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Novell Tumbles, But Not the ‘Novellsoft’ Part of the Company

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Ducks kiss

Killing them (Micro)Softly

NOVELL is expected to announce layoffs very shortly and OS News remarks on the news that some employees have already been notified.

Novell has already announced a number of lay offs, and the openSUSE Linux division has not been spared.

The comments there are quite interesting. One person rightly points out that Novell’s disregard for its GNU/Linux engineers is a bad sign.

If they are laying off 100 out of their 4200 employees, I’m wondering why they are targeting OpenSUSE developers. You’d think that among those 4200 there is a fair share of “fat” that could be cut (middle managers, old-time hangabouts), instead of getting rid of developers in the first place.

As pointed out before, Novell is demoting anything but the Microsoft-esque components of SUSE (and sales). One person writes:

I think you will find that the article does not say that OpenSUSE has been targeted, just that it has not been spared. What is more troubling is that while they are laying off openSUSE folks, they are brining on .NET developers to help with MONO.
Novell is becoming too good friends with Microsoft as far as I can tell…

And in reply:

That’s ironic. I’m typing this on OpenSuSE 11.1 x64 and the one thing that’s wobbly is Mono. In fact one flagship Mono app doesn’t work at all and I be surprised if it ever has since it seems OpenSuSE haven’t yet got around to updating it to a newer, patched version. Another flagship mono app causes freezing and general weird behaviour. Hmmn …

Another person echoes the argument from Linux Today, where it was said that “Novell is Bleeding to Death.”

Novell is Bleeding to Death

Like most declines like this it is a long and slow process, but it’s yet another nail in the coffin. Novell have been laying a lot of workers off over the past few years and it has made no real difference, so in the current climate the squeeze will get even tighter. There are even a lot of rumours that there are more layoffs being covered up within the company.

While Novell’s real GNU/Linux engineers (not those mimicking Microsoft technologies) are clearly being shafted, Miguel and his friends get the red(mond) carpet. Yesterday from de Icaza’s blog:

My friend تلة جوزيف (Youssef) and myself will be heading out to Redmond for the ALT.NET Seattle event this weekend.

What’s it all for? To reference CMS Wire, it’s for making GNU/Linux a third-class citizen [1, 2, 3, 4] (after Mac OS X and Windows). Microsoft deliberately excluded GNU/Linux under the premise that Novell would do this job poorly.

Is Moonlight A Day Late and an App Short?


While Moonlight provides Linux users with the ability to access, view and develop Silverlight applications and Silverlight is already available for Mac OS X, Adobe has been cross-platform for years now.

So the question presents itself, is Moonlight too far behind the widely praised and widely used Adobe Flash set to be a viable competitor?

So at the end of the day, Novell has GNU/Linux striving to become something it cannot ever be. As Stephen O’Grady pointed out 2 years ago, GNU/Linux must not become a cheap(er) copy of something from Microsoft. It needs to compete based on its own merits.

MonoDevelop is a similar example of this. The Microsoft-friendly Gavin Clarke has just published this article to say that Microsoft wants FOSS developers to use Visual Studio. It would be easier for Microsoft to achieve this goal had GNU/Linux users and developers been addicted to Mono and MonoDevelop from Novell, respectively.

Microsoft has invited the open-source community to build plug-ins for Visual Studio 2010, and has improved database support to help build partner backing for its planned integrated development environment (IDE).

There is one goal here: make developers dependent on Microsoft, no matter what platforms they focus on. When Microsoft offered SourceForge its sponsorship it also used SourceForge as a platform to promote the proprietary Visual Studio for FOSS developers [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s an embrace-and-extend-type strategy, which is assisted by Novell’s misguided endeavors. The Provo-based David Canar is meanwhile creating Qt4 .NET bridges which bring back concerns about Mono in KDE [1, 2, 3, 4].

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A Single Comment

  1. Clarence Leid said,

    February 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm


    The employess at Novell should all get together and purchase 55% of Novell share, then give walker papers to the current CEO and top managment. Next reduce support services cost equivalent to Microsoft and provide same hours support. Since Microsoft like replicating many businesses ideas(stealing), Novell should likewise copy what is working for Microsoft. That is it’s support Service for their clients (not their technology). Doing this Novell will attain a larger % of the networking market.

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