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07.08.07

Novell’s Management Hurts Opensuse’s Image (Corrected)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patent Covenant, Patents at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OpensuseOccasionally I come across Opensuse reviews where non-technical aspects of the product affect the overall impression. Linspire and Xandros now suffer from the same problem. It’s an image problem. Novell signed a deal with its aggressive, long-time rival. It also made mockery of Free software in the process.

Shane and I have said dozens of times before that at BoycottNovell.com we try to appreciate the developers’ work (Opensuse). We only blame the executives for taking the money and allowing their developers to get a bad name. I was among those in the opensuse community at the time. I felt betrayed.

To repeat old facts, the developers were not part of the this decision, with the exception of a few prominent ones such as Miguel de Icaza, who is a VP. It was all done secretly. Jeremy Allison knew about it and he protested against the sneaky, 90th-minute inclusion of patent elements [update: see clarifications/corrections]. These elements were not part of the original deal, which had been negotiated for months.

As for Nat Friedman and de Icaza, their story remains a mystery. It is believed that they are among the drivers in this deal. As you may already know, de Icaza has strong ties with Port 25 and the ‘Microsoft culture’ (he even had a job interview there). It is my opinion that he does not necessarily represent Opensuse developers as a whole, although he just might. Not all of them care for Mono (.NET), which is a patents-encumbered development technology and a controversial framework to many Linux distributors other than Novell. The validity of these patents is a different matter altogether, but only yesterday, Slashdot reminded us why it’s hard to fight for sanity.

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5 Comments

  1. Miguel de Icaza said,

    July 8, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Wow, quite the conspiracy theory you got there.

    I learned about the deal the same day that Jeremy Allison learned about it. At the time all of us felt that it was not great, but it was not terrible. Jeremy’s position on this would changed in the following days, when the deal went public and as the Samba folks took a stronger position.

    Your regular attacks on Mono on every forum in the world are tiresome but at least they reflect your opinion. You have now crossed into false accusations without having any evidence to support them, and that is just defamatory. You need to make a public retraction.

    Miguel.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 8, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Gravatar

    Miguel,

    Can you say with confidence that Red Hat, for example, can change its stance on Mono and include such applications in their distribution?

  3. shane coyle said,

    July 10, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Gravatar

    So, when Stafford Masie indicated that Nat and Miguel were acquired to help give Novell guidance in their embrace of Open Source and Free Software, that means that they get told of management decisions after the fact? I thought Nat and Miguel had more influence at Novell than that…

    Y’know why we bought Ximian? Does anyone know why we bought Ximian? Because they had cool software? No. We didn’t buy Ximian because of their Red Carpet software, we didn’t buy Ximian because of… the collaboration technologies that they had, we didn’t buy them for the desktop technologies that they had, we bought Ximian for one reason: we wanted people that were community heads, people that understood this community organically, that was extremely well respected, people like Nat Friedman and Miguel De Icaza, we wanted them within Novell.

    Why? We needed people that understood, participated in this community, to help and assist our strategy moving forward, because we realized that if we had just bought a Linux distribution, we’d do some silly things and we’d mess up, so we needed people to really give us guidance.

    It’s never been more clear to me that Novell’s management made a "unilateral" decision to join forces with Microsoft, regardless of what the "grunts" wanted or advised.

  4. gpl1 said,

    July 10, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Gravatar

    “You have now crossed into false accusations without having any evidence to support them, and that is just defamatory.”

    I’ve heard that several times on Groklaw, too in regards to thoughts and facts on Novell and Microsoft, so thanks for outing yourself Miguel. You might want to point out why that is, when Microsoft memos themselves pointed out a few years ago that many licenses for C# and .NET are non-commercial only. You really are heading into SCO “gagging” territory here.

    Ah court documents, the bane if MS the only thing that stops Microsoft from crushing everyone full stop.

    I also want to thank Shayne and Roy for this wonderful site.

  5. snowboard said,

    August 21, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Gravatar

    in fact, it was interesting. I like it! P.S.: cool

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