A simplistic world view

I am mildly tickled to read John Dragoon’s comments about Matt Asay’s blog.

John says:

“One blogger (an ex Novell employee) in particular used Microsoft’s announcement to play out his tired and often inaccurate “anti-Novell” agenda with a blog titled “Red Hat was right, Novell was wrong” (be sure to check the comments too). In fact, if Mr. Asay didn’t have an anti-Novell agenda, he would have congratulated Novell for its early pioneering of openness and interoperability and for bringing Microsoft to the table on these important issues long before today’s announcement. He claims today’s announcement removes any advantage granted Novell in our partnership agreement. A clear indication he’s not following the substance of what is being delivered on behalf of our mutual customers. For Mr. Asay’s benefit our technical collaboration with Microsoft covers the following six critical areas….none of which the competitors he referenced are delivering (and all of which are consistent with Microsoft’s expanded interoperability announcement today).

* Virtualization: Support optimized bi-directional virtualization between SUSE Linux Enterprise and Windows Server 2008
* Standards-based systems management: A common framework for solutions to enable management of mixed environments based on the WS-Management standard
* Directory and identity intoperability: Directory and identity federation between Microsoft and Novell products
* Document format compatibility: Enhancing interoperability for Open XML format and ODF documents between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org Novell edition.
* Moonlight: Interoperability between Microsoft’s Silverlight rich-media player and Linux desktops
* Accessibility: Interoperability between Microsoft and Linux accessibility projects.”
end quote

In the above, clearly, John is trying to gather brownie points for working with Microsoft and that, boo-hoo, Matt did not pat Novell on the back when Ron and Steve embraced each other in November 2006.

I think John here needs to examine his own company’s track record. Where are the “interoperability for ooxml and odf” bits? It is NOT in the upstream OpenOffice.org code base. There is no way anyone (other than Novell folks) can open a docx file. See this smart suggestion!

There are significant areas in which Novell has let down the FOSS community globally. The fact that they can’t see this, stems from the fact that they just don’t get it. Would they ever? I hope they do, for we could use quality competition in the FOSS space, but, today, Novell isn’t it.


  1. It is open sourced….
    Understand the emotion of your thoughts but let’s get the facts straight. I’ll proudly stand by Novell’s many contributions to and work with the FOSS community.
    As to your question about where’s the “interoperability for ooxml and odf” bits and accusation that we haven’t open sourced our work in this area….simply not true.
    Working with the Sun controlled upstream OpenOffice project presents
    many challenges, however in this case the tiny patch necessary to use
    the external CleverAge plug-in has been contributed to OpenOffice.org
    and is available here: http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=71939
    Meaning we have open sourced it all and it is up to SUN, as you surely must know, to decide what to accept into the OpenOffice project….not Novell.
    It is also worth noting that our work to make this plugin available
    ships on almost every Linux distribution, and on Mac in NeoOffice; it is
    by no means Novell specific. Regarding it’s non-inclusion into
    OpenOffice – again, this is something we havn’t pressed for, although it may be
    understandable at a strategic level.
    In addition – Novell (and other distros) have shipped faster, native
    built-in OpenXML import support from OpenSUSE 10.3 onwards; also
    available on several platforms from http://www.go-oo.org/ that work is
    ongoing in conjunction with Sun, and we hope to continue delivering
    improved functionality at regular intervals here over the next years.
    As it relates to my comments re Matt Asay…in fact Matt and I have a good deal of respect for each other. Matt is consistent in his defense of Alfresco, his company, and one of their key partners, Red Hat. When I feel Matt has his facts wrong or has taken an unnecessary shot at Novell, I call him on it. As you can see, he does the same in his writings.
    If you are that passionate about Novell’s work making it into the upstream OpenOffice project – tell SUN.
    John Dragoon

    • Re: It is open sourced….
      Yes it is partly up to Sun to approve what is accepted into OO.o, but that is where you are inaccurate, IBM has more votes on the board than Sun.
      It is OK for Novell to use OOXML specifications, they after all have patent protection, mind you I gather Microsoft can cancel that agreement at any time.
      The rest of us are rather concerned about the vague offers of openness by Microsoft over this spec. Mono and many of the other projects being championed are also thought to be a legal minefield
      David Bowen

      • Re: It is open sourced….
        David –
        It is really ok for any one to use the ooxml stuff and I would too, but if it is totally and free of any lock-in. The BRM has essentially say that the ooxml is broken and that NBs need to relook at their vote – including the ITSC.

    • Re: It is open sourced….
      Thanks, John for your comment. I think the following is not what I should be interested per se:
      “If you are that passionate about Novell’s work making it into the upstream OpenOffice project – tell SUN.”
      If upstream does not make it happen and Novell does not puush for it, why should I even bother? The changes are made by your organization and if you want it to be in the upstream of oo.o, you gotta do the job. I don’t need docx support, so why should I bother? Docx et al is just further unneeded document formats and instead of making ODF even richer, time and effort is spent on stuff that pushes just one organizations’s agenda.
      So, thanks but no thanks. I will stick to ODF.

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