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Novell and Microsoft Expand Relationship to Boost Windows, .NET, Visual Studio, Linux Patent Tax

"Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand."

--Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO



Summary: Novell makes more evident what was obvious from the very start -- that it puts Microsoft's interests ahead of anything else

"FOR Windows users," claims our reader, "Novell and Suse only serve as a last barbwire fence to keep their livestock (or maybe pawns was the right word) from roaming free." He points to this article to serve as a reminder ("Microsoft exec called software developers 'pawns'"; we have the full text of that talk).



The latest news is that "Novell plugs Linux developers into Visual Studio," to quote the headline from IDG. What a way to pour cold water on OpenSUSE just days before its latest release. This is actually the fault of Novell's team at Boston, which is headed by CodePlex board member Miguel de Icaza. Here is the opening of the article:

With a product introduction on Tuesday, Novell will enable developers to use Microsoft's Visual Studio software development platform to both build and debug .Net-based applications for deployment on Linux and other non-Windows platforms.

Novell's Mono Tools for Visual Studio, available now, lets .Net developers utilize Visual Studio to build cross-platform applications. Also usable for putting .Net applications on Unix and Mac OS, the product serves as an add-in module for Visual Studio and leverages the separately available Novell Mono runtime for running .Net applications on non-Microsoft platforms. Mono Tools for Visual Studio had been offered in a preview release to a limited number of developers earlier this year.


This has got to be a joke, but it's not. It is actually quite predictable and we wrote about this months ago [1, 2]. The details surfaced in some employee blogs.

"For FOSS users," argues one of our readers, "Novell and Suse only serve as a gateway to channel users into Microsoft lock-in. Instead of improving already good tools like Eclipse, Netbeans or Kdevelop, they shovel th[e above]."

The Mono-Nono Web site has already responded to this latest news in its post "Mono for Microsoft".

What we have here is a MonoTouch application for the iPhone covering a Microsoft conference and advertising Team Mono’s booth at the same conference for those that “don’t have a Mac”.

Why exactly is this garbage on Planet GNOME and Planet SUSE? (I can understand Planet GNOME, since GNOME seems to have largely adopted the Venerable Ostrich Position on Mono) Do people not get tired of the pro-Mono / pro-Microsoft messaging that has nothing to do with Linux?

At least Team Mono used to pretend there was some benefit for Linux from Mono, lately much/most of the messaging has absolutely nothing to do with Linux.

[...]

Of course, Microsoft rewards its collaborators when it suits them, so Peter Galli has written “Microsoft and Novell: Three Years and Going Strong” where he gives the lapdog a small treat, and doesn’t miss a chance to talk up intellectual “peace of mind” . This is a disgustingly popular code phrase for “Use Microsoft-approved software or we just might sue you”. Microsoft and Novell love to brandish a bit of IP FUD about, especially if they can wield it against Red Hat.

I like to point out another way of looking at “Three Years and Going Strong”: the Novell-Microsoft deal is just as offensive and anti-community today as it was the day it was signed. The reasons for opposing the deal are just as valid today as they were three years ago. The people that walked away from Novell three years ago were right to do so, and anyone that chooses to do so today is equally justified.


At least it is made clear which side Peter Galli is on. He used to masquerade as a "journalist" when consistently serving Microsoft's agenda elsewhere. As for MonoTouch, we wrote about it a few days ago, reminding people that it's not about GNU/Linux at all. In fact, look at de Icaza's latest blog post, aptly titled "MonoTouch application for [Microsoft's] PDC". At the bottom it says:

Update: If you do not have a Mac, come to our booth at the Microsoft PDC, and we will ad-hoc deploy the app for you.


Separately, Miguel de Icaza actually ridicules GNU/Linux by reciting Microsoft's lies about market share. And evidently, these days he is busy enriching the iPhone experience. We wrote about MonoTouch in:



Another Mono project that Novell has been sponsoring is called Banshee and it's not coming along so well, for technical reasons, not just legal reasons (only Novell customers can "legally" use Banshee because of Microsoft patents in the United States).

Sadly for me Banshee insisted on crashing whenever i tried to watch a film so i can't demonstrate it as it should be, but i did manage to stream a (randomly clicked) video as flash.


Meanwhile, Novell is trying to shake it all off and pretend that there is no problem with its patent deal. In fact, a Microsoft-sponsored blog exclaims: "Microsoft patent controversy? Not much anymore, Novell says"

Nice propaganda you got there. Emphasis in red is ours:

She [Novell vice president] continued, "Over the last three years, the IP peace of mind has been an element of the partnership that has been well-received by customers, and has not been controversial in the last couple years at all. It's really just become accepted as part of the program. Will it be part of our part of our partnership (in the future)? I think the core elements that have made us successful, we should look to those to stay part of the partnership going forward. What that looks like in the end, we'll have to see based on the discussions we're having, but I would expect that both of us would want to keep the pieces that have been really successful."

The companies are now entering the fourth year of the original five-year agreement. Asked if they're already working to extend the deal beyond the initial term, Microsoft general manager Ted MacLean didn't provide any specifics but said the companies in general are "constantly exploring how to continue working together."


Yes, they are trying to impose Microsoft patent payments on more and more companies. Based on a separate new report from IDG:

To further broaden its base, Novell is considering adding support for Oracle Unbreakable Linux, Heystee said. "We're looking at it, since we've gotten quite a few requests from people having support issues" with Oracle, she said. "You do see a trend there, of customers wanting to work with the manufacturer of the Linux distro itself."


We also find this new press release which is not significant, and it is probably timed so as to intersect with coverage of the deal's anniversary (that's just a guess though).

Novell and Microsoft are working together to ensure all companies pay Microsoft for their deployment/s of GNU/Linux.

Novell cloud



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