Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 11:30 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Novell and Ximian When Novell and Microsoft announced their unlikely partnership, a part of the arrangement that got little attention at the time was that they'd create a joint research facility, where both company's technical experts would collaborate on new joint software solutions. Now, they're staffing up.
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ms/novell
by happycamper on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 12:47 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

I personally think this deal novell made with MS might be a good one after all.

I would love to see one day Ms release a version of MS Office for Suse Enterprise Linux.

Edited 2007-02-02 12:48

Reply Score: 4

RE: ms/novell
by walterbyrd on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 13:01 UTC in reply to "ms/novell"
walterbyrd Member since:
2005-12-31

The deal is a scam, designed to kill Linux. No way in hell will msft help linux. If msft honestly wanted to interoperate, all msft ever had to do, was do so. No suspecious, secretive, deal was ever required.

If msft wants to interoperate, then why is msft fighting ODF so hard? Msft is scared to death of ODF - why is that? Why is msft fighting interoperability with Samba? Why is msft fighting against the established mp3 and jpg standards? Figure it out, it's not hard.

> I would love to see one day Ms release a version of MS Office for Suse Enterprise Linux.

You won't.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: ms/novell
by kaiwai on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE: ms/novell"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

And how is licencing and paying a fee for Mp3 any less evil than having to do the same thing with wma/wmv? considering that wma/wmv are merely mpeg4 derivatives, I don't quite understand the purpose of your anti-Microsoft agenda.

For me, I use neither, I prefer using ogg and other technologies that don't crush me, and my ability to move to other operating systems easily.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ms/novell
by zztaz on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 20:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ms/novell"
zztaz Member since:
2006-09-16

The MPEG cartel wants to have a monopoly over multimedia formats, and that's legal. If they succeed because they offer the best combination of technology and license terms, that's fine.

Microsoft wants the same thing, and is free to compete for it on the same terms. But there's a catch.

Microsoft controls the dominant desktop, to the point where they have monopoly power. That's legal. But they can't use control of the desktop to gain control over new monopolies.

Monopolies aren't illegal. Abuse of the power of a monopoly is. The MPEG cartel didn't use some other monopoly to make their formats popular. They competed.

My agenda is to counter abuse of power, and abuse of monopoly power in particular. Microsoft has a lot of power, and a history of abusing it. I'm not anti-Microsoft, I'm anti-abuse. I'm opposed to certain actions by Microsoft or any other company. I give Microsoft credit where credit is deserved, and scorn where scorn is deserved.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ms/novell
by kaiwai on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 00:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ms/novell"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

So, wouldn't it be best to have Microsoft licence their codecs under a non-discriminatory licence as to ensure that they don't price 'compatible implementations' out of the market?

I have no worries about Microsoft coming up with new technologies; superior technologies than the MPEG cartel, but what I would like to see is Microsoft make it superior than MPEG's licence; allow free opensource implementations not have to pay licences; those who use it in commercial products pay a token amount per unit shipped - a licence that helps opensource projects and is acceptable to ISV's.

Edited 2007-02-03 01:10

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ms/novell
by segedunum on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 19:27 UTC in reply to "RE: ms/novell"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

And how is licencing and paying a fee for Mp3 any less evil than having to do the same thing with wma/wmv? considering that wma/wmv are merely mpeg4 derivatives

Windows Media is a proprietary technology. End of story.

For me, I use neither, I prefer using ogg and other technologies that don't crush me, and my ability to move to other operating systems easily.

Which you can't do with Windows Media, which was his point. Microsoft doesn't want you moving or interoperating, which is why they're so against doing anything with ODF.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ms/novell
by kaiwai on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 01:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ms/novell"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Windows Media is a proprietary technology. End of story.

And you can licence that very technology, just like you can licence MPEG technology as well - TurboLinux is a prime example of a vendor who has licenced Microsoft technology in the form of WMA and WMV support.

How is Microsofts 'proprietary technologies' any worse than any of the other vendors? I mean, atleast you can *licence* these technologies; I mean, sure, bash them if they kept it all to themselves, but they've allowed people to licence the technology if they wanted it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: ms/novell
by Darkelve on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 13:19 UTC in reply to "ms/novell"
Darkelve Member since:
2006-02-06

Don't hold your breath.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ms/novell
by butters on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 16:05 UTC in reply to "ms/novell"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

What Linux really needs is open specifications for communicating with Exchange Server. I don't see Exchange interoperability listed in the agreement, and I'm really disappointed in Novell for not pushing for this.

