Summary: Novell’s CEO has some regrets about the Microsoft deal while Microsoft discredits Free software to promote Windows
TWO YEARS ago, Novell’s CEO Ron Hovsepian admitted that he had had tiny regrets about the Microsoft deal. Now that he delivers a keynote at OSBC 2009 he is said to have expressed more regrets or issued a “semi-apology over the Microsoft pact.”
Speaking at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), Hovsepian said he could have done a “better job” of communicating about the deal and suggested he got caught up in thinking about customers, instead of the perception and possible fallout from dealing with Microsoft.
“I know the deal we did with Microsoft caused a lot of noise and flack in the market,” Hovsepian told OSBC on Tuesday. “And I wish I’d done a better job of communicating that. But the thing that caught in my head was the customer.
This shows Hovsepian’s inability to understand why undermining the GPL with Microsoft is a bad idea. The problem was not communication about the deal. It was the deal itself. No amount of spin (“communication”) can turn treasonous behaviour into something acceptable. Novell did try to police coverage by contacting journalists and prominent developers ahead of its enhancement of the Microsoft partnership in 2008.
An important point which the article above misses is that while Hovsepian claims that “at the end of the day we have to listen to the customer,” it was weasels like Susan Hauser who did surveys with customers for Microsoft’s benefit. These people still hijack the voices even of Novell customers. Microsoft basically told Novell what Novell customers supposedly wanted (software patents and all that), but to what degree was it true?
Our valued reader, Jose_X, explains why Novell makes GNU/Linux an “unnecessary layer”, or “middleware” (he actually says “middleman”):
In Microsoft’s world of tomorrow, there is this thing that will serve as an added unnecessary “middleman” layer called Linux. You will need Windows still because of all of its lock-in (secrets that will fizzle away when Novell has served their purpose). Novell pushes all technology (except for “Linux”.. that’s the embrace) that benefits Microsoft and gives Microsoft maximum opportunities tomorrow.
Novell: helping Microsoft embrace the FOSS world smartly and helping to put Linux into a position where it will simply get in the way tomorrow.
More comments can be found here and in The Register.
Going back to the article from The Register, it is worth adding that such articles arrive from Microsoft-centric writers like Gavin Clarke who attends OSBC on the publication’s behalf, but then again, OSBC 2009 is heavily influenced by Microsoft because Microsoft paid it a lot of money, as it did last year as well [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The conference is in fact organised by IDG/IDC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] where a Microsoft tie does exist.
“The conference is in fact organised by IDG/IDC where a Microsoft tie does exist.”As has always been the case, with subtle use of language and British humour the pro-Microsoft Gavin Clarke is doing what he can to make it seem like Free software is losing, so caution is needed when reading OSBC coverage from The Register. To share some of the latest from Gavin Clarke, here is Microsoft apologism and promotion from OSBC, as well as a trollish headline like “Hey, Red Hat – Open-source help still lousy?” with the subheadline ‘”Zealots” wanted’. What has happened to The Register ever since that deal it signed with Microsoft? The GNU/Linux-oriented writers all seem to have left except Timothy who joined.
IDG is not better off by the way. Paul Krill took remarks from Red Hat’s CEO slightly out of context* to issue a headline suggesting that GNU/Linux will never make it on the desktop. The anti-GNU/Linux crowd is using his article to spread such a message further (e.g. The Inquirer). It’s provocative. Also, regarding IDG, check out the main banner/headline: “IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems Among Speakers on Tap for InfoWorld OSBC 2009 in San Francisco.” Despite Novell’s keynote, neither Novell nor Red Hat make the official opening press release. But Microsoft is prominently there… on an “open source” conference that it conceived and funds.
Microsoft pretty much said that it had received a spot to speak "as part of this sponsorship." And what talk did it deliver? What was the message? That companies don’t migrate to “open source” at this time. Yes, they stay with Microsoft. That’s the message Microsoft tells the attendees of this conference which those people paid to attend and this is how Microsoft can crash or hijack events, according to its very own notes that court proceedings exposed.
The deceiving message from Microsoft is being echoed by Mary Jo Foley though it contradicts everything that we find elsewhere in the press nowadays. Novell is then presented by Paul Krill almost as though it echoes Microsoft’s views.
