We Exist Because of Software Patents’ Threat to Free Software

Posted in Boycott Novell, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jonas Bosson (FFII Sweden) is one among many who explained what Novell had done with Microsoft and why this site exists in the first place:

Jonas Bosson (FFII Sweden)

Summary: Reminder of why Techrights exists and what motivated us (the above petition has long been offline, but we have this local copy of it; 2,221 people added their signatures to this petition by Bruce Perens)

MORE than 7 weeks from now we’re turning 16. It all started in 2006, i.e. around the time of the above petition. We’re of course covering a lot more topics now; what’s more, we’re not limited to campaigning on a single issue. Just over 6 weeks from now the Microsoft-Novell deal turns 16. Then, we too turn 16.

It’s possible that by wintertime, i.e. before the anniversary, we’ll have already begun deploying the new CMS under Alpine Linux. It’s also probable we’ll keep on going for another decade, even if the World Wide Web can barely survive that long.

To get a taste of what the new CMS looks like, check this site or this Gemini capsule. It is worth remembering that this is still work in progress changelog here).


People Who Truly Love GNU/Linux Don’t Brush Setbacks and Problems Under the Carpet

Posted in Boycott Novell, Debian, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 12:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Happy stories’ are for PR (fantasy) departments

#DeleteGithub instead

Summary: We need to talk about threats to Free software and constantly remind ourselves of the attacks on software freedom (otherwise we cannot confront the attackers)

FREE SOFTWARE is not about price; it’s more about justice or addressing injustices (that needn’t have happened in the first place — but happened anyway). We don’t need to emulate what we’re trying to replace. We don’t want PR (lies) departments to sweep issues and legitimate concerns under a rug. Here in this site we started with a boycott of Novell and lots of protests against software patents, including software patents in Europe (still being illegally granted by the Campinos- and Battistelli-led EPO). We’ve never just relayed mindless PR, not even for so-called ‘Linux’ companies. We just don’t do that. We want truth, not marketing. When the USPTO grants millions of patents that patent trolls then use to bully programmers we speak out, uncensored. That’s just what we do.

At the moment it may seem easy to accuse us of being ‘against’ Debian even though it’s what everyone here uses and many in the Debian community are rightly concerned about secrecy at the top. There’s a two-tiered (class-like) system where some people exploit worker bees (known as DDs) and some of these people never even wrote a single line of code. People join Debian in order to replace a corporate culture. They’re volunteers. They want to know what happens around them and it’s important to understand who exploits the free labour.

“5 years of “Microsoft loves Linux” lies are going down the PR drain (lost budget, trying in vain to mislead the general public) and we see more projects moving to self-host their SCM, e.g. GitLab.”So again, like we said at the start (and the title), by no means conflate criticism of something with disdain of the whole. When we called for a boycott of Novell we sought to save GNU/Linux from a collective and widespread patent attack by Steve Ballmer/Horacio Gutierrez/Microsoft. It mostly worked. Years later Novell went the way of the dodo and it was rendered a pile of patents (mostly expired by now). GNU/Linux is still around and it is doing very well. On Web servers, for instance, Microsoft was reduced to just 4% of the market. In supercomputers and phones? Microsoft is at around 0%. It’s being ‘slaughtered’, so now it’s trying to steal ‘Linux’ using bribery and vendor capture. We must respond to that. Seeing that Debian now rejects Microsoft money (or Microsoft no longer bothers bribing Debian), we have reasons for hope. 5 years of “Microsoft loves Linux” lies are going down the PR drain (lost budget, trying in vain to mislead the general public) and we see more projects moving to self-host their SCM, e.g. GitLab. Nowadays version control is done by a more extensive suite of tools with advanced features, which include bug tracking.

Don’t be afraid to become critical of what’s happening. The worst thing we can do is stay silent, allowing Microsoft (and media it corrupts to serve as loudspeakers) to change the narrative to promote ruinous falsehoods.


