12.20.07

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From Fighting for Standards to Fighting Against Them (Novell)

Posted in Deals, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 11:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As far as open standards are concerned, it is saddening to say that Novell has become somewhat of a disgrace. Not only has it left Samba alone amid its battle in Eurupe, but it also chose patent-encumbered connectivity (interoperability) over standards. Rob Weir has published an extensive piece which takes a look back at Novell’s fight for standards in industry. He then shows how things have changed since the deal with Microsoft.

So much for Novell’s complaint from 2004. I’m told that this is still case is suspended as of November, 2007, as the two parties pursue mediation. A status report on that mediation is due to Judge Motz by January 11th, 2008. Maybe we’re hear more then.

We mentioned this many times before, but it’s worth repeating that Microsoft essentially bought Novell’s pardon. It then even used Novell to battle open standards (remember that OOXML is merely intended to eliminate ODF as a threat, nothing else).

It’s bad enough that Novell, due to its binding contract with Microsoft, must support OOXML. It’s even worse when Novell spreads its standards-hostile behaviour onto other projects and a fine desktop environment such as GNOME. This issue is explored further in the following long piece.

What is this all about? The Gnome Foundation’s behaviour in front of the OOXML controversy. I don’t think there is any need to remind my audience on what happened with the Gnome Foundation (the article above will summarize things well). Suffice to say, Novell and/or ex-Novell developers have been assisting to the Ecma TC 45 (the one on OOXML) and been “supportive” of OOXML in general. I am aware that I’m making a very long story short here. But I’m doing this on purpose: the conspiracy that Bruce refers could be summarized as Novell engineers hijacking Gnome to serve their own corporate needs, and the problem is, these needs are aligned with the ones of Microsoft.

[...]

The Gnome Foundation is composed of many developers from large or small corporations that are either hostile or simply indifferent to OOXML.

As indicated somewhere among the comments, which are yet to appear on the page, the GNOME Foundation’s deeds — to borrow the terminology of Jim Powers — speak louder than their words. It’s also worth acknowledging that the Foundation itself is divided on this issue, so it ought to be resolved before it’s too late.

”Novell has influence in the GNOME project.“Remember this: Novell is assisting Microsoft. It’s all in their contract. Novell has influence in the GNOME project.

Looking ahead, last week's comment shed light on the danger Novell’s staff might become to the Linux Foundation and the Linux kernel. Judging by the fact that the homepage of OpenOffice.org points to BoycottNovell, it appears as though these guys aren’t too happy with Novell either.

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