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Novell CEO Gives Behind the Scenes Account of Microsoft Deal 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-then-what-did-he-say dept.
raffe writes "Here is a Q&A with Ron Hovsepian CEO of Novell. He describes 'a love-hate thing' between the two companies." From the article: "This past May, I picked up the phone and called Kevin Turner, the COO at Microsoft. I knew Kevin when he was the CIO at Wal-Mart. I said, "Kevin, I'd like to have a conversation about what the customer needs. If you could put back on your old hat as a customer, if I came in and started talking to you about virtualization on Linux, and this Microsoft guy showed up and started talking to you about virtualization on Windows, what would you say to us?""
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Novell CEO Gives Behind the Scenes Account of Microsoft Deal

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  • I'd say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by billsoxs (637329) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:28PM (#17041848) Journal
    " if I came in and started talking to you about virtualization on Linux, and this Microsoft guy showed up and started talking to you about virtualization on Windows, what would you say to us?"

    OK which one of you would cost me less in TCO.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:35PM (#17041938)
      So, Novell's lost 4 deployments to Microsoft ..... and now Microsoft wants to help Novell get a chance at future deployments?

      Is this something that makes sense in CEO-land?

      Because it sure doesn't make sense from where I'm at.
      • by billsoxs (637329)
        So, Novell's lost 4 deployments to Microsoft ..... and now Microsoft wants to help Novell get a chance at future deployments?
        But he does not say how many he has won. This could be the real reason that this was signed my M$. Novell has signed to kill some FUD.
        • by billsoxs (637329)
          OK before I get flamed! "Novell has signed to kill some FUD." at least as far as the CEO of Novell is willing to let on.
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        It is simple. It means even if you lose the big deal, you will still pick up sales form it.

        Running Microsoft on Linux is only a fraction as bad as running Linux and no Microsoft. So were a company would have gone the direction away from Microsoft all together, it still lets Microsoft in the door to cause them to think otherwise. or at least for parts of their operations.

        It isn't that Microsoft is winning the deals, they got lucky on a few. Microsoft knows this.
        • Who will do that? (Score:5, Informative)

          by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:53PM (#17042146)
          Running Microsoft on Linux is only a fraction as bad as running Linux and no Microsoft.

          And what company is going to deploy Linux just so it can virtualize Windows? Why wouldn't they save the time and expertise (and finger pointing) and just deploy Windows as the host and Windows as the guest?

          So were a company would have gone the direction away from Microsoft all together, it still lets Microsoft in the door to cause them to think otherwise. or at least for parts of their operations.

          But it was Novell's CEO who said that he lost deals to Microsoft, again and again and again. I don't often see Microsoft complaining about losing deals to Linux.

          It isn't that Microsoft is winning the deals, they got lucky on a few. Microsoft knows this.

          You might want to check your email server logs. It seems that 95%+ of the businesses we deal with are running Exchange.

          And Novell's marketshare has been in decline for years.

          Somehow that doesn't add up to "got lucky on a few".
          • Re:Who will do that? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:59PM (#17042202) Homepage
            And what company is going to deploy Linux just so it can virtualize Windows? Why wouldn't they save the time and expertise (and finger pointing) and just deploy Windows as the host and Windows as the guest?

            People who want a stable subtrate operating system on which they can deploy their Windows services? Think about it. A stable underlying OS allows you to stop worrying about the actual servers and focus on the VMs. This means you can do things like hot VM fail-over, for higher availability. Seems like a big win to me.

            Not to mention developers who might want a Linux box as their core OS while they do Windows development. Or those doing cross-platform work.
            • www.vmware.com (Score:3, Informative)

              by khasim (1285)

              People who want a stable subtrate operating system on which they can deploy their Windows services? Think about it. A stable underlying OS allows you to stop worrying about the actual servers and focus on the VMs. This means you can do things like hot VM fail-over, for higher availability. Seems like a big win to me.

              WMWare already offers something like that.

              And Linux, when administered by someone who does NOT know what he's doing is no more stable than Windows. But Windows can be as stable as Linux when you

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward
                You do realise that VMWare's bigger stuff like ESX runs a stripped down version of Red Hat, right? So basically you're getting the same thing that the OP said. Linux with Windows on top, hot swapping VM's, fail-over support, etc..

                AFAIK, only the Player and Server are free-as-in-beer. The Player can't actually create the VM, or install a guest OS, etc...and I'm assuming that the free Server is crippled as well.

                The Workstation is not free, but it is a reasonable price (~$200 US) for a single developer looking
                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by brouski (827510)
                  To my knowledge the free Server product isn't crippled. It may be missing some odd administrative bells and whistles, but nothing I've missed at all.
                • by Maxwell (13985)
                  AFAIK, only the Player and Server are free-as-in-beer. The Player can't actually create the VM, or install a guest OS, etc...and I'm assuming that the free Server is crippled as well.

                  I'll assume you know nothing at all about virtualization, and ignore everything else you said in your post. Oh wait, I don't have to assume because you proved it! nice work!

                  Question 1) How can a 'player' that 'plays' be crippled? is Microsoft's Word Viewer 'crippled' because it can't make new documents?

                  Answer 1) And no, the se
                • AFAIK, only the Player and Server are free-as-in-beer. The Player can't actually create the VM, or install a guest OS, etc...and I'm assuming that the free Server is crippled as well.

                  Actually, it's pretty trivial to set up new VMs and install Guest OSs using the free Player, it just requires editing simple text files rather than using a nice GUI. There's dozens of Howtos on the 'Net, most of which make things more complicated than they need to be.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Fred_A (10934)

                But Windows can be as stable as Linux when you have a competent administrator. In your scenario, the company would be paying for Linux experts AND Windows experts. Why? Why not just spend the money and get competent Windows administraters?

                Theoretically I suppose that would be true. But competent Windows administrators deem to be quite rare compared to decent enough Linux administrators.

                At least that's what I gathered from the several shops I've seen and numerous people I've met. Now I don't touch the Win

                • Re:www.vmware.com (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by toadlife (301863) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @01:50AM (#17045898) Journal
                  "Theoretically I suppose that would be true. But competent Windows administrators deem to be quite rare compared to decent enough Linux administrators."
                  I work in a mostly Windows environment and consider myself to be a competent Windows administrator (I'm also competent in *NIX though), and I would almost agree with this.

                  I would say that competant Windows is no more rare than competant Linux help. They both roughly as rare, as in the case of both Windows and Linux, an admin needs to have a clue as to what's going on under the hood to be considered competent. The problem with finding Windows help is that there is a lot more wok involved in separating the wheat from the chaff.

                  In finding Windows help, I think companies make the mistake of simply not offering enough money, as they base their salary offering on the "average" salary of Windows administrators. The salaries of the incompetent monkeys in the pool of Windows admins bring down that average quite a bit, which leads companies to falsely believe that a competant Windows administrator costs less than a Linux administrator.

                  Thus companies end up getting what they pay for when they hire Windows help.
              • by killjoe (766577)
                "Why? Why not just spend the money and get competent Windows administraters?"

                Both Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have said many times that one of the reasons why windows is cheaper to run is because you don't need to pay for an expensive sysadmin. Anybody can administer windows. Bill Gates says so and he would never lie.
              • Re:www.vmware.com (Score:5, Interesting)

                by bill_kress (99356) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:45PM (#17043392)
                I rarely use Linux, but by what means are you judging stability?

                I can keep a linux system up and running for years with a handful of services, and I'm horrid at unix. For instance, I know "dd", ":q", ":wq", "i", "a" from VI, that's IT.

                On the other hand, I'm pretty much a windows expert. I can do pretty much anything with a windows machine EXCEPT keep it running for more than a month. I'm not talking windows expert as in the guy in your family that helps with PCs, I'm speaking as the guy who helps the IT department when they get stuck.

                How about hackability? I don't think I've ever seen a rooted Linux machine (but as I said, I don't get a ton of exposure to Linux workstations, maybe I don't know?)--yet I find it rare when dealing with a PC over 6 months old to not have a rootkit or some such garbage installed. I keep a Linux machine at home and won't do financial transactions on any of my 4 windows PCs or this work pc I'm on now.

                I admit I'm talking different uses. PCs I've used have generally had apps installed and uninstalled over time, and are in a pretty flakey condition within a year. The Linux pc's I've set up are generally fire-and-forget, but as I said, I do run one linux laptop where I load bunches of apps, delete bunches of apps, etc and it's still crashless (well, apps lock up sometimes and I'm sometimes not good enough to shut them down without rebooting the laptop, but it could be done if I was better with Linux.)

                Also: a "Good" windows admin will schedule reboots daily or weekly. I've never heard of a "Good" linux admin doing that. Doesn't that alone say a lot about general stability?

                Did you have some different definition of stability than uptime (no crashes, no reboots) and a lack of degradation over time?
                • by OmniGeek (72743) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:29PM (#17043804)
                  Is my Samba server that's been running in a back room for two years, and only ever gets rebooted when the power's out long enough to drain the UPS (which has happened maybe twice during that time.) Didn't even need a reboot when we changed its IP address. Did I mention it's had NO problems since being initially configured?

                  Parent poster has it dead on about uptime...
            • by drsmithy (35869)

              People who want a stable subtrate operating system on which they can deploy their Windows services? Think about it. A stable underlying OS allows you to stop worrying about the actual servers and focus on the VMs.

              All you are doing is adding an extra layers of complexity and points of failure.

              This means you can do things like hot VM fail-over, for higher availability. Seems like a big win to me.

              If your hardware is failing frequently enough for this to be a meaningful issue, you need to buy better hardwa

            • by dave562 (969951)
              The trend I see supports this. Anyone who is serious about doing virtualization is using VMWare to virtualize Windows, and sometimes Linux hosts. The hot-failover and SAN connectivity offered by VMWare is light years ahead of Windows. In fact, my boss who writes for Windows IT Pro caught some flack from his editor after his editor caught some flack about a virtualization article that my boss wrote. My boss basically put it out there that the Microsoft virtualization offering is way behind VMWare and has
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by sumdumass (711423)

            And what company is going to deploy Linux just so it can virtualize Windows? Why wouldn't they save the time and expertise (and finger pointing) and just deploy Windows as the host and Windows as the guest?

            I dunno, the company that wants to sandbox their production environment and make sure that the latest windows virus that exploits a hole microsoft already fixed but no one is updating because it borkes allot of other items. Or maybe it is the company that wants to run get away form Microsoft but is held

            • I dunno, the company that wants to sandbox their production environment and make sure that the latest windows virus that exploits a hole microsoft already fixed but no one is updating because it borkes allot of other items. Or maybe it is the company that wants to run get away form Microsoft but is held on by one killer app and cannot. Why would anyone want to virtualize anything?

              Well, the reason use virtualization is to get the most usage out of our existing hardware by running multiple low-usage instances

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ash Vince (602485)
            It seems that 95%+ of the businesses we deal with are running Exchange.

            We are linux based web hosting and development company and we are moving to exchange server for our emails. The boss wants customer relationship management software with a high level of integration with office software. What are the techies supposed to do? Refuse to do what we are told and get the sack?

            There is only so much dissuation of the boss you can do before he says the security problem is something you will have to deal with, I ne
            • This is why they will not even try to release a version of Office for any platform except their own.
              Last I checked, Microsoft offers Office for Mac OS.
              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by bberens (965711)
                Yes, but not the integration piece (exchange) which was basically his point.
            • The best example of this blinkered point of view is Linus Torvalds refusing to allow a binary API for driver communication in the kernel.

              I read the rest of your comment, and disagree. You are essentially arguing that the binary API is necessary so that closed-source drivers can be loaded in the kernel. However, closed-souce drivers CAN be loaded in the kernel without a stable binary API, as proven by the closed-source nVidia driver that is running on the machine I am typing this on.

              There are excellent tec
      • I'm pretty sure Ron's is Golden. Which may (or may not)make this move semi-rational.

        Then again, maybe he's just playing the role of abused spouse. Hitting me shows he cares!

      • by crush (19364) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @07:55PM (#17042834)

        Hovespian gets to the meat of it in the first page: either J2EE stacks or .Net stacks. Novell has bedded down with Microsoft because the future looked rather bleak for them with Red Hat owning the Free Java space and acquiring JBoss and Novell wasting a lot of money and time on their .NET implementation. As a result Novell gets a couple of hundred million and in return Microsoft gets ...

        • a chance to spread FUD about linux patents
        • Novell working for free on making Microsoft offerings run on Linux
        • Novell ceasing development of work on an Exchange killer

        Microsoft wins, Novell execs get a bigger pot of money to pay themselves out of, so they win. Novell gets some value out of what is otherwise a dead loss (Mono) and can make a stronger case for their GNU/Linux/.NET mashup. Every other business dependent on GNU/Linux loses because Novell's engineers are wasting their time doing Microsoft's engineering development for them instead of improving Free software.

      • I think it makes sense in Wal-Mart land -- a planet I've never set foot upon, but I did read the story of the founder (hey I was bored) and I think the culture there is "What the customer asks for, you give him. You don't force something else on him, because he won't buy it and he'll resent the attempt".

        Of course I could be entirely full of compost. Any W-M insiders there? Oh, and I work for a retailer. Not Wal-Mart, different planet altogether. We sell noodles.

      • by Degrees (220395)
        Think of it this way:

        From Hovsepian's point of view: "Dang - lost four huge sales. The Microsoft IP FUD is working. What can I do to break it?"

        And your choices are 1) sit idly by. 2) broker a deal with the 800 lb. gorilla to pay you $108 million, and go on the record: the MS IP FUD doesn't apply if you buy SuSE.

        From Microsoft's point of view: Which is better for Microsoft? Microsoft versus Sun, Novell, Oracle, RedHat, and the Linux community? or Novell versus Sun, Oracle, RedHat, and the Linux community?

      • by invisik (227250)
        It makes sense from a sales point of view.

        For example.... Company X is talking to Novell on a full-on linux migration. They get a second opinion from Microsoft, who says FUD and scares them. Company X tells Novell "Sorry" and goes with the all Microsoft solution to stay in the clear.

        Now with this joint deal in place, Novell can confidently sell an all linux migration. If the customer says they believe the MS FUD, then Novell can confidently say SUSE works with Windows so there is no reason to go complet
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'd trust him more if he said one of these statments; since they at least sound plausable.

      - "In one contract I closed more Linux revenue at a higher profit margin than we make in most of a year; and as a new CEO it makes me look good regardless of what it does to Novell long term" or

      - "Oracle's too strong on the lobbying side in the federal government business for us to compete with; so we needed someone like Microsoft to partner with there because Microsoft has good ties to lobbyists thanks to Gates's dad'
  • "Lucy, you got some 'xplaining to do!"
  • by gr8whitesavage (942151) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:30PM (#17041874) Journal
    itsatrap
  • Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:31PM (#17041880)
    That was fairly contentless.

    If you didnt read it and pretended 2 marketers yakking, it was about as interesting.

    Well, that and Virtualization is the next key word. Add that to Web 2.0 and Beowulf cluster.

    Zzzzzz
    • by Ruie (30480)
      That was fairly contentless.

      On the contrary, it was very illuminating. Novell started the process first and, on top of that, they have illusions of technical collaboration with MS. So, either they are really desperate and needed cash ASAP, or are thinking of somehow double-crossing MS on the deal.

      • When I think of Novell, I think of a company that has an outdated file server and other cruft that they charge 100,000$+ for 250 licenses.. But they charge only a percent of that to schools.

        Hell, Id rather deal with Windows and MS than the Bindery. Egads.

        So, big whoop they're bending over to MS, thinking they might try to screw them.
        • by daveb (4522)
          Bindery?? Wow that's a blast from the past. You haven't worked on a Novell system for a while have you!

          They've got this new (circa mid 1990's) thing called a Directory. Microsoft have a bad copy which they say is active. I don't even think you can install bindery even for legacy apps in the current netware.

          Your view of the outdated file server is outdated.
          • I know my "view" is out of date. I've been on Unix from the mid 80's when my dad had an active purdue account. I used MSDos and sysV over a 300 baud modem.

            And I dealt with Win31 when it came out. Big surprise.

            Last time I had to deal with Novell was when my high school had it installed on their servers and IPX as their network proto.

            I tend to stay away from stuff like that.
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        Novell started the process first and, on top of that, they have illusions of technical collaboration with MS.

        I can't believe that in this day and age, someone can in good faith go see Microsoft and ask if they want to collaborate on a project.

        The closest image that comes to mind is some sort of tribesman peeking inside the cannon of a shogun while tickling the trigger wondering what that little comma shaped metal thingie is for.

        What is wrong with you ?? Don't they teach you anything at school ??? Do not

        • The closest image that comes to mind is some sort of tribesman peeking inside the cannon of a shogun while tickling the trigger wondering what that little comma shaped metal thingie is for.

          That image is absurd an unrealistic!

          I mean, since when would a tribesman know about commas?!

    • by cweber (34166)
      I'd have to agree at least in part. The higher up a guy is on the totempole the less information they utter, and replace it with buzzwords, filler and marketing fluff. Much of this interview was like this.
      Still, the first page had some interest: how the two companies started to talk, customer-centered.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        As I recall, he actually said the same thing during the press conference (I sucked it up and listened to the audio since Quicktime decided it didn't know how to decode the video).

        From the transcript [microsoft.com]:

        What I really said was, look it, as a customer, you would have taken me, when I was working at my old company and said, I want you to get this, and get together with the other vendor, and make this stuff work. Don't put that responsibility on me. And Kevin, being a former CIO at Wal-Mart, he resonated, that w

    • by daveb (4522)
      EXCELLENT That's going to be how I respond to the next vendor that pops in here them: We have an excellent HR managment system and discounts on volume licensing of PrintPal me: Yes but will it help virtualise my Web2.0 Beowolf or: Great - will it turn my virtualised Beowolf cluster into a Web 2.0 service? i can see their lips quivering already [evil grin]
  • good puppy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superwiz (655733) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:31PM (#17041882) Journal

    here's a $100,000,000 bone

    the guy sounds like an MS soundbite now

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:32PM (#17041906) Homepage Journal
    We did not do a full review as part of the process. [Microsoft] may have; we did not. I think your question was based on an assumption that we did a deep review, and we didn't.
    By a full review there, I believe he means a code review, to look for patent violations, before they signed a deal to protect their customers from possible patent violations. So he bought something, without actually doing due diligence to find out if they actually needed it. That's like buying flood damage insurance when you live on a mountain, it's not spending company money responsibly.

    • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:42PM (#17042028)
      So he bought something, without actually doing due diligence to find out if they actually needed it.
      I have listened to this argument over and over. I do not buy it. What is the appropriate due diligence to know if you are going to be the target of bogus litigation? The US legal system is a complete mess, and getting worse. The assumption that you have nothing to fear if you have done nothing wrong is unbelievably naive. There is nothing irresponsible about taking out insurance against one of the biggest business risks corporations face today.
      • by segedunum (883035)

        I have listened to this argument over and over. I do not buy it. What is the appropriate due diligence to know if you are going to be the target of bogus litigation?

        What is the point of trying to agree a deal to ward off patent litigation when you believe any litigation to be bogus and needless and you haven't performed at least a modicum of due dilligence to establish whether such claims would actually be bogus? For Novell, due dilligence would primarily be performed on Mono, Open Office and possibly Sam

      • by killjoe (766577)
        MS isn't promising not to sue Novell, they are promising not to sue novell customers. That's a big difference. Of course there are loopholes so their promise is worthless anyway.

        Ballmer has recently stated that they are ready to start suing people who USE linux if that linux was not purchased from SUSE/Novell. This mean you could be sued by MS, I could, anybody could.
      • "There is nothing irresponsible about taking out insurance against one of the biggest business risks corporations face today."

        Would you also condone paying al-Qaida for not bombing your business? Where exactly would you draw the line? You don't give in to terrorists and you trust that the authorities deal with them. The same way you don't give in to the software patent mob and trust that IBM's nazguls will deal with them, since IBM is betting their business on GNU/Linux. Any IP doubts about GPL software are
    • They have been in financial difficulties for years, this deal gets them a big chunk of change and the MS marketing machine goes to bat for them. The royalty payments are likely to be insignificant compared to the markets they gain. Good luck selling that one to the shareholders as misconduct.
    • It was a bargain. the agreement allows them access to 108 million in patented items were they only had to pay 40 million for. In a direct exchange, that would be a profit of over 60 million dollars.

      I find it annoying when people think Novel only does Linux now. They have tons of other products that are not free as in spirit or beer. Their group ware application could probably benefit from tons of Microsoft IP seeing how Microsoft's product generally run better then others on Microsoft's operating systems. A
    • You know, I worked at an organization that had it's building withing a 500 meter range of a river. Therefore it was forced by the government to take an insurance against crashes with ships. The fact that there was an altitude difference of about 30 meters didn't count at all.

      Now replace government with customers and you have a Novell-Microsoft deal.
    • I think it makes no difference if there are IP infringements or not. Microsoft has everyone convinced there are and that is a fact. Novell can now say (and is) If there are infringements or not, we don't know, but you're covered either way. That's a major warm fuzzy for a client spending a large sum of money on a platform.

      One less major piece of FUD to be spread.

      -m
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        yup, not worth $40 million, or reciprecation. He's admitted to buying something without considering its value. That's misconduct.
        • by invisik (227250)
          It's hardly an expenditure, as Novell is receiving $348 million. But maybe that's your point as well.

          This is a classic "If you can't beat them, join them" scenario. But with the added bonus of having "them" pay us. Straight business. I think the open source community needs to get more comfortable with "business".

          -m
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and tries to sell virtualized Linux on a Win server and right after him another man walkes into the bar and tries to sell virtualized Windows on a Linux server. The barkeeper says "Get the f*ck outta here, both of you!".

    Bad joke, eh? At least now you get the deeper meaning of the Novell/Microsoft deal.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Bad joke, eh? At least now you get the deeper meaning of the Novell/Microsoft deal.''

      Yes, but I don't get it. We can already run Windows on Linux with virtualization (e.g. with Xen 3.0), and Linux on Windows with virtualization (e.g. VMWare). What do we need Microsoft and Novell signing deals for? IIRC, Xen is even packaged for SuSE (Novell's Linux distro).
  • by pieterh (196118) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:40PM (#17041990) Homepage
    The key point from the article is that Novell accuses Microsoft of spreading patent FUD to kill Linux deals.

    Software patents are such a fantastic weapon for monopolists who have lots of lawyers. No surprise Microsoft is pushing so hard to get them legalised in Europe.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, if you are not happy with Novell, you can always migrate to Debian, the second largest GNU/Linux distribution.

    From the Netcraft's GNU/Linux distribution share [netcraft.com] stats:
    RH - 34%,
    Debian - 25%
    Suse - 11 %
    • by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:37PM (#17043306)
      Well, if you are not happy with Novell, you can always migrate to Debian, the second largest GNU/Linux distribution.

      From the Netcraft's GNU/Linux distribution share stats:
      RH - 34%,
      Debian - 25%
      Suse - 11 %

      That chart is only for webservers. Debian has nowhere near that much of the Linux market overall, though distros derived from it might.
  • To which Turner replied, "OK, I'm Microsoft now, so I can be a customer by buying out Novell's strategic assets, like its patent licenses. How much?"

