Competition is fine – if facts stay facts.

So over at Red Hat, we are quite proud that IBM has chosen KVM via Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to run their IBM Cloud as they announce here:

[…]The new open cloud environment includes support for Linux — through Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell — and Java. Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud is powered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, the Red Hat branded and supported KVM offering. The enterprise cloud allows clients to work with their own images as well as images from IBM Mashup Center, Lotus Forms Turbo, WebSphere Portal Server, Lotus Web Content Management, and IBM Information Management and WebSphere brands that can be configured per their selection.[…]

You can imagine how proud we are that ” … the IBM Cloud is powered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, the Red Hat branded and supported KVM offering.” – this really shows how strong KVM is becoming in the virtualization market.

Another important point is that the IBM cloud “includes support for Linux — through Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell”. So you can run virtual machines with both Red Hat and SuSE – just as you prefer. Ofcourse I am biased and would advise to use Red Hat, but that is not my point.

IBMs cloud is powered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to run virtual machines. That’s the fact.

So why does Michael Applebaum, Senior Solutions Manager at SuSE say this:

So where does open source software (OSS) fit in? For one thing, it’s ideally positioned to provide the infrastructure for public and private cloud environments. This is a widely accepted view today, and we see it taking shape with (for example) our announcement that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is powering IBM’s new development and test cloud.

Mr. Applebaum, for the sake of fairness, please do correct your statement. SuSE Linux Enterprise Server is a fully accepted guest in the IBM cloud, but the cloud is powered by KVM via Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. I hope we can agree here.

Open Standards – redefined?

For years and years I am using and promoting the term Open Standards. And it has always been very clear what an Open Standard is and, more important, what it is not.

You can go through various defintions of Open Standards:

And no matter what differences you find in those definitions, they all agree on some crucial points, the most important being the freedom to use and implement the standard without having to ask for permission or having to pay license fees for the use of an Open Standard.

The Freedom to Use and Implement is fundamental to Open Standards. This means that whatever so-called “Intellectual Property” like (software) patents etc might be involved in an Open Standard must be made available to any third party on a Royalty Free basis.

Which leads to a simple conclusion – if you have to pay for use/implementation of a standard, this standard is NOT an open standard.

If you agree this far, pay special attention to this:

Currently, the Chinese companies using technologies detained by European companies are not allowed to enter into negotiations on the amount of royalties due to the latter, when they use their essential patents in the framework of open standards. The situation is highly detrimental to European companies and their complaint has been reflected in the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) – IPR Working Group’s Position Paper 2005. The Commission therefore urged the Chinese government to take action in order to ensure that those royalties are duly paid by Chinese companies.

Hartmut Pilch from FFII pointed my attention to this and added some valuable comments here.

Bottom line is – DG Trade, represented by Mr. Luc Pierre Devigne, seems to use the term Open Standards in a way that is simply not compatible with the accepted definition of Open Standards. Royalty payments on Open Standards can simply not exist in my view.

So either Mr. Devigne made a little mistake by using the term Open Standards here OR this is the start of redefining Open Standards to mean the exact opposite. Could someone talk to Mr. Devigne and ask hoim for clarification? This is an important question.