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Novell and Microsoft Claim Customer Support 158

munchola writes "Novell and Microsoft have commissioned a survey to prove that customers love their interoperability and patent deal. According to the survey 'Ninety-five percent approve of the collaboration between Novell and Microsoft,' while 'four out of five believe their organization would consider doing more business with Linux dealers if Linux providers establish an alliance with Microsoft.' As CBRonline notes, however: 'Few people have claimed the deal is bad for Novell or Microsoft's customers. The question has been whether it is good for the open source movement, open source developers, or indeed Novell itself. Those issues do not appear to have been addressed by the survey.'"
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Novell and Microsoft Claim Customer Support

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  • Just one survey? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by faloi ( 738831 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:28PM (#17210386)
    Or did they commision multiple surveys with different wording and cherry-pick the one they liked most? It is marketing, after all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Don't be absurd. Marketing types know how to write surveys that give them the results they want. There are courses on this.
    • by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <ag-slashdot&exit0,us> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:43PM (#17210648) Homepage
      Do you love more; being hit in the head by a large wooden mallet, or using the new Microsoft/Novell hotline?

      But isn't that the same thing?


      • That's easy, the mallet shot.
      • The Novel Survey:

        Pick one of the following statements that best describes your feelings

        1. I anticipate the destruction of my business by endless patent infringement lawsuits; I fully expect to see all those I have ever loved die in filth and poverty while I look on knowing that it is all my fault. My life is a barren wasteland without hope of redemption. OR
        2. I fully support the Novell-Microsoft patent pact.

        The Microsoft Survey:

        Select one or more from the following list: I think the Microsoft-Novell de

  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by urbanradar ( 1001140 ) <`timothyfielding' `at' `'> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:30PM (#17210418) Homepage
    ...if businesses using Linux were to suddenly find themselves without support one day because their Linux partner has just lost a legal battle against Microsoft, they probably wouldn't like it as much.

    Just saying.
    • by Ajehals ( 947354 )
      The only losers under your theoretical scenario are those support providers who also provide the Distribution, and where they are operating in a country where software patents are valid, so that probably means that the effected group would be quite small. As I see it, the whole argument that the Novel / Microsoft deal is bad hinges on Patents rather than copyright, so for a large number of companies, there is simply no problem. Different story if you are in the US I guess, and a problem if changes are made
      • "Different story if you are in the US I guess"

        Last I checked this is a USian site, for USians. We are all in the US. Ignoring that fact for a brief moment, the US alone controls most of the global economy. In economic terms, how something impacts the US is the first and almost only consideration; not a side note.
        • by Ajehals ( 947354 )
          Funny, Last time I checked slashdot had a fairly global user base. From where I'm sitting there doesn't seem to be all that much US control over the company's that provide the jobs and bring in the wealth to the area I'm in, its 70% Local, 20% European (mostly German to be fair) and 10% US at best, and even then its UK based organisations with US parents - (The European companies seem to find it easier than the US ones to operate here directly), or majority US shareholding.

          Sure we can buy a large number of
          • "Funny, Last time I checked slashdot had a fairly global user base."

            No doubt, there are people on slashdot from all over the place and we are happy to converse with them on our forum. But it is a US forum with foreign participants, not an international forum. The appropriate language for the forum is American English, speech in foreign tongues is inappropriate, almost all stories are US Centric, and so forth.

            "From where I'm sitting there doesn't seem to be all that much US control over the company's that pr
    • Right, they wouldn't like it so much. As they wouldn't like it so much if an earthquake destroys their corporate headquarter. Now lets look at the probabilities; earthquake, yeah can happen depends where your HQ is located, lawsuit from Microsoft against are joking, right?

      Summary: FUD as usual...
    • this is FUD as usual from Microsoft... an all-out patent war is not in their general interest... the mere "threat" of a patent lawsuit however, is... you do realise that if Microsoft actually were stupid enough to sue a Linux customer for infringing one of their fatuous patents, then the resultant gotterdamerung as all interested parties suddenly find patents that microsoft customers themselves are infringing on would be highly amusing...
    • ...if businesses using Linux were to suddenly find themselves without support one day because their Linux partner has just lost a legal battle against Microsoft, they probably wouldn't like it as much.

      But who would they be angry at if this happened?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )
      ...if businesses using Linux were to suddenly find themselves without support one day because their Linux partner has just lost a legal battle against Microsoft, they probably wouldn't like it as much.

