08.20.07

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Keep Your Enemies Closer and Keep Your Products Incompatible

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Standard, Steve Ballmer at 10:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using the power of dependency to control rivals

Almost every company that competes against Microsoft must also collaborate with it. Why? Because when Microsoft controls a de facto standard, the rest of the industry depends on it. In the previous post we uttered a few words (some from the horse’s own mouth) about Microsoft’s perception of truly open standards. It avoids like fire. It wants total control. The main sufferer, of course, is typically the consumer who must pay more and cope with incompatibilities (data loss of productivity sinks).

Novell’s dependence on Microsoft goes a long way back. Because Microsoft controlled a highly-rigid platform, Novell needed access to interfaces. There were times when Microsoft backstabbed Novell in its Windows turf. There is also this brand-new trick which allegedly exposes Windows thanks to Novell’s software.

Here is a nice trick in novell to get near full admin. works with xp pro if someone limits your account also.

Novell and Microsoft are like conjoined twins when it comes to software, but the point of the matter is that almost every single rival to Microsoft must also “show respect” to Microsoft, not because the company actually deserves respect, but because it’s holding back key information. Without being polite to Microsoft, one gets nothing but a bite. Even Apple is in certain ways enslaved to Microsoft (mind OOXML). It all boils down to de facto standards (even fonts are a decent example), which are sometimes accompanies by copyrights and patents as an unwanted ‘umbilical cord’. It was only weeks ago that Microsoft and Apple signed a vague cross-licensing deal.

Yesterday, Microsoft’s CEO met Cisco’s CEO. There you have another couple of CEOs who must collaborate despite their rivalry. Why? Because of standards (or lack thereof). This ought to serve as an important lesson on the importance of unified standards. Some of these issues that are associated with incompatibility are being highlighted by Mary Jo Foley.

Ballmer and Chambers are meeting later today a handful of CIOs who have both Cisco and Microsoft products installed. They’ll listen to a litany of complaints, no doubt, about how hard it still is to get Cisco and Microsoft deliverables to interoperate. Is there anything new under the sun? No — not in terms of customers wanting vendors to make their lives easier, nor in terms of vendors promising customers the moon.

Some Linux vendors, such as Novell, chose not to settle on standards. Instead, they chose to license a ‘shortcut’ to what could have been real solution. They call it “interoperability”. But does it actually work at the end of the day? Are better products being delivered? According to Alfresco, Novell’s deal with Microsoft may have left them even further behind. As for Linspire, amid the departure and shuffle of executives, it gets some negative (maybe even prejudiced) reviews. Susan Linton’s latest review revolves around the latest Linspire. I happen to admire Susan’s experience with so many distributions (her prolific site, Tux Machines, is pure evidence of this). She already says that “Linspire fails to impress”.

I personally liked Freespire, but it may not be the best choice for a person coming straight from Windows, as I found some previous Linux experience necessary in order to fully enjoy it. For those users, I recommend giving SimplyMEPIS, PCLinuxOS, or Stux Linux a look. I can run any of these without ever opening a terminal thanks to their graphical configurations and package management systems.

Remember that future releases of Freespire and Linspire face a bleak outlook due to legal constraints imposed by Microsoft. From the above review, it also seems apparent that so-called ‘community distributions’ maintain an edge. Such distribution cannot be bought by Microsoft or corrupted by shareholders’ selfishness. If shareholders were smart, they would realise that disturbing the calm of the developers by liaising with Microsoft through controversial IP deals is simply the route to demise, not success.

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