Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell's Bold Mission to Clean Up 'Unlicensed' GNU/Linux

Novell and Microsoft for intellectual monopoly

By means of exclusion, Novell, which is helped by Microsoft, hopes to eradicate what exists and thrives in freedom. It wants to rip-and-replace what has proven difficult to compete against due to the nature of the GPL. Remind yourself of the fact that GNU/Linux distributions sometimes struggle to offer added value compared to their counterparts because everything is shared. That's fine and that's the manifesto.

“Novell is squeezing the GPL goose (Gnus?) for that last golden egg.”Novell continues to hope that features which are only available to Microsoft deal-signers and paying customers (e.g. patent-'protected' Moonlight, Mono, binary shims, hypervisor compatibility, document translators, etc.) will force change. Novell wants to flip the Free Software table and rake in all the cash, even the soul of Free Software in the process. To use a famous parable, Novell is squeezing the GPL goose (Gnus?) for that last golden egg. It's an insidious plan to lock down users, putting them at Microsoft's mercy and Novell's direct debit list.



The business plan is easy to see. Novell plans to phase out and conquer existing Linux deployments, some of which are not counted or administered by commercial entities. In essence, Novell fights Microsoft's battles and thou shalt not criticise Novell for it contributes some GPL-licensed code at the same time. It's the perfect cover-up from Microsoft's point-of-view. It's like spitting in the well while filling it with barrels. Ultimate goal: cleaning up all those 'freebie Linuxes'.

Novell released some financial figures a few days ago [1, 2] and the overall message was telling.

"Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand," the CEO told the analysts yesterday. "We [have] announced an incremental investment in the China market to focus on converting unsupported Linux users to SUSE Linux Enterprise...We also expanded our technical collaboration agreement to simplify and standardize the management infrastructure needed for efficient Windows Linux management. To date, we have invoiced $157 million, or 65 percent, of the original five-year, $240 million agreement."

The CEO also noted that, in a "deepening" relationship with German-based SAP, SAP recently announced the selection of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the only Linux distribution to run SAP Business All-in-One, a software solution targeted at SMBs.


Steve Ballmer rides SUSEAs you can hopefully see, they work on 'exclusives'. Microsoft helps Novell achieve this because many of the companies involved are close (and closed-source) Microsoft partners. Microsoft can influence them, financially or otherwise. It essentially turns SUSE into the once-mythical "Microsoft Linux" (that's Steve Ballmer on the right, brainchild of Steve's Ballnux). Increasingly we see the 'Microsoft-approved' list, not the FSF-approved list. Microsoft's list is the antithesis of the latter, and it loves this very much.

There are some more tools of manipulation at play. Remember that Microsoft has plans of bundling hypervisor/s with the O/S to fight VMWare along with Novell and others [1, 2, 3, 4]. Ironically enough, as this new article from CIO interprets it, what Microsoft is trying against VMWare at the moment is similar to its former fights against Novell. This time, for a change, Novell is an 'accomplice', not a victim. Novell does the homework of the bully who once hit it with a baseball bat for lunch money.

But rather than demonstrate what else a customer could do with network management, groupware and other products that were bundled with the operating system, as Microsoft did, Novell focused on telling everyone how much better NetWare was than NT. Bad move.

[...]

It's not far down the rathole yet, but VMware is reacting to the promise of direct competition from Microsoft —and existing competition from every vendor that can squeeze a Xen hypervisor into its product bundles—by focusing on the past rather than the future.


Assuming the following new survey is anything to go by, the main competition involving GNU/Linux on the server is between Novell and Red Hat.

One of the main findings from the survey is that, if current trends continue, servers running anything other than Red Hat, Novell Suse or Windows Server will become increasingly rare. A clear majority of those surveyed, 81 percent, ran Windows Server, with Linux (of the Red Hat or Suse flavours) the next most used OS, at 50 percent.


NindowsWhat might the aforementioned exclusions mean for the long term? Need it be mentioned that Novell signed the deal with Microsoft and shortly afterwards acknowledges that it had agreed for SUSE to be the slave on Windows hosts (virtualisation can safely be assumed the way forward)? That was just part of the negotiation. In other words -- and also to sum this up in a way -- Novell received Microsoft's endorsement and money in exchange for the crown in the datacentre, higher priority to OOXML as a document format, and .NET as the API of choice. Why again do some people still support Novell?

Say No to Novell

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