When Microsoft went into this deal, the executives must have said, "offer them interoperability, use popular buzz-words like virtualization, throw them a bone on ODF support in MS Office (they won't use it if it's not the default), but DON'T let them in on our Exchange racket."

Edited 2007-02-02 16:06

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: ms/novell
by IanSVT on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 17:25 UTC in reply to "RE: ms/novell"
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

What Linux really needs is open specifications for communicating with Exchange Server. I don't see Exchange interoperability listed in the agreement, and I'm really disappointed in Novell for not pushing for this.

I don't think there was any mention of this, mostly because it's already available. There is an Exchange connector available for Outlook/Exchange interoperability. It's GPL.

From the server end, it would be an almost inpossible task to get Exchange server modules working on Linux. They would have to port AD over if I'm not mistaken.

If you want a cross platform groupware system, use GroupWise. It works fine on mulitple platform on both the server and client(although the cross platforms GroupWise client leaves a bit to be desired).

Edited 2007-02-02 17:26

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ms/novell
by butters on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 01:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ms/novell"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I'm aware of the Exchange plugins available for non-Outlook email clients. They use the OWA web-based API, and they tend to suck. Even Microsoft's own OWA web frontend doesn't work properly with the OWA API. Apparently, they need to do all sorts of HTML tricks to get it to work.

There are many better ways to implement email and collaboration features than using Exchange. However, most businesses use Exchange anyway. A discussion of why they act so irrationally is beyond the scope of this thread. But suffice it to say that the majority of businesses run Exchange, and a majority of those aren't interested in migrating to a different collaboration suite.

There ways a Slashdot post about this the other day. Some Dell employee apparently has nothing better to do than try installing Linux every few years and test if it has a collaboration client that integrates well with Dell's Exchange implementation. According to this luser, it still doesn't work. The comments mainly included Linux fanboys ranting about Microsoft not publishing the Exchange API and making it as hard as possible to interoperate with non-Outlook clients. The minority opinion was that it doesn't matter how unhelpful Microsoft is, that it would apparently be really simple to reverse engineer the API if the Linux crybabies would stop whining and get to work.

I don't know how the corporate world managed to fall for Microsoft's ploy to proprietize email. But they did, and there's not much we can do about that. That's why we need a fully-functional Exchange client for Linux.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: ms/novell
by IanSVT on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 02:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ms/novell"
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

I can't say I've ever tried Evolution against Exchange. We're a GroupWise shop so that's what I have to worry about. I be interested to try it first hand to get a good look at it myself. Although, that would require me to setup exchange and active directory and stab myself in the eyes with freebie Microsoft pens I got from some obscure IT event!

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ms/novell
by anda_skoa on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 15:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ms/novell"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

That's why we need a fully-functional Exchange client for Linux

Well, yes and no.
It would certainly help Linux as a desktop platform, but the thing IMHO really needed it availability of the Exchange client-server protocol.

Currently nobody can implement a fully functional Exchange client on any platform, nor a fully compatible server which would not require any change on the current Exchange clients (e.g. Outlook)

I am not sure if the Exchange client-server protocol is part of the protocol specifications the EU commission wants Microsoft to release, but it would allow to implement either server or client side and break the Outlook-Exchange interlock.

Reply Score: 2

Yep
by Phuqker on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 13:02 UTC
Phuqker
Member since:
2005-07-17

The reason Microsoft decided to get involved with Novell is that MS has finally realized that Linux isn't going away. But they also realize that there is a market of companies that aren't anti-Microsoft and aren't religious about Linux. They just see Linux as a cost-effective solution in certain scenarios, such as file servers, and wouldn't be averse to purchasing Linux solutions from a Microsoft partner (or even Microsoft itself).

I definitely fall into this category personally.

For the record, I'm typing this on a 15" MacBook Pro. I have machines that run Linux (Ubuntu Server), Mac OS X Server (on a little Mac mini), and Windows Server 2003 Web Edition. There are things I love and hate about all three. For me it's about the tech, and I know there are many out there like me.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Yep
by sbergman27 on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 14:21 UTC in reply to "Yep"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
But they also realize that there is a market of companies that aren't anti-Microsoft and aren't religious about Linux.
"""

Hallelujah!!! ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yep
by robilad on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 14:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Yep"
robilad Member since:
2006-01-02

I guess he means SCO.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Yep
by sbergman27 on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 14:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yep"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
I guess he means SCO.
"""

When you think about it, Phuqker's description probably fits *most* businesses.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Yep
by Doc Pain on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 15:00 UTC in reply to "Yep"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"The reason Microsoft decided to get involved with Novell is that MS has finally realized that Linux isn't going away. But they also realize that there is a market of companies that aren't anti-Microsoft and aren't religious about Linux. They just see Linux as a cost-effective solution in certain scenarios, such as file servers, and wouldn't be averse to purchasing Linux solutions from a Microsoft partner (or even Microsoft itself). "

In my opinion, the main motivation of MICROS~1 is: "If people want to pay for Linux, they better pay us." They just want to eat up Linux's small market share.