      Define "sudden", see SCO vs IBM... If Microsoft came out *now*, you'd see discovery in 2007, trial in 2008, appeal in 2009, maybe bankrupcy in 2010 but there'd be plenty of warnings. It's not like one day you'd find a cardboard on the door saying "Out of business".
  • Oh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:30PM (#17210426) Homepage
    Here I thought they were announcing they were actually going to support their customers.

    Move along, nothing to see here.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:33PM (#17210486)
    Neither MS or Novell control our software, only we control our software. It is a hard lesson that many companies need to learn, they are not in control the developers are ultimately in control. The minute you alienate the developers in this type of environment you have already set up your ultimate demise.
    • It is a hard lesson that many companies need to learn, they are not in control the developers are ultimately in control.

      you are small. your company is big.

      you are in control only until a third-world developer more interested in a living wage than in ideological purity denonstrates that he can do your job better and cheaper.

  • The survey did not intentionally target, but did break out, results for respondents whose companies deploy both Microsoft® Windows and SUSE Linux from Novell, as well as Red Hat Linux.
    They might not have targeted the companies, but they do have a ready list of Microsoft multi-certified people to choose from.
  • by ifchairscouldtalk ( 1031944 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:34PM (#17210508)

    Do you think that the recent interoperability and patent deal between Microsoft and Novel is

    A) Good
    B) Very Good
    C) Not bad at all
    • by Joebert ( 946227 )
      You forgot,
      D) All of the above
    • D) Ask CowboyNeal!
    • Or to take a page from Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook.

      Please rate the truthfulness of the following statements on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = true and 5 = very true...

      1. The MS-Novell deal is good for customers.
      2. Open Source software is bad.
      3. RMS is a doody-head

      -- Disclaimer: I may or may not believe this, but it's how a marketing type would think
  • by netbuzz ( 955038 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:35PM (#17210520) Homepage
    Customers *always* like to hear that their vendors are playing nice-nice together; the details matter little -- at least in the short run. ... Or maybe it's just that Microsoft and Novell have wowed 'em with these cool billboards that are beckoning drivers in the Bay Area and Massachusetts: []
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 )
      Whoa... When did THAT billboard go up? I'd like to think I'd have spotted it in the last week or so.
      • by netbuzz ( 955038 )
        I noticed the billboard for the first time yesterday. Don't know for sure when it when up, but I go by there every day and can't imagine it would have escaped my attention (he says, knowing full well that's not exactly true).
    • Yes, details matter. I'm sure if you told surveyed people about the Zune, most of them would be excited about the WiFi feature and that they'd get one. Once you told them the real details about it, there would be less enthusiasm about purchasing it.
  • by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:36PM (#17210534) Homepage
    How can a survey like this go unnoticed by the Slashdot audience untill after it's been conducted ?
    Did anyone here actually participate in this survey ?
    • The same way the Yankee group can produce a study saying that most IT admins surveyed don't like linux and are not going to support it in their IT depts.

      They use a very carefully selected group. In the Case of Gartner they surveyed Win2k and win2k3 Admins only.

      MSFT probably surveyed their people who have bought software assurance licenses. Slashdot users generally aren't amoung that group.
    • Sorry about the double reply, but i screwed up Gartner and Yankee analysis groups. Well actually i didn't as they both do the same thing.

      If you want a Biased Opinion in your favor all you have to do is pay either one of them money.

    • It's because there was no CowboyNeal option. If there had it would have been the favorite, like:
      Do you agree that the MS/Novell deal could not be not used for or against your benefit in the future?

      (1) I love the MS/Novell deal
      (2) I REALLY love the MS/Novell deal
      (3) CowboyNeal loves the MS/Novell deal
  • by kernelpanicked ( 882802 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:37PM (#17210548)
    Careful Novell. I'm almost positive Microsoft has patents that cover these sorts of bullshit surveys.
    • by mgblst ( 80109 )
      What do you think the agreement was for? It took most of the time to hash out the finer points, on what sort of bullshit surveys Novell were allowed to use.
  • "Nearly all respondents agree with improving interoperability, having products that work well together, and having tools that make it easier to manage mixed Windows® and Linux environments."

    Who's going to oppose that? It's not the good/bad quality of the deal itself that the survey addresses, but the benefits that MS/Novell are trying to sell.

