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01.07.07

Novell’s Mixed Source Identity Crisis

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Novell at 9:13 pm by Shane Coyle

Here is an article that assesses Novell’s characterization of itself as a "mixed-source" company.

Such characterisations, to me, are part of the identity crisis in which Novell has found itself ever since it decided to buy SuSE Linux and enter the business of reselling that product. It’s not mixed-source by any stretch of the imagination as it never had any open source products in its ranks ever. No, it just bought an off-the-shelf product and then started reselling it.

The article also surmises how the loss of key figures and management within Novell has lead to this identity crisis, a theory supported by the relatively short tenures of nearly all of Novell’s current senior management.

The exodus of key personnel has hit the Novell strategy – if one can call it that. Around the same time that NLD made its first appearance, Chris Stone, who was second in command at Novell, abruptly quit. An open source advocate, Stone was widely seen as driving what was then a fairly aggressive GNU/Linux marketing strategy. His departure took a lot of the wind out of Novell’s sails.

In 2005, SuSE Linux founder Hubert Mantel quit the company, declaring that after being acquired, "this is no longer the company I founded 13 years ago." Mantel was a kernel developer. (Mantel returned to the fold recently though whether anything has changed to make SuSE something like the company he founded is not certain). There were more departures in 2005 -in May, former Novell Europe, Middle East and Asia president and onetime SUSE president Richard Seibt resigned. In October, SuSE channel chief Petra Heinrich quit.

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