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

12.04.08

How Novell and Microsoft Cooperate Behind the Scenes

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED at 10:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is paying companies — in the form of discounts — in order to give the illusion that everyone respects Microsoft’s argument that Linux infringes on Microsoft IPR and that software patents are universally scary. This payment is akin to those OOXML briberies where Microsoft offered money to partners in return for support. Novell was paid as well, for a variety of things, including IPR FUD and OOXML support.

Digging a Little Deeper…

THIS is rather rare and it is very hard to find truly investigative journalism. Yes, investigative journalism, as opposed to those who are just echoing press releases and phonecalls/E-mails from companies’ PR departments (or hired peripheral agencies), whose goal is to force-feed journalists with disinformation and hyped-up ‘infoggerations’.

One fine example of investigative journalism is, sadly enough, also overly restrained. Consider this example of Microsoft machinations. It is one which only reaches the light of day in the blog of a journalist, but not in actual articles that receive wider exposure. This was the story behind a more nominal story.

About Today’s Story…

Today, we wish to present a story that is hidden behind another story, which is equally interesting. It is the story behind Microsoft/Novell coupon deals. It is a story the companies will not tell you about (and neither will journalists, who are deliberately kept in the dark). As some background, consider this item which explains how Novell uses GNU/Linux FUD to market itself.

“The voices behind the scenes need to be heard too and this site seems like a good venue for this.”Let’s look at the anatomy of a Novell/Microsoft coupon deal, shall we? It is a well-coordinated marketing plot, which is described by a leak we have just received from an anonymous concerned witness. The voices behind the scenes need to be heard too and this site seems like a good venue for this.

The source tells us that the events were observed a long time ago, so there is no danger of the company’s identity being known (never mind identifying the source of this leak). In fact, after Novell sealed deals with dozens of companies large and small, it would be impossible to say which is which. Let’s call it $Company from here onwards, as though it’s a parameter.

Here’s How It Works…

SLES/SLED vouchers (yes, that’s essentially GNU/Linux support/patent ‘licences’) were offered to $Company by Microsoft. Mind the fact that it’s Microsoft, not Novell. We have said and seen this before, but it’s worth hearing from a bystander or eyewitness. This confirms the fact that it’s in Microsoft’s interests to have companies ($Company in this case) ‘hooked’ on a GNU/Linux distribution which Microsoft gets paid for. Also, by later announcing this, Microsoft uses $Company’s credentials as some sort of implicit acknowledgment that patent ‘protection’ is needed for GNU/Linux deployments. It’s precedence that builds expectations.

What was interesting and revealing about Microsoft’s approach is how it came about, though. The deal offered sported a massive discount in SLES/SLED support from Novell for every voucher. In other words, to Microsoft, successfully promoting a ‘Microsoft tax’-encumbered GNU/Linux distribution is even worth ‘sponsoring’, probably for the reasons cited above.

The exact figures when it comes to the discount were not known, but they were very significant. We’re talking about high double-digit figures (%-wise). This reduction in support charges per voucher is so significant that it makes one wonder if Novell and Microsoft are interested in getting people ‘addicted’ to (maybe even stuck with) SUSE more than they are interested in actually making money, at least in the short term. Remember those infamous Windows-only, SuSE-only “interoperability” hooks and shims.

“Remember those infamous Windows-only, SuSE-only “interoperability” hooks and shims.”Depending on the size of the company at hand (never mind the size of $Company), significant amounts of money can be seen as savings. If you are a small business looking for a GNU/Linux server, then you’re looking at some nice savings that cannot be ignored. Medium-sized deployments can probably even help create new jobs by saving so much money. For large companies, this is highly significant. If you look at hundreds of thousands of instances (let’s say Google, which has about a million, according to analysts), this type of saving may reach several $billions. Google uses Red Hat and Debian by the way, for all I can tell based on readings and past interviews with them, but they rarely require outside support.

Whatever the number may be, the discounts are very significant. It begins to look very compelling from a straight commercial perspective.

More interesting is another curious fact: Microsoft is apparently offering companies seats on the board of the “interoperability” committee run between Novell and Microsoft. Small customers need not apply, but we have already seen some interesting inclusions in all sorts of “interoperability” labs. This seems like part of the “interoperability” buzzword stunt.

If you thought that was bad enough, then wait. There is more. It is a requirement of the offer that a press release is issued to announce deals. The press release needs to be a joint statement, which means that $Company gets to say what it wanted, but Microsoft would get to say what they wanted, i.e. $Company would have no control over the statement that it is willing to make. It is natural to assume, based on previous press releases, that Microsoft wants to inject its “patent” and “intellectual property” poison (FUD) into the press release.

It has generally been accepted that the “intellectual property” argument from Microsoft is false, but one cannot get the discount without Microsoft getting something back. In other words, Microsoft gives discounts in return for “intellectual property” FUD against GNU/Linux. It’s using SUSE to achieve this.

All the Pieces Come Together

These joint press releases are something that has not escaped my attention (and Shane’s). But now we know how the plot works. The same goes for OEM 'recommendations' of Vista; even obvious things require solid proof.

What remains more of a mystery is how Microsoft approaches GNU/Linux distributors and gets them to surrender. Turobolinux’s fall, for example, was gradual. It first accepted OOXML servitude and later it swallowed a patent pill even though it knew that it would not be grandfathered by GPLv3, unlike Novell. We have heard some stories from Jeremy Allison about how Microsoft fools Linux companies, but each and every situation is probably different and unique.

