago he publicly expressed regrets and used as an excuse the infamous "pay grade" line. Here is what was said about it:

“What’s this about pay-grade? It’s a military term, often misappropriated by civilians who are avoiding an ethical decision. It’s a good excuse in the military: politicians are accountable for the decision to enter a war, while the military are oath-bound to follow orders at pain of court-martial and possibly execution, and are only accountable for the conduct of the war. But Miguel is no soldier. He’s the founder of a company previously merged into Novell, and would not be subject to treason charges or capital punishment over this issue. Others, like Jeremy Allison, chose to leave the company while Miguel stayed.”

--Bruce Perens



A few months ago, Groklaw wrote: "Jason Perlow has responded to this article in an audio discussion with Ken Hess. They agree that I do not understand that Miguel has to feed his family and pay his mortgage. I believe that is called the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense. I will quote from Wikipedia:



In the Christopher Buckley novel Thank You for Smoking and its film adaptation, the main character Nick Naylor justifies his career to a reporter by telling her that "Everybody has a mortgage to pay," and referring to his response as the "Yuppie Nuremberg Defense".


In other words, de Icaza's excuses are all very weak. He is helping Microsoft while harming GNU/Linux (it's impossible to help both) and deep inside he might actually understand that. But it's working well for him, personally. He even serves on a board now (even though it is Microsoft's).

Anti-GPL, Pro-Mono



This latest post from Novell's Jeffrey Stedfast, who is Miguel de Icaza's close colleague from back in the days, is also a curious new find. Notice the part at the top which says: "All code posted to this blog is licensed under the MIT/X11 license unless otherwise stated in the post itself."

“[De Icaza] is helping Microsoft while harming GNU/Linux (it's impossible to do both) and deep inside he might actually understand that.”Novell just doesn't like the GPL. A good example of this is the project called Pinta, which we wrote about quite a lot in recent days [1, 2, 3, 4]. It is still being mentioned in some news sites where it is described as a "Paint.NET clone" which is written in Mono by a Novell employee. It's not GPL licensed.

Another project that's somewhat of a statement against the GPL is written by Novell employees who use Mono. It's called Banshee.

Banshee



Even after his departure from Novell, Joe Brockmeier promotes this Mono project that only Novell customers can use. Here is something from the latest post about it:

This means that Banshee 1.5.4 will be GNOME 3.0 ready.


We still worry that GNOME 3.0 might accommodate more Mono than before [1, 2]. Our reader Pawel shows us what he calls "another mono evangelist which is a gnome dev":

People who know me also know that I think those anti-.NET people are disruptive ignorable people. I also actively and willingly ignore them (and they should know this). I’m actually a big fan of the Mono platform.


Going back to Silverlight, watch how Microsoft uses IronRuby:

IronRuby 1.0 Hits Release Candidate 2 (RC2)



[...]

Just as Novell is building an open source implementation of Silverlight dubbed Moonlight, so Microsoft is hard at work producing an open source implementation of the Ruby programming language for .NET and Silverlight. Charlie Calvert, C# Community program manager revealed that this week the team behind the project announced the availability of the second Release Candidate of IronRuby.


This project is a curse that mostly serves Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. It's an embrace-and-extend approach of Microsoft inside Ruby.

Priorities



To Novell's credit, it did participate in some important projects like RadeonHD which Phoronix mentioned some days ago.

Since being let go by Novell last year where he worked on the RadeonHD Linux graphics driver and X.Org support within SuSE Linux, Luc Verhaegen has continued work on his VIA Unichrome DDX driver as well as other X.Org code and he has also become involved with the CoreBoot project that aims to create a free software BIOS for most chipsets and motherboards on the market. Luc has worked on support for flashing the BIOS on ATI graphics cards, native VGA text mode support, and other work to help the CoreBoot project. Today at FOSDEM in Brussels, Luc Verhaegen is about to give a talk on reverse engineering a motherboard BIOS.


Novell seems to be focusing less on kernel space [1, 2] and more on .NET these days. Novell consciously laid off this important developer of RadeonHD. What's the logic here?

How Novell CEO Changed a Quarter of His Staff



The following piece was published earlier this month and it contains some very interesting parts, such as:

One of the toughest challenges facing public companies in this country is figuring out how to satisfy Wall Street without decimating their loyal but costly workforces. I’ve met no one who has defined this problem more strikingly than Ron Hovsepian, the CEO of Novell.

In an interview a couple of years ago, Hovsepian told me that over the course of the preceding year, he replaced a quarter of his workforce in order to acquire the skills he needed:
One thousand of our 4,000 employees are new to Novell. So the change we're going through is pretty significant. Candidly, among all the good revenue stories and the profit improving, people don't realize how much we've really gone in and changed our workforce to get the right skills here.


Maybe some of those "changes" in workforce better align the company with Microsoft's objectives. We previously showed that Novell was hiring more .NET developers while generally laying off many people.

"[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on."

--Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO



___ * Miguel de Icaza publicly took Microsoft's side in the antitrust litigation in Europe.

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