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"
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1

NotParker Member since:
2006-06-01

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.

Microsoft is against all those who think closed sourse is automatically unethical (there are many on this site who support that idea).

Microsft is against those who wish to lie about the history of the internet (see my previous posts about Netscapes theft of Mosaic ang giving it away).

Microsoft is against those who wish to take away Microsoft market share by legislating the use of PDF/ODF claiming both are more "open" and "free" than Office - while ignoring PDF/ODF patents held by Adobe/Sun and would prefer to compete on the features in the software, not whether the software is part of the OSS cult.

Edited 2006-11-08 18:06

Reply Parent Score: 1

elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Microsoft is against all those who think closed sourse is automatically unethical (there are many on this site who support that idea).

I think you're confusing closed source with closed standards, which to a certain extent are unethical because their sole raison d'etre is to eliminate choice and enforce lockin. I'm not aware of anyone in the real world that would sit there and call closed source unethical, and if you haven't figured it out yet this forum does not accurately depict the real world. Any more than the FSF does.

Microsft is against those who wish to lie about the history of the internet (see my previous posts about Netscapes theft of Mosaic ang giving it away).

I'm pretty sure you're the only one who's still hung up on this. I don't think Microsoft really gives a flying f!ck one way or the other.

Microsoft is against those who wish to take away Microsoft market share by legislating the use of PDF/ODF claiming both are more "open" and "free" than Office - while ignoring PDF/ODF patents held by Adobe/Sun and would prefer to compete on the features in the software, not whether the software is part of the OSS cult.

Microsoft is against governments suggesting their citizens should be able to view public documents now and in the future without having to pay for the privilege. You can bring up all the technicalities you want about the licensing of pdf, odf and openishXML, but at the end of the day only two of those three standards are useable on a wide variety of platforms without any requirement of special licensing or fees.

If Microsoft wants to put that one to rest, then they can state once and for all that openXML and the embedded binary formats that go with it for document presentation will be licensed for use by the OSS community. They have yet to, even with all the hubbub and FUD surrounding the debate. I don't care if they hold patents or not, as long as they refrain from exherting them. Right now the openXML is open argument holds as much water as Novell's assertion that mono is unencumbered; the core technology might be, but the little add-on bits that make it useable for it's intended purpose aren't. And the fact that MS has tied in openXML interoperability as part of this ambiguous agreement with Novell simply clouds the issue of openness even further IMHO.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: losing community faith
by twenex on Wed 8th Nov 2006 18:20 in reply to "RE[5]: losing community faith"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I think the bottom line is you think FOSS software wouldn't exist if you could get proprietary software with excellent service and no vendor lock-in. I agree completely and well said.

Reply Parent Score: 1

elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I think the bottom line is you think FOSS software wouldn't exist if you could get proprietary software with excellent service and no vendor lock-in. I agree completely and well said.

Not really, I don't deal in absolutes like that. Microsoft could give Windows away and offer to send a tech onsite for every little problem that arises, and there would still be people with requirements that Windows just couldn't meet. I'm talking about customers needing a competitive market to achieve the best value, and OSS being an enabler for that competitive market by offering a viable alternative, not the only viable alternative, to proprietary software with crappy support or inherent lockin. Besides, free software far predates Windows whether considering public domain, shared source, freeware, shareware, what have you. It will always exist, it's human nature to create and try and improve. The existence of proprietary software has nothing directly to do with that, though perhaps indirectly in that it inspires others to try and do better one way or another.

The problem with advocates and zealots on either side of the argument is that they tend to superimpose their requirements and objectives onto the general public. Some people choose free software because they resent paying for something they believe should be free, some people choose linux because they want the flexibility it can offer over Windows even knowing that it may require compromise, whereas some people just need their software and hardware to work together above all else and are happily willing to pay for that. Some people want the best supported product, some want the cheapest and will gamble on fixing it if something goes wrong. Some people value gaming at 15000 fps as being more important than not having to install A/V software. Nobody's requirements or value definition is right or wrong, it's for them to determine and what I believe is important is that everyone have the ability to select the products that offer the best value matching their requirements. Be it FOSS, OSS, or unabashedly proprietary.

I do believe that OSS has an important role in commoditizing technologies that dominant companies would otherwise resist in an effort to extract every possible dollar of revenue out of, something that normally would not be possible in a competitive free market but is possible when dealing with staggering monopolies, ambiguous patent laws and questionable competitive practices, all of which at least partially fly in the face of a free market.

Besides, I'll be the first to admit that OSS isn't always the better alternative. Low priced doesn't always equate to cost effectiveness, and in terms of TCO and ROI sometimes you have to spend more money up front to save money in the long run. I think the whole issue gets clouded with the concept of linux being gratis versus Windows being $400, when the issue and value equation can be far more complex than that.

I just want to ensure I always have viable choices. That's what I believe in. I don't mind voting with my wallet, I just want to make sure there's more than one name on the ballot regardless of which way I vote.

Reply Parent Score: 2