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Novell Really Wants You to Know That It Supports Microsoft OOXML

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Windows at 12:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Might this be a question of timing?

“OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with it. This is at a time when OOXML as a spec is in much better shape than any other spec on that space.”

Miguel de Icaza, Vice President, Novell

Bad MonoAs you are hopefully aware by now, to Novell, OOXML is a matter of obeying a binding contract with Microsoft. Novell wanted to use bogus 'protection' (FUD) as an added value for competitive advantage and Microsoft’s terms and conditions for establishing such bogus protection included OOXML, which Microsoft needed Novell to support, thereby assisting Microsoft’s financial agenda.

It was particularly curious to find that only a few days before the BRM in Geneva commences, Novell’s Public Relations team decide to post this rave which talks about OOXML support in Novell’s own 'special' edition of OpenOffice.org.

You know they’ve been in the works, but the Office Open XML/OpenDocument format translators for presentations and spreadsheets are now available for download. The OpenOffice.org, Novell Edition binary versions are here, and the project source and upstream versions can be found here. The word processing translator, which provides the ability to open Office Open XML-formatted documents in OpenOffice.org, has been out since last March. Now users of the Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org 2.3 can open Powerpoint (.pptx) and Excel (.xlsx) documents in OpenOffice.org.

It is probably a rhetorical question, but might Novell be using OOXML, which is a case against industry standards and GNU/Linux, as a tool for marketing itself, in pretty much the same way that it boasts patent ‘protection’ (which others neither have nor need) in order to market itself? Does it create and then introduces new problems that were never supposed to exist simply to promote its own selfish agenda, while essentially harming other GNU/Linux distributors and various Free software projects that cannot ever implement OOXML or buy ‘protection’, which was never needed in the first place?

A couple of days ago, Matt Asay had this to say

Well, Novell gained a few quarters of “coupon cash” from the deal (though my sources at Novell say that customers aren’t renewing their subscriptions at a rate that Novell would like), but I hope it recognizes the value in standing firm for openness. What little wind it got puffed into its sails from its interoperability lock-up with Microsoft just dissipated.

That was a fine little good leak of inside information. Asay has former coworkers, whom he knows from his days at Novell. Previously he spoke about the staff exodus at Novell and about Novell cooking the books. When it comes to Novell’s dark secrets, this man is a gold mine.

In response to this particular nugget of information, an interesting statement came up. “Why would they renew subscriptions? They weren’t getting anything… other than, perhaps, a lot of bad publicity,” said an executive from a major British company. Novell has only itself to blame here. It chose to alienate its customer using fear as a marketing tool.

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  1. Rui Miguel Silva Seabra said,

    February 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm


    I sadly witnessed a recent Novell presentation to students and teachers in which they reserved a line to mention ODF and two slides with mentions of OOXML compatibility, OOXML convertor, Microsoft compatible fonts, etc…

    Fortunately the Novell employee, though a very nice person, was quite boring (specially from the point of view of 14 to 17 year old kids and teachers a-like), which spared me the confrontation as he was being quite a shot in the foot all by himself.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 23, 2008 at 8:52 pm


    From what I can gather, Novell’s curriculum actually revolves around Mono development. Articles suggested that Novell hires developers in that department and also teaches students how to program in C#, which I find worrisome because even the ‘blank minds’ are told to go down this path, not only those arriving at Linux with background and prior experience in .NET.

    Novell seems to be putting its card on being unique not only in the sense that it has some bogus ‘protection’. It’s a bit like Linspire gone a little further, but not everyone sees it that way. They mimic underlying technology rather than look and feel of the desktop although they /did/ bring a Windows-esque control panel to GNOME and Windows-style menus to both KDE and GNOME.

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