    • He hit the nail right on the head. BTW deal is really important to Microsoft. Not that they care about interoperability. They just want to spread the impression that they have claim to parts of Linux so that they can destroy the free nature of OSS.
  • spred the fud (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wardk ( 3037 )
    why even bother reporting such nonsense?

    it's not news, it's BS.

    I suggest slashdot and others ignore it altogether instead of indignantly reporting it.
  • Well, Not Always (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jack_csk ( 644290 )
    As far as I concern, some of the businesses do care if they can transfer their infrastructure among different Linux distros / Unices.

    By forming alliance with Microsoft, Novell is promoting some sort of vendor lock-in, which will eventually lead to Microsoft's eclipse of Linux's (including Novell and other Linux vendors) market
    • As far as I concern, some of the businesses do care if they can transfer their infrastructure among different Linux distros / Unices.

      I'm not sure how or if this deal would effect Unis or sun at all?
  • I wonder what kind of customers were surveyed? If these customers were like me who once supported the deal, then I am really worried about Novell's future.

    You see, Novell will be forced to leave out important upgrades to the [Linux] kernel if parts of this kernel end up licensed under the upcoming GPL v3. When that happens, Novell will be forced to offer an "inferior" kernel to its customers. I believe no one can say that this is positive.

    When I look into Novell's past, I fail to see any positive thing the

    • You see, Novell will be forced to leave out important upgrades to the [Linux] kernel if parts of this kernel end up licensed under the upcoming GPL v3

      GPLv2 and GPLv3 are potentially incompatible and thus this is unlikely.

      On the other hand, they won't be able to distribute GPLv3 programs, so the distribution will have to be lighter and that will hurt them more.

    • by JonJ ( 907502 )
      The kernel is most certainly staying GPLv2, what Novell should be worried about is the GNU-toolchain and other software(samba) which is going to go GPLv3.
      • RE: Novell should be worried about is the GNU-toolchain andother software(samba) which is going to go GPLv3.

        Na, they'll just go down on their knees and get CIFS code from M$ and create a Samba Clone.

  • Novell and Microsoft have commissioned a survey to prove that customers love their interoperability and patent deal
    If you commission a survey to prove something, of course it's going to prove what you want. Maybe they should've commissioned a survey asking people what they *think* about it.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:48PM (#17210730)
    95% of the people using a computer don't understand it at all.

  • by dsci ( 658278 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:48PM (#17210740) Homepage
    Warning: Opinion and Anecdotal discussion to follow; one size does NOT fit all.

    All this focus on interoperability is ASSUMING businesses care about operating with Windows. Certainly some do, and they may care about interoperability issues. Others don't; I know my consulting business is a near-nonexistent speck in the grand scheme of things, but I care not one whit about interoperating with Windows. My business is Linux based, and when I set up protocols for dealing with clients, they include cross-platform data formats.

    The only time I care about interop with Windows is when a client has a specific need - like the VPN I designed for a client last year. And what I found in that project was 99.99% of ALL the project headaches came from Windows - activation issues, 2003 Server licensing issues, 2003 Server MTU problems, etc.

    Anymore, if a client is completely Windows centric and demands a Windows centric solution to their problem, I typically to not even submit a proposal. That's how I view all this interoperability stuff - it is the OTHER players that must conform to the Windows way of doing things; there is no INTERoperability (imho) - it's "operate with Windows' closed way of doing everything, or go play somewhere else."

    Well, my business is playing somewhere else. My experience, and those of my clients, is that the solutions I provide LAST and don't force them into Vendor Lock-In and similar, related nonsense. As I said above, this approach is not for everybody.
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:50PM (#17210754)
    General Augusto Pinochet was "elected" supreme ruler of Chile again.

    "According to the survey 'Ninety-five percent approve of the collaboration"

    Collaboration indeed. Collaborators will be shot.

  • you could cut it with a knife.
  • Get the facts? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by feranick ( 858651 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:52PM (#17210804)
    Is this a new version of Microsoft "Get the facts []"?
  • I first read that as "Microsoft and Novell PATENT customer support.

    although I probably shouldn't say that out loud (or type that in print...or whatever)
  • PSB (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phoric ( 833867 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:54PM (#17210824)
    From the article: "PSB is a strategic communications firm that specializes in research-based recommendations for its clients. PSB has conducted research studies for Microsoft over the past 8 years." Wow, a POSITIVE survey that was commissioned by Microsoft, to the customers of Microsoft, by a company who regularly does commissioned reports for Microsoft. Who woulda thought?
  • MS should play nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by businessnerd ( 1009815 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:55PM (#17210852)
    The thing I don't get about Microsoft, is that they don't really need this deal with Novell. This is afterall about the server market. In the server market, Microsoft is not just an OS vendor, they have other mission critical software that connects to many other machines. For instance, Active Directory. If Microsoft made Active Directory interoperable with *nix clients, then I think that Active Directory use would go up. Afterall, Active Directory's market is limited to those whose datacenters are mostly Windows. What about the rest of the world that probably has some kind of hybrid. Some Windows here, some Linux there, maybe some Unix or even a Mac server thrown in somewhere. For these types of situations, they either use something like OpenLDAP or maybe use a third party AD add-on for the interoperability. Most are probably using a *nix based solution. If Active Directory were able to handle any client, I think more companies would consider AD since it would be more flexible. If you're all windows, using AD locks you into more windows and makes adding a linux server very difficult. On the desktop market, MS have a monopoly they can exploit, but not so much with the server market. The same should be applied to MS SQL server, Exchange and all the rest. The more flex you give the customer, the more likely they are to choose your product (unless it's a complete piece of crap)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by IflyRC ( 956454 )
      So I guess this article [] on how to configure Ubuntu to authentic through Active Directory is a figment of my imagination since Active Directory is 100% only available to Windows?

      You do realize that Active Directory is based on LDAP right? Microsoft's ADSI API's can also be used to connect to LDAP stores as well as Active Directory. I don't think a solution would be hard to work on - a little time consuming, but I don't see Microsoft locking out everyone else 100%.
      • So I guess this article on how to configure Ubuntu to authentic through Active Directory is a figment of my imagination since Active Directory is 100% only available to Windows?

        That does not mean MS made active directory interoperable with unix, it is a nice solution, but it was probably reverse engineered.

        Nothing prevents microsoft from making subtle changes that break the compatibility. I have also not seen a windows machine willing to authenticate in a "domain like" fashion using something else than AD (

        • by IflyRC ( 956454 )
          I have also not seen a windows machine willing to authenticate in a "domain like" fashion using something else than AD

          *This post brought to you buy a windows machine running on Novell with NDS. All *domain like authentication sponsored by Novell.
  • by strike6 ( 823490 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:56PM (#17210872)
    I've been an ardent Novell supporter for 15 years and am a certified CNE on NW 4.x and 5.x. They've been messed up at marketing for a long time but always made great technology. Now I feel they've abandoned the tech community, after finally finding a path that might lead to their long term existence after Netware. I'll never again support or recommend Novell products to anyone, no matter what their clearly biased surveys say.
  • Look like some recently out-of-work Repbulican pollsters got new jobs. Still wearing the same suit and using the same set of numbers as well.
  • Bullshit surveys saying all's well and the customers love it - now we know Novell have been bought out by the Redmond beast.
  • That sex with a crazed adult gorilla was good, would you join in?

  • Customers aren't qualified to comment, as in political surveys. They also tend to be management types who have a pathological need to seem smart.

    Coupled with the psychological predisposition, given no additional evidence, an affirmative response will be provided.

    Such that if you asked:

    Do you think, in general, that it is a good idea that Wizerbangslopinpop and Akerwhackdoodle are snifflewagging the shooterscoots?

    They'll say yes most of the time. Nor will they be inclined to ask questions as this wo

  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:07PM (#17211032)
    Would you rather:
    A) More companies enter into a similar patent agreement with Microsoft.
    B) Have a hot poker shoved up your ass.

    Would you use Linux more if:
    A) More companies paid Microsoft to prevent Microsoft from bringing a harassment law suit against users.
    B) Had a hot poker shoved up your ass.

    Would you feel more confortable:
    A) Doing business with companies who have partnered with Microsoft
    B) Having a hot poker shoved up your ass. ...
  • I work at a large small company that is now a subsidiary of a large multi-national; we are about 40% Windows/60% *nix on the back end (while they are near 100% Windows with a handful of exceptions). All of us admins here are big fans of OSS solutions but have to write extensive justifications and documentation for every Linux solution we want to use, far more than when we use a commercial Windows package. Within days of this announcement our PHBs were stating that using an MS blessed distro would make our l
  • What a carefully worded survey given to cherry picked customers say isn't very relevant. The only thing relevant is what the people donating the code (that would be the Open Source community) feels. Most of us could care less if companies want to use our code.
  • Was an email from Gates asking if a poll "could be found" which showed at least an 85% approval rating for the topic of the email.

    Two weeks later a poll with that exact result appeared in a Windows centric site.

    I doubt it was coincidence, and neither is this most recent push-poll for Microvell
  • Microsoft's (probably patented) business model has long been known. Embrace, extend, extinguish.

    It's just like a relationship. Everything's wonderful when it's all new. Your partner is wonderful, and together you're even better. Your confidence soars, and you try new things you'd never dreamed of before. Then she cuts you off in the knees, leaving you liquidating your assets to pay for hers. Watch out, Novell. That's your future. Enjoy the honeymoon. You're a banana in bed with the industry's 800 p
  • Novell did what was in its business interest (and that of its customers, as Novell is a business in a competitive market) to do. The people who are up in arms over this deal are the ones that may be hurt by it - that is, non-Novell customers.
  • by Alien Being ( 18488 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:42PM (#17211476)
    If MS really cared about interoperability, they would not have been playing dirty tricks with APIs, protocols and file formats for the last twenty years. MS wants no part of Open Systems. Their talk about intellectual property rights is just a veiled threat, "buy from us or we'll pay some SCO-like operation to sue you."

    The question that was missing from that survey is "do you trust Microsoft to keep their promises and not attempt to lock you into proprietary products?"

  • I run Suse on my machine, a desktop I depend on every single day for engineering work. I wasn't thrilled when Novell bought Suse, but I upgraded to Suse Linux 9.2 anyways. It says "NOVELL" on the box. I think it was about $80.

    Well, guess what. Next time I build up a new 'puter or upgrade the OS on this one... I'm not going to use Suse, even thought it may not be as seamless a transition for me.

    I feel a little bad, because the Gecko is kinda cute, and the "random phone support lady" that came up on th

  • Let's face it. 'Surveys' like these and the ones from Gartner and the wonderful columns from people like Enderle are all to try and soothe the pointy-headed bosses and other execs so they think they know something about something happening in the server rooms of the world.

    These sort of 'surveys' and the type of 'research' by these sorts of people/organizations is such a waste anyway. It is the equivalent of Cliff-Notes(TM) for the IT world so it makes perfect sense that some PHB will now come to one of us a
  • Typical. If there was any doubt that the whole MS/Novell thing was an anti-Linux FUD PR campaign to save Vista now that the SCO case is of no use for that anymore, this should remove it. Note that they're using this as a PR opportunity to pressure other Linux vendors to get on the "Microsoft Tax" bandwagon. At all reminiscent of SCO offering Linux licenses for sale? When will Microsoft produce a product that they actually believe in, i.e., that they don't think needs anticompetitive tactics for it to su
  • by lawaetf1 ( 613291 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:19PM (#17212034)
    It strikes me as a little unusual that nobody is making a bigger deal out of GPLv3 and how it will essentially nullify this deal or at the least put Novell in a very awkward situation. Even if Linus doesn't move the kernel over to v3, you can bet that glibc, gcc, etc, are all going to go that way. Try shipping a distro without either of those two.

    Obviously Msft and Novl are more than aware of the licensing change so the question is what sort of insidious deal has msft given Novl in the back room? Truth is, if Novell ships GPLv3 software in SuSe then they stand to be liable for enormous damages, injunctions, etc. The patent indemnification nonsense they got from msft will be more than overshadowed by the ruckus created when Novell ignores the license that a significant section of code it ships is released under. Nothing would make msft happier than another round of FUD about Linux but what gain to Novell? cui bono for this upcoming crime? When asked about GPLv3 the Novl CEO said something casually dismissive like "oh, that license, it's still in development."

    Something far more sinister is afoot than just Novl opting to be msft's lap dog.
  • Unless there are a lot of people who are upset with the MS/Novell deal, why bother with trying to prove "most" people are happy with it. It confirms there's a problem and seems like damage control to me.
  • Only one question: Where do I get to vote?

    For my whole life I've been immensely distrustful of any survey or poll that didn't include me in its sample.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."