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

02.01.08

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

7 Comments

  1. Alex H. said,

    February 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Gravatar

    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).

    Cheers.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Gravatar

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

    http://www.zimbra.com/forums/zimbra-success-stories/14964-ms-offering-buy-yahoo.html

    [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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

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

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  2. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  3. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  4. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  5. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  6. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  7. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  8. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  10. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  11. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  12. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  15. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  16. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  17. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  18. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  19. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  20. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  21. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  22. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  23. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  24. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  25. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  26. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/7/2014: LXLE 14.04 in Headlines, Plasma 5

    Links for the day



  28. OpenDocument Format (ODF) Still Alive and Kicking

    Caligra, WebODF and various influential nations' departure from Microsoft Office will help famous projects such as OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice make ODF the only international standard for editable documents exchange



  29. The Effect of Corporate Media Bias: FOSS Demonisation and Microsoft Openwashing

    A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience



  30. The NSA's Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

    Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts