Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 20:41 UTC, submitted by WillM
Novell and Ximian Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is contracting with Microsoft and Novell - Microsoft's preferred Linux partner - to build out the company's Web operations, according to a Wal-Mart executive. On Tuesday, Microsoft and Novell are expected to announce that Wal-Mart is the latest customer to purchase both Microsoft software and support certificates for Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server.
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by Hiev on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 20:50 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

She said the intellectual property protections in the Novell deal give Wal-Mart more confidence in using Linux more broadly.

Looks like the customers have the last word.

Reply Score: 3

v RE: ...
by FunkyELF on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:03 UTC in reply to "..."
RE[2]: ...
by alucinor on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
alucinor Member since:
2006-01-06

The US department of defense uses quite a bit of Red Hat. I don't imagine they'll be switching over to SUSE over fear of MS any time soon.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: ...
by milles21 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
milles21 Member since:
2006-11-08

In all fairness the Us Department has different guidelines and rules that prevent them from being sued like ordinary customers. It in not possible to compare.

Reply Score: 4

RE: ...
by alucinor on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:05 UTC in reply to "..."
alucinor Member since:
2006-01-06

She said the intellectual property protections in the Novell deal give Wal-Mart more confidence in using Linux more broadly.

Well, I suppose without the Novell-MS deal, Wal-Mart would've have gone all MS or MS-UNIX instead of using open source. This is a win, then, for Linux, since in the future when suddenly some of these corporations like Wal-Mart realize that after 5 or 10 years, other Linux distros other than the blessed SUSE are around, it would be relatively trivial (compared to a UNIX-UNIX or UNIX-MS migration) to migrate their old SUSE systems to a new Linux, if need be.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: ...
by merkoth on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:42 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
merkoth Member since:
2006-09-22

Respecting the migration itself, their decision is fairly understandable: Wal-Mart is a huge worldwide bussiness, so you can't just hope that Microsoft's IP bullshit to be just FUD. What if it isn't? Of course, moving from RH to SLED will cost quite some money, but it'll be always less than paying for IP infrigement. I must admit that, from the bussiness point, you just can't take the risk of IP infrigement, even if you think that the MS/Novell deal is pure bullshit. There's little to gain from staying with, let's say RH, but there's a lot to lose if MS demands you.

I'm afraid that this was the tactic behind the deal, and seems to be working just fine ATM. You didn't really think that MS was trying to convince us, did you? No, they were trying to convince large companies, just like Wal-Mart.

That said, I couldn't care less about MS claims about IP: as I said before, show me the code and then we'll talk.

Edit: Removed stupid comment, I misread, sorry.

Edited 2007-01-23 21:45

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: ...
by looncraz on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Wal-mart could not be held responsible for the use of freely available software that advertised itself as being fully legal and licensed. The makers of the software are the ones that have to worry.

That means your entire scenario is entirely non-feasible. Wal-mart's IT dept likely explained how much money could be saved, and the upper-management agreed. The most-backed solution for a world-wide corporation is now, of course, MS, so we should be happy that Novell's solution proved to be enticing enough to Wal-mart to merit a risk such as migrating IT infrastructures.

--The loon

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by milles21 on Wed 24th Jan 2007 03:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
milles21 Member since:
2006-11-08

You are completely wrong in your statement wal-mart could still be held responsible because they were infact running their business on the platform. That is why idemnification exists. You may want to brush up on your law. Think SCO, and Daimler-Chrystler

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: ...
by twenex on Wed 24th Jan 2007 08:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

You are completely wrong in your statement wal-mart could still be held responsible because they were infact running their business on the platform. That is why idemnification exists. You may want to brush up on your law. Think SCO, and Daimler-Chrystler

No, it is YOU who is completely wrong. You can't be held liable for using a product by someone who has used a technology in that product, which is patented by someone else.

Dunno if you've noticed, but the SCO cases are dead in the water for precisely that reason. The people who actually paid SCO for the "rights" to use Linux must be feeling pretty stupid. They certainly look it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: ...
by tspears on Wed 24th Jan 2007 14:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
tspears Member since:
2006-05-22

you can be held accountable, that's why businesses practice due diligence before adopting technologies. If they can't prove that they researched beyond the sales rhetoric the other company fed them, they will be held responsible.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: ...
by IanSVT on Wed 24th Jan 2007 15:03 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

you can be held accountable, that's why businesses practice due diligence before adopting technologies. If they can't prove that they researched beyond the sales rhetoric the other company fed them, they will be held responsible.

