Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell is Insulting Ubuntu/Canonical Again

Sneaky
Novell should look at the mirror sometimes



Summary: Microsoft's ally claims moral high ground for helping Windows Server

Novell's CMO is being disingenuous. As Canonical's CTO correctly points out, Novell uses Microsoft's self-serving code [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] to take a shot at a poster child, Ubuntu. This is not the first time, either.



Novell’s Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon has taken the opportunity to compare Canonical with Novell partner Microsoft on his blog. As he “commend[s] Microsoft for taking this very significant step”, he points out that the 20,000 lines of source code contributed by Microsoft to the Linux kernel “will far surpass those contributed by Canoncial[sic]“.

John credits Novell colleague Greg Kroah-Hartman for helping Microsoft to achieve this historic milestone. Greg is fond of counting lines of code in the Linux kernel, and based on his commentary elsewhere, I’m sure it was his pleasure to provide this statistic. I haven’t checked the figures myself, but it’s certainly believable that our contributions to the Linux kernel haven’t amounted to 20,000 lines of code.

Before we congratulate Microsoft and Novell too heartily, though, let’s get beyond the numbers, and look at what those 20,000 lines of code actually do. What can Linux do now that it couldn’t do before Microsoft’s contribution? According to Microsoft’s press release, it’s a device driver which enables Linux to run much faster—on Windows servers. That’s right, it helps us to get more value out of our expensive Windows Server 2008 licenses by consolidating our Linux servers into Windows Hyper-V virtual machines. It lets us put Windows in control of our hardware, and rely on Microsoft to allow it to perform well, for as long as that makes sense for them strategically.

[...]

Microsoft’s contribution to Linux creates new business opportunities for Microsoft by locking customers into their technology. Canonical’s contribution of Launchpad helps free software developers do what they do best, and benefits Canonical by making it easier for us to package, distribute, maintain, and provide services for free software.


It is possible that Dragoon does not understand just what Microsoft's code is achieving. He is, after all, a marketing person. Along with Ron Hovsepian, Jeff Jaffe and a some other key people, he must have helped arrange the Linux patent racket with Microsoft -- a racket that other companies later subscribed to as well. Novell is very unique in that regard because it has laid the foundations for future racketeering against Linux. The latest victim/accomplice is Melco [1, 2, 3, 4], but Pamela Jones argues that it's the parent company which should be blamed:

Microsoft is apparently pushing this as a Linux company folding to their patents, but if you go here, the company describes its products. It's a hardware company, from its own description. The US subsidiary, Buffalo, makes things like external hard drives. The second paragraph here tells the tale, I think. A company reliant upon Microsoft caves to Microsoft. But this is by no means a "Linux vendor" as some are trying to spin it. And without the terms being made public, there's not telling if Microsoft was paid $1 or what the "protection" involves. But I know I'll never buy anything from Melco Group from this day forward, speaking just for myself. And it's one more piece of evidence that Microsoft hasn't altered its patent strategy one iota. Think Mono, folks. Think carefully.


If it were not for Novell's deal, all these subsequent deals probably would not come about. It was Novell that came to Microsoft and eventually signed that patent deal. Negotiations began in the middle of 2006.

"I've heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons "royalty payments"..."

--Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

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