We have a similar situation here in Germany with the natural gasoline providers. The "big companies" are making the big money, they dictate the price. They own subsidiary companies who sell their natural gasoline for a slightly lower price (e. g. 4% less) to a lower customer scale. You may think the customers are the winners, but in fact, they're not; the provider is.

So MICROS~1 cooperates with Novell today and owns Novell tomorrow. Imagine, in five years we are allowed to buy MICROS~1 LinuVista XP+ from the store! :-)

Reply Score: 4

linux-it
Member since:
2006-07-13

that the MS/Novell deal *IS* meant to get interoperability working?

I've said that quite a few times but again and again, the linux community and the GPLv3 people are feeding the FUD trolls and causing massive damage to linux.

MS *does* see that linux isn't going away and MS sees that in corporate serverparks, a mix *is* needed. It's what big companies currently holding off to use linux in fact. (not always but it *does* happen).
The patent deal is useless as wel know so no words anymore about that.

Folks: sometimes, it's better to work with the 'enemy' to get things done.

try to understand, use your intelligence and stop making damages to linux!

Reply Score: 2

anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

that the MS/Novell deal *IS* meant to get interoperability working?

I think there is no doubt that the deal *IS* about getting interoperability working, however the question is if it will be about interoperability with Linux and open standards or just with Novell.

In the first case there is certainly a benefit for everyone, in the second case it will make generic interoperability even worse, because people will believe the problem is dealt with, while in reality it isn't

Reply Score: 5

grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I think there is no doubt that the deal *IS* about getting interoperability working, however the question is if it will be about interoperability with Linux and open standards or just with Novell.

I have yet to see any evidence that Novell isn't committed to giving back to the community. They've open sourced projects such as YaST, their build service generates .rpm's and .deb's, and they've consistently released their "Novell only" (slab, new KDE menu, OOo improvements) back to the community.

Reply Score: 1

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I have yet to see any evidence that Novell isn't committed to giving back to the community. They've open sourced projects such as YaST, their build service generates .rpm's and .deb's, and they've consistently released their "Novell only" (slab, new KDE menu, OOo improvements) back to the community.

Those are Linux technologies. Logically, if Microsoft were going to help with "interoperability", it would (as the only vendor capable of doing so) be concentrating on integrating Linux technologies into Windows, and/or releasing specs or source code to allow Linux to interoperate with Windows. There is little to no evidence that they are doing that - indeed, all the evidence points to the fact that Novellīs management, having been shafted by Microsoft in the past (and come on, we all know how that feels), couldn't wait for them to do it again.

Microsoft knows that Linux users' worst nightmare is having Linux contaminated by Microsoft "IP", which is the number one (and perhaps the only) reason they are doing this - to make the nightmares come true and set the stage for pwning computing for the next 25 years as well as the last.

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

The patent deal is useless as wel know so no words anymore about that.

Let me link that up with why i support free (as opposed to open source) software.

In a perfect world, ridiculous patents like Apple's on a maximize button on a window would get nowhere. Also, people would not use the loophole in open source to create proprietary extensions to software that encourage vendor lockin.

However, this is the real world, not a perfect one. In the real world, the party in a lawsuit with the best lawyers wins, and that usually means the party with the deepest pockets. Linux has many things, but even collectively, deep pockets is not one of them. Microsoft may be crap at many things, but winning lawsuits is not one of them. Also, in this imperfect world, the reason why some companies favour open source software instead of free software is precisely BECAUSE they can take the non-proprietary work of others and make a proprietary product out of it, locking customers in and people who have created good, hard work out.

Microsoft may have "realized that Linux is not going away," but don't you believe for one second that if it sees a chance to pwn it, it will not take it. And having, unlike SCO, some business (as opposed to software) talent, and deep pockets, it will inevitably win.

The only way to protect yourself in this environment is to use non-Novell software, because if Microsoft have to sue only 10% of their Linux-using customers to get what they want, they will win. If they have to sue over 50%, however, they will just end up looking as daft as SCO.

Reply Score: 3

zztaz Member since:
2006-09-16

No deal is needed for Microsoft to support interoperability. All they need to do is stop actively working against interoperability.

