04.12.08

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: Novell’s Past in the the Past Week’s News

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Red Hat, SCO, UNIX at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Returning technology

Let us just go very quickly through some new articles that relate to Novell’s past.

SCO and Days of UNIX

The Novell-SCO faceoff is upon here again. Groklaw keeps track of Novell’s request for SCO money.

Just reading the Introduction tells you that SCO is, once again, asking for unusual relief, which Novell strongly argues it can find no case law to support. What SCO wants is to keep the SCOsource money; but unless either the facts or the law support its position, it is hard to see how it can. Novell uses an illustration, about a guy selling someone else’s car without the owner’s permission.

Another update on these developments you will find here.

More filings in SCO’s bankruptcy and a Boies Schiller lawyer for the Novell trial

[...]

Here you go, more mountains of paper in the bankruptcy. Dorsey & Whitney line up for their money, for the fifth time, and in SCO v. Novell a Boies Schiller associate, Mauricio Gonzalez, whom we’ve previously seen in the Red Hat case, signs on to the team in the Novell case, which likely indicates he’ll be there for trial.

NetWare

UnixGoing further back (or forward, depending on whether you look at UNIX days or Linux days) we arrive at NetWare, which is still very much alive in the NHS.

“Cost was one factor and the other was that we are a big Novell site and we found that Kaspersky Lab integrated better with our servers ­ – and provided the best management interface within our Novell NetWare environment,” he says.

“Most of the anti-virus companies are geared up to Microsoft, but Kaspersky Lab has maintained its partnership with Novell.”

DR-DOS

Going a very long way back, here you have an article about DOSes and Novell is mentioned among the players involved.

While the DOS wars were raging, Novell wanted to become the next Microsoft and was intent on doing that by leveraging its dominance in networks and buying the rest. It bought Wordperfect, Unix, and parts of Borland to try match Microsoft product for product. What it was missing was DOS, so it bought Digital Research. Novell revved the product creating Novell DOS 7 but Novell didn’t really know what it was doing. Novell DOS 7 was a failure, as was its anti-Microsoft strategy. Novell sold off DR-DOS to Caldera.

This says nothing about Microsoft’s anti-DR-DOS behaviour [1, 2, 3, 4], over which it was prosecuted.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE Screams with 743% Performance Boost, CNR Shouts in Empty Room

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Linspire, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 2:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

YaST backupThe past week has not been particularly quiet. OpenSUSE made an appearance in places and SLED had the H-P announcement to crow about.

OpenSUSE was briefly reviewed here, among other places.

Back to business. Working with Linux is more difficult than the OS that’s named after holes in walls. I only made it through because I was determined, and because I know a bit about Linux already. I’m told that Ubuntu, the most user-friendly Linux distro, is as good as that unmentionable OS. I haven’t used it so I can’t really judge. However, since I have just about everything I need with Susie (I even downloaded and installed codecs so I could watch video), I’m cool. And all set to become a Linux geek.

From a Novell PR/boosting blog (c/f this recent post about “Novell boosters”) came this AutoYaST post:

If you are using AutoYaST and need a way to setup NIC Bonding, then you can just follow the steps outlined here. The setup in this text is a generic setup and should work with most every hardware.

YaST bootCoolo talked about management tools as well. He claims that OpenSUSE 11.0 package installation is over 7 times faster in some cases.

We implemented some very interesting features for openSUSE 11.0 to make the
installation easier and faster:

* giving it a green face
* making the configuration automatic
* switching from bzip to lzma for rpm payload
* put images of default patterns on the DVDs
* move online update to the desktop applets
* improved package management speed

Greg Kroah-Hartman thanked his employer, Novell, for making the Linux Driver Project possible.

The Linux Driver Project (LDP) is alive and well, with over 300 developers wanting to participate, many drivers already written and accepted into the Linux kernel tree, and many more being currently developed. The main problem is a lack of projects. It turns out that there really isn’t much hardware that Linux doesn’t already support. Almost all new hardware produced is coming with a Linux driver already written by the company, or by the community with help from the company

[...]

I’d first like to thank my employer, Novell, for giving me the opportunity to work on this project full time. Their acceptance and support for the LDP is amazing and has been what has allowed it to survive and produce such great results already in a short amount of time.

