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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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August 15, 2011 10:24 AM

Roundup: Pundits pouncing on Google-Moto deal

Posted by Brier Dudley

Here's a look at some of the ways pundits are dissecting Google's bodacious $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility.

Regulators will be all over this deal, wrote Arik Hesseldahl at All Things D:

"Whatever happens, it's going to take Google some time to get this deal done, and if it does get approved, you can expect some significant regulatory concessions."

Motorola Mobility gives Google a deterrent for its nuclear patent war with Microsoft, Apple and others, wrote Tim Bradshaw at the Financial Times:

Patent battles are a little like nuclear war: for there to be peace, each side must have armaments equally assuring mutual destruction.

Motorola has more than 17,000 active patents, dating back to the earliest mobile-phone technology, and another 7,500 going through the mill.

Google may have just acquired an instant nuclear deterrent - and that's something that the companies who have come to rely on Android may welcome in spite of the new tension the deal creates.

Google's wasting $12 billion on weak patents, Andrew Orlowski at The Register wrote (headline: "Has Google wasted $12bn on a dud patent poker chip?):

"These radio and design patents of legacy manufacturers such as Motorola or Nokia really aren't worth quite as much as their owners think they are.

Google has paid $12.5bn for a negotiating chip that appears to be almost impossible to redeem. In this light, the acquisition looks like panic, rather than a calm and carefully deliberated strategy."

The deal's not about patents as much as Google's evolving business model - and other phone companies should be scared, wrote Florian Mueller at Foss Patents:

It would be a mistake to look at this as just (or primarily) a patent deal. We're looking at a deal that would fundamentally change Google's Android-related business model ... The likes of Samsung, HTC and LG obviously don't have any other choice than to say at this point that they welcome the deal. They will continue to say that for some time. They obviously weren't going to bash the deal in public. But there's no way that they can compete with a Google-owned Motorola Mobility on a level playing field.

Google TV will be a huge beneficiary, since the deal gives Google the leading set-top box maker, Ryan Lawler and Ryan Kim wrote at GigaOm's NewTeeVee blog:

Until now, most set-top boxes have run proprietary operating systems. As a result, offering up Google TV as the underlying OS could simplify and accelerate the rollout of new applications on cable systems, which could improve the overall user experience on the set-top box. And by pitching Google TV as the underlying OS for Motorola set-top boxes sold to TV operators, it could very quickly create a large install base for developers to build applications for. The one question is how open that set-top box will remain if Google shifts from a consumer- to a carrier-based model for Google TV.

Even Google's Larry Page weighed in on his company blog:

The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences. I am confident that these great experiences will create huge value for shareholders.

I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.

But the deal could be a debacle for Page, thrusting him into "a crappy, low-margin commodity business," wrote Henry Blodget at Business Insider:

Google deserves credit for a big, bold move. But let's be real: This deal could end up being a disaster. How? Well, for starters, the deal creates major channel conflict: Google is now competing with its partners. And hardware manufacturing is an entirely different kind of business than Google's core business. And hardware manufacturing is a crappy, low-margin commodity business. And Motorola is massive--Google has just increased the size of its company by 60%. And the deal appears to be purely a defensive move, not an offensive one. And so on.

googmotopaste.jpg

Comments | Category: Android , Google , Microsoft , Open source , Phones |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 17, 2011 1:41 PM

Video: Cheezburger's Huh on news, democracy, social media

Posted by Brier Dudley

After launching a string of hit humor Web sites, Ben Huh is turning his attention to online news.

The founder of Seattle-based Cheezburger -- a network of websites, including Icanhascheezburger.com and failblog.org -- detailed his plans in a wide-ranging talk to a group of Seattle journalists Tuesday night.

Ben headshot high res.JPG
Long before he became the king of funny cat pictures on the Web, Huh studied journalism at Northwestern University's Medill school. He graduated in 1999 at the peak of the dot-com boom and was recruited into the world of online startups.

Now, having drunk and "thrown up" journalism school Kool-Aid, he wants to apply what he's learned to develop a new way to present and consume news.

His plan is to create an open-source platform that people could use to be "amateur editors," designing and managing their own blend of online news sources and advertising. If there's enough interest he'd like to develop it as a public tool like blogging platform WordPress.org.

