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FOSDEM Gets Flak Because of Novell Sponsorship

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Novell at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SOME OF US saw this happening in India [1, 2, 3, 4] and we’ve already voiced concerns about FOSDEM as well. It turns out we’re now alone. Here is a formal letter of complaint about Novell’s sponsorship of FOSDEM 2009:

The community is very important, and that is the reason why it shouldn’t blandly (pun intended) accept money from an element which has “bought” its way into the community with “dirty” money, using it as a sort of cheap good-will shop to increase it’s leverage in it. This is particularly bad as it is a close partner of a certain monopolist software company which has been trying to kill Free Software for over a decade.


Instead of making a single effort to calm the ocean waters, by rejecting community-dividing patent agreements, by enticing their top engineers to write community embracing comments instead of further dividing the community with extremely hostile comments (that apparently forget years of bad blood against the Free Software bore by Microsoft and incited upon it’s partner networks). Just notice how Novell doesn’t do a single action in this direction, but instead keeps announcing more and more Microsoft integration and support. What’s wrong with this picture?

In conclusion, please tell us how much do you need the community to help you, with hard cash, in order to replace Novell’s sad contribution. I’m sure that given a goal we’ll meet it, if not for 2009, then surely for 2010.

Here’s to a great FOSDEM’09 without proprietary software sponsors!

Maybe it’s a little bit like OSCON and OSBC. Those who accept Microsoft or Novell money are causing damage to their own conference/symposium.

Say No to Novell

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  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:48 am


    I have a feeling Mr. Rui Miguel Seabra won’t be able to come up with the kind of cash that Novell is giving to FOSDEM because only a handful of people are actually opposed to this, and none of them have paying jobs :)

  2. Lyle Howard Seave said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:33 am


    If you want to leave them a quick note why you dont think it is ok for a their sponsor to be a company that openly helps promotes the idea that there is a legal Linux (the ones who paid the extortion fees) and the others are stealing Microsoft’s IP, their email address is


  3. Rui Seabra said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:49 am


    Oh my, I’ve hit BN!

    @Dan O’Brian: no shit, Sherlock!

    I’m not proposing to replace Novell’s payment with my account’s content, but I’m confident that people would gladly contribute enough
    I resent that “none” you mention there

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:51 am


    Dan has always been here just to heckle and provoke, so…

  5. Philip Paeps said,

    January 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm


    FOSDEM is a technical conference for open source software developers, not a political conference for free software activists. There happen to be a number of free software activities at FOSDEM because many (most?) free software activists happen to write open source software. FOSDEM explicitly focuses on technical aspects of open source software, not on the politics of free software.

    Of course, the FOSDEM organization welcomes individual donations.

  6. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    January 9, 2009 at 5:21 pm


    Oh, snap! Rui just got bitch slapped!

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 5:29 pm


    Philip Paeps,

    This is a euphoric point of view. You can’t just escape issues that apply to your software. Or in the words of RMS, “Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

  8. Roy Bixler said,

    January 9, 2009 at 5:31 pm


    @Baby In The Bath Water: That’s a nice choice of handle if you want to troll.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm


    Mr. “In The Bath Water” has posted a lot of comments here.

    He posted each and every one of them from

    Oh, lookie here:


    OrgName: Novell, Inc.
    OrgID: NOVELL-1
    Address: 1800 South Novell Place
    City: Provo
    StateProv: UT
    PostalCode: 84606
    Country: US

    NetRange: –
    NetName: NOVELL-WEST
    NetHandle: NET-130-57-0-0-1
    Parent: NET-130-0-0-0-0
    NetType: Direct Assignment
    NameServer: NS.NOVELL.COM
    NameServer: NS2.NOVELL.COM
    RegDate: 1988-06-03
    Updated: 2004-05-05

    RAbuseHandle: BWA3-ARIN
    RAbuseName: Wayne, Bruce
    RAbusePhone: +1-801-861-2222
    RAbuseEmail: bwayne@novell.com

    RNOCHandle: BWA3-ARIN
    RNOCName: Wayne, Bruce
    RNOCPhone: +1-801-861-2222
    RNOCEmail: bwayne@novell.com

    RTechHandle: BWA3-ARIN
    RTechName: Wayne, Bruce
    RTechPhone: +1-801-861-2222
    RTechEmail: bwayne@novell.com

    OrgTechHandle: DNJ4-ARIN
    OrgTechName: Johnson, David N.
    OrgTechPhone: +1-801-861-2561
    OrgTechEmail: dnjohnson@novell.com

    # ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2009-01-08 19:10
    # Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN’s WHOIS database.

    Yes, we get many trolls from Novell and the vicinity of S.u.S.E. (in Germany)

  10. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm


    Batman works at Novell.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm


    Humour won’t save you, Dan. You’ve always refused to say who you work for.

  12. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm


    I was commenting on the Bruce Wayne contact info for the novell.com domain. I found that amusing :-)

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm


    His secretary is called Robin.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:40 pm


    RMS said: “Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

    One might add: “Geeks like to think that they can ignore astroturfing, you can leave astroturfers alone, but astroturfers won’t leave you alone.”

  15. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm


    All of the comments by “Baby in the Bathwater” that you linked to were corrections on your misinformation.

    I think that’s fair.

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:00 pm


    Are Novell employees babies in the bathwater?

  17. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm


    You throw out their opinions simply because they are from Novell, so I suppose that yes they are :)

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 9, 2009 at 9:28 pm


    It should be embarrassing for Novell that they /secretly/ stalk and ridicule critics.

    So who are /you/ working for, Dan? Any relations to Novell?

    It’s like the tenth time I ask.

  19. Shane Coyle said,

    January 10, 2009 at 12:11 am


    If it turns out that Dan is actually Steve Ballmer, what then would it prove?

    Likewise, what if Roy is actually twitter? Or, better yet, what if Roy is actually an experimental A.I. created by Red Hat running on a beowulf cluster of PS3′s – just to attack Novell – would that make the postings more or less credible?

    Since we embrace the bazaar development model for postings, especially in regards to releasing early and often, maybe it’s better to look at comments more as bug reports that require investigation before suspicion.

    Just a thought.

    Note: the writer of this comment wants to look cool with one of those ominous-looking disclaimer texts.

  20. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 10, 2009 at 12:14 am


    Thank you Shane, for bringing logic and reason to this site.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 10, 2009 at 4:16 am


    Should we also not care if some Linux-hostile article was ghostwritten and published as a plant from Microsoft, as in the case of M. O’Gara?

    Should we not mind if Gartner is paid by Microsoft to manipulate bogus studies (more on that to come)?

  22. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 10, 2009 at 7:45 am


    Respond to the article with facts, same as any other.

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 10, 2009 at 8:01 am


    Respond to the article with facts, same as any other.

    So you endorse “planting” stories and bribing analysts?

  24. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 13, 2009 at 8:40 am


    There seems to also be a rebuttal here:


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