Jan-Simon Möller again delivers or at least announces the OpenSUSE Weekly News (it used to be Francis):


We are pleased to announce:
Issue 17 of openSUSE Weekly News is out! [0]

In this week’s issue:
* openSUSE-Education 1.0 RC2 for openSUSE 10.3 is Ready
* Tips and Tricks: Quick host-to-host transfer
* Stephan Binner: openSUSE’s KDE 4.0.3 Packages
* Greg Kroah-Hartman: Linux Driver Project Status Report as of April 2008
* Reminder: openSUSE project meeting
* Event: LugRadio Live USA 2008

[0] http://en.opensuse.org/OpenSUSE_Weekly_News/17

Have a lot of fun!


Linspire

As before, the main thing coming from Linspire’s direction are a bunch of press releases about its bread and butter (CNR). Here is the latest one.

CNR.com Adds Access to Web Software Applications

Linspire, Inc., developer of
CNR.com (http://www.cnr.com), an easy-to-use, one-click digital software
delivery service for desktop Linux software, today announced the immediate
availability of web-based software applications at CNR.com. As usage trends
show an increasing demand for web-based applications in daily connected
lives, CNR.com provides a single marketplace for users to easily find and
select software titles from over 4,000 web-based software products.

It’s not the day of the week to speak about slowdowns, but it sure seems to apply here.

Change of Name as Escape from Bad Reputation, Past Criminal Record

Posted in Deception, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 1:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MOOX gets plastic surgery

Since when is OOXML called “OXML”? Ah, since that gory red glove was taken off.

We can’t call it “Office Open XML” anymore, because it no longer belongs to Microsoft Office exclusively.

Maybe this is cynical and maybe just far fetched, but as we have seen before, Microsoft’s choice of names is rarely spontaneous or coincidental. Microsoft even knowingly stomps on others in the process of naming. It leads to a self-serving confusion.

[More Open Than Open]: “I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Jason Matusow, Microsoft (for background see [1, 2])

It is quite possible that Microsoft will be trying to escape the bad name, leaving behind all those past stories about bribery, deception, bullying and political manipulation. Name changes like these are nothing new. It’s a blank sheet. It was probably done with Longhorn after its “development collapse” (Microsoft own terminology) when the project was suddenly renamed “Vista”.

If you believe that nobody will adopt the term “OXML”, think again. The Register seems to have already embraced it for this new article (occurrences highlighted in red).

Meanwhile, a variety of voices have loudly bemoaned what they see as the unwelcome arrival of OXML on the global stage.

On Wednesday rage spilled out onto the usually quiet streets of Oslo where around 60 data experts, led by ex-chairman of the Norwegian Standards Institute (NSI) Steve Pepper, protested about the approval of the contentious file format.

Pepper stepped down from his role at the NSI last week following the group’s U-turn on OXML. It had voted, in September last year, to reject the specification as a standard.

[...]

Some politicians have also continued to express their opposition to Microsoft’s dominant position in the software market. This week an EU parliament member from Germany’s Green Party filed a question (pdf) with the EC asking it to consider banning the firm from selling its products to European Union governments for up to five years.

Heidi Rühle argued that such a ban was justified following the record fine (€1.35bn) handed down to Microsoft from the Commission in February this year.

The article is merely a roundup and it bothers to mention some of the latest (and very major) developments in Europe.

Increased OpenOffice.org Support in Germany; Updegrove Pitches Real Standards in Texas

Posted in America, Audio/Video, Europe, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Red Hat at 1:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Germany and ODF

As we recently came to discover, Germany is among the faster adopters of OpenDocument format [1, 2]. As more proof of this, consider yesterday’s new evidence of increased vendor support for OpenOffice.org. In addition, remember the consultancy which was built around KOffice, specifically in Germany. The ball is rolling.

Red Hat on ODF

Red Hat speaks about OOXML and ISO. It remains very apathetic towards OOXML, no matter the outcome Microsoft bought for itself.

ODF is a simpler format that is easier to process, and less tied to legacy issues found in Microsoft office software. Open source office software is available for ODF formats. Red Hat, like many open source companies, will continue to support ODF and encourage governments to adopt ODF instead of OOXML.

