EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Would Microsoft ‘Pull a Hula’ on Zimbra?

Posted in Deals, Mail, Microsoft, Novell, Virtualisation, Xen at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several days ago, the following article appeared in Bruce Perens’ Technocrat Web site. It announced the incarnation of Novell’s Hula, called Bongo.

In 2005, we thought that we had a solution when Novell released Hula, an open source version of Netmail. Unfortunatly, things didn’t went too far but it ultimately led to a fork called Bongo.

“What happened to Hula,” you ask? As we said at the time, it was competing against Microsoft’s Exchange, so it’s likely that it was dropped by Novell for Microsoft’s convenience (competitive reasons) [1, 2].

Now, with a bid for Yahoo looming, people have begun asking themselves many questions. There are endless hypothetical scenarios to consider, of which here is one:

Yahoo acquired the open source software vendor for $350m in September last year to expand its hosted mail and collaboration capabilities. It probably goes without saying that Microsoft isn’t going to want to maintain an open source alternative to Exchange, so would Microsoft set it free or take the opportunity to crush it like a bug?

The same type of concern we have had about Xen, which we repeatedly argue got snatched by proxy [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft-Citrix acquisition rumours and speculations are nothing so new. Commission? Regulators? Where art thou? Some of the most recent strategic acquisitions seem to amount to nothing but harming one's rivals rather than about personal gain.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Alex H. said,

    February 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm


    It’s nice that you mentioned Bongo, thank you very much for that. I’m not particularly going to defend Novell, but I feel I should correct you: we don’t compete with Exchange, and neither did Hula. And Novell didn’t kill off Hula – indeed, it’s more alive now in some senses than ever.

    If you’d like to drop by Bongo’s IRC sometime I can tell you a bit more about what happened with Hula, but I can tell you it wasn’t sold because it competed with Exchange: if Novell wanted to give Exchange an easy ride, they would have dropped Groupwise instead, which is competitive. Netmail (which is where Hula came from) was aimed at a very different market (mainly ISPs and other scenarios with large numbers of users but low functional needs).


  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm


    Thanks, Alex. I’ve meanwhile found out about some possible complications for Zimbra (mentioned in the previous post about Zimbra). From Groklaw:


    [PJ: You'll find it interesting how the Zimbra forum is anguishing over a proprosed Microsoft hostile takeover of Yahoo! since it's obvious it won't wish to help Zimbra, a competitor to a Microsoft product, Exchange. Note how one forum member writes that the only way to protect it is if it is GPLd. I agree, actually, that it is the best license for protection against proprietary ruination. Sadly, they didn't think ahead and chose a Mozilla-like license, specifically to appeal to proprietary business partners. They could have chosen LGPL and achieved their goal, I think, as JBOSS did. GPL code is also available on some of the code, but there have been issues trying to get source. Now we see what mixed licensing results in. Trying to be FOSS and proprietary is tricky. Thousands of community members have written code for Zimbra for free. Happily, those who were sensible enough to protect the code with the GPL will be able to take it and fork. Those who chose other licenses will find that Microsoft is also a proprietary business, one that knows how to squeeze a license for all the rights it wishes to hold, and the full impact of that may fall on Zimbra. Live and learn.]

  3. Alex H. said,

    February 2, 2008 at 4:30 am


    Cheers Roy.

    I’m actually giving a talk on this subject at Manchester Free Software UK group in March – see http://manchester.fsuk.org/blog/2008-meetings/#alex .

    I’ll be talking about the direct experience of forking a project like this, and to be honest the license is only a small part of it – being able to fork is key, but it’s only the first step on a journey of miles.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 2, 2008 at 7:17 am


    I did not realise that you are from Manchester as well.

    Speaking of forks, Mike Little, who lives nearby in Stockport, co-founded WordPress with Matt Mullenweg. That was just several years back. I met Mike back in 2005 just after he had stopped committing changes and contributing patches (Ryan took over as Patchmaster).

    As you probably know, WordPress was a fork of b2, which was pretty much abandoned (I’ll post a link about this later). WordPress (or Automattic rather) received $29 million in funding at the beginning of this year, so you never know where you might end up as a 19-year-old college student from Houston or even an adult. Horde, which is another excellent project, is deployed here at Manchester University as well.

    I’m still lobbying for WordPress to adopt GPLv3. This will probably happen at the end. It’s seems like a question of /when/ because the development mailing list still has some GPL antagonists who use Tivoization as an excuse for resistance.

  5. ig said,

    February 5, 2008 at 11:24 am


    It’s pretty clear that Microsoft would shut down Zimbra, just like they shut down Hula. This is the danger of using software that just barely qualifies as open source. The full version is proprietary and the free version is both crippled and badgeware.

