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Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

By Bruce Byfield on October 24, 2008 (8:00:00 PM)

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Few sites about free software attract more controversy than Boycott Novell. Founded in 2006 in response to the first Microsoft-Novell deal, as its name suggests, the site has evolved more recently into a site for commentary and investigation of any subject that might be a threat to free software. To its regular readers, this subject matter makes Boycott Novell -- like Groklaw, its apparent inspiration -- a defender of the community. But to others, especially those who have been the subject of its articles, the site is full of illogical arguments and undeserved attacks, and an embarrassment that only brings the community into disrepute.

Although founded by Shane Coyle, Boycott Novell is best known for the writings of Roy Schestowitz, a seemingly tireless poster who frequently writes half a dozen or more articles a day for the site, and posts numerous comments elsewhere across the Internet. For many people, Schestowitz is the public face of the site, and the criticisms -- ranging from the reasoned to the obscenely vicious -- are as likely to be directed at him as the site itself.

Boycott Novell, Schestowitz says, "is an accumulation of resources, many of which are external, that together explain the [Microsoft-Novell] deal in what we consider a more realistic light" than what was being said in the media. "It was immediately evident that the press favoured the words of a pair of companies which colluded against a non-commercial entity [the free software movement]. Their wealth alone established trust, so backlash came from isolated voices, but rarely from the mainstream press."

Describing himself as "an avid SUSE user for years," Schestowitz says he and Coyle are two of the community developers "hurt" by the deal. At first, Schestowitz says, he argued his view of the deal in openSUSE mailing lists, but finding his perspective was not being accepted, "I decided to share my understanding of the deal and shed light on the things which the press simply ignored." With this decision, Boycott Novell soon skyrocketed in popularity, and began its evolution into the center of controversy that it has become today.

Boycott Novell advocates

Those who find Boycott Novell's publications valuable vary from those in full agreement with the perspective on the site to those who find the site useful but express concern about how those perspectives are articulated.

A typical unqualified supporter is Keith G. Robertson-Turner, who uses the nickname Homer. "The problem is Microsoft," Robertson-Turner says bluntly. He admits that Boycott Novell "tends to polarise the issue, as do I," but immediately adds, "I make no apologies for that, since as far as I am concerned, one is either part of the problem or part of the solution."

As far as Robertson-Turner is concerned, Microsoft is "a vicious corporation with zero moral standards." Similarly, Novell has "betrayed its own community," especially in the introduction of what he terms "poisonware" such as Mono and Moonlight -- software that might in the future become the basis for patent attacks on free software by Microsoft.

Robertson-Turner sees himself and Boycott Novell as defending against three levels of opponents: Microsoft, its corporate allies, and community members who support them. Such community members include those who actively "support using of developing Microsoft technologies," or those who are "refusing to recognise the problem, instead choosing to shoot the messenger." In other words, he suggests that the attacks on Boycott Novell are easier than facing up to the realities of the dangers that he sees.

Robertson-Turner asserts, "Boycott Novell provides an invaluable service by exposing the truth about Microsoft and its allies. Some of that exposure may be speculative, but most is based on documented fact that can be independently verified."

Other Boycott Novell supporters are more guarded. For example, Peter Kraus, a second-year student at the University of Glasgow who is studying chemistry and forensic studies, describes the site as having a "somewhat borderline point of view" with "a dark Orwell vision," but believes that much of what is said on the site is largely true, even though he thinks that some of its coverage of Novell "is a bit too critical and prejudiced." As a relative newcomer to free software, Kraus also finds it useful as an informational hub that has led him to other sites and blogs.

Similarly, Christian Einfeldt, who for several years has been producing a movie on the free software community called The Digital Tipping Point, says that "I am generally pro-Novell, and I think that the basic concept of Boycott Novell is misguided. But I think that Roy has done some original journalism and some original digging, and he has brought some important stuff to light. Also, I think that, even if I disagree with Roy, he is nonetheless an important voice of conscience for the greater FOSS community. It is important that we have people like Roy who will question what leading members of the community do."

Boycott Novell's detractors

Those who criticize Boycott Novell are different from the site's supporters in several ways. Their opinion is often colored by having been the subject of one of Boycott Novell's articles. Some are afraid to voice their criticisms publicly, worrying that the site will attack them if they do.

Still, criticism does appear occasionally. Last summer, a blog post appeared entitled "Boycott Novell: Defenders of Freedom or Offenders of Freedom." According to the post, Boycott Novell:

has misled hundreds of thousands of Free Software advocates, and it constantly works on staining the reputations of companies that have done nothing wrong. What's worse, they often have little proof of anything. Ever read a Boycott Novell article? Funny how they cite themselves 10 or more times in every article, rather than actually pointing to any relevant news.

Calling for responsible coverage of free software issues, the post concluded, "As a group, Free Software supporters need to end the hate and anger against faceless companies. It's counter-productive. Furthermore, it's just damn silly."

More recently, analyst Stephen O'Grady of open source analyst firm RedMonk responded to Schestowitz's claim that anything said by RedMonk "ought to be taken with a level of caution, apprehension, and suspicion." Although O'Grady agreed that being skeptical of analysts was only healthy, he points out that Microsoft has been as unhappy with his analysis as Schestowitz appears to be. O'Grady continued:

Schestowitz, for his part, has offered up even less evidence. Essentially, Schestowitz would have us branded with a scarlet letter -- S for sell-out, perhaps? -- for the simple crime of agreeing to work with Microsoft. As he has, in the past, recommended that Raven Zachary of the 451 Group be similarly tarred and feathered because he had the temerity to actually visit the Redmond campus. Nowhere that I'm aware of does he point to an alleged example of said bias; it's merely assumed because there is a disclosed financial relationship in place.

To Jeff Waugh of the GNOME Foundation, who last year clashed with Schestowitz over GNOME's involvement in the writing of OOXML specification, the attack on O'Grady and RedMonk was an example of the problem presented by Boycott Novell. Describing O'Grady as "one of those people behind the scenes who has connected a lot of dots and done a lot of really good things for the free software world," he suggests that the fact that Schestowitz would attack O'Grady "clearly shows that he has no idea of what's going on in the industry and who the real players are. Roy likes connecting dots that don't even make sense."

Waugh suggests that the prevailing attitudes on Boycott Novell are symptomatic of a larger situation in society "where to disagree is to be enemies, and you have to find all sorts of connections and conspiracy theories to show that the other person is bad -- not merely holding a different opinion, but bad." He suggests that Boycott Novell and its supporters take the approach that they do because they lack life experience -- either due to their youth, or, more probably, because they do not have "those life experiences that inform them about how the world works -- for instance, that people can do bad things, not because they are involved in some kind of conspiracy, but because they're stupid, or they hold a different opinion or make a mistake."

Waugh suggests that the paranoia he sees on Boycott Novell is the flip side of the idealism that is central to the free software community. "Any leading-edge, anti-establishment group that has a certain amount of ideology in its makeup can attract extremes," he says.

Furthermore, he suggests that the site is full of "purposeful misunderstanding" that allows it to continue publishing. "It must be a complex set of rules to adopt in your mind," Waugh says. "If Microsoft does something good, then we have to find something bad in it. And it's quite complicated to come up with a reason why a person is evil, even though they do good things."

