Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell Befriends the School's Bully, Fights GNU/Linux with MS-IP/Ballnux

An Unsuccessful Anti-Red Hat Deal



In previous coverage of the latest development [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], we stressed that Novell is getting closer to Microsoft and more hostile towards other GNU/Linux vendors.



Sean Michael Kerner summarised the news thusly: "The deal will provide a margin of profitability for Microsoft and help Novell in its fight with Red Hat."

“Novell has been living in Red Hat's shadow for a long time.”Novell has been living in Red Hat's shadow for a long time. Now it finds shelter in Microsoft's belly pouch where it's whispering "attack Red Hat". Novell has, essentially, sidled with a bully to scare all those other kids in the playground.

Despite a lot of this, Novell keeps losing prospective customers to Red Hat based on merit and reputation alone. Here is a new example, as told by a $3-billion-dollar company.

When Sabre began to move from proprietary systems, the company evaluated other open source operating systems including Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise but concluded that Novell was not as "mature" or respected as it is today and decided Red Hat was a more "proven" option, he said.


It's clear that Novell suffered from Red Hat jealously. It lived in a state of uncertainty. It became accustomed to milking the Netware cash cow, which got depleted over time, leading to trouble. Back in 2005, when Red Hat was doing pretty well, Ron Hovsepian said that open source was slowing. It was less than a year later that Hovsepian inherited the helm and Novell strategised on something different.

It's About Software Patents



Watch the following good post from Don Marti.

Well, some people don't listen to Julie Bort's advice. At Microsoft Subnet, she wrote, "At this point in the game, Microsoft should really come clean with a statement that rescinds its Linux/patent/suing threat altogether."

Good idea, but no such luck. This morning's press release haul brings "Microsoft and Novell Expand Successful Interoperability Relationship," which says,

"Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. are announcing an incremental investment in their relationship to meet accelerating customer demand for their business model solution, which is designed to build a bridge between open source and proprietary software to deliver interoperability and intellectual property (IP) peace of mind for organizations operating mixed-source IT environments."

Intellectual property peace of mind. Novell has a solid Linux, and punches above its weight in kernel contributions, so why does the marketing strategy so often come down to whining, "buy from us instead of Red Hat, or Microsoft will sue you?"


Interoperability? Not So Much.



Here's Peter Judge's take:

Myself, I think that virtualisation and document interchange are multi-platform by definition, so how much work is there really in those areas?


And at Linux Today:

So much for the "open" protocols MS published if they require special collaboration.


Microsoft deliberately made things incompatible by pushing OOXML with corruption and by plaguing hypervisors with a validation program that only Novell is permitted to be part of. It's very clearly an anti-Red Hat move. Microsoft and Novell are, first and foremost in this case, anti-Red Hat companies joined by an anti-Red Hat alliance and pro-software patents push.

Watch this comment (complaint) about parroting of a press releases.

I say, good job at parroting Microsoft's email, sugar-coating this alliance that is going nowhere with either Linux or Windows users. Businesses are not looking to buy into Novell's Microsoft licensing backdoors either.

Simply put, Novell is being paid by Microsoft to support MS-OOXML. That's all that's come out of this alliance -- press releases! And has anyone used Novell's version of OpenOffice? It honestly sucks.

Lastly, please, please name names of anyone you know who is exchanging MS-OOXML documents. They're not online, that's for sure. OpenOffice would be smart not to waste their time.


As Matt Asay just put it, "Microsoft wants to 'build Windows,' but how about bridges?"

Build bridges, not toll roads.

Through closed standards, aggressive patent FUD, and proprietary Office file formats and SharePoint repository, Microsoft has effectively declared war on the very idea of "breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting"...unless you happen to be using 100 percent of Microsoft's software to do the job.

One of the biggest trends to knock down barriers to true interoperability has been open source and the open standards it espouses, yet Microsoft has sought to impose a patent toll on open source. For those interested in connecting with Microsoft's technology, Microsoft is glad to oblige, but only on its terms, with Microsoft firmly in control. Open source, however, believes in a very different kind of interoperability.


People are not happy, but press releases from Novell and Microsoft tell a different story. The worst thing one can do is repeat those stories and lend credibility to them.

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