Monday, June 4, 2007

Emails from the Edge; Ohh, Xanadu...

XMas is coming early this year. Again, more emails from my Peninsula Pal. Hate to break my vows of secrecy but his info is so good it feels wrong not to share.

Hey morrie-

Dear Morrie (a postscript up front)- sorry if this thing is so ragged. Very little time or energy to proofread. I'm quite ashamed of typos and consternated by dangling thoughts when I find them but that was when I had the luxury to go back and reread my letters and posts. I read at least 10,000 words a day on the average and that leaves very little time for reading my favorite stuff (my old writings - I just flat kill myself). So again apoligies this isn't clean and neat. BUT. It DO have some interesting insights that amazed me. (That's why I like re-reading my stuff. I'm always surprised to find out things I didn't know. Hadn't learned, just wrote about them. There's really a huge difference.


I did see that on Mary Jo's blog last night...


June 3rd, 2007

Did Xandros sign a Novell-like patent deal with Microsoft? Yes.
Posted by Mary Jo Foley @ 6:11 pm

Looks like there could be another Microsoft-Linux patent deal in the offing.

eWEEK posted a story a few hours ago entitled “Microsoft Gives Xandros Linux Users Patent Protection.” The story is now gone from the Web site.


... but decided to wait to see what the real deal was before writing to you. She updated the post by this morning to say that yes, Xandros had inked a deal with Microsoft

Based on what I've seen from the Microsoft Novell deal I would think Microsoft believes they can become "interoperable" with the rest of the world through select Linux proxies and thus not have to worry about the internet interface. They would probably gravitate toward doing what AOL has done in keeping their "experience" located on their own property and leaving the internet interface to Linux folks who can interact with the open-source world.

What they then do is build interoperable linkages between MS operating system and the Linux operating system (most likely using com/dcom) and leaving the developers to pursue the true XML web-based stuff on the Linux + everybody else's side.

Ray Ozzie is trying to "save the browser" from the Eolas threat and I think this article is one of his efforts to find a way out of having to pay the Eolas judgment. Eolas essentially nailed Microsoft for putting com/dcom activeX controls on web browsers as plug-ins. This blocked Microsoft's ability to migrate controls from the windows desktop to the browser. According to the article Ozzie thinks there is "ample prior art" in the work done in the Lotus software he built to call into question Eolas' originality claim.

Here is a wiki blurb about the history of Lotus Notes:



Lotus Notes has a history spanning more than 20 years.[6] Its chief
inspiration was PLATO Notes, created by David Woolley at the University
of Illinois in 1973. In today's terminology, PLATO Notes was a message
board, and it was the basis for an online community which thrived for
more than 20 years on the PLATO system. Ray Ozzie, who in 2006 succeeded
Bill Gates as Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, worked with PLATO
while attending the University of Illinois in the 1970s. When PC network
technology began to emerge, Ozzie made a deal with Mitch Kapor, the
founder of Lotus Development Corporation, that resulted in the formation
of Iris Associates in 1984 to develop products that would combine the
capabilities of PCs with the collaborative tools pioneered in PLATO. The
agreement put control of product development under Ozzie and Iris, and
sales and marketing under Lotus. In 1994, after the release and
marketplace success of Notes R3, Lotus purchased Iris. In 1995 IBM
purchased Lotus.

When Lotus Notes was initially released, the name "Notes" referred to
both the client and server components. In 1996, Lotus released an add-on
for the Notes 4 server called "Domino". This add-on allowed Notes
documents to be rendered as web pages in real time. With the release of
Notes 4.5, later that year, the Domino web server was integrated into the
core Notes server, which was itself renamed to "Domino". The client is
still called "Notes", while the server component is now known as
"Domino". However, one may frequently see the terms used


Meaning whatever "priorness" Lotus may have looks like it belongs to IBM as it stands. While the effort Ozzie made in the above "save the browser" article may have some effect in blunting Eolas claims, the information does precisely what we would like to see in providing IBM with more ammo to establish a greater claim to web-protocol IP. The "saving the browser" article is dated September 13, 2003 with no follow up. Apparently Microsoft has since argued they believe work done on a project called "Viola" can be used as prior art to the Eolas controversy as the Lotus argument works against Microsoft interests.

