Frozen Pizza? ICEcore Workshop From Novell.

“Free Workshop; Free IceCore Tools; Free Pizza. Can life get any better???”

Not a bad lead in, eh? I sure thought so when the email showed up in my inbox. It turns out that Novell’s Open Source Technology Center is sponsoring a workshop on ICEcore, an open source collaboration toolkit (it’s written one way on their website and another in the email, I don’t know which one to believe.).

If you’re planning on being in Provo on March 13th, it might be worth checking out. Here’s what the email said:

Join us Thursday, March 13
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Open Source Technology Center
1800 South Novell Place, Bldg. A
Provo, Utah.
Daniel Shelley, workgroup products manager at Novell, will teach 
workshop attendees how to install, configure, and integrate IceCore, 
the open source workteam collaboration tool.  Increase your teams'
productivity while reducing their frustrations through using the
IceCore team workspaces and collaboration tools: blogs, wikis,
instant messaging, chat, voice over IP, and web conferencing. 
IceCore also integrates with other applications to allow you to
customize the solution to your project dilemmas.

Contact Linda at [phone number redacted] to 
reserve your place for this limited seating event.   Bring your 
laptop.  Sponsored by the Open Source Technology Center (OSTC) at

Looks interesting. Maybe not enough to come to Provo from LA or New York. But if you’re in Salt Lake City or Provo, this might not be a bad way to spend the evening. Worst case, you’ll get some free pizza for your troubles.




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Ok, but try to get a straight answer...

Anonymous's picture

I challenge anybody to try to get a straight answer from anybody at Novell about how their partnership with Microsoft will effect open source.

If you are on the open source side of the fence (our side), and are concerned with, links on the Novell website to help the migration to Windows Vista, or how the Microsoft-Novell Interop Lab is working to promote Microsoft Moonlight and Microsoft Silverlight....

You may not want to eat the pizza...and stay away from the Kool-Aid !

re: a straight answer...

Anonymous's picture

If you want a straight answer, you have to ask a straight question. Your question is too vague for a straight answer.
Have you read Novell's FAQ about the collaboration?

Will all of the product of this collaboration agreement be open source? No.

Will Novell be putting closed source code into Linux? No.

The goals of the collaboration have been made pretty clear
in the FAQ and Novell has been very clear in their position.

For example, from the link above:

Q:Did Microsoft contribute or intends to contribute with code for any Open Source software distributed by Novell? If so, have Novell verified if the contribution doesn't use any patent owned by Microsoft? (Elias G. Amaral)

A:In all the development work that we do, we are extemely careful to no infringe on the intellectual property held by others. If we are contributing to an open source project, we will following the licensing requirements that govern that project. So if the license prohibits the inclusion of patented code, we will not contribute patented code, whether its ours or somebody else's that we might license. This fear of Novell somehow putting Microsoft technology into Linux is completely unfounded.

You seem to be concerned about Novell's motives towards open source and present a lot of FUD in your post. Let me clear some things up....

Novell is a mixed-source company. They have both proprietary and open source products.

Of course Novell has links regarding migration to Vista, they have a Windows desktop management product! They have several products that run on or manage Windows because their traditional product base is services for Windows desktops.

Of course the Novell Interop lab is working on Microsoft Silverlight and Moonlight. Novell is developing Moonlight, an open source implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight. Note that the spec for this is open and not patented.

Are you opposed to Novell developing open source implementations of Microsoft technologies? If so, are you opposed to Samba as well?

Some points to consider..

Novell has made a number of open source contributions and has a proven track record of purchasing companies and open sourcing the products, if they weren't already. They have also ported or are in the process of porting all of their products to Linux.

Novell has a proven track record of open source contributions. Such as YaST, Mono, Moonlight, AppArmor, ICEcorp (most recently), Gnome, OpenSuSE, Xen...

The business reality is that there are very few companies (especially enterprises) that only run Linux. The lack of compatible technologies make it more difficult for companies to migrate from Windows to Linux, as does the lack of tools to manage both. This is where this agreement makes sense and has been welcomed by the business world that wants to take advantage of both.

and present a lot of FUD in your post...

Anonymous's picture

Ok, "You may not want to eat the pizza...and stay away from the Kool-Aid !" was a joke, mabey over the top, but not FUD. Novell Does good work.

The business of serving big business, that have a been held over a barrel with "lock-in" Microsoft software is understandable. But, for example, do you think Novell considers the effects of supporting the OOXML format in the long run?

The debate on the OOXML format is clear from a logic point of view. There is little merit in OOXML. The rewards of OOXML go to Microsoft. The risks go to everybody else. The concern is how the standards process is being manipulated by a systematic corrupt political OOXML process when there is little merit.

So, when Novell supports OOXML it has the appearance that Microsoft is using Novell as a tool to further the rewards of OOXML that go to Microsoft.

It may be good "today" for big business "locked-in" with Microsoft products, but not for the rest of us going forward.

Moonlight and Silverlight have the potential for further "lock-in" down the road. Microsoft changes their software with a "lock-in" strategy.

A straight question would be:

How will Novell keep from being a "lock-in" tool for Microsoft as it spreads the use of formats such as OOXML?

Thank you for your prompt and straight answer.

re: a straight answer...

Anonymous's picture

How can supporting OOXML in OpenOffice be considered "lock-in" when it allows customers to read OOXML documents in OpenOffice? By this very nature it's PREVENTING lock-in by assisting Microsoft customers to migrate to OpenOffice.

Simply having all of the same functionality as MS Office isn't enough. You have to provide customers the ability to read/write their existing documentation while they migrate to OpenOffice.

Supporting OOXML is like supporting the MS Word document format.

Of course there is no guarantee that MS won't decide down the road to make one of their currently open specifications closed. Hopefully by the time that point came, there would be enough customers using the open source version that doing so would defeat the purpose.

For your straight question, "How will Novell keep from being a "lock-in" tool for Microsoft as it spreads the use of formats such as OOXML?"

Novell doesn't provide Microsoft products and Microsoft products don't run on Novell's products. Novell and Microsoftd are competitors. Plain and simple. So, they don't have and business interest in assisting with Microsoft lock-in.

(Do you really think that companies using Linux and OpenOffice are going to decide to use OOXML of the other, better formats? I don't. Therefore it's not going to propagate the format beyond those migrating away from MS.)

Their business interest is to provide customers with an easy way to migrate from Microsoft to Linux. Not the other way around. To do this, they need to be able to provide interoperability to break that lock-in.

This is in the best interest of the both the business community and the linux community both in the short and long terms.

So, for your straight answer....

Microsoft lock-in is against the best interest of Novell since they don't provide Microsoft products. Novell competes with Microsoft. By the very nature of providing open source and Linux versions, they're preventing Microsoft lock-in. So they have the greatest reason of all to not assist with Microsoft lock-in, self interest.

Straight enough?

How can supporting OOXML in OpenOffice be considered "lock-in"

Anonymous's picture

"How can supporting OOXML in OpenOffice be considered "lock-in"

"Lock-in" is not a Novell or Novell-OpenOffice term. "Lock-in" is a Microsoft term, Microsoft may even have a patent for "lock-in".

"So, they don't have and business interest in assisting with Microsoft lock-in."

Agreed, it is not "Novell-Microsoft lock-in". The problem with Novell supporting OOXML, Moonlight, Silverlight, and whatever Microsoft's next "lock-in" ploy is, is that Novell seems to be helping Microsoft spread these formats. Microsoft wants to gain momentum in these formats to achieve critical mass. Can you see that ? It is a numbers game.

Spreading formats

Anonymous's picture

Spreading the formats? Bah.

Word doc support in OpenOffice doesn't have OpenOffice users using it
unless they need to share the doc with MS Office users.

I have yet to see Samba used in strictly Linux environments or when
not sharing to Windows.

I have yet to see anyone using win32 filesystems when not using Windows.

I understand your concern about spreading MS formats. It's a valid
concern. I just don't think that MS formats have a life outside of the MS
world. The Linux alternatives will always be superior.

