02.14.09

Why is Dell Sticking with Ballnux After Joining Novell/Microsoft Patent Deal?

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED, Vista, Windows at 9:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dell monitor logo

DELL has mostly supported Ubuntu and SLE* since it opened up to more choices. There are reasons for doubt, however, given the company’s involvement in a software patent alliance that jeopardises Linux and there are pricing oddities too.

Last week we wrote about the company's choice of SLE* for thin clients, which would not be acceptable by those who oppose Microsoft's racketeering. But Dell is taking this affair further. Many Linux aficionados have probably heard about the ARM+x86 computer from Dell. For those who haven’t:

Analysis: Dell has dragged the Linux-ARM Trojan horse inside the Wintel PC

[...]

The idea of adding smartphone capability to the conventional notebook PC may seem like a bit of a gimmick at first sight. But the idea of doing email and other basic operations while increasing battery life by a factor of ten compared with the same operations on an Intel processor certainly appeals.

It’s being claimed that reviews of this unit have been largely negative (not yet verified independently), but regardless, the more major issue is that, according to SJVN, this unit uses SLED, which is encumbered by Microsoft patent tax that Novell happily pays for nothing of substance.

Yes, it is that, but, it’s also a Linux desktop, based on Novell’s SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10. This runs on system-on-a-chip subsystem that comes with its own ARM processor and flash memory that runs without needing to call on the E4200′s 1.4GHz Intel Core2 Duo ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) or the E4300′s 2.26/2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 CPUs or the system’s drives and memory.

[...]

While Novell and Dell partnered to build the desktop level, the underpinnings are also based on Linux. MontaVista, the embedded Linux company, used its Mobile 5 embedded Linux operating system on a Texas Instruments’ OMAP3 mini-board with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor to power Latitude ON.

New and related to this:

VMware, Dell, and Microsoft are the most recent converts to the whimsical world of Linux and open source. In fact, Microsoft is totally committed to its deal with Novell and support of the SUSE Linux lineup.

“Interesting [that] Novell developed the desktop [but] not the low level stuff,” says one readers who adds that it’s “interesting they didn’t ask Canonical.”

Is there an answer to this which eliminates the need for speculation?

“[This] could be for Microsoft software integration… Novell has the exclusive,” believes the reader who argues that this “could allow Novell to leverage their license to do Microsoft stuff to get some extra work. So Dell makes a step out of Microsoft slavery, but they still have to stay under Novell. Furthermore, Linux will be the booting process of Windows [...] works like that: computer starts and boots Linux in ARM, in the mean time windows 7 loads its libraries and viruses.”

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2 Comments

  1. Dean said,

    February 16, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Gravatar

    Actually, Novell had no involvement in the Dell Latitude ON project.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Gravatar

    Sources seem to indicate that it’s Novell too.

    http://www.bmighty.com/blog/main/archives/2009/02/linux_delivers.html

    Like other instant-on desktop technologies, this one will handle software and system updates via vendor-provided firmware upgrades. Dell developed the custom Linux desktop environment in conjunction with Novell; the system actually uses a modified version of Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop combined with an embedded MontaVista Linux OS.”

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