One thing we've not talked much about is VCSY's position in supporting IBM as IBM is an open-source shop for the most part coupling with Red Hat Linux, the owner of the community software from arsDigita in use in the project. arsDigita was acquired by General Atlantic owned by Wade's former boss Charles Feeney. I believe VCSY's patent stance against Microsoft is actually a spoiling action by larger players in order to force Microsoft into making up its mind whether it wants to argue for patent protection or argue for patent alignment.

I believe Microsoft's marriage with significant Linux resources is an effort on MSFT's part to manage some sort of face to face front with Red Hat when the fat inevitably falls into the fire later this year as it must when virtualization becomes a tipping point for corporate IT leverage.

First - I believe Microsoft's marriage with Novell last year was a marriage of immediacy and circumstance as Walmart was building out a large modernization of their global system and Microsoft was in no position to provide the kind of web-based interaction demanded by interoperation. (see timeline at #2) I believe Microsoft is afraid to conduct web-based integration or interoperational automation off the Windows platforms so is in effect binding with Linux so the Linux producers may grapple with that question.

Second - I believe Microsoft's marriage to Xandros had to do with allowing any "infringement" against the Eolas patent or the VCSY patents be moved from windows to the desktop windows Xandros makes.

Thus, the "infringement" question is delayed and deflected while Microsoft tries to carve corporate market share.

All they need is a couple Linux bases of operation for specific purposes and the rest can all go to hell as far as Microsoft might be concerned.

To wit:

Xandros is also based on Corel distributions which plays well with Microsoft's prior deals with Corel:

October 19, 2000 Details of Corel/Microsoft deal revealed


As for its WordPerfect Office suite, Corel has agreed that the next major
upgrade to this product, due next year, will incorporate support for the
software services included in the .NET framework, which is also scheduled
to ship next year. Corel has also agreed to support any future .NET
technologies in its Office products no later than six months after
Microsoft releases them publicly. Additionally, Corel has agreed to make
its Office product services "consumable" as .NET services using
Microsoft's standards for doing so. And Corel will bundle support for any
applicable .NET Building Block Services, which will be supplied by
Microsoft, into its products. An interesting product has also been
revealed by the agreement, which explains that Microsoft may decide to
release a new developer product called "Visual Studio for Applications"
(VSA), "which is intended to provide the ability to customize and extend
middle-tier components of distributed applications based upon the .NET
Frameworks," the agreement says. Corel will support this product if it is
released. In the one bone thrown to Corel, the company can still release
versions of its products that do not incorporate .NET; however, Corel
must put as much effort into its .NET versions as it does into its non
-.NET versions.

of significant notice to all of we:
An interesting product has also been revealed by the agreement, which
explains that Microsoft may decide to release a new developer product
called "Visual Studio for Applications" (VSA), "which is intended to
provide the ability to customize and extend middle-tier components of
distributed applications based upon the .NET Frameworks,"

Ahhhhh.... ooooohhhhhh. I wonder how they make all the little sparkly colors?

Basically, in October of 2000 Microsoft was planning on producing a web-application environment and was counting on Corel to buy in. Today, Xandros is a Linux desktop producer. What a shock.

So I say Microsoft bound itself with Novell to establish a "respectable" Linux platform overall as an interoperable operating system proxy for windows then they plugged in to Xandros so they could field a respectable desktop on that Linux platform... so they wouldn't have to because they can't.

It will be very interesting to see how far the LongHorn Reloaded gang and the Retrophase gangs get in building out the original Longhorn concept and what reaction Microsoft will have.

I say MSFT are doing this until they can somehow get their act together and put Ozzie's vision of RSS plumbing applications together and leave the http world for the rest of the world. Then they will turn Novell and Xandros around, stab them in the back and ask why Corporations are using such complex layers as a Linux/Windows proxy. Oh, they would NEVER do that? I wonder if Jack the Ripper was married.

Now, the burning question is this: why not before today and why now?

