05.18.07

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Interoperability Based on Tax (Novell) versus Open APIs (Free Software)?

Posted in Europe, Interoperability, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Standard, Windows at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday’s new article on interoperability reminds us of the importance of open and free communication, which is based on established industry standards. Novell is mentioned therein in one particular context.

Microsoft also is cooperating with Linux distributor Novell on a number of sales, marketing, and technical fronts.

Will Microsoft’s saber rattling over Linux patents derail such [interoperability] efforts?

As Shane pointed out, Red Hat does the right thing by demanding the use of free & open protocols, not deals. One must play by the rules of industry as a whole, rather than be subjected to the rules of one reigning vendor.

Consider how Microsoft uses its deal with Novell to squeeze Novell into its own agenda, even optimising things like virtualisation to its own platform, with its own programming frameworks. Zend is probablya victim of the same type of tactics.

Zend is investing in a number of open source projects like Framework aimed at furthering the strength of the PHP technology and its thriving community, as well as collaboration with other software developers such as Microsoft.

The gist of the story is that an Open Source company is being encouraged by Microsoft to improve the performance of their products for Windows, at the expense of Linux. This collaboration, which began in October/November last year, is intended to make Linux servers less attractive to PHP developers. This is not new. Mozilla and Xen are fine examples of the same issue.

Returning to focus on Novell, the company has had a negative impact on Europe’s battles with Microsoft. These are the battles that have gone on for years. They are about refusal to permit free access to Microsoft’s proprietary protocols. Novell was bent the ‘Microsoft way’ to make open protocols less attractive and for the EU harder to win their case (and to change Microsoft’s monopolistic ways).

The Mono/Silverlight situation leads to similar concerns. It (mis)leads Web developers to the illusion that Linux — regardless of the distribution — will be able to access this proprietary and heavily patent-encumbered technology, which is disguised as “Open Source” Novell makes it seem like Linux is converging with Windows based on proprietary, Windows-specific foundations. In case you lack context, here is a quote from one of the most recent articles.

Miguel de Icaza has led the Mono Project, which implements Microsoft’s .NET development platform on Linux and Unix-like platforms, since it was announced in 2001. In that time de Icaza’s enthusiasm for the project has remained fervent.

Discourage the use of Silverlight. Do not let the Net become .NET. As the following two articles stress, it’s Microsoft’s attempt to hijack the Web. Sadly, at present, Novell is helping Microsoft reach that goal.

An industry coalition that has represented competitors of Microsoft in European markets before the European Commission stepped up its public relations offensive this morning, this time accusing Microsoft of scheming to upset HTML’s place in the fabric of the Internet with XAML, an XML-based layout lexicon for network applications.

Software manufacturers, citing 2004 European Commission finding, contend the operating system violates server laws in Europe.

[...]

“Vista is the first step of Microsoft’s strategy to extend its market dominance to the Internet,” the ECIS statement said.

It said Microsoft’s XAML markup language was “positioned to replace HTML,” the industry standard for publishing documents on the Internet.

Microsoft’s own language would be dependent on Windows, and discriminatory against rival systems such as Linux, the group says.

They said a so-called “open XML” platform file format, known as OOXML, is designed to run seamlessly only on the Microsoft Office platform.

Addendum: The CNN link is now broken. Here is a a similar story.

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