Agreed. But political bickering on message boards or blog sites doesn't exactly factor into a businesses due diligence. It's more along the lines of, does Software Package A do what we need it to do? How does it compare to Software Package B? Not what does linuxrules_microsoftsux431@gpl4life.org think about Software Package A?

Yes, that's a bit over the top, but you get my point.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Patent vs. copyright
by glarepate on Wed 24th Jan 2007 18:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

IANAL, but there is a lot of confusion on IP and liability:

End users are not liable for the distributor's copyright infringements. (Die SCO, die!)

Patent holders CAN sue end users for using patented technology. That is why Microsoft paid to defend SQL server users and admins who created new queries that violated the patent holder's rights. That is what indemnification is about.

In practice end users are normally not sued by patent holders because there is no money in it. They normally go after the distributor or any institutional-sized end users.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: ...
by looncraz on Thu 1st Feb 2007 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Yes, but it requires proof that Wal-Mart had been made aware of the infraction prior to signing the agreement or using the product.

Of course, that may just be Texas state law, as that is most all I am familiar with in business ( as I am a Texas SBO ).

--The loon

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ...
by Don T. Bothers on Thu 25th Jan 2007 00:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
Don T. Bothers Member since:
2006-03-15

"Of course, moving from RH to SLED will cost quite some money, but it'll be always less than paying for IP infrigement."

Actually, moving from RHEL to SuSE should cost very little money. The base system (RPMS, bash, directory structure, ext3, Linux kernel, Apache, PHP, perl, sendmail/postfix, Bind, etc.) are basically the same. Furtheremore, RedHat and Novell cost about the same and neither sells anything but a yearly support license. That means, in terms of licensing cost, it does not cost people extra to move to Novell versus to keep RedHat. Finally, for a company the size of Walmart, it should be very easy to simply image the servers and redeploy their applications across the Novell servers.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ...
by butters on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

First, Wal-Mart was already using Red Hat extensively, but primarily in back-end datacenter roles. They want to run Linux on their front-end Web presence, which they "believe" will expose them to more IP risk than using the infidel OS behind their boundary routers.

I would be shocked if IP law in any jurisdiction maintains such a distinction. But, in reality, Wal-Mart just needed to say this in order to get around admitting that, if there are IP concerns regarding Linux, they were already exposing themselves to these risks.

It is obvious from the fact that MS and Novell arranged this meeting with Wal-Mart that this is first a PR move and second a new client acquisition for Novell. Novell wants to drum up more concern (i.e. FUD) so that more businesses switch from Red Hat to Novell. Microsoft wants to play the two biggest Linux vendors against one another to reduce the dominance of Red Hat and strain the spirit of cooperation that has always existed between Linux distributors.

Microsoft isn't afraid of either Linux vendor. Microsoft's customers are not porting their Windows-based IT infrastructure to Linux. But they are porting their UNIX stuff to Linux, and Microsoft would rather conduct business with Novell (or Red Hat) than with an amorphous cloud of cooperating developers.

The only question is what happens if/when Novell becomes the dominant player in commercial Linux. Do they partner with Red Hat? Remember this deal expires in two years...

Edited 2007-01-23 23:13

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: ...
by ma_d on Wed 24th Jan 2007 01:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Their in-store setup is a nightmare. I'm told it's a gigantic mix of some old proprietary Unix that requires old intel chips, NT 4, XP, and RHEL.

And they like to do things like setup the machines in out-of-store shacks (next to the store) that don't have air conditioning of any form and often have standing water.

Personally I'm not going to rejoice that one of the most evil corporations in the world will be using more Linux. They should buy SCO Unix ;) .

Reply Score: 4

RE: ...
by MamiyaOtaru on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:33 UTC in reply to "..."
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

She said the intellectual property protections in the Novell deal give Wal-Mart more confidence in using Linux more broadly.

Would it have even occurred to her that they might need protection from IP issues before the Novell-MS deal was announced? Sounds like they bought the hype that came along with the deal, and in turn are adding to it themselves.

It was never really certain that anyone needed protection from MS on IP matters in the first place (MS wouldn't want to ignite MAD) but the deal made it seem like an issue. Anytime a Walmart acts on it, they add to its clout, clout that might as wel have come out of thin air with the announcement of the Novell MS deal.

So yeah, if corps like it, the customer has spoken. I just wonder if the corps would have ever thought to speak if the Deal hadn't put up a hoop for them to jump through.

