Bonum Certa Men Certa

Open Source Initiative President Requests a “No” to Microvell

And LinuxToday Managing Editor calls Novell "little better than a branch of Microsoft"

TUESDAY brought an important press release from Novell -- one that was a direct attack on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its clone/s. The key points to take from prior posts about this subject [1, 2, 3] are:

  1. Novell helps Microsoft more than it helps GNU/Linux
  2. Novell is just about as unethical as Oracle


This subject is now being discussed in a variety of Web sites. As readers may be aware, Novell's launch of an anti-Red Hat program generally puts trust in greater jeopardy. It stifles cooperation between Linux vendors. To quote Steve Stites:

One thing that the article does not talk about is Microsoft's reasons for helping Novell try to win customers from Red Hat. I think that Microsoft's main reason is to try to pressure Red Hat into signing a disadvantageous software patent agreement with Microsoft.

So far Microsoft's attack on Red Hat seems to be bearing insignificant results. Red Hat is doing great financially and shows no fear of Microsoft's software patent attack.


Novell poses a danger now, so Michael Tiemann (OSI President) has replied to Steve:

Tell Microsoft/Novell "no!" and reward Red Hat's good behavior with continued business. I think it's pretty obvious to say that the more strongly you vote your values by buying from Red Hat, the faster we can change the status quo in the software marketplace.


The OSI linked to Boycott Novell in the past and so have other notable Web sites, including the front page of OpenOffice.org. To suggest that there is no resentment of the Novell deal is to pretend that people don't reserve their judgment because of their employer, which might frown upon unnecessary (even spurious) controversy.

Sincerely speaking, I wish OpenSUSE people realised what type of company watches over their shoulder. The theory from Steve Stites says that Microsoft hopes to pressure Red Hat -- using Novell -- until Red Hat sells out too (never mind the GPLv3). In response to this, said Steve Stites:

"Another facet of the same problem is that the rest of open source can no longer trust Novell coders. Are Novell employees producing code to advance open source or to advance the Microsoft-Novell attack on open source?"

Also mind this opinion.

There is nothing wrong with "voting with your wallet." I liked and supported SuSe until the secret patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell. (Since then we no longer use Novell products.) People forget that a corporation is basically a "fake individual" - It is time that we held our corporations to the same standards that we hold our citizens.


Glyn Moody, a well-known Linux journalists, protests against it also. He covered the latest development under the headline "Novell's Faustian Pact."

But many see Novell's actions as offering succour to an avowed enemy of free software (ignore friendly noises emanating from some middle managers of the company, and pay attention to what its boss says and does).

This seems to be directly harmful to the larger commons that Novell depends upon, notably in terms of strengthening Microsoft FUD about alleged (but always unspecified) infringements of its intellectual monopolies by open source code.


Does anyone still give Novell the benefit of the doubt?

Last night, Sam Varghese published an article accusing Novell of cannibalising the Linux market.

Earlier this year, there was evidence that things were not exactly rosy at Novell, with Microsoft deciding to invest an additional $100 million for the purchase of certificates which customers could redeem for SUSE Linux service and support.

Back to the announcement ; some of the prose employed tells its own tale. Justin Steinman, vice-president of Solution and Product Marketing at Novell, is quoted as saying: “As the Linux market matures, we are increasingly being approached by customers who want to move to SUSE Linux Enterprise, attracted by Novell's award-winning support, superb interoperability in mixed-source environments, and by our support for mission critical applications."

The Linux market matured a long time back and if one has to cite awards to justify one's competence in the field of operating systems, then one is really beginning to clutch at straws.

And as to mission critical applications, is he trying to say that Red Hat does not offer equal - and, in my opinion, better - support?

Red Hat has wisely chosen to stay mum. I am sure that the people at the top knew quite well what kind of reaction this Novell marketing manoeuvre would bring forth.

What's next, Novell? Lehman Brothers share certificates for those who buy SUSE Linux?


As always, Carla Schroder is a little more gentle. In particular, she defends the OpenSUSE community:

Novell-- meh. Once upon a time they were a determined, though unfortunately incompetent competitor to Microsoft. They had a network OS that supported pretty much anything you could throw into it, with all of the identity management and resource management and interoperability you could want. Now they're little better than a branch of Microsoft. It's a good thing the openSUSE project is slowly becoming more independent, because SUSE is worth salvaging.


Got that? The Managing Editor of LinuxToday calls Novell "little better than a branch of Microsoft."

Microvell

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