Tag Archives: Novell

The Usefulness of Facebook in Evolution or is it just Useful?

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I am a user of Facebook, but not a real fan. By stating this some may feel it’s pointless to read on. Well let me confess, I have tried to understand our global fascination with Facebook. Why is it so popular? What makes it different than any other platform? Is it just another passing fad or the next MySpace? No, what Facebook represents is the nature of the Internet and technology. We all remember AOL. Did you get one of those CD’s in the mail? Do you know what mail is? Or what a pen is? Do you remember Compuserve? How about the Apple Newton? Sega? Atari? Napster? Netscape? Novell? Palm? A library? Alright, libraries are not dead yet, thankfully. I could go on, but can you see a pattern? All were powerful and amazing, during there time. They pushed limits and moved us forward into a new space. But alas, all good things must come to an end, right?

The virtual space, we call the Internet, is the new world. It’s fluid, dynamic and ever changing; never standing still to allow us to even truly understand what it is. Technology is constantly moving forward, dragging us along with it. We have to evolve. Every 6-8 months there is a new device or new idea for us to master. As we evolve some technologies get left behind. But what about Facebook? Where does it fit in? How is it useful?

I am mesmerised at the things people make public. How we broadcast our addictions and lower our language. Some swear and others do some remarkably strange things. It’s fascinating to see the things we dare not do in public are available online. What is Facebook? It’s that other world, within the world of the Internet. The one that allows us to broadcast who we are, until its dead and gone. We tell all, we connect with others. The odd people are now the ones who are not on Facebook. So is it useful? Of course it is. The question is useful to who? Useful to our species? Is Facebook just a part of the whole? I can’t wait for Google Glasses to take off. I am looking forward to the day when our evolutionary path makes us Betazoids. A marketers dream! But I digress. We we’re talking about Facebook, right?

By: @iammannyj

At What Point Is It Cheaper to Just Buy Novell?

Microsoft no longer sees itself as simply a Windows company. One recent indication of this is their determination to buy the LAMP-centric (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) Yahoo! Instead of migrating all the tried and tested Yahoo! services over to a Windows server infrastructure, wouldn’t it be simpler to establish Microsoft Linux through the acquisition of Novell? From a technology perspective Novell has two things to offer Microsoft – SUSE and Identity Management.
The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for Novell to continue their Wordperfect anti-trust suit against Microsoft. Novell’s argument is that anti-competitive operating system issues caused their once mighty Wordperfect suite to come tumbling down. This turn of fortune cost Novell to the tune of $1 billion. The lawsuit Novell has filed against Microsoft is for damages potentially in the order of $3 billion.
Whilst everyone agrees Microsoft is no saint the fact of the matter is Novell and Wordperfect got beaten by aggressive pricing and marketing rather than significant operating system level anti-competitive action. Microsoft gained market share by aggressively dropping the price of Office to the point that it was less than half that of its competitors. Rather than following suit and matching dollar for dollar these moves Novell blindly followed their original pricing structures inherited from when they purchased Wordperfect.
Novell’s past business blunders aside, given Microsoft’s recent showing in the courts you would have to say its an even money bet that some financial compensation arises from this case. Whether it is in the order of $3 billion is unlikely but even a quarter of that amount is still a hefty sum. Does there come a time when Microsoft executives look at Novell and decide it is cheaper to buy them outright than cough up massive legal fees and reparations?

A few years ago the idea of Microsoft buying Novell would be dismissed on anti-competitive grounds, but these days Microsoft faces stiff competition from the likes of Red Hat, IBM, Sun, Oracle and of course Google. Even in recent years the two companies have hardly been competing against each other. The controversial agreement struck a few years ago between the two has seen them in coopetition rather than competition without so much as a mumble from regulatory bodies.
Given Novell’s current financial position if a $3 billion payout were on the cards it is not a huge leap to suggest that Microsoft simply buy them out rather than buy their forgiveness. Whilst it would take more than $3 billion to buy the company it would not take much more (relatively speaking) considering Novell has a current market cap of $2.1 billion. Also from a shareholder’s perspective an acquisition is much better than a payout as their investment is preserved and built upon instead of going to lawyers and the opposition.

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Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else, as soon as possible?

Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else? Maybe Microsoft should consider doing what Apple did and create an OS based on an existing UNIX based system (BSD, Linux, Amiga, etc…). Or maybe Microsoft should “move up the time table” of Windows 7, Min-Win or Microsoft Singularity and make a radical change? Or maybe they incorporate some of the forgotten features of Longhorn into a “new and glorious” Operating System? How about taking some of their experimental technologies, like “Singularity” and fusing it with a UNIX based OS? Or Microsoft just buyout Novell now and make a new Linux based OS (Microsoft SUSE)? Hey, I’m not saying that Vista is totally bad; however it is starting to look more and more like the “Windows ME” situation. My apologies to the Windows ME lovers still out there on planet “Wishful thinking”, but I digress! In some of the business sectors I work in, I.T/MIS departments and various individuals alike will not touch Microsoft Vista or even allow one connected to their network. There are still issues with legacy software and recently purchased hardware. You need to justify making the upgrade and unfortunately for many businesses, but not all, it just is not there. Now, maybe you home users can tolerate the incompatibilities and problems. One of my extended family members recently purchased an HP system with Vista Premium (they forgot to ask for my advice). Let’s just say “she is not a happy camper”! Too many problems and issues with hardware and software left her with no option but to return the “lemon”. She just did not have the time to deal with it and neither did I.

I use Microsoft Vista 64-bit business edition, at my place of work. It runs great, but I have 4 GB of RAM, a nice SATA drive and a supercharged video card (512MB); along with a whole host of goodies, however I imagine I am not the “average” person or small business. They say that “time is money” and many I’ve spoken with, who do not want to spend that amount of cash and time with Vista. In addition they are often saying, with an assumption, that they will wait until SP2 (Service Pack 2) before they make the dive into the Vista world; if that even happens. Recently Microsoft came out with their revenue and profit numbers, on Vista. I am sure it was meant to show a positive spin on Microsoft’s financial outlook. It also was probably more to do with the release of Apple’s new Operating System called Leopard. However, how are the OEM and retail figures broken down? How many OEMs are allowing downgrades to XP, just to ensure the sale? Acer, Dell and others have made recent changes and moves; allowing users to downgrade to XP or even get Linux distros like Canonical’s Ubuntu. Microsoft cannot simply bury their electronic heads in the sand and hope the issues go away. Sure Microsoft is large and they can “weather the storm”, however I just wonder how much time Microsoft has before it starts to impact on them as a company? Maybe they are planning something in secret and will take a page from Steve Jobs and say nothing. Maybe Bill Gates will come back and lead them to victory. Or better yet, maybe they should outsource it? Sorry, it was just an idea!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Patent suit against Linux has a Kevin Bacon-esque connection to Microsoft

It appears as though the first patent suit against Linux — targeting Red Hat and Novell — is now official. According to Groklaw’s Pamela Jones:

IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas. Where else? The patent troll magnet state…… [this is] The first ever patent infringement litigation involving Linux. Here’s the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don’t. Here’s the complaint [PDF]….The plaintiff is asking for an injunction, along with damages.

Jones goes on to cite some relevant points of the complaint but then, like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, unearths a potential connection to Microsoft. According to a story posted by Patent Troll Tracker well before this lawsuit turned up, IP Innovation LLC is a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation which the site classifies as a patent troll. This past July Acacia hired Jonathan Taub away from his job as Director, Strategic Alliances for the Mobile and Embedded Devices (MED) division at Microsoft and then, just last week, it hired Brad Brunell away from his job at Microsoft where, among other jobs, he served as General Manager, Intellectual Property Licensing.

The blogosphere is likely to have a field day with this connection and I suspect that dumpsters will be dived in hopes of finding a less tenuous connection to Microsoft. The timing of the suit seems rather serendipitous given both the timing of Brunell’s move as well as the threats that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued last week — ones that specifically mentioned patents (vs. the other form of intellectual property; copyrights). Even so,

Is there a connection? Well, there’s no smoking gun at this point. And if there was such a connection, you can’t help but wonder why Novell would be named in the suit since Microsoft and Novell are now working together to better integrate Windows with Novell’s Suse Linux and the arrangement includes patent protection for Novell. So, you’ll have to judge for yourself what’s going on here.

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Microsoft’s Ballmer calls out Red Hat with more patent threats

It seems that Microsoft is feeling a bit threatened again. With Microsoft Vista “tanking” and arrows coming from all sides it seems that Microsoft is back to scare tactics and fear again. With Red Hat still in control of the server market, on the Linux side, Microsoft seems to feel that it can “bully” them into paying their “extortion fees”. It almost sounds gangster like, but we are talking about technology, not crime. It would be nice to see Microsoft actually “show” what these patent infringements are!

