Bonum Certa Men Certa

“Only Idiots Want to Pay for Novell” (Corrected)

Correction: the quote above goes from Rui Seabra to Red Hat's Wildeboer

Mad Magazine cover



Summary: Strong words from Rui Seabra to Red Hat's Wildeboer, who criticises people's willingness to pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux

WHENEVER we discuss the problem with 'Linux tax' in Android phones from HTC, Samsung, and LG there is no intention to spread FUD; au contraire -- there's an attempt to end Microsoft's patent FUD which had some vendors/distributors of Android sell out. It has become rather difficult to cover Android in this Web site because many of the phones we come across are what we call "Ballnux", namely Linux phones from which Microsoft (Ballmer) extracts money for patents it never even named. Fortunately for everyone, Android phones approach 100 different models and many separate manufacturers stand behind them. It should not be hard to avoid Samsung, for example, just as it's possible to avoid SUSE and choose Debian/Ubuntu/Mandriva instead.



The importance of choice here is that it prevents a single point of failure from permanently existing (many -- such as Linspire or Turbolinux -- actually evaporate). Now that HTC Wildfire is out, avoid it. Choose a different Android phone. It's the only way to tell HTC and Microsoft that Linux is not and never will be the property of Microsoft. The same goes for Samsung and LG (there is little of Kyocera Mita in the Western market). Here is an example of OpenBallnux on Ballnux (Samsung) hardware and here is a Ballnux tablet. This, unlike the hypePad, pays Microsoft:

Samsung has launched the first 'true' contender of the iPad, and it's called Samsung GALAXY Tab. Unlike the iPad, Galaxy Tab allows you to not only 'consume' content, but also create it.


This tablet is also taxed by Microsoft and thus it is better off avoided. There are many other Linux-based tablets and they -- unlike the Galaxy Tab -- do not legitimise Microsoft's demands of a payment for every Linux device that one ships. The goal here is to reward the many companies that gave a cold shoulder to Microsoft's extortionists rather than collaborated with them.

“After the coupon deal with MSFT has ended, NOVL found a new "sponsor" - VMWare.”
      --Jan Wildeboer
This brings us to Novell and how to stop its Microsoft invasion (including Mono and Moonlight). Does VMware offer SUSE? Avoid it. There are other options. A few days ago in VMware's event there were mindless repetitions about their relationship in a press release that added almost nothing. As Jan Wildeboer (Red Hat) put it last night: "After the coupon deal with MSFT has ended, NOVL found a new "sponsor" - VMWare. [...] How much did VMWare pay to NOVL? [...] And how high is the renewal rate on the MSFT sponsored subscriptions?"

With takeover speculations abound (VMware a high candidate [1, 2]), one has to wonder why Novell can be seen as a safe bet in the long term. "Only idiots want to pay for Novell," said Rui Seabra in response to Wildeboer.

Wildeboer's concern must be that Novell is selling Ballnux, not GNU/Linux. Novell is trying to cause patent trouble to Red Hat, as evidenced by its "IP peace of mind" marketing pitch.

To Microsoft, this tactic is nothing news; Microsoft attempted to do by giving money to SCO, which despite disinformation from Bloomberg, is a company without a case. It's just supposed to bully and muddy the water around Linux as long as possible:

SCO's request to sell off its software business has been approved by the bankruptcy courts.

The Delaware court approved the motion to sell SCO's software business leaving a rump company to pursue what's left of its Linux legal action.


This action was, to a high degree, funded by Microsoft. Microsoft is doing the same thing with Novell right now and OpenSUSE is stuck in the middle. This new review of OpenSUSE 11.3 says: "I would have to say that this release is really solid and provides a really clean user interface." 11.4 is also on its way, but will Novell still be there as an independent company by the time this thing ships?

openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 1 is available today, Thursday, September 2 for developers, testers and community members to test and participate in the development of openSUSE 11.4.


OpenSUSE is stuck in the hands of a company which pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux. Why are those "community members" still contributing to Novell (through OpenSUSE)? They will be better off buying not from Novell and contributing not to SUSE but to other distributions of GNU/Linux -- ones that respect freedom, not those which respect Ballmer's demands.

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