Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell Linux: Another Platform (as in Kernel) for Windows?

Windows is an operating system. It refers to the whole, it represents a complete product. Linux, on the other hand, is not an operating system. It's a program, it's a component. It is exceptionally good at what it does, being a very large and vital compartment in products like Fedora or Mandriva.

Novell maintains its own variant (or branch) of Linux and when Microsoft accused GNU/Linux of patent infringement it concentrated on the kernel's space. Microsoft knows that virtually all other components can be run seamlessly on Windows, whose security, stability and other factors may be vastly inferior. It is also more expensive and restrictive.

“Microsoft fuels Novell in order to increase the number of enterprise that use SUSE, mostly at the expense of Red Hat.”Microsoft faces some tough choices as Windows continues to lose mind share and market share. Its main cash cows are applications that run on Windows. Without Windows, how can high revenues be sustained?

Well, if GNU/Linux was able to natively run programs using the Microsoft API and Linux was a revenue stream to Microsoft (as is already the case with SUSE), then Microsoft would win irrespective of whether people use Linux or Windows. People would run 'Microsoft applications' and developers choose the 'Microsoft tool sets'', all of which are encumbered by Microsoft's so-called "IP".

Mono is a Novell project that benefits from peace with Microsoft, provided you are a paying customer of Novell (i.e. someone who compensates Microsoft for the use of SUSE). Microsoft fuels Novell in order to increase the number of enterprise that use SUSE, mostly at the expense of Red Hat. It is deliberate.

As pointed out yesterday in ITWire, Microsoft does not exactly "hate" Linux; it merely tries to embrace and 'extend' it at the moment, just as it once tried with Java (it's still trying).

I Wonder: Who is Scared of Linux?


The long answer is Microsoft, but what it is they’re afraid of isn’t Linux.

What they’re afraid of is Linux + Novell (kinda solved that one), Linux + Oracle, Linux + Hewlett Packard, :Linux + Dell and the biggie, Linux + IBM.

Welcome another new combination, which is Linux + .NET, courtesy of Novell and Microsoft. It contains Novell's own version of the Linux kernel, topped by the Microsoft-enhanced SUSE (with so-called 'interoperability' shims). It also has control and exclusivity for Mono, which mimics the Microsoft API and thus enables Microsoft to control the operating system as a whole, using both technical and legal means.

NindowsBoycott Novell is not alone in voicing its concerns about Mono. Criticisms of Mono predate the existence of this Web site and just a few days ago, in reference to this article about the Mono-filled Ubuntu 9.04, said Groklaw: "Forewarned is forearmed. Many of us prefer to avoid Mono, and so it's helpful to have news like this, so we can do some hopping around it."

With Mono, Microsoft can make GNU/Linux just an underlying platform for Windows (.NET applications). This is not as far fetched as typical critics of Boycott Novell wish to make it seem. Fortunately, there is another new motion to remove Mono from GNU/Linux (specifically Ubuntu), and it's independent from us. People have begun understanding what goals of the Mono projects involve not necessarily from developers' perspective but from Microsoft's perspective.

How quickly some people forget that Novell merely elevates a convicted monopolist and makes GNU/Linux no longer free.

"Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand."

--Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

"[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on."

--Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Just say no to Mono


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