Why not 2000? 2001?? 2002!?! 2003??? 2004$? 2005$$$? 2006$*n? Why this time. Why now?

I would say they think they have nothing to loose I guess.

They will probably not choose to settle with VCSY, I would think. They're risking some judge's ire, I would say, as VCSY has already demonstrated ill intent and action by CDC and Ross Systems. I would say also they have a fairly solid foundation of circumstantial evidence demonstrating Microsoft certainly knew about VCSY work and avoided stepping on it scrupulously. Nevertheless, in order to sell .Net they had to give in to customer pressure to provide certain critical capabilities and the way the siteFlash patent is written, I would say .Net could not even exist without walking across at least a significant cross section of the claims.

If they take the Microsoft+Novell+Xandros way, they can run web-interoperation using a Linux proxy as an IP buffer, as they try to survive the oncoming corporate mitigation to hosted services with client capabilities (migration is too tame a word for government/corporate/military governance drivers impinging the typically expectable Windows inadequecies in a web-application world).

While doing so, they can do all the "research and development" they want in the background while fighting the VCSY and the Eolas cases. Then, they can roll out their "development" while stabbing Novell and Xandros in the back with same.

so the game is this: Get some corporate customers onboard before you can deliver, then go looking for some partners to get the customers to pay to integrate into the Microsoft "platform"... such as it is.

Why these companies put up with being treated that way is beyond me. It's the same "nobody ever got fired for specifying IBM" corporate mentality a couple decades ago that wiped out a great deal of corporate modernization gains.

That Ballmer. He's such a card. Use history against your own customers and developers for profit. That's a great point of view.

a few references in no particular order:

So, unless the Corel/Microsoft/Xandros thing is a real fluke of coincidental amalgamation and Microsoft never dreamed of having to rely on Linux companies to carry their bacon across the internet, I would say this lovely little mirage à trois is going to buy corporations a marriage made in hell.

Kind of like the smooth talker marrying the widow women in hopes of becoming a widower.

All this get's deep out here in the barnyard, don't it? Smells too. Lots and lots of re-invention and 'not invented here' redundancy conscription with egoisms. All that have made software a true melting pot for homogeneity as a pot of spaghetti is for making laundry starch. Dear me, what a nightmare this all is. Stupid stupid stupid.

Based on this I would expect Microsoft to not settle with VCSY. I would say they're going to make a run for the fence and hope they can spread enough FUD to slow down the virtualization surges their competitors are already making.

However, there is one speed bump for Microsoft and that will be the increased alienation Novell and Xandros will experience (and the FUD corporations will be hit with by new confusion) from the Linux community at large. If a merge is difficult and a partnership is hard with a moving target, a necessary alignment is impossible. Imagine any corporation being told they will have to employ SEVERAL servers when others offer just one compact unit.

No doubt to me Microsoft intends to coagulate some sort of Linux defense perimeter to apply force to Microsoft users wanting to go Linux. They would probably NOT extend the MSFT patent portfolio protections that are at the heart of these pacts to anyone NOT using their set of proxies.

I would say Red Hat are most likely poised to pound Novell and Xandros to dust once Microsoft's intention regarding their "good faith" efforts at satisfying the VCSY complaint. Why? Entanglement. When there's no doubt which way your prey is going to run, it's much easier to block that particular escape.

I believe we will find over time the consensus will be if you are a serious corporation (or even a serious small business owner) and you want the best, you will be running IBM + Red Hat and not a slapped together for contingency band-aid between Vista and what's hoped be when the band-aid gets pulled.


Anonymous said...

going for a flush in the river.
" Xandros will also join Microsoft and other management vendors in implementing the WS-Management set of protocols in Xandros BridgeWays cross-platform management products and in various systems management standardization efforts."

Anonymous said...

The cards are dealt.
Three called.
Three cards are face up.

VCSY may not be playing.
VCSY may be at another table.
VCSY may be in the other two hands.
VCSY may be in the deck for the river draw.
VCSY may be in suit and in this hand.(may sound absurd but very well might be---the forest for the trees )--Whatever the river--I think the pot turns the tide. The box---think outside.