The end product sounds like a portal creation tool along the lines of Netvibes.com, a site that lets users customize a personal home page with widgets and news feeds.

Huh floated the project -- and riffed on topics ranging from Fox News to Twitter and democracy -- at a Tuesday meeting of the Online News Association and regional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Afterward he said the news platform is a personal project of his, separate from Cheezburger.

Huh, whose sites draw on material generated by their online audience, believes people are able to develop a "sixth sense" about what's truthful online.

"We are learning to use our emotional brain and our gut to figure out what is and isn't good news," he said.

Huh believes that editors must put more emphasis on topics that appeal to their audience, as opposed to stories that editors deem to be important.

"The role of, I think, the editor tomorrow is going to be more about understanding the tastes of their audience rather than trying to figure out what should and shouldn't be covered based on some arbitrary standard by the media," he said, adding that "a great editor knows how to increase ratings and also keep their integrity."

Social media is one way to figure out audience interests, he said: "Social media gives us a lot of data about what people are looking for."

Sites need more than viral hits that temporarily bring a large number of visitors, he said. They need to consistently provide good content that gets people to return again and again.

Selecting -- or curating -- a mix of news is different than reporting, he said.

"One of the things that I've found out is that people are really, really, really good at curating," he said. "People are really good at filtering and curating, more so than they are at creating content."

Huh continued: "The ability to curate requires that you sit at a computer. The ability to create requires that you get off your computer and go out there. Very, very different things and different people are willing to do that."

Here's a lengthy video that captures most of Huh's presentation Tuesday. He was interviewed by Cory Bergman from MSNBC.com.

Comments | Category: Cheezburger , Digital media , Entrepreneurs , Open source , Startups |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 13, 2010 9:34 AM

Google's Chrome CR-48: Back to the future, maybe

Posted by Brier Dudley

Today's column is an extended take on Google's CR-48 preview of its Chrome operating system:

It was thrilling to fire up Google's ultra groovy CR-48 laptop running the company's new Chrome operating system.

The Applesque machine was like an early Christmas present from Silicon Valley Santa. Inside the eco-friendly cardboard package was technology that promised to finally topple Microsoft's 30-year dominance of the PC business.

Who could wait to see what kind of new computer the hottest software company in the world can create with its $3 billion-a-year research budget?

But after spending a few days with the CR-48, I don't think Microsoft has much to worry about yet. If anything, Chrome is more likely to challenge Apple's iOS software used in the iPad.

Chrome OS is elegantly designed with clever features that make it simple to run. But the software is crippled by Google's ambitious business objectives and quixotic pursuit of "online only" computing.
It's not really a personal-computer operating system, like Windows or Apple's OS X. It's more of an embedded system - like the software inside a cable box or phone - that's locked into place, mostly out of reach to users and managed remotely by Google.

What the user sees is just a browser - a version of Google's Chrome browser - with enough software under the hood to make the computer work. As a result the software is fast to start but limited. The user hardly has any control or choice over how to use and manage the computer on which it's running.
desktop.jpg

Chrome is designed to be always connected to the Web, through Wi-Fi or Verizon 3G Wireless service.

The CR-48 that Google's distributing to developers, testers and the media is a gorgeous laptop but, unfortunately, it's not for sale. It's only a test bed for demonstrating, testing and marketing the Chrome OS, which is to start appearing on computers sold by Acer, Samsung and others next year.
Thumbnail image for letsgetstarted.jpg

I'm expecting to see a bunch of different Chrome systems shown in January at the Consumer Electronics Show aimed for stores later in 2011. There will probably be a mix of laptops, tablets similar to the iPad and maybe even "all-in-one" systems with a monitor and processor in the same unit.

They'll probably cost about the same or less than low-end Windows PCs.

They should be cheaper, since the systems require you to use Google's ad-supported services. Buyers probably will also end up buying Verizon Wireless service.