    We know the rest.
  • Admissions my arse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bronster (13157) <slashdot@brong.net> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:47PM (#17042080) Homepage
    Did the patent review turn up any possible violations of Microsoft patents in the Linux source code? We absolutely have made no admissions of any infringements, period, from our point of view. No admissions.

    Slimy toad. The question should to follow this should have been. "Are you personally aware of any violations of Microsoft patents having been identified as present in Linux code." None of this wishy washy "I haven't admitted to anything" nonsense. Bloody admit to it or state for the record that you aren't sitting on something that you'll "admit" later.
    • by strider44 (650833)
      They're covering their arses, as they should. If there *are* patent problems with Linux then Novell could be sued by their customers if they have made public proclamations that there are no patent problems in Linux. As it is they just offer indemnification which implies that they don't think there are patent problems but doesn't come right out and say it.
  • Up your ass Novell.
    You betrayed us. I hope you crash and burn in hell for your SINS.

    You're going to pay a heavy price for your transgressions. Better dust off those resumes, you're all about to be out on your asses looking for work once Novell goes tits up..

    Traitors..

    • by Lothsahn (221388)
      How exactly did they "betray" Linux? Is there an article you can point me to on how this deal harms Linux? This issue has come up a number of times and I don't understand how this hurts Linux in any way.
    • by Tadrith (557354)
      I could have sworn Novell has been tits up for quite some time...

      Okay, sorry! OW! Stop hitting me!

      All jokes aside, Novell hasn't been a choice for me in some time. I grew up on Netware 3.11 and 3.12, all the way up until 5.5. I look back fondly on those days, but Novell hasn't been the same for some time. My recent experiences with it were anything but pleasant, with a lot of strange issues cropping up. A part of me wishes that Novell would get back to their former glory, but I doubt that's going to happen.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      it's the CEO, not the employees. The ceo is making deals with MS so he has someplace to go when Novel folds.
  • The CEO of what company entered an agreement with the largest software company in the world only to proclaim "I didn't examine the agreement?"

    I predict there will be no shareholder lawsuit.

    Yet another example of how the Executive Class in America have long ago passed the point of accountability for their actions.
  • What a Total Idiot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by segedunum (883035) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @07:20PM (#17042412)
    Honestly, I didn't think anything more stupid and insane could be said about this whole thing, but Hovsepian has really topped it off. I'd love to get paid the amount of money some of the execs are at Novell for the sheer, it really has to be said, incompetence and stupidity.

    This past May, I picked up the phone and called Kevin Turner, the COO at Microsoft. I knew Kevin when he was the CIO at Wal-Mart.

    So you called Microsoft out of desperation because you had no idea how to get Novell out of the cesspit it has found itself in? Why don't you just say that? No one calls the company who is taking business off you hand over fist and is the source of all your woes unless you're effectively conceding defeat. There's no deal you can do with them. They're just going to laugh at you and have you on.

    ...if I came in and started talking to you about virtualization on Linux, and this Microsoft guy showed up and started talking to you about virtualization on Windows, what would you say to us?"........

    Yet again, we get this virtualisation nonsense which seems to be Novell's answer to everything these days. In what possible way is virtualisation a stumbling block to anything?! Somebody, tell me. We've been able to virtualise Windows quite happily under VMware for years without any trouble - no thanks to Microsoft. Xen won't yet virtualise Windows, but it can, and when the right hardware support is in place it will do without any help from Microsoft.

    Again - what on Earth is the problem apart from your own business and your own strategy?!

    "Well, that's why I'm calling. How do we make that work around virtualization?"

    Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. You wait until Xen works with the hardware it needs to make virtualising Windows possible, or in the meantime, you grab a copy of VMware and install Windows or Linux on it? You could even partner with VMware. Fancy that. *Puts phone down*

    My point of view is that customers are going to have J2EE stacks and .Net stacks in their shops.

    That's not the way Microsoft views it.

    If I'm a CIO, that's what I'm dealing with: "What are you guys doing to make my life easier to make those things work together?"

    From Microsoft's perspective, absolutely nothing, because they don't care about interoperability. They must be doing something right, because its worked for them. All the useful Java and .Net interoperability software is already being sold successfully via smaller software companies, and most are doing quite well out of it. It's a pity that Novell isn't a part of this, isn't making any money out of this and can't put Mono to some actual good use.

    A week later we were all sitting in Chicago having a discussion about virtualization.

    To do with what exactly? Cluestick: people are already doing it.

    Their desire to do some things around IP [intellectual property] came up as one of the things they wanted to talk about.

    So the deal was about interoperability, what there is to actually talk about, and Microsoft wanted to talk to you about patents and IP and you agreed, which serves their own ends? Brilliant. What a bunch of clueless idiots. I'm sure you're now part of another long running office joke in Redmond.

    ...we saw that when you look at the math, the balance of trade was $108 million to us and $40 million to them.

