Friday, November 03, 2006

Novell and Microsoft, Part 2

Now that I've had a chance to digest.

Curious how as soon as Novell is about to make its product incredibly interoperable with Windows, Windows decides to help out. This will give Microsoft royalty payment for every Novell installation, and Novell a sure shot into every Microsoft Shop that's looking at deploying some cheaper workstations.

Here's the rub: we don't need Microsoft's "help". I'm working right now on a Launchpad team to make this interoperability happen on Ubuntu, with Free Software--as in beer, as in speech. And Novell already made a proprietary version of what we're working on now.

This deal has FUD written all over it. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it means: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Microsoft is using this deal to tell a story, written explicitly in the paragraph I quoted in my earlier blog post:

As part of the agreement, Microsoft said it would not file patent infringement suits against customers who purchase Novell’s SuSE Linux.

The story is: Using a computer is dangerous if you don't pay us. If you're GOING to use Linux use Novell so we get a royalty, or you'll live in fear of lawsuits.

Well, sorry Microsoft, we're not eating your FUD. If you're going to compete with Linux, at least try to compete on quality; this desperate attempt at holding onto your monopoly through fear is only a clear signal that you've recognized the Penguin Army amassing.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate Microsoft. I use Windows XP and am in fact using it as I type. I'll likely use it as long as there are so many apps written for it, since I like Adobe products and modern games. I'll pay for a license in order to be able to use them.

But, frankly I wish they'd spend more time on improving their product, and less time devising ways to keep their monopoly as that's what got me into Free Software in the first place: it's made for quality, not revenue generation. The money is in the service and support, not the bits and bytes.

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