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Archive for November, 2006

Microsoft Moves for the ODF/OpenOffice Kill

Corel has just announced that it would support OpenDocument (ODF) format, as well as Microsoft’s competing format. OpenOffice, on the other hand, based on Novell’s Web site, will remain committed to OpenDocument format. And yet, the recent deal with Microsoft suggests that OpenOffice will also add Microsoft’s format, which is perceived as ODF-hostile. It gives Microsoft control over the standard and it is not supported by other office suites. This could soon eliminate interoperability. It not intended to happen; not before the deal with Microsoft anyway. I am reminded of the following chain of stories thanks to a friend of mine.

LinuxWorld: With the recent investment by Microsoft (in Corel), many people in the Linux community are concerned about your various Linux projects getting derailed. What effect will there be on your Linux ambitions?

Rene Schmidt: Essentially, with Linux, we are very committed to it. And with Microsoft is not anti-Linux or anything. It is really about .Net. It is really about the Web…. [Linux is] not really any different than any other platform, whether it is a Macintosh platform or a Windows platform that provides services through the application. So from our point of view it is not something that hampers what we are doing on Linux. In fact, it provides new opportunities in Linux.

LinuxWorld So your next release of Corel Linux will come out on schedule and as planned?

Rene Schmidt: Yes. We are working on a server edition and we are also working on an enhanced version of the desktop and the server combined together to provide enterprise solutions. They are slated for next year.

Now, have a look at this: Microsoft Faces New Antitrust Probe Over Corel Deal

Government lawyers want to know more about a deal in which Microsoft gave Corel, perhaps best known for its WordPerfect program, $135 million in exchange for 24 million shares of Corel stock last October.

After the investment, Corel announced it would retreat from developing software designed to run on the Linux operating system, which competes with Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Linux is favored by some in the high-tech industry because it opens up a blueprint of its code to the public, in an “open source” model.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said yesterday that he and a coalition of 17 other states and the District of Columbia that have sued Microsoft for other antitrust violations plan to look into the Corel investment as well. “We’re particularly concerned about any adverse effect on Linux,” Miller said.

Another case of acquiring your competitors to elbow rivals out of the way, eh? Novell is Microsoft’s weapon against the Linux community. I strongly advise you to boycott Novell before it’s too late.

What if Became a Universal Aggregator?

THIS title of this post was chosen for a dramatic effect. Have a look at the following Netscape profile. I love this guy’s articles/essays, but I can’t help but feel like he’s using Netscape as his personal blog aggregator. In, for a change, he gets other people, maybe his regular readers, to submit (probably without request). His domain was at some point blacklisted, after em masse burying.

Like I said, I love what he writes, but it would be nice if he actually participated in Netscape (see profile stats). I am aware of another site that does the same thing (e.g. Linux screenshots).

There is a similar problem in I am aware of two people who keep doing this (Seopher and Locust). Others were told off for linking to their gateway/corridor pages (robbing actual articles) and they appear to have been banned or vanished due to discouragement. But that’s a wholly separate problem. I am more concerned about the former, so I thought I’d share, or at least give a heads-up to the Digg and Netscape communities.

I ought to emphasise the fact that these people only link to their own site/s. They use Netscape as a link farm that goes in one direction.

Iron links

Apple Made the Same Mistake as Novell

Don’t believe it? Just watch.

Patents being exchanged, promises with regards to products, etc.

This makes Novell (at least) the 4th company which falls into the very same trap. Previously in the series:

The links above contain side-by-side comparisons.

Novell to Change Patent Agreements? presents a short summary of a promise that was previously mentioned among the comments.

Nearly three weeks after Novell’s deal with Microsoft over patents, Novell developers are saying that one key part of the agreement is not enough.

During an online discussion the company held yesterday, developers said they are leery of phrasing about legal protections. They are now working with Microsoft on some improvements.

Novell Makes Linux a Slave of Windows

This fresh press release from Novell certainly changes the tune. No longer does Novell boast bringing SUSE Linux to schools and governments. For a change, Novell considers Windows as part of its infrastructure.

Whether it’s surprising or not probably depends on whether you have been a skeptic or a supporter or the deal. As Shane pointed out last night, Ron Hovsepian perceives that as the company’s new strategy and direction. On the face of it, Novell intends to virtualize Linux within Windows.

Novell Inherits Microsoft’s (Like Google’s) Seclusive Ways

Dana Gardner shrewdly points out that Novell has developed a culture of secrecy, which in its own right justifies some of the criticism that’s directed at the so-called Open Source company.

Based on the Microsoft-Novell deal and its fallout, the entire industry is getting a close look at how open technology communities and companies work, according to Gardner. “The notion that a vendor can have a secret or fuzzy pact with another vendor doesn’t work when the community is instant and global and seamless,” he said. “You need to be pretty open and thoughtful about your announcements.” The same factors served to minimize recent industry concerns about Microsoft’s vague claims of intellectual property rights to Linux, which were the cause of some disharmony between the two software giants last week. “If you’re going to work in a community, you need to recognize you’re exposed,” Gardner said. “Sleight of hand doesn’t work, and ambiguity will be exposed and discussed.”

Will Debian and Apple be the Winners?

Whether it’s a reasonable assessment of not, that’s what Roblimo seems to suggest.

I also worry as much as anyone about Novell cozying up to Microsoft. Not many software companies lay down with that particular lion and walk away with their lambskin coats intact. Perhaps Novell will, but in a match between predator and prey I tend to bet on the predator. Call me silly or call me a realist; your name-calling will not hurt me — especially if I stay far, far away from Novell in case I become dependent on its products and they all start sporting a Microsoft logo (and carrying Microsoft-style usage restrictions) one day. Even Ubuntu, much though I love it in everyday use, seems to have problems with Free Software Purity. So I guess I need to turn to Debian… Microsoft is apparently getting ready to do something with Linux. We don’t know what, but if the company’s past history is any guide it won’t be pleasant. Novell either is or isn’t involved, and may or may not survive its attempt to cuddle up with The Beast in its den, so I must avoid it, too.

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