Waugh admits that voicing the community's discontent with Novell was an important statement to make. "Had Boycott Novell taken a very calm and considered approach to the single issue of the Novell and Microsoft agreement and done a highly informed and investigative approach to that issue, I think it would have been very effective. Much like Pamela Jones [of Groklaw] did with the SCO stuff. You need someone who can dedicatingly tear it apart."

However, as things are, Waugh claims that Boycott Novell is "not doing analysis" and "has become extremely emotive instead. It's demonized people, as well as business relations and companies, and branched into 50 million other things to throw mud at the players involved. And that is extremely disappointing." In the end, Waugh says, attitudes like those on Boycott Novell are "enormously divisive." They leave no room for reconciling differences in the community, and leave a bad impression with outsiders that can handicap the community's goals.

Finding middle ground

Perhaps the best measure of the strong but conflicting views that Boycott Novell inspires is that many of those I approached in researching this story expressed strong reservations about publishing it. Waugh, for instance, wondered if "covering [Boycott Novell] at all is either giving it undue promotional time, or just opening yourself up for endless argument." And it does seem likely that any attempt to represent the opposing views on such a heated subject can only lead to accusations of bias, especially since in the past I have been mildly demonized by Boycott Novell myself.

Perhaps the sanest approach to such a divisive subject is Christian Einfeldt's. In Einfeldt's view, "criticism is vital to a democracy," and "the free and open source community is a democratic movement" that can only benefit from being toleration on both sides. "If Novell listens to Roy and considers some of Roy's points, Novell can improve as a company," Einfeldt says. He suggests that he can disagree with Schestowitz while continuing to regard him as "a good personal friend," at the same time that he considers Miguel de Icaza, a frequent target of Boycott Novell, as "a friendly acquaintance" whose company he enjoys.

Waugh suggests that toleration is precisely what Boycott Novell and its advocates are unequipped to practice. Perhaps those on both sides who are capable of practicing it should try to set an example. The alternative is for everyone involved to make enemies of people who should be their natural allies.

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist who writes regularly for

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on Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

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Roy is way too sloppy

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 08:19 PM
He doesn't do his homework, his supposed references are other articles on BoycottNovell, and he makes excuses for being so slipshod like "it's just a blog and I don't always have time." Roy, when you make a career out of attacking other people, you better get your facts lined up first. A recent example is when he attacked some Novell devs:

"It must not be neglected that Joseph Hill is — you’ve guessed it — also a Novell employee, just like Jeff Steadfast and other seemingly-independent fans of Mono [Correction: according to the discussion at the bottom, the affiliations are all obvious and publicly known, so this claim is challenged and we remove it with apologies to Jeff]. It often traces back to Novell. There is also the suspicion that they may be using fake accounts to promote this technology and dissolve resistance to it."

He made a correction, but come on-- that's a pretty severe unfounded accusation. Shame.

There is lots more just like this. We need people who are willing to do the hard work of digging into these issues and unearthing the truth. Roy's writings are not reliable, and he is far too willing to throw stones with no basis.



Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 08:21 PM
From this article:

BTW Roy, did you ever purchase your patent protection, or was that just a one-off stunt?


Tell us what you really think.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 01:15 AM

Bruce, you should not try to pretend to be objective when you've written stuff like this:

If it were not for Boycott Novell, I'd have never known though, so you should be thanking Roy for the increased audience. Here's another zero credibility list you landed on.

Don't think that one will generate much traffic for you though.


Re: Tell us what you really think.

Posted by: nanday on October 26, 2008 01:56 AM
It's not a pretense of objectivity; it's an effort at objectivity.

And don't be so sure you know my opinion in advance. Both you and the link that you provide are so far off my real opinions and what I wrote that I have a hard time taking either seriously. For instance, it would probably surprise you that my recent exchanges with Roy have been quite friendly on each side.

That's not saying that we are in perfect agreement, but, as I said in the article, a lot of the controversy has gone too far.

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Re(1): Tell us what you really think.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 28, 2008 04:07 PM
If you are trying to be objective, you will have to try harder. I'm not the only person who thought this piece was a hatchet job:


Re: Tell us what you really think.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 30, 2008 07:37 PM
Hello twitter! So good to see you.

Recently a source named you as being one William Hill of Baton Rouge, LA.

Will you confirm, deny, or slink away?


Re(1): Tell us what you really think.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 31, 2008 06:44 AM

Try to understand the big picture here

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 09:40 PM
1. Microsoft does want to use every possible method, including illegal ones, to maintain and extend its monopoly of the desktop. That's not opinion, it's fact, backed up by countless memos and emails that emanated from Microsoft, from testimony at its trial in 1999/2000, etc. No, I'm not going to provide links because unless you're hopelessly biased you know it's true.

2. The Novell/Microsoft deal was a very unwise one for Novell to make, reinforcing a Microsoft patent ploy and rasing the specter of Microsoft going after Linux users other than Novell's for patent royalties. Microsoft's plan seems not to have worked, because of a small legal slip which I first read about on Groklaw. But I don't think Novell deserves any thanks for that.

3. When you get a lot of people, including some who are young and/or immature, discussing something - anything - on a blog, you are going to get some comments that are wild/unsupported/childish/flames etc. Get used to it. Ignore the trolls and the kiddies, read the comments that are objective and to the point. Quoting silly comments proves absolutely nothing, you can find similar on any discussion board anywhere, including


Re: Try to understand the big picture here

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 10:49 PM
You're just as sloppy as Roy- those were Roy's own word that I quoted. Just click the link. The whole subject of this article is whether the information on can be trusted-- that's just one example of why it can't.


Re(1): Try to understand the big picture here

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 07:06 AM
"The whole subject of this article is whether the information on can be trusted"

Some of it can, some of it can't. Like any other site on the web. You've decided Roy's own postings can't just be accepted without checking. But several other people post there.

There is *no* active web site where you can make the once-for-all decision that it "can be trusted" 100%. There have been mistakes on the web's most respected blogs, even in PJ's posts on Groklaw. She's a lot more reliable than Roy. But it's always a matter of degree.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 10:46 PM
>Describing O'Grady as "one of those people behind the scenes who has connected a lot of dots and done a lot of really good things
>for the free software world

What Waugh's problem with Roy is that he didnt offer enough reverence to oGrady's accomplishments.
As if those could somehow render him immune from criticism.
SJVN recently also had one of those 'dont you know who I am' moments where somehow their very presence amongst the free software media means that they are above any criticism.

For those that want to see that Waugh, Roy, and Bruce have already crossed paths, here is an article that you might find interesting

As for attacking Miguel... are you kidding me? Have you ever read Senor de Icaza's vitriol laden posts?

I dont agree with everything on Boycott Novell but it is still one of the best Free and Linux sites. Their links to articles are truly amazing.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 11:36 AM
Thank you for that link!

It provides background that I think Byfield should have owned up to. The article makes it sound as if he's reviewing the site as a totally impartial, uninvolved observer.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on November 03, 2008 03:08 PM
You go Sam, I'm sure it is you constantly referencing yourself. I'm not sure why you are such a bitter person, but seriously, chill out.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 11:12 PM
How about all blogs put a big "This is not journalism, it is not fact and it may or may not have any basis in reality. It is just my opinion." in giant text at the top and bottom of every screen?

