Bonum Certa Men Certa

Identity Management Contract for Novell, But Is It Open?

There are good reasons to sigh whenever Novell deploys its legacy software, but this is very much understandable given that Novell is in a state of transition (not towards open source, but towards what it calls 'mixed source'). Here's one item in the news:

Sussex Health Informatics Service – the IT services provider for the NHS in Sussex - is implementing Novell's ZENworks resource management system to 11 NHS trusts across the county.


But another item in the news indicates that Red Hat does this as well. Red Hat, on the other hand, consistenty embraces openness. Red Hat believes in open APIs. Have a look:

Because of its vital importance, Red Hat believes identity, policy and audit information should be Open, Interoperable and Manageable.


Novell's role (and deal with Microsoft) is mentioned in this short article. Let's reminds outselves why Red Hat is unlikely to ever even negotiate a Novell-type deal.

Red Hat will only sign an interoperability agreement with Microsoft if it is based entirely on open standards, the company's executive vice president of Engineering Paul Cormier told vnunet.com.


Novell signed the deal in order to get access to Microsoft code (IP), which it claims will help interoperability. Whose interoperability? Novell's or Linux's? Is Novell part of the development community or a selfish defector? Its decision is very damaging to antitrust investigations in the EU. It also make one wonder if visibility of Microsoft code will lead Novell coders to 'polluting' other projects, where Microsoft could claim SCO-like plagiarism.

Will Microsoft ever accept interoperability that is based on industry consensus? This seems unlikely, based on what Microsoft stated many years ago [zipped PDF].

"[Microsoft:] For example, we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call 'to me' to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone's benefit. We are large enough that this can work."


Thank you, Novell, for becoming an accomplice in a malicious agenda.

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