I guess the real test will be if anything ever happens to a company using a different linux. If not, Walmart acted on a non-issue.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: ...
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 22:30 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

So yeah, if corps like it, the customer has spoken. I just wonder if the corps would have ever thought to speak if the Deal hadn't put up a hoop for them to jump through.

According to Jeremy Allison*, there have been for some time now threatening letters or some such against companies using GNU/Linux and allegedly infringing on MS "IP", so I think your suspicion is entirely warranted, and that the MS-Novell deal is living down to the anti-competitive tactics that were warned about from the beginning.

Walmart of course is using this for FUD of its own: scaring competitors that they are "very concerned" about the "huge problem", suggesting the hoops through which others need to jump and raising barriers of entry to startups. It's hard to imagine Walmart does not once again benefit here from its unique volume position and its fearsome reputation against competitors and that Microsoft and Novell had not predicted and counted on all of this months in advance.

(*) Listen to the audio interview at http://www.linuxworld.com/podcasts/linux/interoperability_and_paten...

Moreover, Allison is basically just a recent voice over problems that apparently have been reported about for a few years now and can be found on Google.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: ...
by IanSVT on Wed 24th Jan 2007 04:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

Walmart of course is using this for FUD of its own: scaring competitors that they are "very concerned" about the "huge problem", suggesting the hoops through which others need to jump and raising barriers of entry to startups.

Since when did IT become a barrier to entry for a new retail store? Microsoft is just about at the bottom of my list of concerns if I'm starting a new retail chain, right below how much I'm going to charge for a 12 pack of dorritos lunch packs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by twenex on Wed 24th Jan 2007 08:35 UTC in reply to "..."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

She said the intellectual property protections in the Novell deal give Wal-Mart more confidence in using Linux more broadly.

Looks like the customers have the last word.


If customers want to continue to believe in fictions like "intellectual property" (let alone some "Microsoft Advantage" in using their software) they're certainly entitled to; it's a free country.

Some of us, however, prefer to stay well-informed.

Someone pointed out on Linuxtoday that Wal-Mart already uses Unix; they don't need Microsoft's support to start using Linux. This is just a way to get people to use Windows - "well if Linux support is this crappy, we might as well just use Windows anyway".

Reply Score: 2

This is what I'm talking about
by invisik on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 22:41 UTC
invisik
Member since:
2006-08-03

IP infringement or not, giant Wal-Mart has decided to implement some linux on a large scale...that's a win in my book. I hope GPL 3 doesn't kill the momentum!

-m

Reply Score: 1

Whilst on the subject of Walmart....
by Anon on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 23:31 UTC
Anon
Member since:
2006-01-02

Make sure you download the documentary:

'Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price'

A fantastic company to embrace such a MSLinus deal... Icing on the cake of corporate America!

Reply Score: 4

Wal-Mart can go jump
by melkor on Wed 24th Jan 2007 00:49 UTC
melkor
Member since:
2006-12-16

Thankfully Wal-Mart doesn't exist in Australia, cos I certainly wouldn't buy anything from there after this. I certainly won't buy or recommend a Novell/Suse product either.

Dave

Reply Score: 2

Preditors usualy run in packs
by shapeshifter on Wed 24th Jan 2007 01:19 UTC
shapeshifter
Member since:
2006-09-19

Yeah, one can figure Walmart would be one of the first to join the pack of evil preditors.
There is no doubt that Microsoft and Walmart will go down in history as one of the most evil organizations that ever existed.
But it's sad to see Novel joining them. Then again, Novel was alway like SCO. Company that can't make it on it's own so it sucks up to the big monster to get some leftover crums.
Please, don't support Novel in any way!
Novel has never been a friend of Linux and never will be.
So those thinking of using Suse, please keep in mind it's same as if you're using Microsoft Windows.
If you use Suse then you're a traitor and Microsoft supporter, simple as that!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Preditors usualy run in packs
by ari-free on Wed 24th Jan 2007 04:13 UTC in reply to "Preditors usualy run in packs"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

"Yeah, one can figure Walmart would be one of the first to join the pack of evil preditors.
There is no doubt that Microsoft and Walmart will go down in history as one of the most evil organizations that ever existed. "

now that wins the drama queen award of the week

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Preditors usualy run in packs
by IanSVT on Wed 24th Jan 2007 04:26 UTC in reply to "Preditors usualy run in packs"
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

Are you serious, or is that a bit of tongue in cheek. If it's the latter, good job. If it's the former, there's a white padded room waiting for you.

Reply Score: 1

shapeshifter Member since:
2006-09-19

Are you serious, or is that a bit of tongue in cheek. If it's the latter, good job. If it's the former, there's a white padded room waiting for you.