Texas Hears from ODF Supporter

Texas was among the states that were prepared to make pro-ODF legislation [1, 2, 3, 4], only to find itself caving to systematic lobbying campaigns and bald-faced bullying. It may be considered “old news” by now, but it doesn’t lessen the seriousness of Microsoft’s actions, which must never be seen as less severe. Microsoft’s aggressive battle against ODF has gone on for quite some time. Only a single company (and those whom it paid) could afford to fight an entire industry, academic institutes and even governments, all of whom fostered real standards rather than an application (Microsoft Office)

Andy Updegrove, whose only interest is to protect standards and permit competition to exist, spoke in Texas about the considerations at hand.

I believe that it is important that we recognize the concept of what I will refer to as “Civil ICT Rights” – rights such as freedom of speech, and freedom of association, that we increasingly exercise on line, rather than in person. I am happy to report to you that certain interoperability standards can play an essential role in guaranteeing our Civil ICT Rights. Not surprisingly, I call such standards “Civil ICT Standards.” By adopting the right standards, the State can help ensure that any citizen, anytime, and from anywhere, can interact with her government electronically – even with many modern cell phones.

For those who favour videos (and can tolerate Adobe Flash), below are a couple from last year.

Supporters of California AB 1668

Mark Leno on CA Open Formats Bill at Committee Hearing

OpenDocument Format Already a Winner in Brazil, Philippines Named for OOXML Irregularities

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One that learns and another which has a lot of learning left to do

There has been many success stories for GNU/Linux in Brazil recently. To name just some very new examples:

You will probably be pleased to hear the news from a delegate who attended (and later spilled the beans on) the secretive BRM in Geneva.

ODF is now a Brazilian Standard: NBR ISO/IEC 26300 !!!

On the afternoon of last Tuesday (08/04), the final translated version of the ISO/IEC 26300 was approved by members of the ABNT’s committee responsible for that activity.

According to the Brazilian laws, a National Standard needs to be written on our native language (Brazilian Portuguese) and this is why we need to translate and approve the translated text of any International Standard that is adopted as a Brazilian Standard (called here NBR). ABNT is the Brazilian National Body (NB) and handles all standardization efforts in Brazil.

Needless to say, this is nothing to sneeze at. Remember that Brazil is one of the world’s largest populations. The larger ones said "No" to OOXML as well.

Meanwhile, the integrity of the process in the Philippines is being questioned again. It’s far from the first time and we have given more examples from the Philippines in many past writings, including:

It’s not over yet. Add the following news report to the heaps of evidence of irregularities in the Philippines (emphasis is ours).

BPS director Jesus Motoomull said in a telephone interview that the agency created a technical committee led by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) to address seven technical comments that had initially led to a “no” vote with comments by the Philippines.

The country, through the BPS, eventually voted “yes” based on a consensus gathered from the members of the technical committee led by the CICT, he said.

“It was not just a BPS vote,” Motoomull said, as he reiterated that the BPS has always voted based on consensus from local stakeholders. He denied that Microsoft had any influence on the agency’s vote.

[...]

University of the Philippines Department of Computer Science professor Prospero Naval, however, was not satisfied with the way the country changed its vote.

“There were a lot of things that were not addressed,” said Naval who was a member of a technical committee led by CICT. He was among those who voted against the Open XML format.

Naval stressed that while he is not against Microsoft, he wants the BPS to explain how they changed their vote.

“I will accept a ‘yes’ vote but they should show me the proof. BPS did not explain that,” he said.

“If the seven comments were addressed, why don’t they publish it? They should be open to the public,” he said.

The latter bit which is quoted above makes it sound a great deal like irregularities at the BSI, which is, according to our count, under at least 4 attacks/investigations at the moment (EU investigation, British computer professionals, formal complaint from the OSC, John Pugh, MP). This is not good for the BSI and in case someone in the Philippines takes the initiative, there might be plenty to find there too.

Who are Microsoft and its partners kidding? With an embargo and a migration plan to GNU/Linux on the table of the European Parliament, the worst Microsoft can do at the moment is persist with bad behaviour. You don’t make business by making enemies.

Related: How the Philippines Changed Its OOXML Vote from No to Yes

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