One must wonder not only why/when/how Turobolinux, Xandros, and Linspire surrendered (and received money to do so as well), but also how Microsoft approaches companies like Red Hat, Canonical, and Mandriva. We have found some stories about this game of mating and wooing, which luckily never materialised, i.e. so-called ‘raping’ efforts have been unfruitful to Microsoft.

In Summary

This is very significant. We have already seen the threats and arm-twisting Microsoft is pulling against large corporations to make them buy “we-won’t-sue” vouchers. What a racket. The tactics needed to get publicised. And now they are, so they can be cross-referenced. This carries the untold element of this branch of stories.

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

9 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    December 5, 2008 at 3:23 am

    Gravatar

    So, Novell is then contributing to the insecurity and economic downfall of many nations. MS is giving us these:

    http://securityvulns.com/Udocument888.html

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=2232

    So, by spreading M$ technology, Novell will also be spreading the technology of failure. The hospitals are still not cleaned up, nor are the bases. These put an inappropriate load on the staff and end up taking enormous quantities of resources away from the core missions.

    How many patients and soldiers must die before MS executives and their collaborators are taken to task? Many, such as the MSCEs, can probably get away with fines and/or community service. However, the ringleaders, Gates, Ballmer, Allchin and co, are candidates for the gas chamber.

  2. AlexH said,

    December 5, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Gravatar

    How many patients and soldiers must die before MS executives and their collaborators are taken to task? Many, such as the MSCEs, can probably get away with fines and/or community service. However, the ringleaders, Gates, Ballmer, Allchin and co, are candidates for the gas chamber.

    You can’t be serious?

  3. Needs Sunlight said,

    December 5, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Gravatar

    Hey. Sometimes bad people do bad things, deal with it. In this case it’s your zeros at&from MSFT killing both your economy and your fellow countrymen.

    In the case of hospitals:

    Downsize hospital staff by any large percentage and there will be a corresponding increase in deaths, both short term and long term, as a result in the reduced service. Do that same reduction of service instead by torpedoing the infrastructure with *known* defective, unreliable, insecure and inefficient software and the result is the same, albeit while eating more of the budget.

    Do that over time and in the face of advice and data to the contrary and you have documented that the individuals involved are going out of their way to cause harm. People that cause massive damage and death are dealt with by law and are in a bad position. Those that do it knowingly or repeatedly are in a worse position. Those that do it both knowingly and repeatedly are in a far worse position. And worst are those that do it knowingly and repeatedly and fight attempts at prevention.

    Now look at how few deaths and how little economic damage, relatively speaking, Osam bin Laden has caused compared to the zeros at&from MSFT.

    It’s not as dramatic as Bhopal, but more intentional and far more resulting deaths, suffering and costs.

  4. Josh Bell said,

    December 5, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Gravatar

    You aren’t serious are you? You have now blamed Microsoft for soliders and patients dying. That’s unbelieveable.

  5. Ian said,

    December 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Gravatar

    Needs Sunlight, how old are you?

  6. stevetheFLY said,

    December 5, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Gravatar

    boycottnovell.com – all the quality and respectability of USENET in one oozing package

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  7. Needs Sunlight said,

    December 5, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Gravatar

    @Josh: Depending on how you slice it the hospital administrators that make the agreement to deploy M$ could be called liable for the deaths. However, at the end of the day, they would only make that mistake as a result of the tremendous marketing and lobbying effort put on by M$.

    It’s along the same level as using melamine in food. People get sick or die who would have otherwise stayed healthy. Lots of money is lost that would have otherwise been spent on progress rather than cleanup. Why should it be any different just because it is “…with a computer” or part of a cult?

  8. AlexH said,

    December 5, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Actually, it wasn’t the attempt to assign blame for death/murder that caught my attention, more the idea that gas chambers might be a solution or punishment.

  9. G. Michaels said,

    December 6, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Gravatar

    That’s the kind of quality people Roy likes to attract. Robotic consent and unbridled hatred of whatever it is he’s attacking this week.

    Works wonder for the blurb nation. See? See how many people agree with what I’m saying? I must be right!

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

What Else is New


  1. There is No 'New Microsoft': Under Nadella, Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android Carries on

    Kyocera is again being targeted by Microsoft, using patent aggression, with a secret settlement being reached whose negative impact on Android remains to be seen



  2. Patent Propaganda, Glamourisation, and Erosion of Citizens' Rights in the Process

    An overview of recent coverage about patents, demonstrative of inherent bias in the world of patent practitioners and the journalists whom they misinform



  3. Corporate Media Should Stop Grooming Black Duck by Calling it 'Open Source' and Repeating Its Lies

    Black Duck uses gullible (or easy to manipulate) journalists to spread its marketing talking points, which grossly overstate risks of using Free software



  4. Links 6/7/2015: Linux 4.2-rc1, YotaPhone Picks Sailfish OS

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

    More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.



  6. After Moonlight Dies and Even Microsoft Abandons Silverlight, the Abusive Monopolist Keeps Pushing for Other Microsoft Lock-in, Injecting OOXML Traps Into Free Software (Moodle)

    Despite a long history of Microsoft formats being proven guarantee of digital obsolescence, Moodle allows itself to become Microsoft prey and a Trojan horse for OOXML in classrooms (for children)



  7. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  8. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  9. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  10. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  11. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  12. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  13. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  14. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  15. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  16. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  17. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  18. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  19. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  20. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  21. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  22. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  23. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  24. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  25. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  26. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  27. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  28. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  29. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  30. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs


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