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Some Victims of the Novell and Xandros Deals

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 2:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are quite a few people whose role in the recent developments is that of a bystander. It is a passive role, not an active one. Among those who feel hurt, we feel obliged to take an active role. Some of those who are hurt have to pretend to be happy or apathetic because they are tied to a company’s payroll. Others have to accept changes in the market. These are changes which are absorbed by volunteers, paid developers, end users, and customers. Here are two such examples.

OpenSUSE Volunteers

Steve Ballmer rides SUSESee the folowing article and assess its content briefly. Pay particular and special attention the bits at the bottom which talk about OpenSUSE. I too used to help the OpenSUSE project, but the impact of the deal was too much to bear and accept. It was worth abandoning and making compromises by criticising a decision which had been foolishly made by the management. No advice or opinion was sought which actually involved the community. It was only the Big Egos at Novell that counted.

From the point of view of a developer community, this was unacceptable. It was a betrayal, without a doubt. I know this because I was there, among the SUSE fans. I also saw the reaction from other groups and it was not pleasant. SUSE’s reputation among the Free software enthusiasts was bound to get worse.

Novell has just tried to separate OpenSUSE from Novell. It is using a board’s affiliation as some sort of a PR stunt and a strategic decision. We covered this last week and on Saturday as well. My guess is that Novell tries to elevate levels of participation in OpenSUSE because that’s the distribution Novell feeds on. It hopes that it can hide in the fog while others do all the labour. Later it will sneak out of the fog and grab the free labour (yes, it’s free because many volunteers are still involved).

Someone really ought to fork SLED or OpenSUSE. OpenSUSE is a decent distro, but it’s ruined in Novell’s hands (Mono IP, patents, etc.). As for SLED|S, Novell strongly resists letting its source code go, which says a lot about its hesitant approach towards open source, even as far as SUSE Linux alone is concerned.


”ASUS is caught in the middle of this because it isn’t known why it chose Xandros.“Remember the Eee? That’s the device which can keep Xandros floating for a while. It was roughly 6 months ago that Xandros had layoffs, which they conveniently named “staffing adjustments”.

ASUS is caught in the middle of this because it isn’t known why it chose Xandros. It’s also a bit of a mystery how long they have worked together on this device, which they first unveiled in an Intel conference, if I recall correctly.

To be fair, the unit is said to be hacker-friendly, so one could install another distribution on it (with iffy support nonetheless). Having said that, the sales of Eee units contributes to the bottom line of Xandros and it probably includes the Windows tax (via Xandros), so mixed feelings remain. Microsoft might actually be paid for each Eee unit that is sold.

ASUS should really pull out all that source code and artwork, then graft it and pour it onto another KDE-based GNU/Linux distribution, preferably one which is not associated with Microsoft’s mythical patents in any way. This may never happen, but there is always hope. The same goes for an SUSE fork.

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  1. eet said,

    November 18, 2007 at 4:38 am


    “My guess is that Novell tries to elevate levels of participation in OpenSUSE because that’s the distribution Novell feeds on. It hopes that it can hide in the fog while others do all the labour.”

    Nah; that would be Red Hat and Fedora you’re talking about… Novell has its top-employees like Federico working on openSUSE _full-time_.

    “Someone really ought to fork SLED or OpenSUSE.”
    SLED is = openSUSE + some proprietary components, you know-nothing.

    “OpenSUSE is a decent distro, but it’s ruined in Novell’s hands (Mono IP, patents, etc.).”
    Untill Novell aquired it, SUSE was a closed, proprietary distribution with no community-contributions at all, mind you.

    This is just showing that you have absolutely no idea about openSUSE; I guess your only ‘contribution’ to openSUSE consisted in one or two angry posts on one of the mailing-lists…

    You really are such a know-nothing jerk, feeding you own ego with this blog; it’s a repulsive sight.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    November 18, 2007 at 8:32 am


    Hi eet, have you read the article linked here, read the patent pledge for being an OpenSUSE contributor? It is disgusting, every once in a while I happen to read something MS-related that makes me totally sick, this one to force contributors to openSUSE to live in those gross terms is one, because of this I can’t yet understand how could there people still supporting Novell… As if the whole “moonlight is advertising for an MS-locking, and only Novell can legally distribute it even though they call it open source” deal wasn’t enough…

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 18, 2007 at 8:41 am


    I don’t usually feed it (pronounced “eet”, which is basically a troll), but be aware that his arguments are not arguments; they are accusations and attacks. Asking eet to read the cited article is asking eet to face some facts, which is hard for eet.

  4. Anonymous said,

    November 18, 2007 at 9:34 am


    Roy(who is known as troll)’s arguments are usually no arguments (and hence main stream media doesn’t pick them up) because they are invented accusations and attacks, like:

    > As for SLED|S, Novell strongly resists letting its source code go, which says a lot about its hesitant approach towards open source

    It took me only two minutes to find http://www.novell.com/linux/source/

  5. eet said,

    November 18, 2007 at 10:10 am


    Asking Roy to research his stuff means asking too much of him.

    Thinking before writing is also asked too much.

    Not slandering is asked too much.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 18, 2007 at 3:41 pm


    Surely you have not read this:

    why there is no Open Source SLES


    One of them is that the SLES community is much smaller and more aimed at proprietary software. Novell itself is promoting Mixed Source and promotes its own proprietary software on top of SLES (also see OES). This obviously scares part of the community away. The deal with Microsoft obviously does as well. As a result Novell is big within Enterprises with little community people, and these are not the kind of people that would spend their free time rebuilding packages and do QA.

    Another reason is that Novell is not in favor of such a project (even though people from within Novell _and_ people in the SLES community disagree with management) because it fears it will take away some of the profit and Novell made a big risk by taking the Linux route, they cannot afford to make it fail.

  7. eet said,

    November 18, 2007 at 4:08 pm


    Repeating meaningless quotations doesn’t make them any more true. As I said, ‘thinking before writing seems to be asked too much’ of you.

    You know where the sources are, now, go build your SLES-fork yourself!

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  8. Yuhong Bao said,

    November 18, 2007 at 9:29 pm



  9. eet said,

    November 19, 2007 at 5:16 am


    So Roy; I don’t see you having made all the necessary corrections to your blog-entries, yet.

    How about starting with the availability of the SLED/S-sources?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  10. Dark Phoenix said,

    November 20, 2007 at 12:06 am


    “Nah; that would be Red Hat and Fedora you’re talking about…”

    How DARE you, troll? Fedora is more open than openSUSE ever will be, and despite your stupid assertions, Red Hat engineers do work on Fedora. The difference is they don’t act as all-knowing controllers of the distro like some other companies, and actually LISTEN to the community members when they make suggestions and help out with the distro.

    On the other hand, I see openSUSE slowly collecting a huge pile of garbage fake “open source” stuff like Moonlight, and I wonder how long it’ll be before the fools contributing realize they’re being abused by Novell at the expense of their own time?

    As for you, eet, since I know you’ll be responding to this, no doubt with another attack on me personally, I’d like to ask you why you claim to be a “voice or reason” or somesuch when all you do is attack and/or tell people they should “ignore Microsoft”. Okay, we’ll ignore Microsoft. When they start demanding money or trying to force us developers to work for them for free, then what? Oh, yeah, that won’t happen, right? Got any proof of that, other than vague “Linux is in the Enterprise” claims?

  11. eet said,

    November 20, 2007 at 10:17 am


    I quoted this here, just as a reminder:

    “My guess is that Novell tries to elevate levels of participation in OpenSUSE because that’s the distribution Novell feeds on. It hopes that it can hide in the fog while others do all the labour.”

    This describes exactly what Red Hat does with Fedora. Not that it was a bad thing, as everybody working on or using Fedora is conscious ofusing a bleeding-edge distro.

    So, to explain in more detail: Fedora was meant to help the development of Red Hat’s codebase with the help of the community. Red Hat uses Fedora (good as it may be) purely as a test-bed, where they can try out new technologies that could prove to be too unstable for RHEL without any risk. Fixes from RHEL don’t go upstream to Fedora because the codecase it too different. Not because of evil intent from Red Hat’s side but just because the enterprise-distro and the bleeding-edge-testing distro are too far apart.

    The only part that is really negative about Fedora is that something doesn’t happen before a release that happens before openSUSE-releases: A decided corporate effort at bug-squashing. It doesn’t happen because Red Hat cannot afford to put its complete ressources at de-bugging code that they won’t use for their commercial product anytime soon (while for Novell it makes sense because openSUSE’s code goes back into SLED, soon).