    And you thought that gave you the upper hand, and you never once asked why Microsoft were willing to go along with something that they just didn't need to do?

    All I cared about was, I lost a deal with a large retailer to Microsoft for the first time about 12 or 18 months ago

    • Your explanation (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      " I picked up the phone and called Kevin Turner, the COO at Microsoft. I knew Kevin when he was the CIO at Wal-Mart."

      Good ol' boy. Just trying to figure out to make a bunch of money. It has nothing to do with customers or Novell surviving.

    • by Degrees (220395)

      A week later we were all sitting in Chicago having a discussion about virtualization.

      To do with what exactly?

      You seem to ignore the fact that Microsoft isn't above dirty tricks to break their competitor's products. By getting Microsoft to agree, in writing, to collaborate on interoperability, Novell is protecting themselves.

      Just because it is in a VM, doesn't mean it is invulnerable. It makes sense to me that Novell would like to have legal assurance that sabotage isn't just an accident, but "breach of c

  • I don't believe it. It's easy to revise history when you were one of a few partcipating in it.

    Even if he did have some initial thoughts regarding the matter in that way clearly Microsoft did not, even from the beginning.

    Several factors will hurt this deal. It will potentially taint the developers and their contribution back into the linux development cycle. It will give Microsoft some control on the development of Linux.

    Microsoft knows they can't compete so they wanted to control the development and then
  • It seems that Novell is working hard to make up for the PR loss following their latest deal with Microsoft. Apparently, they did not expect this to have such a negative impact on their image. I wonder if that's because they simply miscalculated, or because the community is overreacting and it's actually no big deal. I haven't been following the case closely, so I don't know, but maybe someone else can enlighten us all?
    • I think there is overreaction, but I don't think it's to a ridiculous level.

      The deal buys Microsoft nothing from a legal perspective. So, all the noise about patents is mostly about perception (which is all that problem is anyway) than reality. Novell screwed up majorly I think because they miscalculated and thought this would make the illusory patent problem better instead of much, much worse. The really irritating thing is that it makes it better for just them, but much, much worse for everybody else.

    • by kimvette (919543)
      I think Linux users are overreacting in knee-jerk style. Let's all sit back and wait and see what SuSE 10.3 (or will it be SuSE 11) and onward bring us.
  • by HRbnjR (12398) <chris@hubick.com> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:04PM (#17042952) Homepage
    All I cared about was, I lost a deal with a large retailer to Microsoft for the first time about 12 or 18 months ago. It was going to be an all-Linux deal, and I lost it because they were unduly influenced, in my opinion, to be fearful of these [IP and indemnity issues]. From my point of view that was really too bad, because Linux lost. Then I watched it happen three more times.

    I don't believe for a second that Microsoft wasn't acutely aware of exactly that! They understand very well that they win deals due to FUD about Linux IP and indemnity issues, and that is exactly why they entered into this agreement.

    This deal is serving as a major catalyst to make that very problem worse, not better!
  • ``Novell CEO Gives Behind the Scenes Account of Microsoft Deal''

    In other words, he answers the all-important question:

    What the hack where they thinking?!
  • Novell CEO:

    "We are almost broke, and wrong or right, Microsoft can sue us until our kids are geriatric."

    "Or, we can take a hundred mil or so from Microsoft, and have some black ink on our balance sheet, and I wont be the 20th Novell CEO to get fired."

    "But, I run the risk of losing the love, respect and admiration of the Linux Community, be labeled a sell-out, and be forced to eat alone at trade shows."

    Novell CEO's wife:

    "What would your cut be of that hundred Mil?........Really?..........Well,....loo

  • FTFA:

    ``My point of view is that customers are going to have J2EE stacks and .Net stacks in their shops. If I'm a CIO, that's what I'm dealing with: "What are you guys doing to make my life easier to make those things work together?"''

    What they _should_ have done was to keep things compatible in the first place. In fact, Microsoft did something along those lines with Visual J# .Net. However, that's really a .Net port of Visual J++, Microsoft's own, incompatible imitation of the real Java. At any rate, variou
    • by idlake (850372)
      What they _should_ have done was to keep things compatible in the first place.

      Novell did: Mono provides seamless integration of CLR and JVM code. So, on Mono, you can run Microsoft .NET, Mono/GNU, and Java.
  • Regarding Ballmer's "undisclosed balance sheet liability" comments:

    ``Obviously, I was disappointed, because the heart and essence of the deal was around the technology collaboration and what we want to get done for the customer.''

    Perhaps that's what you (Novell CEO) thought, but if Microsoft finds a way to exploit this and rape you or your customers or the rest of the world in any way, you still made a foolish deal.
  • Ron seems to have completely forgotten about Microsoft's track record with "collaboration"..psst Ron..it sucks.