In my OPINION, the reason the overreactions and attacks occur so often are that opinion is presented as fact and the other party feels the need to defend. The standards of traditional journalism are nowhere to be found in the blogosphere. Not that traditional journalism is always unbiased either but with editors and citing of sources and the risk of suit for libel or slander, it is held to a different standard.

To that end, if anyone thinks Novell intolerant in all this, ponder that they've not sought to have BoycottNovell shutdown through legal means by now. Of course that would require that actual damage to Novell had occurred and BoycottNovell, again in my OPINION, has really had no commercial impact on Novell. Rather, it seems to have become an amusement at this point for being so obviously inaccurate, vengeful, baiting or speculative so often that no one making business decisions can take it seriously.

If there is one element of this story that I take serious issue with, it is the remotest of comparison between BoycottNovell and Groklaw. They are so far apart in terms of standards, research, disclosing opinion as opinion and disclaiming educated analysis as legal fact that they cannot be considered in the same category. The result, intended or not, is that Groklaw appears fundamentally aimed at educating, informing and enlightening others in support of a cause PJ has chosen to champion and BoycottNovell seems a personal sounding board for a vendetta that a few people of doubtable credibility use as an outlet. If there was such a thing as illegal discrimination or a hate crime law that applied to attacks on corporations, I would think that BoycottNovell's operators would need to worry.

This is all my OPINION and I do not claim it to be fact nor is it supported by anything other than my observations after reading this story, many of the comments on this story and the occaisional story and accompanying comments on BoycottNovell.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 25, 2008 03:16 AM
To clarify:

I think that Boycott Novell took its example from Groklaw, and that its tone sometimes seems borrowed from Groklaw. However, I was not making any comparison between the contents or stance of the two sites in any way, nor between Roy and PJ.

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 24, 2008 11:15 PM
Roy, thanks for all the SEO traffic for the Novell - Microsoft ads. It's really helping to get the word out on a wonderful collaboration that helps businesses everywhere. Keep up the prolific output by all means.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 12:02 AM
Den of Paranoia, occasionally right, but usually for the wrong reasons, as with all crackpots.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 12:03 AM
Sorry I forgot to leave my name in the previous post



Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 12:02 AM
Champion of freedom.

Boycott Novell and Mono.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: PerlCoder on October 25, 2008 01:08 AM
Thank you for the article. How about another one -- one that gives a very precise and factual analysis of the deal. Not necessarily any judgments, but a broad look at the various aspects of it and the implications.

Admittedly, most of what I know about the deal is from little snippets of fact and opinion here and there.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 02:42 AM
Well done for writing about a difficult topic in such an eloquent way

Bruce, you are a genius. Kudos. That's all I have to say.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 06:09 AM
Instead of "Few sites about free software attract more controversy than Boycott Novell", that first sentence should read "There are few sites that I, Bruce Byfield, have invested so much time trying to de-legitimize as Boycott Novell; let me continue."

Peter Yellman


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 25, 2008 05:36 PM
Yes, in the past I have attacked Boycott Novell because of what I perceived as attempts to attack me.

However, if you can point to anything in the article that misrepresents Boycott Novell or shows my prejudice against it (and reporting other peoples' dislike doesn't count), then I would be interested to see it.

Anyway, at the risk of upsetting your world view, in the course of doing this article, I exchanged a couple of emails with Roy, and I believe that we are now on friendlier terms.

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Re(1): Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 03:56 PM
If only you'd made the same effort to contact the company the site attacks, you might have had something approaching a balanced article. But I guess that would have been too much work or have run the risk of having someone point out how skewed Roy's site is.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 06:16 AM
Well, I don't read, but I know FUD and subversion when I see it, and Microsoft is the ultimate purveyor of both. Just this week Horatio Gutierrez fired off another round, and even though he was asked point blank about patents, he chose to obsfucate with non-answers, while amplifying his threats.

As long as that situation remains, Novell is playing with fire, not just for themselves, but for the entire open source community. For that reason alone they should be boycotted. Miguel lost his way long ago, he should simply be ignored. There is nothing open about mono or moonlight as long as Microsoft still says "talk to a lawyer" whenever anyone asks about patents, licensing, redistribution or lawsuits. As someone pointed out above, the problem is Microsoft, but Novell has chosen to be part of the problem, not the solution.

So I can't answer your question about Boycott Novell, but as my own personal champion of freedom, I think they at least get that there is a problem. Sadly, I'm not too sure about you, Bruce...


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 26, 2008 02:28 AM
That's okay, Anonymous. I'm not too sure about you, either. :-)

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 31, 2008 08:29 PM
What happened to "show us the code"?
That was the thing we should have stepped up. Right now, a blog shows this: "This blog is protected, to view it you must log in." !!! What happened?
If Linux users were to put up a "show us the code" petition and add a button to that petition addressed to the CEO of Microsoft, on websites and blogs, that would be very useful to help clear the air...


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 12:11 PM
For crying out loud, if you don't like Mono don't develop for it. Qt and C++ are close enough to C# that the difference(for me at least) are not worth the PITA that is Mono.

But boycot Novell as a whole? That is not very wise. They give out the Source, you can read it, check it for patents and other hidden goodies, if you think it's fit include it in your repository, if you don't tell them why you do not accept it(don't forget to link to the material the reason is based on like the patent itself! a vague claim "it might be patented" doesn't count)

Novell has done some pretty good things for Gnome and other OSS applications. Judge by application not a company as a whole, it's like saying that all black people are criminals and all Muslims are terrorists: meaningless generalizations.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 03:17 PM
I agree with the honest analysis; but that doesn't drive traffic... You have to do it the GOP way...Ergo: Dont trust Boycott-Novell, they eat babies. See how easy it is.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 03:12 PM
Did you, you know, bother to contact Novell for comment, or just feel that it was appropriate to highlight an attack site against the company without giving anyone at the company the opportunity to respond?


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 25, 2008 05:40 PM
If the story was about the validity of Boycott Novell's views, then I would definitely have tried to get an official response from Novell. However, since the story is about community reactions to the site, I felt no need to.

I did ask one Novell executive for a comment, but they declined on the grounds that anything they had to say would be considered tainted because of their employer.

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Re(1): Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 05:04 PM
"I did ask one Novell executive for a comment, but they declined on the grounds that anything they had to say would be considered tainted because of their employer.

Really? Which executive was that?


Re(2): Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 27, 2008 02:51 AM
You don't really imagine that I would give the name, do you?

What I hear off the record stays off the record.

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 05:10 PM
>>software that might in the future become the basis for patent attacks on free software by Microsoft.

I think that part is very important. You really cannot patent a language. There are potentially some API components you could patent but Mono is clean at the moment. I think it is dangerous to get too close to your enemies but most of this is FUD. If you could itemize a list of patents are shows parts of mono that infringe, that is one thing, but nobody has ever done that, probably because it's not possible.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 05:54 PM
No matter what you think of Roy, I'm glad their is somebody out there keeping an eye on suspicious activities like the MS - Novell deal.
And I love all the Google Ads for Novell on the site. I click on them daily to help support Boycott Novell with Novell's own advertising funds. :D

Johnny Utah


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 07:10 PM
It is just a blog and not even an objectively written blog. Den of paranoia.