From ZDNET.com
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is back on the “Linux violates our patents” kick. But this time, he’s calling out Red Hat, specifically, for allegedly infringing on Microsoft IP. And he’s hinting there could be other patent challenges coming to open source from companies like Eolas. At the UK launch of Microsoft’s Startup Accelerator Programme last week, Ballmer said it’s only a matter of time before the leading Linux distributor is going to have to pay up for allegedly violating Microsoft IP. As reported by VNU.Net:

“‘People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us,’ Ballmer said last week at a company event in London discussing online services in the UK.”

Red Hat execs said earlier this summer that Red Hat isn’t opposed to working with Microsoft on the interoperabiity front, but that it has no intentions of signing a patent-protection agreement, like those inked by Novell, Linspire and Xandros. Under those agreements, Microsoft has agreed not to sue customers using those vendors’ Linux distributions (as long as they are not covered by the GNU General Public License Version 3) for a set period of time. In order to secure this indemnification promise, these vendors agreed to license Microsoft IP that the Redmondians claim is part of Linux and other open-source products.

It seemed Microsoft was going to try to let controversy die down, following claims earlier this year that free and open-source software violates 235 of Microsoft’s patents. But it looks like Ballmer has decided — maybe because no new Linux vendors have signed patent-protection contracts with Microsoft recently — that it’s time to rattle the patent sabers again.

Every time Ballmer opens his mouth on this issue, it seems to me he undoes any goodwill that Bill Hilf (who recently received a promotion and is now General Manager of Windows Server Marketing and Platform Strategy) and his team had done to build bridges with the open-source community.

Groklaw.Net noted that Ballmer’s latest remarks go further than simply claiming that Red Hat is violating unnamed Microsoft patents. During the aformentioned Q&A, Ballmer hinted that Eolas — the company that sued Microsoft for browser patent violations and won a settlement with the Redmondians — might be the kind of company to go after Linux and open-source vendors for patent violations. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but wonder if one of the terms in the Eolas-Microsoft settlement might specify that Eolas lodge a patent lawsuit against Red Hat or other open-source vendor. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Groklaw also highlighted another Ballmer remark from the Q&A:

I would love to see all Open Source innovation happen on top of Windows. So we’ve done a lot to encourage, for example, the team building, PHP, the team building, many of the other Open Source components, I’d love to see those sorts of innovations proceed very successfully on top of Windows.”

What kinds of incentives (monetary and otherwise) might Microsoft be offering open-source vendors to get their software to “proceed very successfully on top of Windows”? Did Microsoft pay Novell anything (money, resources, indemnification promises, etc.) to help get Silverlight ported to Linux? Interestingly, neither Microsoft nor Miguel de Icaza and his Moonlight team says they are at liberty to discuss that issue….

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What would happen if Microsoft actually bought out Novell?

I started to think today that the implications to the Linux / UNIX world would be substantial, with Microsoft working so close with Novell. With the recent ruling that SCO no longer owns the rights to UNIX makes me wonder. Since Novell is now the owner of UNIX, what game is Microsoft really playing? Will they possibly buyout, merge or work even closer with Novell, creating a Microsoft Linux hybrid? What would happen if Microsoft ended up owning UNIX? Now that would be funny, and not at the same time. But then again, I am probably thinking pie in the sky. With Vista out of the blocks at a snail’s pace, will they opt to focus on Linux, lessening the impact on their OS business. This is probably more complicated now, since the release of GPLv3; however it will be extremely interesting to see what they decide to do over the next few years. My guess is that they simply do not want to put all their eggs in one basket, since they are being attacked from all sides. If Microsoft even purchased Novell, they probably would not be interested in SUSE anyway. More than likely they are now interested in the prospects of owning the rights to UNIX. It is probably more complicated then this, but who knows. I will leave that to lawyers and insiders to figure out. The fact is Microsoft is interested in making money and the investment in Novell is not sometime to take lightly. Microsoft must do something soon, and diversify; finding new streams of revenue. They will need new vision, thinking outside of the box. In the end, they may have actually play their cards right. Otherwise, they will simply be another point in history.

 

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario