Lyons on Dell, Ubuntu, Microsoft and Novell

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks, or so, since I last blogged. I remembered I had other stuff to do, and so I did it. I’ve still got other stuff to do, but Dan Lyons has a new(ish) article on Forbes.com: Dell’s Linux Problem. Nothing particularly interesting, really. It’s basically just mentioning that Dell have done a deal with Microsoft and/or Novell in relation to that notorious deal that Microsoft and Novell did.

And importantly, Microsoft and Novell also agreed not to sue each other over intellectual property.

Did they? Really? I thought it was that Microsoft and Novell had agreed not to sue each other’s customers. Or did Lyons simply get it wrong, months after such confusion was cleared up for the rest of us?

Let’s see what else there is.

Linux–the open source operating system that is maintained and supported by a community of volunteers

Makes it sound slightly like unpaid hobbyists, or something. Would he consider, say, RedHat a volunteer? Or those employed by RedHat to develop Linux software volunteers? Perhaps I’m being mean and picky there. Or perhaps not. After all, keep referring to Linux as “maintained and supported by a community of volunteers”, and people might start thinking that’s all there is to it.

Microsoft and Novell last year started working together to make their software programs interact more smoothly. Microsoft even agreed to help sell Novell’s version of Linux. The idea was to help customers who want to use both Windows and Linux.

Just because Microsoft and/or Novell say that, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. And let’s not forget this is Microsoft we’re talking about. How well does Lyons know, or understand, Microsoft, eh? Personally, I think he’s just repeating Microsoft/Novell PR stuff. (“Public Relations”, of course, is just a PR term for propaganda. It’s how the term originated, because “propaganda” had an image problem. So does PR, these days.)

Recently, Linux supporters swarmed Dell after the company put up a Web site called IdeaStorm asking for suggestions. Like teenage girls voting for Sanjaya on American Idol, thousands of Linux fans wrote to Dell and “voted” for PCs loaded with Linux, making this the No. 1 request on IdeaStorm.

“Like teenage girls voting for Sanjaya on American Idol”? Is he trying to insult Dell’s potential customers? (Perhaps if I knew who Sanjaya was, I might know.) Perhaps it’s just flame-bait. Or, perhaps, he’s just painting part of that old, misleading picture that’s been painted before of us Linux users being, well, the sort of crowd most people might not want to have much to do with, etc. But anyway.

Still nothing new on his Floating Point blog.

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One Response to “Lyons on Dell, Ubuntu, Microsoft and Novell”

  1. cdurst Says:

    Love your blog, but I wanted to post a couple more complaints about the original article.

    From the Lyons Article:

    Linux fans went nuts. Why? Because they hate Microsoft. They viewed the deal as a way for Microsoft to assert that Linux violated some Microsoft patents. Novell, by going along, was collaborating with the enemy, they said.

    I wonder which flames he were reading. He seems to have completely missed the real points. It has nothing to do with hating Microsoft as a company. (We think they sell overpriced, shoddy and dangerous products, and we can’t understand why anyone would put trust in anything they say given their track record. But it’s not about blind hatred.)

    Microsoft directly claimed patent violations in Linux, it wasn’t just in our “view” of the deal.

    And the issue with Novell wasn’t that it was collaborating (that was just the moronic part of the move), the complaint is that they were effectively “stealing” someone else’s GPL code and trying to use a loophole in the license to gain extra advantages over all other uses of the code. They clearly violated the spirit of the license and effectively “flipped the bird” to all their external developers. In addition they made all future Novell contributions to Free Software encumbered with Patent FUD (at least for the next 5 years).

    On the other hand, the most important thing about the Dell announcement is that, regardless of the Linux distribution they choose, this will put a lot more pressure on hardware component manufacturers to support Linux!

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