Their ratings of free software "journalists" should prove how silly they are. Berenger is a 3 and SJVN is a 5. Neither of these two can write objectively about anything which should rate them at best a 1. But I guess if objectivity is not what they are after then they have succeeded admirably.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 09:05 PM
It's important to mention here that anyone participating in a discussion about BoycottNovell needs to be on the lookout for some of Roy Schestowitz' associates who are known for flooding discussions pretending they are multiple people agreeing with each other (a tactic that Microsoft has also been accused of). Specifically, a person that goes primarily by the handle "twitter" on BoycottNovell and especially on Slashdot, where he operates dozens of accounts used to disrupt conversations among the community. It's hardly a stretch to assume that Schestowitz has tasked (or asked) people like these to descend on articles that are critical to his blog, or even on sites which he tends to use as supporting material in his posts (in the sense that the comments by "lots of people" in that article agree with him). To gain an understanding of the relationship between this "twitter" person and Roy Schestowitz, just read his nightly IRC logs (also posted in the blog). Also, people have documented twitter's extensive disruption of Slashdot here:


Think about the effect on the new user

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 09:21 AM
The sock puppetry extends to BoycottNovell itself, where you never have any idea how many posters on a story are actually different people. Roy seems to support and condone this practice himself - see, e.g. - so it's virtually impossible to have any kind of sensible discussion on that site because "hoards" of probably the same person troll you.

It's a poisonous website. I know of a number of instances of people who've done web searches on free software, found a discussion on boycottNovell, and then been put off Linux completely because of all the "legal dangers" which the site makes up. It's sad.


Get over it

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 25, 2008 11:04 PM
Linux and the Linux community needs watchdogs and I don't mind the occational pitbull with locked jaws. Therefore I'm happy that Groklaw is there for us. The problem arises when you get a pitbull with rabies, and that's how I view "BoycottNovell".

They're on a mission impossible where their objective is no longer in focus. The process has become much more important, and the lower they get the more attractive they are to more weirdoes. Using GNU/Linux to make their behaviour legit the result is harm to GNU/Linux.

It's completely legit to dislike Novell and their business, but hatred is just absurd. Anyway, if someone dislike Novell that much - they should refrain from using any code produced by Novell and Novellemployees. How boring is THAT?

(Who finished SCO by the way?)


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 02:26 AM
First of all, SUSE and openSUSE are good products, they are technically fine, but there is a more important reason why I don't use them. Novell, is a US public company being party 'funded' by another US public company, Microsoft, which to all intents and purposes has a monopoly on the the PC market. This decision from Novell I cannot and will not support. Novell engineers are talented and contribute greatly to Linux, but the direction which Novell's management has taken it is what I cannot agree with. Politics is very important to Linux's long term viabilty and this action by the management at Novell is inexcusible.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 09:37 PM


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 26, 2008 09:58 PM
I said it when the deal was first made and I'm still saying it because it is now obvious that it is true: the Novell-Microsoft deal would have and has had ZERO impact on the FOSS movement and on Linux in particular. Microsoft has done and will do NOTHING based on its deal with Novell to damage either FOSS or Linux - and if it tries, it will go down to the same flaming defeat as SCO.

This was a non-issue when it occurred and years later it's even more of a non-issue. People trying to make it an issue are simply clinging to some desire to be relevant - and the more they cling, the less relevant they become.

- Richard Steven Hack


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on October 27, 2008 01:02 AM
Bruce, it is certainly a balanced piece, but it's not so much an article as a collection of quotes - not entirely unlike the style used by BoycottNovell.

You've quoted me a fair bit, so it's only fair you should quote the "opposition" like Waugh extensively too, however I would draw your attention to the fact that whereas my criticisms were levelled at Microsoft (where they rightly belong), Waugh's criticisms were levelled at the messenger. This is fairly typical of Waugh, who seems to be completely oblivious to the dangers posed to the rest of the industry (and Free Software in particular) by Microsoft. This is a company that behaves in word and deed like a bunch of gangsters running a racketeering operation, and yet certain Free Software supporters seem incapable of acknowledging that fact, but would rather attack anyone who dares to criticise Microsoft and their supporters ... or indeed actually switch to the Dark Side and *become* a Microsoft supporter.

Waugh and de Icaza are two of the worst culprits in that regard, and I find it incredibly difficult to consolidate this antithetical behaviour with the simple and fundamental principles of Free Software (and Freedom in general). Need I remind the readers here that Microsoft and Intel conspired to sabotage a *charity* for political and financial gain (the OLPC)?

I once bluntly asked de Icaza if he trusted Microsoft - he chose to not answer the question. His silence spoke volumes.

Here's the details:

I am the unnamed correspondent (I actually did give my permission, but too late - *after* publication).

Here's a sample:

Wrote this reader (who hasn't yet given me permission to use his name): "De Icaza recently engaged in a discussion in a Usenet group, in which he was grilled extensively over his opinions of Microsoft; patents; Novell and related issues. The arguments against his position were quite overwhelming, and I speculate they may even have been sufficient to cause him to re-evaluate that position."

When asked "To what degree do you trust Microsoft, either in terms of their promises; their motivations; or their commitment to a competing platform like Linux?" he chooses to trivialise the question by responding "This is a question that is suitable for Teen magazine or Cosmo."

But de Icaza has his supporters who sport the same kind of blinkers he does. Whenever one begins talking about Mono, one of the first people to arrive on the scene is the GNOME Foundation media spokesman Jeff Waugh. He then starts to spin. But he always ends up claiming that de Icaza is not part of GNOME any more. Why then does Waugh turn up?

Something you need to understand about Waugh is that he is (or has taken the role of) damage control for Gnome; Novell and his friend de Icaza. It may well be that Waugh hates thugs like Microsoft as much as I do, but the needs of the clique come first, which is why I have very little interest in anything he has to say, since I cannot trust his motives.

As for de Icaza ... he's a self-confessed Microsoft fan, and proud of it. I find this utterly inexplicable considering both Microsoft's gross technical inadequacies and their thuggish behaviour, but then there's no accounting for tastes I suppose.

I can boil this entire argument down to one simple question, and it's the same question I posed de Icaza: Do you trust Microsoft?

For me the answer is, and will always be, an emphatic "no".

Does that make me a "bad person", Bruce?

Or is it simply common sense to beware the Devil?

Keith G. Robertson-Turner


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 27, 2008 03:30 AM

1.) To be honest, criticisms "levelled at the messenger" occur frequently on both sides where Boycott Novell is heard. Granted, you may not do so; I haven't examined your habits.

2.) I'm bemused by your question about whether I trust Microsoft. For one thing, it's based on a conception of me based on a few selected writings, often taken out of context, so my first response is to say that if you spend some time looking up my work, you would have no doubt where I stand. For another, it's irrelevant here, because the subject of this article is community reactions to Boycott Novell, and Microsoft is a secondary issue in it.

However, I see no reason not to give a direct answer: No, I don't trust Microsoft, any more than you do. Contrary to your apparent assumption, Microsoft's record is extremely well-known throughout the free software community, and I'd have to be blind not to know it.