Google and Verizon are offering 100 megabytes of free data transmission per month for two years to Chrome users. After that you'll have to pay either $10 per day for unlimited service or sign up for monthly plans that start at $20 for 1 gigabyte of data. (Verizon provides information on how much data various tasks will use; an excerpt below)

The 100 megabytes lasted less than a day. It wasn't enough to watch a single episode of "The Office" on Hulu.com, stuttering and buffering on the 3G service at my house. Partway through, the system showed an error message, blaming the website. It said the site "may be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new Web address." Hulu was still up; the problem was that I needed to start paying Verizon or get on a Wi-Fi network.

VZNdataestimates.jpg
Google is taking another stab at the "network computer" that Oracle, Sun Microsystems and others proposed in the 1990s.

The concept is to offer cheap and simple computers that connect to a network where the heavy-duty computing is handled and centrally managed. The PC becomes a simple terminal.

This approach minimizes the importance of the PC and puts the emphasis on the data center.

You've probably used a similar system at libraries, which provide terminals to search and browse the catalog.

Having a browser-only computer is fine for a lot of things we do with computers. You can write and save documents at sites like Google Docs or Office Web Apps, if they're designed to work with Chrome. I was able to edit an Office document with the CR-48 but couldn't stream anything from Netflix, which uses software that's not supported by Chrome.

Last week's "launch" of Chrome was really aimed at Web developers. Google wants them to write special versions of their Web pages for Chrome. Those pages are characterized as applications and distributed through a polished Chrome app store offering free and paid apps. When you "install" one of these pages, they are bookmarked on your Chrome start page, with phonelike icons that you click to open the pages.

But this approach really works only if you're constantly connected to the Web. It also shifts control of the system from the user to the system manager and site operators.

Some people will be uncomfortable using computers that basically require you to log in to Google and store files on its servers.

For all of Google's talk about open software and net neutrality, Chrome OS is pushing computing back toward a model where you've got to sign in and use a big, nosy company's mainframe.

It's also unclear whether Google is willing to invest the massive effort it takes to build and support a true PC operating system. For instance, one of the hardest things about building an OS is making sure it works with different devices people use with their computers.

I connected the CR-48 to a three-year-old printer in my house and was presented with a "white screen of death" - a blank box that froze the browser. I should have read the online help pages first; Chrome OS doesn't have any printer drivers whatsoever.

To print something, you've got to send the file to a Google server, which in turn will send the file to a Windows PC (not a Mac) that's connected to a printer. But first you've got to sync your Windows PC with Google's online print service and be sure that it's logged in to your Google account.

Google may think this is a clever way to piggyback on the work Microsoft's done to support all the different printers people use, at least until all printers connect to the Web. Chrome OS users are going to think it's a royal pain and the software just doesn't work right.

More competition in the operating-system business is good and Chrome is an intriguing entry. But it has a long way to go before it's a contender for your next PC.

Note: For a different perspective, here is a post by Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt about the CR-48 launch and Chrome OS, relating his work on an early Sun network computer and "going back to old ideas."

Comments | Category: Chrome OS , Google , Microsoft , Open source , PCs , Verizon , Windows 8 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 5, 2010 1:17 PM

Google buys Oregon tool vendor, builds up Portland shop

Posted by Brier Dudley

To build up its software toolkit for Web developers, Google today bought Instantiations, a Tualatin, Ore., company that makes tools for open-source developers.

Google hasn't yet announced the deal but Instantiations disclosed the deal on its Web site. The deal was also confirmed by Bellevue's Corum Group, which represented Instantiations.

Terms weren't disclosed.

A report in the Portland Business Journal said the 30-person company spun out of Textronix in the late 1980s and will relocate to a new Google office in downtown Portland.

UPDATE: A Google spokeswoman confirmed the deal but said it just closed and the company doesn't yet have details to share about its plans for Portland.

"We're pleased to welcome Instantiations' very talented team to Google, and we're excited to have them begin working as part of our developer tools team," she said.

Mike Rogoway at the Oregonian has a few more details about Google's new Portland office and how Instantiations will continue as a separate company in Vancouver, Wash.

Comments | Category: Google , Open source , Startups , Tech work , Web |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 20, 2009 11:43 AM

Microsoft contributes code to Linux, best frenemies forever?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Mary Jo has the headline -- "Pigs do fly" -- that captures Microsoft's contribution of 20,000 lines of code to the Linux kernel community.

The contribution was announced today at the OSCON open-source conference in San Jose, Calif.

It's the latest effort by Microsoft to present itself as enlightened and respectful toward the nemesis used by many of its enterprise customers, while at the same time making Microsoft's virtualization software more valuable to them.

Here's how Tom Hanrahan, director of Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center, described it in prepared press material:

Today we're releasing Linux device driver code to the Linux kernel community. This is a significant milestone because it's the first time we've released code directly to the Linux community. Additionally significant is that we are releasing the code under the GPLv2 license, which is the Linux community's preferred license.

Our initial goal in developing the code was to enable Linux to run as a virtual machine on top of Hyper-V, Microsoft's hypervisor and implementation of virtualization.

The Linux device drivers we are releasing are designed so Linux can run in enlightened mode, giving it the same optimized synthetic devices as a Windows virtual machine running on top of Hyper-V. Without this driver code, Linux can run on top of Windows, but without the same high performance levels. We worked very closely with the Hyper-V team at Microsoft to make that happen.


Comments | Category: Enterprise , Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 11, 2009 1:57 PM

The USB finger guy adds his two bits

Posted by Brier Dudley

This week's most amazing blog item, about a Finnish software developer who lost his finger in a motorcycle accident and replaced it with a prosthetic USB drive, just scratched the surface.

Jerry Jalava's sci-fi finger became a Web sensation after a friend of his blogged about the creation, noting that the drive was loaded with a version of Linux.

Jalava clarified the situation on his blog last night. For one thing, it's not permanent. For another, it's loaded with more than just the Billix version of Linux.

First of all it is not attached permanently in to my body, it is removable prosthetic which has USB memorystick inside it.

Secondly when I'm using the USB, I just leave my finger inside the slot and pick it up after I'm ready.

Currently I have Billix, CouchDBX and Ajatus installed inside it.
I'm planning to use the other prosthetic as a shell for the next version, which will have removable fingertip and RFID tag.

Separately, on his startling Flickr page, he answered the capacity question: His finger holds 2 gigabytes.

Here's a screen grab of the page:

finger.jpg

Comments | Category: Gadgets & products , Open source , Web |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 15, 2008 9:00 PM

Review: The long-awaited G1 Google phone, from T-Mobile and HTC

Posted by Brier Dudley

It's not really fair to constantly compare the first Google-powered phone, the T-Mobile G1, with the Apple iPhone.

That's like comparing a PC to a Mac.

But that PC-Mac comparison became more obvious during the week or so I tested the G1 in and around Seattle...

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Apple , Google , Open source , Telecom |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 3, 2007 4:21 PM

More from MySQL: An open-source Microsoft?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Microsoft wasn't the focus of my conversation with MySQL Chief Executive Marten Mickos and Brian Aker, the company's Seattle-based technology director.

But they had some interesting thoughts on their big competitor and sort-of partner in Redmond. (They work together a bit on tools, for instance: MySQL builds a plug-in for Microsoft's Visual Studio).

Both speculated that Microsoft would be an open-source company if it were started today. Here's how Mickos brought it up:

"The way I look at it, when Microsoft was founded ... there was no real open source movement then. But if Microsoft was established today it would be an open-source company. Because I think smart people create businesses in what is the hot topic of the day. At that point it was building an operating system, having a closed source model, proprietary model. It was natural. I don't think they really contemplated it; they just did it. In the same sense, we grew up in open source. Did we contemplate it much? No, it was the obvious choice for reaching out to the smartest programmers in the world."

But what about the famous story of the young Bill Gates chastising programming hobbyists who "open sourced" his early Altair BASIC code?

Aker said Gates was trying to figure out how to build a software business.

"When Gates did that there was no real concept of how to make money from open source at all. Engineers at the time ... were trying to come up with any model -- because at the time who was making money? The hardware vendors were the only ones making money. Software was something that came along for free. If you look today the model has shifted and open source has been one of the models in that."

They also mentioned that Microsoft downloads a "staggering volume" of MySQL's free database.

I tried to get a response from Microsoft's Bill Hilf last week but we didn't connect. I finally heard back from a Microsoft spokeswoman this morning. She said the "lion's share" of the downloads are probably because of work done by Microsoft's open-source lab and because there's "some technical collaboration" between the companies.

The column also mentioned a Business Week story about anticipation surrounding the MySQL IPO; here's a link if you're interested.

Comments | Category: Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

September 19, 2007 11:59 AM

A look at IBM "saving" OpenOffice

Posted by Brier Dudley

There's a fascinating inside baseball story in ComputerWorld analyzing IBM's move and internal challenges that have held back OpenOffice.

One source in the story speculates that IBM's arrival could make the free productivity suite a serious contender by 2010:

With IBM "betting big on OpenOffice, in two and a half years we could be looking at another Mozilla situation, where Firefox has 15 percent of the market. That could lead to Microsoft modifying Office or changing its licensing or prices, which benefits the entire market."

Comments | Category: Enterprise , Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 21, 2007 2:08 PM

Microsoft's open source saga

Posted by Brier Dudley

I wish I was in San Francisco today for Microsoft's open-source business development forum.

As part of a new effort to build partnerships with early-stage software companies, Microsoft is pitching itself to open-source entrepreneurs at an all-day forum tied to the Open Source Business Conference this week.

The agenda gives you a sense of Microsoft's pitch:

We have an excellent track record helping independant software vendors (ISVs) become profitable on the Microsoft Windows platform, regardless of their development model. What's more, developing Windows-based solutions opens your business up to a much larger market and significant new sales channels.

That's why we are launching this new initiative exclusively for open source solution providers. At this event we will demonstrate how you can develop business solutions on Windows to provide greater choice to your customers, expand your potential market, and how we can best make that happen together.

The conversations ought to be rich, after all the recent patent hubbub.

I came across links to the event at the Microsoft open-source lab's Port 25 blog, which has become a must-read if you're following the patent twists and turns.

For instance, Bill Hilf and Sam Ramji finally posted a detailed response to the Fortune story late Friday. The nut graph:

"It's not us versus the free world. It's about commercial companies working together around IP issues -- it's business as usual."

That may not convince the amateur/enthusiast crowd. The first commenter accused Microsoft of trying to "marginalize the 'garageband' programer" with its patent licensing, but it may seem reasonable to the business-development types meeting in San Francisco.

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

April 18, 2007 2:21 PM

Feeling foxy in Redmond

Posted by Brier Dudley

Is this Firefox month at Microsoft? Every time you turn around the company's launching more stuff that works with the open source browser.

Recent Firefox-friendly releases include:

-- A new Windows Media Player plugin for Firefox that appeared online Friday and was announced Monday.

-- Silverlight, the Flash killer Microsoft also showed off Monday.

-- Interactive Media Manager, a content management system for the entertainment industry.

It's not a surprise if you read the Port 25 blog written by Microsoft's open-source crew.

Still, the company has a ways to go, analyst Matt Rosoff told Linux Insider. He noted that Windows Live and Office Live didn't have non-Microsoft browser support when they launched. Rosoff's ending quote:

"If Microsoft really wants to be taken seriously as an Internet player, it should ensure that new online services are cross-browser at launch."

Maybe the Firefox stuff is part of the "no more browser war" messages delivered this week at the Web 2.0 conference.

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

April 16, 2007 2:50 PM

Get ready for CSI: Portland

Posted by Brier Dudley

That's what we'll have to call the new venture of Stuart Cohen, the former head of Portland Linux advocacy group Open Source Development Labs.

Cohen's starting a company called Collaborative Software Initiative, or CSI, that will help big companies work together on software projects. The approach will purportedly help companies develop software for half the cost of outsourcing.

Details of the venture were released today by CSI and Kirkland-based OVP Venture Partners, which is funding the startup. OVP also has a Portland office.

Cohen left OSDL when it restructured in December, before it merged with San Francisco-based Free Standards Group to form The Linux Foundation. (I interviewed him a few years ago for a story about Portland becoming Linuxtown.)

Cohen left with an A-list of supporters, judging from today's press release. Among those lauding CSI are open-source uber lawyer Eben Moglen, Apache co-founder Brian Behlendorf, Novell boss Ron Hovsepian and IBM open source czar Dan Frye.

A sample quote, from Frye:

CSI represents the next round of innovation for open development and will be the catalyst for bringing customers together to tackle shared IT challenges.


Comments | Category: Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 26, 2007 11:59 AM

Will Google Apps give Linux-like leverage?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Today's column looked at Google Applications and the company's decision to charge for the new business suite.

I focused on the fees because they could signal a potentially big shift happening at Google and other Web services companies.

Also important is Google Apps' focus on communications. Much of the coverage focused on the suite competing with Office, in part because they both have word processors and spreadsheets.

But the real battle seems to be over message handling -- e-mail, IM and VoIP. Those services are the foundation of productivity now, and that's where Google Apps seems to be aiming at Exchange and other Microsoft communications servers.

Microsoft's also going after business VoIP in a big way. Just this morning Bill Gates talked up new Office communication products in the pipeline.

Eventually "that PBX won't be necessary,'' he said during a speech at a local launch event for Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.

Upcoming products that Gates mentioned may end up competing with Google Apps: Office Communicator 2007, Office Communcations Server 2007 and Voice Call Management for Office Communcations Server 2007.

If nothing else, Google Apps could do for Microsoft's small business customers what Linux has done for enterprise customers over the last few years: It will give them more leverage when negotiating license deals.

Comments | Category: Enterprise , Google , Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 4, 2006 3:04 PM

Turbulence at Portland Linux center

Posted by Brier Dudley

OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen is out and nine employees were let go in a restructuring announced today, but Linus Torvalds still works there, according to this story at Linux.com that was picked up by Slashdot.

OSDL is a cornerstone of Portland's huge open source community.

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November 28, 2006 1:38 PM

Ballmer's angry call from Novell CEO ...

Posted by Brier Dudley

About the fateful Linux comments Steve Ballmer made in Seattle two weeks ago. Novell boss Ron Hovsepian told Computerworld he called Ballmer to ask what was up.

He didn't say much about the conversation but noted that Ballmer and his lieutenants were "very understanding. At the executive level, they've been operating very genuinely -- I have to give them full credit for that."

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 15, 2006 10:54 AM

Friction already in Microsoft-Novell partnership?

Posted by Brier Dudley

The grip-and-grin photo op has passed. Now comes the hard stuff, like finalizing the creative licensing agreement to protect open-source developers from Microsoft lawsuits.

For an inside look at the Microsoft side, check out the blog of Jason Matusow, the company's open source liaison. He's been asking the community for input on how to sort out the licensing situation and getting some pointed comments.

Meanwhile, Eben Moglen turned up the heat by suggesting the Microsoft-Novell deal violates the GPL and will fail by March.

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 3, 2006 10:14 AM

Linus warm to Microsoft Linux deal, but doesn't indemnify

Posted by Brier Dudley

I was lucky to get in touch with Linus Torvalds for today's column on the Microsoft-Novell deal. Getting his perspective helped shape my ideas, and he gave me a terrific quote.

Wall Street has moved on to other things, like rising oil prices and interest rate worries.

Going forward I'm not sure how we'll track the success of the partnership and its effect on Linux. Hopefully customers will make it known whether their situation improves.

Merrill Lynch analyst Kash Rangan thinks Red Hat will be benefit the most, partly because Novell's credibility with the open-source community will decline. That's probably why Red Hat declined to enter a similar partnership with Microsoft, he said.

I don't think the credibility issue is that significant, especially among the big enterprise customers who are more concerned about cost, efficiency and service than the purity of their open-source software.

Rangan did make a good point about the indemnification protection that's part of the Microsoft-Novell Linux offering. He said that's an old issue that hasn't limited Linux uptake lately.

"Linux/RedHat survived and thrived through the indemnification (perhaps intimidation) and patent issues raised by SCO 2-3 years back,'' he wrote. "Understandably, Microsoft is raising the profile of the issue in order to secure its Windows franchise and monetize Linux synthetically, and Novell sees this as an opportunity to regain its relevance in Linux."

It's not the first time Microsoft has raised that issue with customers. Here's a story about Steve Ballmer's infamous Singapore speech in 2004. This followup story sheds light on Microsoft's concerns about intellectual property that factored into the Novell agreement.

Comments | Category: Enterprise , Microsoft , Open source |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.