I'm afraid I'm quite serious.
And I'd bet you're running Suse and are slowly starting to feel guilty but will be lashing out at critics for a while and looking for an excuse to dump Suse at the same time.
It's ok bud, just try another distro. Novel will not send black helicopters.
If the room comes with room service then I'll take it ;)

Reply Score: 2

IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

And I'd bet you're running Suse and are slowly starting to feel guilty but will be lashing out at critics for a while and looking for an excuse to dump Suse at the same time.

I've got some Suse servers, NetWare servers, Windows servers, even an OpenBSD server. In each instance, the OS is the best or the only tool for whatever job it's doing. That's the reality of mixed IT shops, something that's often completely lost on the GNU/Linux zealots. And before people get irate, if you're a linux user, that doesn't mean you're a GNU/Linux zealot.

Sure, I can go try another distro. But the thing is, at work, blowing up a server based on the ebb and flow of the over charged political landscape that is GNU/Linux is stupid. Ask any sys admin around here and they'll probably agree. There's no way I'm making more work for myself because of a few people who quote Bruce Perens and Jeremy Allison as gospel are calling Novell evil.

I've said this before and it has probably fallen on deaf ears, but when you start to look beyond your spare machine that you install a new Linux distro on every two weeks and get into the server room where a rebuild of a server based on no technical merit at all makes your life more difficult than it already is, your perspective tends to change.

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
I've said this before and it has probably fallen on deaf ears, but when you start to look beyond your spare machine that you install a new Linux distro on every two weeks and get into the server room where a rebuild of a server based on no technical merit at all makes your life more difficult than it already is, your perspective tends to change.
"""

But you are forgetting the administrative hardship that Novell is imposing upon the Stallmanists. When a company does something like what Novell has done, it's *not* just that spare machine that needs an OS transplant.

There is also their mother's PC. Their grandfather's. Aunt Josephine's.

And in each case, they've got to come up with a believable reason for the change; something that would make sense to each one of them.

The truth is unlikely to work. Aunt Josephine may not be tech-savvy, but she likely recognizes when she's being used as a pawn in someone else's political maneuvering.

Edited 2007-01-24 14:31

Reply Score: 1

RE: Preditors usualy run in packs
by sbergman27 on Wed 24th Jan 2007 12:27 UTC in reply to "Preditors usualy run in packs"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
If you use Suse then you're a traitor and Microsoft supporter, simple as that!
"""

In executing the deal with Novell, Microsoft intended to drive a wedge between members of the community. In that, they have succeeded beyond all expectations.

We're playing right into their hands because so many in our number are so predictable.

Reply Score: 3

Walmart is looking at 2 things
by Windows Sucks on Wed 24th Jan 2007 01:20 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

1. That now when they call MS about their Linux issues they wont get the phone hung up in their face.

2. With the coupons from MS their costs are lower then using red hat.

MS is doing this to kill RH's thunder. MS and Oracle that is ALL they are thinking about. RED HAT.

Reply Score: 3

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

OSNews could have had a fair headline such as "Microsoft sells SUSE to Walmart."

However, its current unfairness is exposed by the following fact. Microsoft CIO Kevin Turner brokered the MS-Novell deal, but also just so happened to have been the CIO at Walmart before his move to Microsoft*. Thus, crediting just the MS-Novell deal in the headline is at best premature, at worst dishonest.

Correcting the headline to something more neutral would be the honest thing to do, but can OSNews at least revise the summary to clearly show the insider connection?

(*) http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleB...

Edited 2007-01-24 02:16

Reply Score: 5

Walmart seems a willing mouthpiece:
by Donny_S on Wed 24th Jan 2007 07:00 UTC
Donny_S
Member since:
2006-12-22

What this does is publicly give more credibility to the fiction that GNU/Linux/OSS users violate American IP laws. The big picture here is that American firms partner to steal/borrow ideas/people from the internet while paying lip service to the free software movement. They setup indemnification schemes (protection rackets) and law suits (SCO) with the goal of putting all independent GNU/Linux users in a position of legal liability for any and all claims made against them while benefiting from FOSS themselves. When it comes to concepts of freedom or democracy or open market access American corporations and politicians talk the talk but they don't walk the walk. Walmart globally will probably be seen as a very strong supporter of American corporate ruling class concepts.

Reply Score: 4

Walmart
by twenex on Wed 24th Jan 2007 08:42 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

Looks like Walmart is managed by the same kind of dummies they sell their products to.

Reply Score: 1