At the same time, after talking to so many people in the free software community, I am in doubt that it can protect itself, so I don't spend a lot of time worrying about Microsoft. I also try not to simplify my thinking into binary opposition. I find that I miss a lot of important detail when I get caught up in either-or fallacies (such as who is a potential ally), and I don't consider that trying to maintain a complex world view affects my loyalties. If anything, it makes them more certain.

Does that make any sense to you, Keith?

[Modified by: nanday on October 26, 2008 08:21 PM]


Re(1): Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on October 28, 2008 02:05 AM

Yes I agree that it takes two to tango, and there are faults on both sides at BoycottNovell, but frankly I'm inclined to overlook some of Roy's hurried conclusions because his motives are good. Motives are absolutely *everything*, and *this* is the point that I'm trying to get across when I ask leading questions like "do you trust Microsoft?"

What are Microsoft's motives, especially WRT their involvement in Linux (a *competing* platform) and Free Software in general (Mono and Moonlight)?

Really stop to think about that for a moment, and then have a think about Microsoft's history in court; their lobbying and bribery; their smear and FUD campaigns; their OEM lock-ins using clandestine Memorandum of Understanding agreements; their brazen and thuggish attacks on Novell (back in the old days when Novell wasn't even a Linux vendor), Apple, Sun, Netscape, OLPC, and countless others.

What kind of Linux vendor; Linux developer or user; or Free Software advocate would support such a company? What are *their* motives? Do *they* seriously trust Microsoft?

They're sleeping with the enemy ... I just want to hear them say it; admit to it; explain themselves; apologise; then preferably renounce the Satan they've been sleeping with, and come back home to the Free Software community where they belong.

That's *my* motive. I want Free Software developers on *this* side of the fence, and Microsoft firmly on the other, preferably at the sharp-end of an antitrust investigation that finally destroys them, and the senior management in jail where gangsters belong. This is why I ask these wayward Free Software developers the question "do you trust Microsoft?" If I can get them to take the first step by admitting the truth, then they'll be in an untenable position with their new "partner" in Redmond, and they'll be back on the right path.

I understand that you don't wish to polarise the issues (like I do) because you're predisposed to diplomacy. Unfortunately, exercising diplomacy with 800lb gorillas like Microsoft is an utter waste of time, Bruce, and gentle persuasion seems to have no effect in convincing certain people in the Free Software community that they're on the wrong path. Supporting the self-declared enemy of Free Software (Microsoft) with patent "deals" (Novell); supposedly "open" standards development (OOXML); and patent-encumbered "Free" software (Mono and Moonlight) is absolute insanity, and puts everyone in the Free Software community in peril. So why do it? What can these developers possibly hope to accomplish?

And just to clarify the issue with patents ... my concern is not the patents themselves, but the patentor. As I've already said, the problem is Microsoft ... patents is just one of many weapons they use against us (not yet in terms of litigation, but certainly in terms of FUD - ref: Ballmer's "undisclosed balance sheet liabilities" and other veiled threats), I think I put it best in this comment on my site:

GNU/Linux has software that "clones" proprietary technology from other companies too, so why should I be so obsessed with the encumbered technology coming from just one company, Microsoft? It is simply because none of those other companies operate an illegal global monopoly, are guilty of anti-trust crimes on at least two continents, or behave like thugs and gangsters by spreading FUD about GNU/Linux ("Linux is a cancer"); sabotaging charities like the OLPC; and bribing Nigerian officials to dump Mandriva for Windows. Their corruption over OOXML is also well documented, bribing Swedish voters with promises of "market subsidies" in exchange for votes.

Microsoft's Mafia-like behaviour is extremely well documented (it fills several pages at Groklaw, not to mention nearly 3GB of court papers here on Slated), indeed they seem quite proud of it. You should read Microsoft's now infamous "Evangelism is WAR!" training brief in particular, for a profound insight into their malevolent doctrines and immoral behaviour. In general, most other software companies (Patent Trolls aside, many of whom are just Microsoft shell companies) have no desire to destroy GNU/Linux, so even though they may have encumbered software that is "cloned" by GNU/Linux (e.g. Adobe Flash), I am not especially concerned about it.

My one and only concern is Microsoft, one of the most vile and reprehensible corporations in history. They are a threat to everyone, even their own partners (e.g. the PlaysForSure fiasco).

Voluntarily using Microsoft's encumbered technology is suicide, and extremely damaging to Free Software, since it indirectly promotes Microsoft's vicious agenda. I just wish I could persuade Mono programmers of that fact, since they are so preoccupied with the technical issues, that they seem to be completely oblivious to the political ones. They (and you) may not have an agenda, but Microsoft does, and you can be sure that they mean to execute it. Like it or not, by using and promoting Mono, you are helping them.

The issue *is* polarised whether you like it or not, Bruce. Extreme problems require extreme solutions, and they don't come much more extremist than Microsoft, which is why the backlash against them and their supporters is also so extreme. It's really that simple.

Is that "extreme" reaction actually helpful, or does it do more harm to the good guys than the bad guys. I'll let you decide, but if it's OK for Waugh; Goldberg and de Icaza to wear blinkers then it's OK for me too. Just like Microsoft, I have a single-minded agenda, and I won't be deviated from it. They may have all the money and power, but I have a voice, and I intend to use it, and keep using it until these misguided people wake up from their hypnagogic trance, and Microsoft burns in Hell. I may hurt a few people's feelings along the way, but I can live with that, and I'm sure Roy can too.



Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 27, 2008 01:26 AM
Mr. Byfield, I've kindly asked you whether you could link me the article once it's published. Well, I guess you have just forgot.
Since some people are hacking and slashing around with quotes, I decided to publish my email conversation with you, so people can read the context. I consider the article quite okay; nothing good or bad is in there. Some of the readers' replies (in terms of "it's important to have a watchdog") are exactly what I feel about Roy and his page.
All in all, I expected something worse.
Peter Kraus



Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: nanday on October 27, 2008 03:38 AM

My apologies for not sending you the link. I should have.

- Bruce Byfield ("nanday")


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 27, 2008 08:38 AM
Everybody: Lay off Roy. Yes, I know he's annoying and I know he spams his own website into FSDaily, but he's obviously got some sort of social mental illness like autism.

A real quote from him on IRC, posted on his own website's IRC transcripts: "<@schestowitz> Vista is not secure. It’s a Big Lie. It was proven by scientists."

He also has the knack of taking quote entirely out of context; the other day he posted one that claimed that Microsoft said Android was easier to work with because it was open-source. If you copied and pasted the referenced URL into your web browser (note: it wasn't a hyperlink), it was actually the journalist saying that it would be easier to port Silverlight to an open platform rather than the iPhone which doesn't allow Safari plugins.

This sort of thing happens EVERY DAY on If you see a BN article using the phrases "Patent Troll", "Illegal Monopoly", "ISO OOXML Shame", etc, then you know the article will take all sorts of quotes out of context, reference random people on IRC as credible sources, and complain whenever Microsoft uses marketing tactics that every other product supplier uses. (BN complained recently about Microsoft providing cashbacks for buying laptops with its products preloaded, but no such complaint against Electrolux Home Products for giving cashbacks on its washing machines).

The "credibility index" screams McCarthyism, but I imagine Roy hasn't reached a high enough mental age to learn about the Communist witch-hunts in America. However, the credibility index is itself only credible if people believe it to be. Eventually, everybody's points of view will differ in some way or another from Roy's, and he'll lower their score in the CI. Eventually he'll piss off everybody, and Roy will find some other online community to join.