Microsoft Trolls as a Reflection of Microsoft’s Demise (and Resort to Entryism, Hoping to Conquer the Competition That’s Already Taking Over)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deception, Microsoft at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No, Bill, not every critic of yours is a “conspiracy theorist” and Microsoft isn’t losing to Linux (e.g. Android) because of “the government” (he actually said this to the media recently)

Gates animation

Summary: Techrights seems to have attracted the attention of the higher levels at Microsoft (likely executives/Board) and we’re being targeted with ad hominem attacks — the last resort when factual rebuttals (refutations) are not possible

THE attack waged by GitHub has long been explored and explained by us, for we have a number of people researching those things. One person has machines running and processing data for days at a time, gathering statistics and pulling in tons of data for analysis.

“GitHub is still costing Microsoft billions in losses.”We recently published a number of revelations about WSL2 — revelations that Microsoft struggled with and was unable to refute. We typically know we’ve struck a nerve when anonymous Microsoft trolls (who later turn out be be employees, though it takes unmasking efforts) come to our IRC channels. That happened again yesterday. We also saw some ad hominem attacks on Twitter. When the facts don’t suit them they then starting attacking people and/or sites’ reputation. And apparently having a campaign called “boycott Novell” somehow disproves what we wrote about WSL2? Even Microsoft’s Project Management and levels above them have become involved. It means they’re hurt. The entryism is exposed for the sham (and technically a failure, too) that it is. GitHub is still costing Microsoft billions in losses. They operate at a massive loss (it’s about control/domination/coercion, not direct profitability). The same is habitually said about Azure.

Pertinent details are, as usual, in IRC logs (which we publish each morning).

I am still blocked by GitHub’s CEO in Twitter even though I never spoke to him.

“Maybe some time in the future Microsoft will also block Techrights, preventing its employees in over 100 countries from accessing information about Microsoft.”We saw it as a badge of honour when the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Benoît Battistelli decided to block Techrights on every EPO PC in several countries, impacting about 7,000 workers, preventing them from accessing information about their employer, including authentic leaks. António Campinos, now at the Office for 2 years, maintains that censorship, which is half a decade old now. Staff of the EPO cannot even access material crucial for prior art search or opposition to software patents in Europe.

Maybe some time in the future Microsoft will also block Techrights, preventing its employees in over 100 countries from accessing information about Microsoft. At the moment they just actively discourage them, typically using arguments that boil down to nothing of substance, only personal attacks.

“They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”

Robert X. Cringely


Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Kernel at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael LarabelProbably the most important one-man operation other than Jonathan Corbet’s LWN (which is assisted by other writers of Eklektix, Inc.)

Image credit: Intel

Summary: Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the ‘bad boy’ of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there

THE SITE Techrights is almost 13 now. Tux Machines is the same age as Phoronix (about 15 years) and not many GNU/Linux sites have lasted that long. Don’t take them for granted. Much like in the early days of our site (the Boycott Novell days*), demonisation is abundant and prevalent (incitement against or slandering of the messenger/s). We know who’s behind it as sometimes it becomes very visible.

In recent months we responded to so-called ‘journalists’ (of corporate media) who constantly paint Linus Torvalds as a rude ‘bad boy’, a naughty uncontrollable middle-aged man who needs to be tamed if not removed. Techrights too has suffered such treatment over the years. We wrote about the types who do this kind of thing as recently as earlier today. They only seek to destroy things and squash voices. They want to take away voices of people whom they don’t agree with. They don’t want to actually argue, logically; they just pursue muzzling of the other side.

“Phoronix is a good site. Google News started syndicating some months ago.”Michael Larabel is almost being ‘mobbed’ by some news sites. Reddit editors dubbed it “blogspam” and for a long period of time — possibly years — blacklisted the whole domain (banning links to it; I was shocked when I first found that out!). LXer won’t link to it since an old accusation of “sexism” (some post urging people — mostly male — to subscribe, however tactless it may have been at the time).

In our view, treating a site like Phoronix (or a person like Michael) as a ‘nuisance’ is offensive to the very notion of supporting GNU/Linux and journalism around that domain. Some people want that site mentally or technically blacklisted. And for what? It’s ridiculous! That site does good, technical journalism in this day and age when it’s becoming so rare. Pundits and marketing dunces shower us with shallow if not ridiculous articles about “cloud”, “DevOps”, “smart” things and so on. That’s not journalism. These people are laughing stocks to a technical audience. They rarely know what they’re talking about; they mostly repeat mindless buzzwords which they heard other pundits ‘name-drop’ (possibly composed by PR departments of large companies and passed off as ‘prepared’ articles to obedient media).