    The result is that Fedora is a fine distro but a bit rough around the edges.

    About openSUSE-devs not listening to community members, I personally have found them very co-operative when it comes to technical issues (not pseudo-politics). Also, they’ve just founded a board with community-members in it, it will turn into a community-led distribution. Isn’t that what you asked for. But, just a moment, Roy just damned Novell for this as a slick political move. There’s no doing right by fanatatics.

    So – if you want a bleeding-edige distro Fedora is the thing for you. If you want more of a compromise between enterprise-distro and bleeding-edige openSUSE is for you.

    Calling community developers at openSUSE ‘fools’ certainly doesn’t make you look good, does it?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  12. eet said,

    November 20, 2007 at 11:23 am


    Dark Phoenix; realize that Roy is the one trying to incite the Linux community to a religious war among distributions; not me!

    Roy’s our [satire mode]‘little Bin Ladin’[/ satire mode]. I’m just the man trying to get people to hold their breath and re-consider their own fanatic mindsets.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  13. SundayRefugee said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm



    It took me about 4 seconds on google to find this.

    Is it too much to at least ask you to google, fact-check, research, and come armed before you make comments? (Since this is your biggest “beef” and complaint?)


  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:57 pm



    For crying out loud, stop comaring this to religion, wars, and even “Nazis”. This site is an analysis. Your attempts to muddy the waters won’t work.

  15. eet said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:58 pm


    That is not exactly good evidence, is it? ;)

    Some quotations, in case you haven’t read the document:

    “RHEL is derived from Fedora every few releases.”
    Considering that a new version of RHEL is released very rarely, this underlines exactly what I’ve said about the codebases of both distros.

    “Fedora as a platform to promote the development of new technology, some of which might end up in Red Hat Enterprise Linux”
    Sounds like testbed to me. It all depends on your definitions. The author of the document says ‘BUT we’re not using _too_new_code_’. That may well be so. Still, comparatively, Fedora IS the most bleeding-edge distro around, and not the best bug-tested.

    Security updates for _just_one_year_ is also the lowest among all Linux distributions, further underlining my point that the relation between Fedora and Red Hat is very much like what Roy impudently claimed the relation between openSUSE and Novell to be: one of getting unpaid, outside contributors to work on something that your commercial distribution is feeding on.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  16. eet said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm


    Roy, GET YOUR FACTS straight, and I might leave you alone.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  17. Dark Phoenix said,

    November 20, 2007 at 4:29 pm


    ““RHEL is derived from Fedora every few releases.”
    Considering that a new version of RHEL is released very rarely, this underlines exactly what I’ve said about the codebases of both distros.”

    There are 5 versions of RHEL, and 8 versions of Fedora. What is that about releases being rare again?

  18. eet said,

    November 20, 2007 at 4:40 pm


    You might not know that (though researching on Wikipedia could have told you), but Fedora 1 coincided with RHEL 3, in 2003.

    RHEL is released every two years, Fedora twice a year. We’ve seen 3 releases of RHEL since the beginning of Fedora which is now at its 8th release.

    So what was your point again?

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  19. SundayRefugee said,

    November 21, 2007 at 1:56 am


    “Security updates for _just_one_year_ is also the lowest among all Linux distributions,”

    What was that you were saying about getting your facts straight? ;)

  20. Yuhong Bao said,

    November 21, 2007 at 1:58 am


    Even better, how about threatening to fork SUSE if the patent part of the deal (the only part that can make Linux non-free software) is not ended.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 21, 2007 at 2:35 am


    At one stage, we spotted FreeSUSE and even discussed this further. It’s a way of pressuring Novell to get its act together (if not actually grab some of its business like CentOS, Startcom, or Oracle).

  22. eet said,

    November 21, 2007 at 5:36 am


    Come on, you’re not pressuring anyone here, you’re just feeding you ego…

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 21, 2007 at 6:03 am


    No, that’s Ellison (ego) and Red Hat is indeed pressured.


  24. eet said,

    November 21, 2007 at 4:11 pm


    Well, I rather thought of a student with a rather ego-overfeeding website: http://www.schestowitz.com.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

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