I knew an autistic man who was exactly like Roy - posted all these "authoritative" reports as though he had some inside information; never quoted his sources, took real facts out of context and put them into his stories, and the first couple of times you read his stories you'd believe that he was onto something. Then eventually you realised that he really was sick and that nothing he wrote was actually true. Everybody I know stopped listening to him and he left to bother a different audience, one who might be more receptive. I believe he's now trying to start an Autism Pride Day for autistic people to be proud that they have the illness.

If everybody stops listening to the Roy Schestowitz's of the world, eventually I'm sure they'll seek help for their illness.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 28, 2008 12:58 AM
According to Homer, I'm oblivious to the dangers of Microsoft... I suppose that's why I spent quite a lot of my own time fighting OOXML here in Australia, and have spoken regularly about the problems with the Novell/Microsoft agreement (around the world). Homer also suggests that I only attack the messenger, in a post that is largely focused on attacking me, another messenger.

This is the problem with the style of divisiveness at play among members of the community who appear to have nothing better to do than attack those who have actually got their hands dirty getting things done.

-- Jeff Waugh (who is so absolutely and completely sick of this noisy minority in the community, who do vastly more harm than good for everyone concerned)


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on October 28, 2008 02:24 AM
"According to Homer, I'm oblivious to the dangers of Microsoft... I suppose that's why I spent quite a lot of my own time fighting OOXML here in Australia"

Is that why you supported Jody Goldberg's involvement in helping Microsoft ratify their encumbered "open" standard OOXML?

You may try to justify this involvement as "squeezing Microsoft for technical details" (paraphrased), but surely that's ISO's job, not Goldberg's, and thanks to the efforts of *all* those involved (yes that even includes you cheering on in the sidelines) Microsoft do now have a competing standard for ODF ... and we all know precisely *why* they battled so hard (not to mention spent so much money, and even went so far as to use bribery and smear campaigns) in order to create this "standard".

So what should you and Goldberg have done?

Here's a clue:

And no Jeff, I'm not attacking the messenger, because you are *not* a messenger, you're a player - one of the central figures in this whole stinking fiasco. You've clearly chosen a side, and I'm very sorry to say that it appears to be the wrong one. I'm not attacking *you* specifically, but you seem to want to stand in the line of fire - next to Microsoft, the enemy, so it's inevitable that you're going to catch some of the flak.



Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 28, 2008 09:38 AM
That's not what we (GNOME Foundation) did, and that's not what Jody did... but the truth doesn't matter when you're focused on division ahead of reason. Get a life. :-)

You're welcome to quiz the ANZ regional technology manager of MS to see if I have "chosen a side" and whether it has been useful to him and his company.

I'm more than happy to stand in the line of fire between senseless, extremist douchebags, and people who actually do productive things for Software Freedom.

-- Jeff Waugh


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on October 28, 2008 08:23 PM
Is it senseless to be outraged by Microsoft's thuggish behaviour?

Is it senseless to be equally outraged by those who support those thugs (one way or another - e.g. Novell; Mono; Moonlight; OOXML)?

Which part don't you agree with ... the part where I contend that Microsoft run their business like gangsters, or the part where I claim that supporting Microsoft's encumbered technology is synonymous with supporting Microsoft themselves?

If it's true that you're now fighting against OOXML, then kudos to you, but your position has not always been so proactive (ref: the above article), or perhaps it is that kind of proactive stance against thugs like Microsoft that you consider "extremist". I guess that makes the KDE team a bunch of "extremists" too, does it? Is that your problem Jeff; that you don't like anyone being critical of those who support Microsoft, because that's "extremist"? What about Microsoft, wouldn't you describe *them* as extremists? Certainly the DOJ and EU antitrust investigators thought so. but perhaps you know something they don't.

Help me out here and just state your position, rather than your usual juvenile insults.

(1) ... Do you or do you not believe Microsoft's business practises are highly unethical at best and criminal at worst?
(2) ... Do you or do you not believe that anyone who supports Microsoft in any way is therefore endorsing that behaviour?
(3) ... Do you or do you not believe that spreading Microsoft's poisonous "standards"; "Intellectual Property" and technology greatly helps Microsoft to the detriment of others (especially the Free Software community)?

If we establish that much, then perhaps we might have the basis for adult dialogue.


A true test

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 29, 2008 12:52 AM
Novell is a traitor to the FOSS movement. As example I offer up iFolder server. In active development until shortly after the MS/Novell 'agreement' and then it's dead. Nothing has changed in the code since shortly after that time. Why? Because it competes directly with the poor offering -Sharepoint Server- from MS. Novell, as a company, has existed long past its useful time and should die.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 29, 2008 04:51 AM
I stand with the Anti-Microsoft crowd. The sentiment of the three questions asked above define my motivation. I guess I'd change the verbiage a bit in the questions, but I certainly understand what the person is trying to get across. And I think that it's just common sense to limit monopoly power.

I've been involved with computers and software in some way, shape, or form ever since the 8080. During that time, I've watched promising businesses and technologies disappear into some larger company's archives or patent portfolio never to be seen again. One of those predator companies was Microsoft.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear an unsolicited comment re MS's monopoly power or a disparaging remark about their software. And, to be fair, that's because they have dominant market share so I understand that one is more likely to hear those comments. But when I consider the technology and businesses that have gone missing thanks, in part, to Microsoft and how the world is now encumbered with time and resource wasting software just because some monopoly wants even more money and market dominance, I get pretty annoyed. How can that be good for us? And do you think that they aren't aware of the improvements that they could make to their products? I'd bet they are.

One of my areas of involvement during my career was in marketing. Our company was well-respected and had a significant amount of influence in our market. During our discussions re new products and, of course, the impact they might have on our market position, we discussed changes that would establish lock-in, primarily by choosing to use a non-standard piece of hardware or an API. So I know for a fact that these discussions occur. I'm proud to say that we always chose to use standards, because we believed the customers would continue to trust and respect us. And they did. So much so that we became number one in our market. Then we were bought out by someone with no ethics that was much bigger than us.

Do any of you see Microsoft offering to comply with accepted standards? In a way, I can't blame them since they have nothing to gain because they have dominant market share. Anyhow, now they also own ISO. (Sorry. That was a cheap shot.)

Nope. For me and for those who get the same enjoyment from being part of the open source community, Microsoft is no longer relevant or appropriate. (Personally, I believe that to be true of most gargantuan companies.) When one considers what GNULinux and FOSS has to offer, Redmond seems so unnecessary. And I'm pretty sure they know that, but I'm also sure that they won't just give up their monopoly and market share. And their past behaviors demonstrate that they are not to be taken lightly or to be trusted. These guys have such a long record of being devious that I just can't find it in me to trust them anymore. How many more start-ups need to be stifled before we don't trust Microsoft anymore?

So here I am using Linux and OSS. I'm loving it. A lot. I especially love the community. The fact that so many people from all around the world are willing to collaborate and help one another is a remarkable thing. This is how humans should behave especially if we are to overcome the many challenges that await us in the future. The FOSS experience is something very precious. Unfortunately, Microsoft knows that it's precious, too. That worries me. It should worry all the people in the open source community.

I do, however, believe that Redmond could offer a few olive branches. And I think we all have a list of things that we'd like to see them do. Their efforts to date are all quite lame. They smack too much of their classic embrace, extend, extinguish strategy. But until they really make an effort to gain our trust, I feel pretty protective about what we all share in the open source community. Even our emotionally charged disagreements.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 29, 2008 06:49 AM
BTW, if I wasn't clear enough in my post above, I believe that Boycott Novell is doing it's best to protect the interests of the open source community. If you don't agree with BN's methods, then don't set yourself up for irritation. Just don't read it. And I'm not trying to be sarcastic by suggesting that. It's just common sense that if something really annoys you, then maybe you should just avoid it. There are plenty of other blogs to read. And do your best to support Linux and the FOSS community.


My Enemy's Friend is My Enemy

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 29, 2008 10:18 AM
I dont give a fig if Roy Schestowitz is misguided, or wrong, or a fruitloop, or even if he's insane. Do you know why? It's because he is fighting Novell, and that is a good fight.

Microsoft is an irredeemably evil corporation which has been consistently characterised by unethical and illegal behaviour - and this is a matter of record (I personally think that it would be correct to describe Microsoft as sociopathic). How anyone can blindly ignore this is beyond belief, and I would have to say that such ignorance is willful - and therefore inexcusable.

The good news is that Microsoft is dying, and one can only hope that Novell, having hitched their wagon to a falling star, will share the same richly-deserved fate.


Re: My Enemy's Friend is My Enemy

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 30, 2008 11:52 AM
"The good news is that Microsoft is dying, and one can only hope that Novell, having hitched their wagon to a falling star, will share the same richly-deserved fate."

Interesting analogy that also points to the problem - even if MS is dying (which I am unconvinced), like our very own Sun, it will take an awfully long time to dissapear.

My personal feeling is that a lot of this is self-perpetuating bollocks and that MS isn't the great corporate villian everyone wants it to be, but hey I'm an optomist. Good and bad people contribute to both causes, both causes are made up of real people who don't want their work abused and slammed by others. This is how real wars start and any position of no-compromise, no-communication and blind hatred of the other party is ultimately a position of weakness.


Re(1): My Enemy's Friend is My Enemy

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on October 30, 2008 01:50 PM
"MS isn't the great corporate villian everyone wants it to be"

This is exactly the problem - how can people like you be convinced about the threat Microsoft poses when they are ignorant, or worse, in denial.

This is the reason we need sites like BoycottNovell.

Do some research:

A few examples of Microsoft using bribery as standard business procedure:

Mba-Uzoukwu wrote that Microsoft is still negotiating an agreement that would give TSC US$400,000 (£190,323) for marketing activities around the Classmate PCs when those computers are converted to Windows.

Microsoft Sweden was later found to have offered extra "marketing contributions" to its business partners to encourage them to vote for OOXML, according to e-mails seen by Computer Sweden.

According to at least six bloggers, Microsoft has been sending out free top-of-the-line laptops pre-loaded with Vista as a 'no strings attached gifts'. This 'reward' for their hard work on covering tech in general is coincidentally right before the launch of Vista to consumers. To be clear, these weren't loans, they were gifts, and they were top-of-the-line Acer Ferrari laptops. Microsoft blogger Long Zheng broke the silence over the source of the freebies.

A ROW IS BREWING between a bunch of bloggers who took cash from Microsoft marketing outfit and stodgy old media types who take their bribes in less obvious ways.

The row started on Friday when the ValleyWag revealed how some "star boggers" had taken some cash from Federated Media to repeat some Microsoft sloganeering in copy on their websites.

Michael Arrington tells all how his Techcrunch site became "people-ready". Gigaom's Om Malik talks about when a business becomes "people ready". Others named and shamed include Paul Kedrosky and Matt Marshall of Venture Beat, as well as Fred Wilson, the blogger-investor. Ads with the Volish motto appear on the blogger's site.

Mercury News writers Mike Antonucci and Dean Takahashi demo and review the new Halo 3, Microsoft’s much anticipated new gaming title. Nooch calls it “one of the biggest days in videogame history.” And the duo discuss the approximately $800 press kit that showed up in the mail for Dean - a giant, personalized duffel bag filled with Halo 3 schwag.

An example of how Microsoft "competes" with the rest if the industry:

Microsoft sharpshooter Joachim Kempin, who was convicted of illegally shooting antelope in Montana in 1998, has been turning his guns on a more familiar target: Microsoft's own OEM customers.

The States' remedy hearing opened in DC yesterday, and States attorney Steven Kuney produced a devastating memo from Kempin, then in charge of Microsoft's OEM business, written after Judge Jackson had ordered his break-up of the company. Kempin raises the possibility of threatening Dell and other PC builders which promote Linux.

"I'm thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. ... they should do a delicate dance," Kempin wrote to Ballmer, in what is sure to be a memorable addition to the phrases ("knife the baby", "cut off the air supply") with which Microsoft enriched the English language in the first trial. Unlike those two, this is not contested.

Our mission is to establish Microsoft's platforms as the de facto standards throughout the computer industry.... Working behind the scenes to orchestrate "independent" praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy's, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. "Independent" analyst's report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). "Independent" consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). "Independent" academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). "Independent" courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.

I have mentioned before the "stacked panel". Panel discussions naturally favor alliances of relatively weak partners - our usual opposition. For example, an "unbiased" panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would contain representatives of the backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell, WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus we find ourselves outnumbered in almost every "naturally occurring" panel debate.

A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select the panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can't expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only "independent ISVs" on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed – just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the "real world." Sounds marvelously independent doesn't it? In fact, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the "independent" panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you've got a major win on your hands.

Finding a moderator is key to setting up a stacked panel.
From the infamous "Evangelism is WAR!" Microsoft training brief.

Original PDF:

It's an email from 1999 in which Bill Gates comments on the (then) emerging ACPI standard for power management and other system information/control for PCs. In the email he says:

"One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn't try to make the ACPI extensions somehow Windows specific."

When you've finished acquainting yourself with the *truth* about that bunch of gangsters called Microsoft, come back and try to tell us again that "MS isn't the great corporate villain everyone wants it to be." Where were you when Microsoft was being tried in court under the Sherman Act, or in the EU for antitrust violations (i.e. racketeering)? Were you sleeping?


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 31, 2008 08:01 PM
I'll just offer my few thoughts here.
Topic: Miguel de Icaza and his integrity.
Fact: Miguel de Icaza, long years ago, asked Microsoft to opensource Internet Explorer related technology. They obviously did not listen. But he did go there and fight with them, AFAIK.
Argument: He is now rich and "gone to the dark side"
Opinion: No. He's working hard. Typically, "gone to the dark side" guys dont work that hard. It goes to their head. Of course, you could argue that Miguel is very brainy.
So, it's mudslinging a true leader versus exposing a veteran cheat.
If he is a true leader, he will not mind it.
But it does hurt everyone else very much, no doubt.

Short-term cure:
Dont go to that site for some time if you feel that way.
Like the Iraq war, for instance.

Long-term cure:
Wiser heads are watching just as closely. Relax. If they were not, your paranoia was justifiable. But they are. So, relax.

