03.10.08

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The Microsoft-Novell Employee Swap, Intersection

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 11:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Movell and Nicrosoft

It has been no secret that there is an intersection of minds and staff at Novell and Microsoft. Novell’s Justin Steinman, for example, attends both companies in somewhat of a dual role. He does marketing. Miguel de Icaza seems to be spending a lot of time over at Microsoft and there is a link that connects marketing and Mono.

Sam Varghese took a closer look at the roles of the players in this game. He names: Miguel, Mono, Moonlight and Microsoft. Unfortunately, he also linked to a conversation I had started which is filled by many Microsoft Munchkins, who thrive in libel and personal attack.

Nevertheless, this Usenet conversation has some points of interest. It illustrates again the way in which de Icaza, who by all accounts is a man with a very high IQ, refuses to look down the line and draw reasonable conclusions.

When asked “To what degree do you trust Microsoft, either in terms of their promises; their motivations; or their commitment to a competing platform like Linux?” he chooses to trivialise the question by responding “This is a question that is suitable for Teen magazine or Cosmo.”

It’s not just Sam Varghese who criticises de Icaza quite so openly. As usual, Jeff Waugh is there to defend Miguel and slam Sam. It would be nice to see Jeff Waugh proceeding to attack people like Bruce Perens, who are equally pissed off by Miguel’s actions. And it’s far from the first complaint from him by the way. Perens says:

What’s this about pay-grade? It’s a military term, often misappropriated by civilians who are avoiding an ethical decision. It’s a good excuse in the military: politicians are accountable for the decision to enter a war, while the military are oath-bound to follow orders at pain of court-martial and possibly execution, and are only accountable for the conduct of the war. But Miguel is no soldier. He’s the founder of a company previously merged into Novell, and would not be subject to treason charges or capital punishment over this issue. Others, like Jeremy Allison, chose to leave the company while Miguel stayed.

There are some very interesting comments from Bruce in this page, which is worth a read.

Yesterday we mentioned the departure of Martin Buckley from Novell. In the comments we even discussed the possibility of Microsoft employees filling positions at Novell. Well, what happens when (or if) it turns out to be reciprocal, as the following update seems to suggest?

UPDATE: Heard from a credible source that [Novell's] Martin is on his way to Microsoft. I guess the “certain principles” weren’t things like “open source purity” and such. Maybe Martin wasn’t happy that Novell hasn’t fully sold itself to Microsoft.

Speaking of which, we have wondered about Justin Steinman for quite some time. A reader wrote to inform us that he is no past relationships with Microsoft. To quote the message in full:


Justin Steinman joined Novell in late 2003 or early 2004. He previously worked for Tilion. Tilion was headed by Chris Stone, who later was Vice Chairman of Novell. Stone joined Novell in Feb 2002 and departed in November 2004. A quick Google search found some more info on Steinman’s history at http://www.mkpress.com/doedesc.html and http://www.linuxworldexpo.com/live/13/events/13SFO07A/SN980821/bio//CMONYA00BI5Y

Neither of these suggest that he ever worked for Microsoft.


It remains rather curious that the two companies work quite so closely and employees are moving between the companies, serving the interests of both. What this comes to show us is that the new-age Novell and Microsoft are almost like twins separated at birth. It’s hardly surprising that Novell managers refer to Microsoft as a partner. They should be treated as such.

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