Microsoft have found themselves losing share to Linux. Their customers
with mixed environments want options and will no longer tolerate the
lack of interoperability. If MS is to survive or take back some of their
share, they're going to need to listen to their customers...and they
are listening. Take a look at Powershell, and object oriented unix-like
shell. Windows Server 2008 will supposedly be able to run without a GUI.
These are the steps MS is taking to fight back against Linux.

"Hope" is not a good strategy when dealing with Microsoft.

Anonymous's picture

"Of course there is no guarantee that MS won't decide down the road to make one of their currently open specifications closed. Hopefully by the time that point came, there would be enough customers using the open source version that doing so would defeat the purpose."

You should help Novell do a better job explaining and developing this strategy to move customers to open source.

Hope and Microsoft are like oil and water, they don't mix.

And as time goes by and more and more documents are saved in OOXML it will become a defacto standard. The Growth of OOXML documents should be discouraged.

"You have to provide customers the ability to read/write their existing documentation while they migrate to OpenOffice."

How about read OOXML and save in ODF?

The Novell Strategy with Microsoft needs to be more aggresive and better explained on the Novell HOMEPAGE, so that anybody that wants to work with Novell knows for certain that their efforts and their customers will not help Microsoft in any way shape or form.

Overly simplistic

Anonymous's picture

"How about read OOXML and save in ODF?"

This would certainly be an option if MS Office supports ODF.

If not, it would require an entire corporation to move to OpenOffice
at once, which is not a valid migration strategy for any sizeable

Support for OOXML in OpenOffice is not going to send anyone flocking
to OpenOffice to make OOXML docs. However, it will allow those migrating
from MS Office to read and write their current files until their company
has completed migration.

This type of idea exchange...

Anonymous's picture

This type of idea exchange is rooted in basic concerns that a Linux startup business would have if that business has the goal of helping their customers fix their existing computing problems.

With a "high road" business plan built around Linux and Open Source, the road toward that goal can not have any hidden land mines under it if the customer and the business are to arrive on time and intact.

Novell's Open Source Technology Center - Incubation for Innovative Thinking is a attempt to reach out to Linux Start up business's, specifically, "Participants should be early-stage companies with fewer than 15 employees" .

So, you are a start up Linux Business on day one. Your goal is to build a business around solving your customers existing computer problems. You believe that "word of mouth" advertising is the most effective advertising at this stage of your business and you also know that "word of mouth" advertising cuts both ways.

The last thing this new business wants to do is lead its customers down a dark alley to be blindsided by a hidden technology ploy that the business itself was not aware of.

If the business owner can't feel good in his gut that obvious safeguards and firewalls exist around the software tools that the startup business will use to solve the customers problems, then a weakness exists in the business plan foundation.

It is critical that the foundation that the business relies on be desigined correctly. No cracks, no weaknesses, no below grade land mines.

Novell wants to work with Linux startups. So, Novell needs to do a much better job at making the startup business know for sure that there are NO CRACKS IN THE FOUNDATION.

The Startup is putting it all on the line. Blind faith just doesn't cut it.

The "Your Linux is Ready" campaign was aggresive on the Novell HOMEPAGE, and made a startup business feel that Novell was a good way to go. Since then Novell has taken the gloves off and it appears that their current approach is much softer.

Then along came Microsoft with its interop-pin to burst that bubble, then OOXML, then Microsoft rigging the ISO, then Moonlight and Silverlight.

Novell is way too quiet on why its "partner" Microsoft is now under investightion by the EU for rigging the ISO vote in September 2007.

You and your business are judged by the company you keep.

Novell must start acting like a aggressive competitor of Microsoft, denounce shady stunts and abuse by Microsoft, and go back to the aggresive advertising campaign that was used in the fall of 2006 promoting LINUX over Microsoft. Novell needs to stop dancing around these issues an go head on with Microsoft, Period.

Actions speak louder that words. Make Linux startups feel good in their gut.

Make Ray Noorda proud.