Third person view:
Keeping the Novell-Microsoft "unholy marriage" going is a *good* thing. It's a middle ground. Many technical benefits can be added. Many legal problems can be removed. It's an unfinished game. Keep it running.
Legal position: Everyone has free speech rights.

Out-of-the-box-solution: Factcheck style compilation of technical facts of matter. In a way, the technical facts are a subset (hopefully) of the content of Boycott Novell. Dont delete a line. Keep it just as it is.
Dont change a dot. Archive it. Store it. Not for personal vendetta, but for the record. With time, some other developments might throw more light on the facts.
This is a big issue, given the existing Software Patent and "IPR" regime.
Emotive comments, temporarily ignore.
Note that as a last-ditch stand-in, "DotGNU" exists.
What is dotGNU? Is RMS paid by Microsoft? That answer should be clear at least.
Try collecting Eben Moglen's words at that time - Nov '07.
In any case, keep the case going. It's useful at least from the education point of view.
Meanwhile, knowing that Java to C# converter programs abound, if have a choice, choose Java - OpenJDK or whatever else that suits you.

Another technical fact to note is that Miguel's team is pretty fast and has expert developers. They can churn out code to work around IPR issues.

It's only the extreme case that Miguel is actually a total traitor that we have to think about. That's quite a claim actually, given his FSF award.

My "verdict" is : Clean.
BUT, you should have your own. Please start by reading Tivoization, Linus's view of it, GPL3, the changes, the reasons, follow the timeline, read Boycott Novell, compare, think.
If you have really pressing work, skip this pain and return after every three months to this issue - everyone else will have done most of the critical thinking for you.
This comparing and thinking is the education that we really need - all of us. If developers dont want to read the licenses, we're in a bad situation.
Boycott Novell helps in that respect.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on November 01, 2008 06:15 AM
"Fact: Miguel de Icaza, long years ago, asked Microsoft to opensource Internet Explorer related technology. They obviously did not listen. But he did go there and fight with them, AFAIK."

Ah, so that's why he attends Microsoft's Professional Developers Conferences:

BTW, that was short years ago, not long years ago. He may well be a regular. He certainly can't seem to get enough of his pals in Redmond:


During this PR exercise ... ahem, I mean interview, he suggests that Windows has not crashed since the days of Windows 3.1, and claims ignorance as to why people do not trust/like Microsoft, attributing this opinion to irrational "demonisation". Presumably de Icaza was sleeping on the days Microsoft sabotaged the OLPC charity; when they bribed Nigerian education suppliers to wipe (already purchased) Mandriva from laptops; and when they attempted to bribe Swedish ISO delegates with "marketing subsidies" to vote for OOXML. Maybe those issues are some of those that de Icaza chooses to ignore, rather than think of in "binary terms". Following that logic, maybe Hans Reiser isn't such a bad guy after all ... I mean there was only that one little indiscretion.

Call me old fashioned, but I tend to call a spade a spade, and a demon a demon. What element of doubt is there that Microsoft is the latter? Only de Icaza knows.

Here's some more facts for you:

At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately(sic).

I bet he did. The question is however, what piqued his interest in something so fundamentally broken and insecure? More importantly, why was a supposedly Free Software developer so interested in proprietary and patent encumbered software distributed by Free Software's self-declared enemy (Ballmer: "Linux is a cancer")?

Then there's this:

"A blogger on KDE Developer's Journal has found an interesting post by Miguel de Icaza, the founder of GNOME and Mono, in a Google group dedicated to the discussion of his blog entries. Six days ago Miguel stated that 'OOXML is a superb standard and yet, it has been FUDed so badly by its competitors that serious people believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with it.' In the same post he says that to avoid patent problems over Silverlight, when using or developing Mono's implementation (known as Moonlight), i's best to 'get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include patent coverage.'"

Is this the same "superb standard" that contains proprietary binary blobs specific to Microsoft's legacy document formats, and which required Microsoft to bribe and smear ISO delegates to force through ratification?

If de Icaza had his way, Free Software would be Microsoft's "Intellectual Property":

Gnome to be based on .NET – de Icaza

Learn to love The Beast
By Andrew Orlowski in New York

Published Friday 1st February 2002 17:56 GMT

How much do you love Microsoft's .NET? Enough to trust your Gnome applications to its APIs in the future?

That's what Gnome leader Miguel de Icaza, believes should happen. Miguel calls .NET the "natural upgrade" for the Gnome platform, and enthused about the technology in an interview with us at LinuxWorld this week. Basing Gnome on the .NET APIs will cut development time significantly,

He also had praise for the new Microsoft security model, dismissed the notion that Redmond was employing embrace and extend to its web services protocols, and put the message that the community should get over its beef with The Beast.

"I'd like to see Gnome applications written in .NET in version 4.0 - no, version 3.0. But Gnome 4.0 should be based on .NET," he told us. "A lot of people just see .NET as a fantastic upgrade for the development platform from Microsoft.

Yeah, we should just "get over" Ballmer's unending attacks against GNU/Linux:

Clearly de Icaza hasn't quite grasped Microsoft's gangster behaviour yet. Is he blind, or malevolent? Enquiring minds want to know.


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on November 03, 2008 12:05 PM
Hi, I'm the optomist from a few posts up.

As a linux advocate and 8 years+ user in both the home and residential environments, the above comments makes me want to run screaming to Redmond - Demons? Beast? Holy sheet, do you know how much of a tin-foil hat wearing bunch of no-corporate experience muppets you sound like?

Forking the sign of the devil isn't going to win you many friends - constructive criticism and argument (yuu know like how a business is meant to run) will win the day, your current tactic alienates neutrals and quite frankly gives the impression that your argument - however well thought out - is the result of a warped and illogical world view.

If I was the target of this kind of drivel, I think I'd be calling my lawyers, not trying to find reason in your discussion and engaging with you.


Re: Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on November 03, 2008 12:05 PM
home and residential? :o)

home and commercial!


Boycott Novell: Champion of freedom or den of paranoia?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on November 23, 2008 12:13 AM
Den of extreme paranoia and tin-foil hat wearing retards who are guilty of the very things they (wrongly) accuse others of.

Roy Schestowitz accuses Mono developers of trolling forums under anonymous accounts and yet, who has 14 KNOWN anonymous accounts on slashdot that he uses to mod himself up? Oh, right, the BoycottNovell troll.

He also spreads lies about people like Jo Shields (the Debian Mono packager) trying to convince people that Jo gets paid or somehow benefits financially or otherwise from packaging Mono and trying to subvert Free Software. What!?!?!?

Most of what Roy writes on his site refers to opinion pieces by journalists as if they were factual. Did this guy not graduate highschool? Does he not realise that there's a difference between fact and opinion? Apparently not.

He lies about the backround of people he viciously attacks without any proof whatsoever, and even after being called on it - he might (if you are lucky) apologise only in the comments, but then a week later link back to his FUD article as if it were supporting evidence all over again.

Roy Schestowitz is a complete nutjob who recommends proprietary software to his own brother (read his IRC logs sometime) yet insults Free Software developers because they chose to use Mono which he says isn't Free Software?

Sounds to me like his world is upside down. Free Software in the real world is proprietary in his world, and vice versa.

What a moron.


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