    *Ron, we smell poniez: http://techp.org/ [techp.org]

  • I don't get (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slashdot.org (321932) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:41PM (#17043348) Homepage Journal
    If you could put back on your old hat as a customer, if I came in and started talking to you about virtualization on Linux, and this Microsoft guy showed up and started talking to you about virtualization on Windows, what would you say to us?

    What a weirdly constructed phrase. If I was the customer I would say, wtf are you talking about? Or I might say, get the fuck out of here, I'm not interested in your virtualization marketing-speak.

    What I need as a customer is for things to become mre clean, simple, consistent, stable, secure, etc, I don't need yet another layer of shit on top of the layers of poop that are already there.

    If I'm a CIO, that's what I'm dealing with: "What are you guys doing to make my life easier to make those things work together?" I saw virtualization as a key to us being able to do that in a different manner than we have in the past.

    Why? So instead of two dual core systems I can now buy one quad core? Except the two dual core systems would always run smoother because there's less resource contention?

    Is virtualization really what the market demands nowadays??
  • One has to wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caseih (160668) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:42PM (#17043916)
    One of my co-workers spent the summer working for Microsoft on a very cool project (IronPython). During his stay there he heard from Microsoft lawyers during a presentation that Microsoft has approached Novell numerous times over licensing concerning .NET patents during the last year or two. Each time they were rebuffed by Novell. He got the impression Microsoft was very displeased about this. In their minds after all, .NET *is* their IP and Novell was flouting it. One has to wonder what really changed Novell's mind about dealing with Microsoft in a patent covenant relationship.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Billly Gates (198444)
      Which just shows the mono and c# loyalists who ignored the patent and legal implicantions with it because it was better than java are idiots.

      Mono has been around for 2 years and yet winforms is still not finished the last time I took a look at it last spring. Winforms has been around since .net 1.0. I have yet to see a single app that could cross compile to Linux and Windows nor have I ever seen any successfull non Windows sites use ASP.net using mono.

      Now since java is GPLed its time to abandon Mono. Its be
      • by caseih (160668)
        And this really is sad because .NET in general and C# in particular is so much better than Java for many reasons, in specific circumstances. It is cleaner, more flexible, and does things the JVM just cannot do yet (soon it will though) such as generics--true generics, not the Java 5 pseudo-generics--and delegates. Even in the current state Mono is in, it's a joy to use to program Linux apps in GTK#. Even the most hawkish anti-Mono people have to admit that MS's patents really only cover the parts of .NET
      • by idlake (850372)
        Which just shows the mono and c# loyalists who ignored the patent and legal implicantions with it because it was better than java are idiots.

        Until very recently, the legal situation surrounding Java was much worse: Sun owns patents and copyrights up the wazoo on Java. That issue won't be addressed by open sourcing Java. The legal situation surrounding .NET is still better, although the FUD Microsoft is spreading using their hokey patent is certainly a problem.

        Now since java is GPLed its time to abandon Mo
      • Mono has been around for 2 years and yet winforms is still not finished the last time I took a look at it last spring. Winforms has been around since .net 1.0. I have yet to see a single app that could cross compile to Linux and Windows nor have I ever seen any successfull non Windows sites use ASP.net using mono.

        One version of Winforms was around in .NET 1.0, there were a lot of changes with 2.0. I think the reason it has taken so long though is because the community actively avoided it since it was ti

  • Dumping linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @09:57AM (#17049026) Homepage Journal

    We never changed our position. All I cared about was, I lost a deal with a large retailer to Microsoft for the first time about 12 or 18 months ago. It was going to be an all-Linux deal, and I lost it because they were unduly influenced, in my opinion, to be fearful of these [IP and indemnity issues]. From my point of view that was really too bad, because Linux lost. Then I watched it happen three more times.

    Perhaps he would have been better off reminding them that Microsoft customers don't get IP idemnity either. IIRC, Microsoft's customers were sued by Timeline for using code which Microsoft improperly integrated into SQL server. Then, the Eolas suit caused Microsoft to issue a patch which removed functionality from Internet Explorer. I am not aware of Microsoft compensating its customers in either case.

    I think Ron really failed Novell with this recent Microsoft deal. Actions speak louder than words; no matter what he says, he's sent a clear message to the world that Novell believes Linux infringes on Microsoft IP. Microsoft agreed to the deal because they knew it had a strategic advantage against Linux, not because they wanted to help Novell.

    It never was about IP - his lost customers were bluffing. He might have won the deals had he been a better salesman:

    • Remind the customer of the virus problems that plague Windows. How much, Mr. Customer, will you have to spend on virus cleanup if you use Windows?
    • Remind them of the cost of security: Are you willing to risk your trade secrets and IP to software that can be compromised by the mere insertion of a music CD? *cough* Sony *cough*.
    • Remind them that Microsoft's customers have been sued over IP issues in the past; that Microsoft has had to disable functionality due to patent infringements.

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