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05.08.07

Steinman on the Balcony Again, Offering Red Hat FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Novell, Red Hat, Servers at 10:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flattering one’s rival is commendable. It is not necessary however. At the very least, one should not refer to the rival, especially when representing a company. Personal opinions belong in Web logs, whereas journalists deliver what’s perceived as careful statements from an official spokesman.

If you can’t beat them, ridicule them…

I opine that Mr. Steinman keeps making the same mistake over and over again. Yet again he discredits Red Hat in an article which — on the face of it — lacks balance. Here is one among several ‘cheap shots’.

“They’re doing [Red Hat] something we’ve already done and they’re doing it slightly differently,” Justin Steinman, Novell’s director of product marketing for Linux, told internetnews.com about RHX. “I’d actually submit they are doing it in a channel unfriendly way.”

The article drips Red Hat vanity. The approach or attitude used here resembles that of Steve Ballmer and Larry Ellison, who thrive in a pattern of mocking the competition, even undercutting it. The latter point, you see, could even be attributed to Novell’s strategy.

If you can’t beat them, get them in trouble…

Red Hat, among other Linux distributors, came under fire immediately after Novell’s deal with Microsoft. Microsoft’s CEO issued some implicit-yet-obvious threats. Novell, on the other hand, only came under scrutiny and opposition, which conveniently it dismisses and ignores (see interview with Nat Friedman). In that regard, Novell undercuts the the Linux competition while in fact assisting Microsoft. Novell does this by diluting the market and introducing new legal threats. It has become evident that Novell holds no strings. Novell is simply the marionette on Microsoft’s stage. It is used as a weapon against its own goal, which is to spread GNU/Linux.

If you can’t beat them, be kind to them instead…

Returning to Mr. Steinman, let’s kindly ask him to refrain from making fun of Red Hat. His new partner (Microsoft) is also his biggest rival. If Novell wants market share, then it should escape this conflict of interests and stop Linux ‘cannibalism’. Red Hat should be its friend, not its enemy. The vendors will be stronger as a team. I stressed this in the opensuse mailing lists back in November 2006. A thank-you from Red Hat staff ensued, but I was still on Novell’s ‘side’ (community) at the time.

If you made a mistake, apologise…

Recently, Steinman said that Red Hat copies from Novell and that Red Hat does not contribute much to Linux. Where has that come from? Red Hat has been there forever. In Steinman’s defence, he apologised, retracted, or blamed journalists for misinterpretation. But the envy lives on. This only leads to unfruitful flame wars. Why can’t Novell make peace with Red Hat rather than defend their new partner, which has a long history of stabbing them time and time again in the back?

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6 Comments

  1. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 9, 2007 at 3:06 am

    Gravatar

    I completely agree that Linux distribution wars are annoying and they pain me, among others. We should be concentrating on the goal of beating others, not fighting amongst ourselves.

    Unfortunately I also see this more and more in Ubuntu as well.

    There’s nothing wrong with defensive motions towards your distribution (if someone says something wrong about my distribution, or any other; or I think that another distribution does it better I sure am gonna say it), but it’s the polemic attitude that I really think is wrong, actively trying to convert people from distro X to your distribution.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 9, 2007 at 4:10 am

    Gravatar

    Increasingly, especially in sites like digg.com, some sentiments among a loud minority go against Ubuntu Linux. This is silly. Many people switch from Windows to a Ubuntu Linux desktop. They can choose other distributions later on (no lockin). KDE/GNOME flamewars don’t help either. People can easily work with both.

  3. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 9, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Gravatar

    Ah, I see what’s happening, the blog removes anything inside the . The sentence was meant to be:

    > Unfortunately I also see this more and more in Ubuntu as well (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/77)

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 9, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, I participated a lot in these discussions at the time. Don’t forget this one:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2006/11/24/shuttleworth-welcome-suse-developers/

  5. Me said,

    May 9, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Gravatar

    http://news.com.com/Red+Hat%2C+IBM+form+mainframe+partnership/2100-7344_3-6182433.html?tag=nefd.top

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 9, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s a new rumour as well:

    Red Hat – not losing Dell but gaining a Google

    And now the good news, rumours are floating about of a deal between Red Hat and fluffy online search behemoth Google with various tie-ups being touted including Red Hat’s latest operating system — RHEL 5 — or a version there of — being used as the OS for a Google phone?

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