Publishing their file formats and protocols would be a good start. In other words, do what the EU courts have already ordered them to do.

Microsoft is willing to sell interoperability under terms that leave the 'partner' subject to Microsoft's whim. Experience has shown that any company that earns Microsoft's attention has two choices: they can fight and be pounded into oblivion, or they can 'partner' with Microsoft. In the latter case, the partner gets some payment when Microsoft walks off with their former customers.

Novell screwed up. Their new CEO went for the fast buck. To be fair, Novell will get paid. In the short term, Microsoft will pump money into Novell, and Novell management will get nice bonuses. But after two or three years, Microsoft will pull the plug and Novell will tank.

Microsoft tried this with Java. They got lots of press for signing a deal with Sun to support interoperability. Then, after people's attention had wandered, they quitely introduced non-portable features into the Microsoft JVM. Sure, they claimed that those features were for better applications, but it was obvious that the intent was to make sure that Java applications written for Windows would not be portable to any other OS. Sun sued, and the courts agreed that Microsoft had violated the terms of the contract regarding interoperability.

Microsoft lost that round. The MS JVM was withdrawn, and Sun was paid a large sum. And round two started with C#, designed to replace Java without the risk of allowing customers to escape the Windows lock-in.

The .NET framework has technical merit. But the reason it exists is to displace Java with something that looks portable without any danger of allowing customers to migrate away from Windows in practice. Novell walked into that trap, too.

Portability means that you can switch platforms. Well managed companies endorse portability and win by making sure that customers don't want to switch.

Microsoft has no interest in allowing customers to migrate away from Windows. With more than 90% of the desktop market, they have more to lose than gain. Other companies expect to gain more customers than they lose when migration is easy. In a young market, they're right, because it's not a zero-sum game. Vigorous competition grows the overall market.

That's how it worked with PC hardware. Portability grew the market. Attempts to lock in customers failed, such as IBM's MicroChannel. Portability was more important than technical merit.

The PC showed that interoperability worked for hardware, that you could buy from multiple vendors. The Internet showed that interoperability worked for software, too. Use standard protocols and formats, and you can choose from competing software.

Microsoft doesn't like competition. They work to suppress it, and do so quite well. On the technical front, they've been successful in embracing and extending standards, limiting and controlling interoperability to their terms. On the business front, they've used their size to smash potential competitors; see several antitrust trials for details.

But the GPL is the first threat that isn't vulnerable to those older methods of suppression. They can't remove sales revenue from software that is given away, not sold. They could remove the support revenue, but only by learning how to deliver good support for other people's software, which they show no signs of doing.

Open Source doesn't threaten Microsoft. They can deal with that, and they in fact endorse the BSD license. It is specifically the GPL that Microsoft has struggled to counter, and the Novell deal is a strike at the GPL. The GPL attacks Microsoft where they are most vulnerable, which is their licenses. Customers are starting to grasp the true cost of license compliance; not the purchase price, but the restrictions, record keeping, and intrusion into operating decisions. A license that treats all parties fairly is a serious threat to the key to Microsoft's business.

Interoperability is the bait in a trap set to capture and disable the GPL. I don't care one way or the other what happens to Novell. What concerns me is the possibility that Microsoft has found a way to attack a business model based on the GPL, a business model that has provided the most serious competition that Microsoft has faced in decades.

It's all about competition. As customers, we win when there's more competition, and we lose when there's less. As the dominant player, Microsoft quite naturally prefers less competition, and their actions should always be viewed in that light. Microsoft is willing to provide interoperability in return for regaining control over license terms.

Reply Score: 5

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Absolutely correct. +10.

Reply Score: 2

ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

"
that the MS/Novell deal *IS* meant to get interoperability working?
"
haven't people already told you that it's MS's fault stuff doesn't work in the first place ;)

Interesting strategy for MS though.

Reply Score: 3

Godd for who ...
by Moulinneuf on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 14:45 UTC
Moulinneuf
Member since:
2005-07-06

We got the usual people cheering there boss ... Now on with the real question :

"which "will be around for the long term, and will focus on interoperable virtualization between the Windows and SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server)."

Do they plan on making it Free Software and available to all the GNU/Linux community or its just a smoking mirror that will not do anything of interest to anyone.

"Virtualization, Office OpenXML/ODF interoperability, WS-Management interoperability, and directory federation"

This remind me of Microsoft at its best join , embrace and extend and blame all others that they are at fault for not being compatible ... Again what's to exactly come of it for everyone ? Something that others who are not Novell and Microsoft wont have ...

Microsoft is not the enemy , it cant stop or affect GNU/Linux at all , its the compromise people that are a nuisance , they are cheering for Microsoft to help GNU/Linux at the expanse of blaming those who built GNU/Linux and accusing them of damaging there creation.

Last I looked Microsoft don't offer there main software
for GNU/Linux.

I don't see this as a good thing , but thats because I am rational , and I know my history. Microsoft as killed all other office solutions who compromised. They did it exactly in that way.

Too bad that those who say its a good thing are not willing to engage everything they got in a locked contract an in fiduciary with a 2 year period.

If its good they got to keep everything they have , if its bad they got to pay for lying and compensate for everyone loss.

Sorry I don't see this deal as a win-win situation for EVERYONE in GNU/Linux.

Reply Score: 4

Portability
by Phuqker on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 17:18 UTC
Phuqker
Member since:
2005-07-17

I think portability is deeply important in some spheres, such as the wellspring of POSIX apps that can be built on many platforms (even Windows).

However, I think portability of custom-built business applications is vastly overrated. Not one of my customers has ever cared about it. In that space, what's far more important is interoperability of file formats and protocols. (And many customers don't even care about that, although I personally think it's important.)

Even in the GUI space, when I run a Windows app, I want it to look and run like a Windows app. When I run a Mac app, I want it to have the esthetics of a Mac app. But I also want to be able to exchange information easily between platforms.

Reply Score: 1

Check out the original article
by WillM on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 17:50 UTC
WillM
Member since:
2007-01-19

It's worth reading Steven Vaughan-Nichols' original article in Linux-Watch:
http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS9595816177.html.

Reply Score: 1

It's about the tech
by JeffS on Fri 2nd Feb 2007 17:50 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

I hate MS as much as anybody.

I trust MS as far as I can throw them.

But I'm not worried about the MS/Novell deal, or their interoperability efforts.

I'm sure that if MS could use all this as a trap, they will.

But they can't. The MS/Novell deal isn't going to effect the rest of the Linux World. It won't effect Red Hat, Ubuntu, MySQL, Apache, etc, or companies that feature open source, like IBM, Oracle, HP, Intel, Sun, etc. For all those interested parties, it's just business as usual.

Steve Ballmer can blab all he wants about "Linux violating MS's intellectual property". That won't change a thing. Everyone and their brother knows it's just FUD, and everyone just laughs at Ballmer when he spews out that stuff. MS could no more win a patent jihad than anyone else. MS is not in the business of suing, and stands to lose a great deal more than they could gain by going on lawsuit binge. It's MUD all over again.

Also, the market is the ultimate barometer. MS made this deal with Novell because the market made them. Sure, they'd love to use it to circumvent the GPL. But in the end, it's customers that dictate what they do. And many of their customers said they want to use Linux along with Windows. Thus the deal to purchase 70,000 SuSE coupons, 16,000 of which have been distributed already (a huge new revenue stream from on going support contracts for Novell). That's right, with the deal, MS is distributing Linux. They are even endorsing it. They are saying to the world "Yup, we now recognize that Linux is for real, it's legitimate, it's good, and customers want it, so we're now going to accommodate our customers".

Then there is the upcoming GPL3. The GPL3 will make damn sure that MS will have no way whatsoever to wiggle around the license, and use it for patent trolling, or other threatening, extortion, FUD type behavior. The GPL3 will ensure that the "patent deal" made by Novell and MS will apply to everyone who writes, uses, or redistributes GPL code. Yes, Linus, and other kernel devs made it clear that they will not adopt the GPL3. But the entire GNU tool chain, crucial for an Linux distro, will most certainly be under the GPL3.

Finally, as Steve Ballmer said himself, it's all about "Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers". MS has really nice development tools. But most developers use or are aware of non MS tools, and most developers believe in interoperability or cross platform solutions, because their jobs demand it. MS can ill-afford to piss off the segment of the population that is soooooooo very very very crucial to MS's success. So MS absolutely has to make nice with interoperability, and at least give a little bit of an effort for cross platform solutions (thus the existence of the ECMA standards on C# and the CLI, and Mono).

And in the end, it is about the tech. People who have jobs to do just want to use good tools, and want to make stuff work across their various IT investments. So if stuff like Mono and Windows/SuSE virtualization improves, fantastic.

Don't worry, be happy.

However, I do hope that the interop stuff will include bringing Mono further along in supporting Windows.Forms, ASP.Net, and ADO.Net (along with the already excellent implementation of C#, CLI, and GTK#).

Edited 2007-02-02 17:53

Reply Score: 3