“Hard-working, around-the-clock writers, coders and profilers (benchmarking) are very rare and if we lost Phoronix it would be a colossal problem not only for Linux.”Phoronix is, in my experience, usually quite credible. I’ve followed the site closely since its beginning and I’ve linked to Phoronix sites perhaps 20,000+ times. I spoke to Michael, who at times gave useful pointers to us (news of interest to us).

Phoronix is a good site. Google News started syndicating it some months ago. If people don’t appreciate it enough, then this one too we might lose. It would be tragic as almost nobody else covers graphics and kernel news at the same level of depth (except perhaps LWN and sometimes — until recently — Linux Journal).

I’ve had some complaints about the occasional sensationalism that gets exploited by truly hostile press (hostile towards Linux) to attack GNU/Linux, as happened earlier this month (half a dozen articles used Phoronix to then attack GNU/Linux as a whole, using shallow headlines and no understanding of the intricacies).

“Support the sites that still support GNU/Linux. Do not take anything for granted.”Hard-working, around-the-clock writers, coders and profilers (benchmarking) are very rare and if we lost Phoronix it would be a colossal problem not only for Linux.

Seeing that they added malicious surveillance to all their pages (Michael told me it’s the publisher’s idea or “came from above”, the “boss”), and bearing in mind they rely on subscriptions — like Liam Dawe relies on funding through Patreon to run Gaming on Linux — it’s almost forgivable and tolerable. It’s still avoidable if one disables JavaScript — truly a plague on today's bloated Web where ‘surveillance capitalism’ emerged as the prime business model.

We still can’t believe we’ve lost some of the most important GNU/Linux sites this year, leaving a news vacuum that’s difficult to fill. Let’s make sure there aren’t more high-profile casualties on the way. Support the sites that still support GNU/Linux. Do not take anything for granted.
* Only hours ago SUSE was promoting Microsoft, a day after the head of OpenSUSE had stepped down and weeks after the CEO of SUSE was replaced by a proprietary software hack from SAP.


Novell’s Acquirer Says the Brand Was Tarnished

Posted in Boycott Novell, Novell at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hole in the wall

Summary: Attachmate’s CEO acknowledges that Novell lost much of its lustre when it was acquired

Techrights deliberately avoids Novell these days, with few exceptions. Daily links never contain anything about Novell and SUSE (which descended to obscurity anyway as many contributors walked away from SUSE, either to other distros or personalised alternatives).

Bison slayer (Mr. Hawn) provides no specific details when asked about Novell’s business, except his claim that the brand (which hardly exists anymore) is no longer declining:

Two years after it acquired Novell and took the company private, the Attachmate Group says its decline has been arrested. It anticipates being able to hold that line next year.

Jeff Hawn, president and chief executive of the group, told iTWire on Wednesday that the Novell brand had lost its lustre by the time Attachmate acquired it.

Boycott Novell must have played a small role in this. It does not pay off to sell out to Microsoft, selling one’s patents to Microsoft, leaving one's distro to be funded and thus remotely run (for self gain) by Microsoft.


Boycott Novell Concluded

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Novell at 4:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Remnants of Novell have moved to other companies; is it time to let the “Boycott Novell” project be declared over?

THERE IS not much left to say about Novell. The company more or less vanished, so for Boycott Novell to be an active project would be hard. Novell did not reform itself (it got worse over time), but the alternative goal was achieved. We hoped to make Novell change its ways, ideally, and withdraw from the Microsoft deal due to public pressure, otherwise to just fail and give way to ethical companies.

After spending hours researching for this post, we are left wondering if this is good use of time. Even Microsoft is an issue we mostly neglected with the exception of patent stories because a patent parasite is all we expect Microsoft to be within a few years.