    Over at the Citadel project [http://www.citadel.org] we are experiencing a big surge of interest this week as Zimbra devotees seem to be exploring their alternatives. As a true end-to-end GPLv3 open source project, we don’t have the danger of being bought out and shut down by Microsoft (or anyone else for that matter).

  6. Victor Soliz said,

    February 5, 2008 at 11:44 am


    Point taken, ig. It seems as if these open source products with proprietary versions are the most likely to get bought by a big corp and be put on risk, QT, mySQL and now zimbra come to mind.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 5, 2008 at 12:25 pm


    MySQL will be okay because Sun Microsystems has a strategy that it more FOSS-oriented.

What Else is New

  1. Željko Topić Attacks EPO Staff for 'Daring' to Legally Challenge the EPO's Management Over Its Gross Abuses in Europe

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is under the false impression that yet more threats against staff of the EPO will help contain the crisis rather than further inflame it

  2. Media Reports Based on New Patents Suggest That Microsoft Continues to Attack Google and Android/Linux, Trying to Tax and Delete Android

    Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate ("embrace") Android to put its apps there ("extend") but ultimately to delete ("extinguish") Android

  3. Commenters Provide Possible Explanations for Mr Van der Eijk Being on Unlimited Sick Leave

    Rumours are swirling around Wim Van der Eijk's absence, suggesting that he too may be a victim of Benoît Battistelli's iron fist

  4. Links 6/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC4, HP OpenSwitch, Wind River Linux 8

    Links for the day

  5. With Software Patents in Europe (and Pushes for the Same Thing in Australia and India) Patent Trolls Now Come to Europe, Attack Android/Linux

    Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England

  6. New Information on Limbo in the Enlarged Board, Courtesy of Illegal Actions by the EPO's Benoît Battistelli

    Battistelli's bullying of people whom he is not even allowed to bully turns out to have gone on for a lot longer than promised, and there is no sign of light at the end of this tunnel

  7. Microsoft Customers Complain About 'Inevitable' Vista 10 Because Microsoft Nearly Forces Botched 'Upgrades'

    In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people's will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives

  8. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Explains Why the UPC (“Unitary Patent“ System) is an Undemocratic Sham Whilst UPC Silently Advanced by Patent Lawyers and Politicians

    European patent laws are being covertly overridden so as to allow broader scope of litigation, higher financial damages, speedy injunctions, and even software patents; the European public is intentionally kept in the dark about it, hence kept unable to express scepticism or issue truly effective objections

  9. IRC Proceedings: September 13th, 2015 – October 3rd, 2015

    Many IRC logs

  10. Article Explains Why SUEPO Went Silent Well Over a Week Ago: Nobody is Allowed to Talk to Journalists Without Permission From Battistelli

    More threats from Benoît Battistelli (threats of termination and legal actions on top of it) help hide the abuses of Battistelli and his fellow thugs at the EPO

  11. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  12. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  13. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  14. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  15. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  16. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  17. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)

  18. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  19. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'

  20. The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

    The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

  21. Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

    Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

  22. Links 30/9/2015: New Kernels, Nexus Devices

    Links for the day

  23. Links 28/9/2015: Last News Catchup Before Resumption

    Links for the day

  24. Links 25/9/2015: GNU/Linux in Indian Government, NeoKylin in China

    Links for the day

  25. Süddeutsche Zeitung Explains Imminent Federal Scrutiny Against Battistelli's EPO in Germany

    The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that actions by the German government may be imminent against the EPO's cliquish management, including its ringleader Benoît Battistelli

  26. EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret

    The reckless assault on European democracies and long-established laws across Europe are now lucidly demonstrated when it comes to patents

  27. Europe's Acceptance of and Resistance to Software Patents, Courtesy of Corporate Front Groups and Courtrooms Respectively

    A snapshot of recent developments and upcoming developments in Europe, regarding software patents in particular

  28. German Press Explains EPO Investigation Unit (I.U.), Struggles to Openly Speak to the Secretive EPO

    The secretive Investigation/Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the European Patent Office (EPO) is further studied/explored by a recent article from junge Welt, an old and well-established German newspaper (since 1947)

  29. Links 24/9/2015: GNOME 3.18, Fedora 23 Beta, New Firefox

    Links for the day

  30. Translation Needed of Article About EPO Threats Against SUEPO's Elizabeth Hardon

    A call for translation of an important article that may help shed light on the modus operandi of the Investigation/Investigative Unit of the EPO, which works with Control Risks Group (CRG), the 'British Blackwater'


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts