Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Nov 2007 17:33 UTC, submitted by WillM
In the News One year after sealing their surprise alliance, Novell and Microsoft have announced an expansion of their technical collaboration to 'link together the existing Windows and Linux frameworks'. The firms will extend their existing collaboration to focus on virtualisation, standards-based management, directory and identity federation and document format compatibility. As part of this process, Microsoft said that both companies are 'now working closely' at the Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab in Massachusetts.
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RE[3]: Good for Novell!
by butters on Fri 9th Nov 2007 01:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good for Novell!"
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

You keep your moral high ground, I would rather get work done.


Can't you see the practical argument that underlies the morality?

For many years, Microsoft has prevented competitors from creating software that interacts with their software and the data it creates. They have embraced not only proprietary software (which I can tolerate) but also proprietary interfaces, protocols, and formats.

There is a moral argument against this, but I believe that the practical argument is much stronger. For years Microsoft has impeded your ability to get your work done by preventing competitors from delivering potentially superior drop-in replacements. This is part of a cynical market strategy that assumes that customers won't switch to competing products if it requires a disruptive infrastructure transition and a problematic data migration.

By radically lower customers' expectations of interoperability, Microsoft now receives enthusiastic praise for any amount of cooperation. That Novell had to play rotten patent games with Microsoft in order to gain highly limited cooperation on interoperability is absurd. The same offer has not been extended to Red Hat because they refuse to validate the false relationship between patents and interoperability.

Absent from this interoperability agreement is some really critical sticking points such as Exchange. Microsoft proprietized corporate email, and they just won't let go. This is an artificial barrier to competition. Undocumented protocols should be illegal in the absence of an open-source implementation. This isn't a philosophical or moral argument. It's purely practical.

If you really want to get your work done, then you should demand that Microsoft unconditionally release royalty-free specifications for its software products. Otherwise you're not getting the the quality of software you deserve, because potential competitors are being stifled. Microsoft has no right to pick and choose its competition. That's your job as a customer. Nor should Microsoft have the right to charge for the privilege of interoperability. Otherwise there is no pretense of a free market for software.

Microsoft has good products and plenty of smart developers. What are they afraid of? Why don't they want to compete unless its on their terms? Why are vendors like Novell so willing to agree to an unequal playing field? And why are people so delighted to see token cooperation from a company that has so brazenly refused to compete to the detriment of software users everywhere?

Reply Parent Score: 23

RE[4]: Good for Novell!
by mnem0 on Fri 9th Nov 2007 10:10 in reply to "RE[3]: Good for Novell!"
mnem0 Member since:
2006-03-23


For many years, Microsoft has prevented competitors from creating software that interacts with their software and the data it creates. They have embraced not only proprietary software (which I can tolerate) but also proprietary interfaces, protocols, and formats.

There is a moral argument against this, but I believe that the practical argument is much stronger. For years Microsoft has impeded your ability to get your work done by preventing competitors from delivering potentially superior drop-in replacements. This is part of a cynical market strategy that assumes that customers won't switch to competing products if it requires a disruptive infrastructure transition and a problematic data migration.

By radically lower customers' expectations of interoperability, Microsoft now receives enthusiastic praise for any amount of cooperation. That Novell had to play rotten patent games with Microsoft in order to gain highly limited cooperation on interoperability is absurd. The same offer has not been extended to Red Hat because they refuse to validate the false relationship between patents and interoperability.

Absent from this interoperability agreement is some really critical sticking points such as Exchange. Microsoft proprietized corporate email, and they just won't let go. This is an artificial barrier to competition. Undocumented protocols should be illegal in the absence of an open-source implementation. This isn't a philosophical or moral argument. It's purely practical.

If you really want to get your work done, then you should demand that Microsoft unconditionally release royalty-free specifications for its software products. Otherwise you're not getting the the quality of software you deserve, because potential competitors are being stifled. Microsoft has no right to pick and choose its competition. That's your job as a customer. Nor should Microsoft have the right to charge for the privilege of interoperability. Otherwise there is no pretense of a free market for software.

Microsoft has good products and plenty of smart developers. What are they afraid of? Why don't they want to compete unless its on their terms? Why are vendors like Novell so willing to agree to an unequal playing field? And why are people so delighted to see token cooperation from a company that has so brazenly refused to compete to the detriment of software users everywhere?


Excellent comment! I agree completely with every single point you make. I think you just described _exactly_ what the real problem is, and I'm very glad you took the time to write it down in such a clear manner.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Good for Novell!
by karl on Fri 9th Nov 2007 10:39 in reply to "RE[3]: Good for Novell!"
karl Member since:
2005-07-06

butters,

Excellently written, and spot on. I would however like to add one thing to which you said.

The propieraty applications, the propietary protocols, the difficulties and hindrances which are cause by their usage and the resultant effects on data- that data is held hostage by specific applications, and is only accessible in ways foreseen by the application developers, who wish to maintain their position, and that data exchange is controlled and confined-these issues which plague every corporation and confound end-users, is to a very large extent the raison d'etre of the entire propieraty software market.

Propietary software is an economy, in the first instance an economy of usage. That the data formats were propietary, that the protocols used were propietary was the initial impetus for the creation of the 3rd-party aftermarket for propietary software. Thousand of companies sprung up with products and services to overcome the imprisonment of data -to make it possible to use the files from one propietary application in another.

By artificially delimiting interoperability, compatibility etc Microsoft and other major founders of the propietary software economy(Adobe, Lotus, Novell) created a rich ecosystem of corporations which proved quite successful at monetizing all aspects data access,useage and movement.

The 3rd party after market for propietary software arose like a new organism in a new ecosphere created by the artificial delimitations of software usage and exchange-such artificial delimitations were the mark of the products, so companies like Microsoft made money on Microsoft Word only working good with Microsoft Word documents. So at once companies championed such delimitations as strengths of their products and left the interoperability and interchangeability to smaller propietary applications by 3rd parties.

The major parties of the propietary software industry knew that through the use of propietary API's,formats, protocols and source, that they were creating of rich ecosphere for 3rd parties to workaround and mitigate the negatives of this propietary system. In fact this entire system was based up lisencing agreements which rendered access to propietary API's to be able to write software to overcome the softwares own propietarieness. Thus ensued a gigantic symbiotic ecosphere with large hosts and thousands and thousands of parasites.

Interestingly enough the 3rd party aftermarket for propietary software was but one of two answers to the self-imposed limitations(ie. the artificial delimitations) of the propietary market-the other being FOSS. In this light it is quite easy to understand Novells deal with Microsoft. Does it really count as surprising?

1) firstly Novell doing deals with Microsoft is nothing new. In fact Novell came into being by filling a void in the product offering of Microsoft and purchased licences from Microsoft to write software for their operating systems to fill this void. 2) Microsoft has a vested interest in this propietary market-that FOSS had been resistant to attempts to monetize interoperability, instead choosing to reverse engineer protocols, has been a continuous thorn in Microsofts side. 3) I can even imagine their being people at Novell which would love to see Novell as being the gateway between FOSS and the propierty world(and I am sure that Microsoft sold these deals in this terminology).

Novell may have passed on an opportunity to renegotiate the negotiation grounds in their deal with Microsoft. FOSS offers something which simply cannot be bought. Yet the worst that Novell has done in the deal is to reaffirm the propietary market. And potentially something good might come of it: because FOSS has unfettered trading of code via the GPL, many, if not all, of the new offerings resultant of the Microsoft-Novell deal will be usable by all users of free software. If this potential pans out the result would be an actual undermining of the propietary market.

So at worst these deals just signal same-old, same-old, or they could potentially work to weaken the propietary market stronghold.

Reply Parent Score: 4