Microsoft, Novell ponder opportunities in sour economy
In separate discussions at InfoWorld’s Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) on Tuesday, executives from Microsoft and Novell cited opportunities presented by the current down economy.
They sure seem like a pair, don’t they? Two years ago it was pretty much the same when Microsoft and Novell stood shoulder-to-shoulder and made attendees rather uncomfortable.
So, Novell is sending out the message that business is not too good. Isn’t it funny that Red Hat’s business is still going up significantly (revenue up about 20% as per yesterday’s results)? And isn’t it funny that OSBC steals the thunder from Red Hat’s good news, which would bode well for GNU/Linux in a down economy? Brian Proffitt specifically complained about this throughout OSBC 2008 when he was still the managing editor of LinuxToday. OSBC 2008 overshadowed Red Hat’s good results because of Smith’s patent FUD.
Maybe Novell’s choice to share a fate with Microsoft has proven to be a poor one. Not so with Red Hat. It’s interesting, isn’t it?
“Two years ago it was pretty much the same when Microsoft and Novell stood shoulder-to-shoulder and made attendees rather uncomfortable.”Meanwhile, Microsoft's 'open' charade continues. It’s as deceiving as intended. According to Matthew Aslett of the 451 Group, Microsoft is again using the “choice” meme to substitute “free”, “open”, or “fair”. It did the same thing with OOXML, particularly in Malaysia [1, 2, 3].
Todd Bishop put it well when he said that the message Microsoft is trying to convey and pass on is: “Bad economy a boon for Linux? Not really.”
This, in turn, would drive GNU/Linux people out of OSBC and let Microsoft inherit more control of an important scene for media exposure. That is part of their plan. The same thing happens in other events where Microsoft throws in some cash, the latest example being Cloud Computing Conference.
Steinman’s response? Interoperability. Steinman notes that while Red Hat has announced its own interoperability deal with Microsoft, it’s fairly light. Novell, for its part, has done work with Microsoft to ensure that Microsoft technologies such as ActiveDirectory and System Center work alongside Linux deployments.
Sam is parroting some of this over at OStatic where he also talks about that IDC 'study' which Novell paid for this time around. It means very little in practice, but it’s a marketing routine that’s effective and drapes the pockets of professional liars.
Outside of OSBC, the Microsoft ecosystem does its usual thing, pushing Microsoft PR into Slashdot (it’s being gamed by Microsoft marketing people, as confirmed to me personally by someone who used to manage it). The not-so-news is about Microsoft trying to grab portions of Free software that are typically tied to LAMP stacks. Microsoft wants everything to run on Windows and this is covered in quite a few places like Linux Magazine, JupiterMedia (Sean Michael Kerner), ZDNet, eWeek, and IDG.
Microsoft is in the process of building out a marketplace for open-source applications that could work like an equivalent to an app store for applications, services and support for open-source technology that runs on the Windows platform. At MIX09, Microsoft released several components of the Microsoft Web Platform, an integrated set of tools, servers and frameworks that work seamlessly together and interoperate with popular open-source applications and products that are used in the community. Microsoft is looking at Windows Azure as a potential distribution platform for these applications.
Website builders who choose to run on Microsoft’s Web platform but also want to use open-source software are in for a pleasant surprise. Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 installs PHP, the popular website scripting language, and includes a collection of popular open-source Web applications. For some, the inclusion of PHP is a shock, because the free scripting language competes with Microsoft’s ASP.NET for use in developing websites. ASP.NET is popular among enterprise developers, but Web 2.0 startups and homebrew sites are often built atop PHP.
Let’s recall the role of SpikeSource in this anti-GNU/Linux strategy [1, 2] It’s not enough to just woo Free software developers away from GNU/Linux; Microsoft is also trying to scare them using lawsuits against Linux. It is a sort of aggressive strategy whose core is suing GNU/Linux while calling developers to escape and find shelter in Windows, so Microsoft is behaving a bit like a thug, a pirate.
One of our informants from India has also shown us how Microsoft uses MSPs in India and 'compensates' them for spreading Microsoft lock-in around the country, thereby battling Free alternatives. There are new photos too.
“Gates’ gimmick of becoming a philantropist repeats the Rockefeller scam almost one to one a century later.”
* Because, as Mark Shuttleworth agrees, the concern when it comes to the desktop was profitability, not userbase.