06.17.08

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The Novell Danger (to Free Software) Becomes More Widely Recognised

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Linspire, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SCO, Xandros at 12:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Occasionally it seems useful to show that we are not along when it comes to criticising Novell. There is this tendency — wishful thinking for some — to say that this Web site is biased against Novell as a matter of principle and blind goals, as opposed to a well-calculated rationale. But this is totally untrue. While Novell does contribute to many projects and is rightly credited for it, the company operates upon selfish interests at the end. Novell is far from a Free software company [1, 2, 3 5]. It’s a lot more like Microsoft.

Have a look at this new press release.

Novell(R) announced today it is the first Linux* vendor to appear on the U.S. Department of Defense Unified Capabilities Approved Products List (APL), as SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 2 (SP2) has received the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Special Interoperability Certification from the department’s Defense Information System Agency. With this certification, Novell customers, including government agencies, can rely on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to support present and future networking standards, offering peace of mind for long-term use.

The APL list is expected to become a Department of Defense and U.S. federal government equipment purchase requirement.

Referring to this portion of the text, Groklaw opines: “This little nugget clariifies for me the sudden Microsoft interest in interoperability and the whole Microsoft-Novell deal.” Earning of a place inside the US government, which traditionally moves some of its operations to Red Hat, is what Microsoft might wish to influence here. It wishes to tax for the use of GNU/Linux and potentially run it under (or alongside) Windows. It’s all about control.

“In many ways, Novell became Microsoft’s ‘GPL factory’, which produces whatever ‘poison’ (legal obligations) or ‘features’ (Windows/Office/.NET hooks) Microsoft wants its competition to contain and bring upstream.”The criticism above is a tad subtle. Novell played an important role in squashing the action brought against Linux by SCO, so it would be hard for Groklaw to be overly critical of Novell, especially amid those final stages of the trial.

Nevertheless, it seems clear that Novell’s role in damaging Free software (using software patents) is precisely what the company might do. Mono, Moonlight, OOXML and some other hostile technologies appear to be among the key outputs of Novell.

The export of such unnecessary software seems to only promote Microsoft’s agenda. In many ways, Novell became Microsoft’s 'GPL factory', which produces whatever ‘poison’ (legal obligations) or ‘features’ (Windows/Office/.NET hooks) Microsoft wants its competition to contain and bring upstream.

Even Matt Hartley, who obviously likes Linspire and Xandros, it finally taking this small shot at Novell: [emphasis is ours]

What About Red Hat, Novell and Canonical? On the distribution development side of things, all three of these companies (excluding Novell’s selling out to Redmond), are on the right path with their own visions for desktop Linux.

BoycottNovell is not the only critic of Novell. It just happens to be a site whose name reflects on these convictions and biases.

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15 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Gravatar

    Hold on – if certification is required for doing business with the feds, then that is an issue with the way they do things. It may have well gone that way as a result of pressure from proprietary interests (it can be a tactic that ensures only big vendors can compete with each other for contacts), but it is what it is, and it isn’t Novell’s doing on the face of it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if RedHat and other vendors are also in the queue – the press release just says ‘first’. If it becomes a requirement for procurement then they will all have to do it.

    Again I think PJ is jumping the gun a bit here. Because some procurement process requires certification, and Novell has got that certification – ta dah, the whole Novell MS deal makes sense? Hmm, something appears to be missing in that logic.

    As for the APL, MS are already on it, as are IBM, Sun, Cisco and others in their various categories. http://jitc.fhu.disa.mil/apl/ipv6.html

    PJ seems to have lost the plot a little lately, but can’t you do better than this?

  2. ChangingNamesAsIWant said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:16 am

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    Hell even Microsoft is afraid of Novell. Novell is using microsoft to gain traction into MS strong hold companies. Once they get strong enough they will dump microsoft one day.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:23 am

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    Michael,

    You too might be missing a broader picture. For starters, many of Microsoft’s partners, such as SAP, choose Novell only having received Microsoft’s blessing. Regarding certifications, I could share with you some nasty stories about the fight against OpenSSL (proprietary vendors throwing FUD and “commie” smears to rob it from needed certifications).

    I agree that Groklaw is perhaps jumping the gun here, but based on prior incidents (Novell given precedence with Microsoft’s help), it’s somewhat reasonable to at least suspect.

  4. ChangingNamesAsIWant said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:24 am

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    Microsoft is foolish enough to befriend Novell…

    Its like feeding milk to a young cobra. Its going to bit you one day when it grows up.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Gravatar

    Not quite. Microsoft typically uses Novell to replace existing Linux deployments or make it the ‘default’ where Linux deployments seem inevitable. Microsoft is the one milking Novell (Linux tax) and exploiting it to spread the Microsoft API, formats, etc.

  6. howard said,

    June 17, 2008 at 2:11 am

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    “The Novell Danger Becomes More Widely Recognized…”

    Hello? This is just another article from your old allies at Groklaw you’re quoting. How do you get to that title for your article?

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Gravatar

    OpenAddict, Samba, Rosenberg, Asay, Perens and many others protest against this deal as well. This isn’t news, but I’m merely putting out there some more examples.

  8. Mendez said,

    June 17, 2008 at 4:30 am

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    That is the same bunch that were criticall of it from the start. Not meaning to nitpick but where is the ‘more widely recognized’ here?

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 4:36 am

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    Matt Hartley didn’t express an opinion for example. I could list more examples but not from the news.

  10. Sean Tilley said,

    June 17, 2008 at 8:34 pm

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    After sorting through six links you’ve used for yourself as “examples”, I have yet to find a useful viable source that honestly makes Novell the sinister, backstabbing corporation that you make it out to be.

    And also, how are they damaging free software? I can partially understand Mono, as Gnome is becoming more dependent on it. But, all of this stuff is optional. You don’t *have* to use it, so why is it a problem then?

    Or is it suddenly our duties to determine how someone makes software and how they distribute it? Last time I checked, the FOSS community didn’t control the actions of a company.

  11. Sean Tilley said,

    June 17, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Forgive me, make that 13 links to your own site as “sources of information”.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Gravatar

    Almost each item contains at least one external link. The citations are cross references merely for convenience (it’s quicker to do) and they also isolate external material and put it in context.

  13. Sean Tilley said,

    June 17, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Wouldn’t it be better to just reference other websites? Rather than mostly your own personal bias? I’m not trying to put you down, it’s just that it makes the article feel less credible.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Had I done it that way, there would be fewer references (only the ones which a globe icon succeeds). I’ve enhanced the publishing software to enable me to reference locally using the primary key that is post #. This enables me to quickly group, based on searches (slicing), previous posts that cover the same issue. Each such post typically contain relevant external article/s.

    So, it’s an issue of practicality rather than one of preference. It would be nicer if I could link directly — without jumping through hoops — to the sites that are an original source, which sometimes 404 unfortunately.

  15. Jonh Arson said,

    June 18, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    This blog is of high entertainment value, i would compare it to shelleytherepublican.com

    Keep on the good work Roy, you make me laugh harder every day.

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