Based on what we found about Novell, not much of its core is even passed to Attachmate. Instead, the new management is almost purely Attchmate’s. We’ll show and reiterate through some new evidence in a moment. Alka Agrawal departed from Novell based on this new article from the Indian press which says:

The panel comprised well known names in the Industry and included Sucharita Eashwar – Senior Director, NASSCOM; Vinita Ananth – CEO & Founder, Vangal; Alka Agrawal – former VP & Head of India Development Centre, Novell Inc and Pragjyoti Nair – Director, Program Management and Business Operations, Yahoo!.

Two more executives once employed by Novell have moved on and here we see that Novell’s Hale was in Microsoft and not just Novell. This is an interesting observation which is highlighted by Joe the VAR Guy. He says: “Hale — a veteran of Microsoft, Novell and F5 Networks — joined Sophos shortly after the Astaro acquisition was announced. In a recent interview, Hale told The VAR Guy that Astaro would remain channel-led under Sophos ownership. Bob Darabant, VP of Americas at Astaro, echoed those thoughts in a phone call with The VAR Guy earlier this week.”

There are some more examples of Novell management with Microsoft background. John Donovanhas moved from Novell to VMware, which is run by many former executives from Microsoft (high Microsoft roots density at the top management). Evidence can be seen here: “It was one of the things I wanted to do when I joined,” says John Donovan, who moved from Novell to become VMware’s ANZ channel director in November 2010. “I wanted to re-connect with a lot of our partners in a much more dynamic face-to-face fashion.”

The new VP of engineering at another company turns out to have also left Novell (it is not clear when, however):

Previously, Gacek held engineering management positions at Novell, VeriFone, Canon and VITALINK.

Here is another departure which we mentioned before and clear evidence that those who manage Novell’s residue are from Attachmate [1, 2, 3]. Some of these were mentioned before, but evidence reappears in the news. Mono got dumped, so there is just about nothing left in Attachmate which is FOSS.

Novell is sort of over. Can we leave it aside now and concentrate on other issue a little more? Dear readers, your feedback is needed.

Boycott Novell bus


What Happens to the Novell Boycott

Posted in Boycott Novell, Site News at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dark question

Summary: Clarifications about our goals, which never really changed at all

“BOYCOTT NOVELL” is the most significant part of the Techrights Web site. It is also the genesis of the site. Now that Novell is dead we are going to follow parts of Novell that are impacted by the patent deal with Microsoft. Needless to say, since Microsoft and Novell signed their patent deal the plague of patents has spread further, largely thanks to Novell’s approach. But this means that we merely continue to track the very same problem. It just takes a different corporate identity (or several). The problem was all along software patents, since the very first day this was site was erected and then advocated. It is not enough to have good software which is free/libre if companies design the law such that this software becomes non-free or illegal.


Eulogy for Novell

Posted in Antitrust, Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Novell at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The stone of a memorial

Summary: A look back at the “good Novell” and the “bad Novell”

The company called Novell used to be one of the leaders against — not with — Microsoft. Not only did Novell take Microsoft to battle over antitrust abuses but it also provided alternatives to some of Microsoft’s pillars of lock-in. Back in 2005 Novell was one of my favourite companies. It advertised “Linux’, it manages the release of S.u.S.E., and it fought against SCO at a crucial time. But that was the old Novell. Sooner or later it became clear that Novell was having serious difficulties and the same COO who had complained about Microsoft’s abuses suddenly became the company’s CEO and then shook Steve Ballmer’s hand. Novell did what some professionals do to advance their career by stepping out of the crowd. Novell decided that its alliance with Microsoft would somehow be perceived as a selling point and not the opposite; but boy, were they wrong!

The signing of the Microsoft deal came at a time when Novell had a leading GNU/Linux distribution, even on desktops. There was fierce competition back then. But Novell’s impatience, particularly among the executives and their short-term goals (they work from quarter to quarter, so long hauls are unaccounted for) led a money-grabbing move. In the short term, Microsoft’s cash injections paid off (for both parties). But the damage they did was enormous. To this date, Novell is not seen as a GNU/Linux champion. It is seen as a defector, a betraying company. And that is how it dies — without respect. Ximian dies along with Novell, for the most part.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts