Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Nov 2006 11:24 UTC
Novell and Ximian Microsoft will pay Novell USD 348 million up front, but Novell will return USD 200 million of that amount over five years. The specific numbers came in an a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made by Novell late Tuesday. "The financial commitments Microsoft is making as part of this agreement are significant," company CEO Ron Hovsepian said in a statement. In related news, Microsoft has denied that its patent deal with Novell is in breach of the GPL or will automatically spread Microsoft's patent protection to other Linux distributions.
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RE[5]: losing community faith
by elsewhere on Wed 8th Nov 2006 18:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: losing community faith"
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Being a Redhat leaves your model vulnerable to Oracle Linux tactics and influences your revenues if say MS said well we now offer support for red Hat Linux. You need a effective collaboration plan and distinctive edirectory offering to set yourself apart) The big picture is Novell is still Novell they are still providing SUSE still contributing to the community.

Actually, the thing everybody overlooks about the Red Hat/Oracle thing is that companies basing a business model entirely on OSS are effectively committing to having to provide the best possible level of support for customers. They will live and die by whether customers feel they are receiving value for their contract fees. If customers can go somewhere else for what they feel is a better value for an otherwise identical product, then all the more power to them. It keeps Red Hat honest and innovative. That's precisely what we need, and that's the benefit of commercial OSS software.

Vendor lockin, proprietary techniques etc. subvert that ideal and give vendors the ability to cut corners in acquiring customers without necessarily needing to provide the best value. Once you've committed yourself to a proprietary platform, there is absolutely no incentive for the vendor to improve that platform or level of service until the point at which the cost involved in migrating to a new platform becomes viable. In most cases the competitive nature of the free-market often takes care of itself in this regard, but such is not necessarily the case with Microsoft.

And that's the whole drub with Microsoft, they're not opposed to linux as much as they're opposed to the thought of enterprises truly embracing the concept of an OSS-driven software model where core technologies are commoditized and vendors differentiate over the level of service, support and innovation they can provide.

Red Hat has built a successful OSS model despite the fact that you can clone and distribute Red Hat products as CentOS and now Oracle do. That alone is implicit validation that organizations value service and support over license fees. Would Microsoft be able to survive by allowing free-distribution of Windows and Office, even under a non-GPL type license, and rely strictly on customers finding value in paying for service and support? They're beginning to wonder themselves, hence their non-commital exploration of service/subscription based services.

I'd like to see a model where the majority of software I rely on was OSS. Not because I have a fundamental opposition to proprietary software, I sell it for a living, much of it running on linux. I don't think proprietary has to equal lockin and lack of choice, which is what I'm really opposed to. I believe more in a free market and the right to vote with my wallet than I do in robbing others of the right to profit from creating something others may find value in. But I'd like to see an OSS model in commercial software because I believe it would ultimately force vendors to work their asses off in delivering value for my hard earned money, rather than taking it for granted. I don't mind paying, I just want value, and I'm not sure I'm necessarily receiving it in a world where large monopolistic organizations can play havoc with patent laws and standards to try and rob me of my ability to find uncompromising value. Yes, I'm a free market idealist that way but I think there is a reasonable balance between OSS and proprietary software that can benefit all.

So let Oracle support Red Hat. They are hardly the first vendor to bundle a cloned version of RHEL with their linux-based software to diminish the impact of license fee for the proprietary software running on top of it. Red Hat has survived, and will continue to survive as long as their customers receive value. And if somebody can do Red Hat better than Red Hat can, well then natural market forces will come into play and level everything out.

This is where Novell has failed, in building a true OSS-based services delivery model as they ultimately wanted to do, at least not one that could compete with Red Hat's brand value. So in the absence of successfully competing on service/support, it's only natural that they would fall back towards strategies that are more closed and proprietary than open. Linux will remain free regardless, and the market will ultimately decide whether Novell succeeds or fails, as it should.

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