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Did Novell Hijack a Linux Foundation Panel?

Posted in Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Videos at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation

Summary: Microsoft enters the Linux Foundation’s event and Novell dominates a panel (40% of which are paid Novell employees)

Novell’s influence inside the Linux Foundation [1, 2, 3, 4] is proving very problematic because Novell is a Microsoft partner and thus it provides Microsoft a ticket to enter. So it was disappointing to find that the Linux Foundation is now inviting a company that was not only found guilty of criminal behaviour a few days ago. Yes, that would be Microsoft. Microsoft is also pretending it's not suing Linux (TomTom) when obviously it is.

For those who think that they saw Microsoft’s darkest of crimes, be patient. We have a lot more of Comes vs. Microsoft exhibits to publish, but time is a constraint as it would require considerable effort to organise, explain and file up to 9,000 of them (some time later this year, hopefully). We have some lists of serious crimes to share and these were never shown and annotated in public.

Speaking of the Linux Foundation and its latest summit, here is an example of a rigged panel where 40% of the panel are — wait for it — Novell employees. To be specific:

Joe Brockmeier – OpenSUSE
Jono Bacon – Ubuntu
James Bottomley – Novell
Dan Frye – IBM
Karsten Wade – Fedora

Novell seems to have quietly hired James Bottomley, maybe in December, and only yesterday the following video made it into YouTube (uploaded by the Linux Foundation’s account).

Ogg Theora

Microsoft would be delighted to find such a panel as it will say not a word about Microsoft’s behaviour. James Bottomley spoke to the Microsoft press over a year ago.

As further proof that Microsoft likes SUSE, here is the latest post from one of our readers, Goblin:

NeoWin reporter impartial? – I SUSEpect not!


The point I made at the time (and still maintain) is that someone who has used Microsoft products only is hardly in a position to call themselves (IMO) either a tech enthusiast and/or an expert. They are Microsoft product experts in my opinion and as I recently said on another site, you wouldn’t be happy taking your car to a garage that only had experience in one model of car that was different to yours, the same applies to the IT world.

I still have my doubts as to the impartiality of certain reporters from the NeoWin site. Of course this is my opinion so let me place the evidence in front of you, the reader and you can decide for yourself.


He said “Build my own Linux OS based on my needs is now few clicks away! http://susestudio.com #linux #susestudio #opensuse”

So we hit upon the subject of impartiality again. For those that don’t know, it is my opinion that openSUSE is about the closest thing you can get to a Microsoft approved Linux distro (since “the deal” that Novell and Microsoft signed a few years ago) For those who are not aware of this deal you can find out more information here: http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/

A few days ago, someone failed to see why anyone would buy SLES 11.

I expected the SLES install to go a lot more easily than it did. There’s a few weird default settings (such as using a bridged network interface by default, which I couldn’t get to work at all) and the selections of what kind of host to build don’t seem to make a lot of sense, as they typically install the same exact things.

Can Novell still make it somehow?

Well, Novell’s influence in the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit can be seen elsewhere too, e.g.:

At last year’s collaboration summit, Linux kernel contributor and Novell staffer Greg Kroah-Hartman accused Ubuntu of not having contributed enough to the Linux kernel — a claim that the Ubuntu Linux distribution and lead commercial sponsor Canonical have refuted.

Part of the issue comes down to what actually constitutes a contribution. It’s a topic that the Collaboration Summit will address this year in a panel moderated by another Novell staffer, Joe Brockmeier, who is the community manager for the openSUSE Linux distro. Brockmeier will be joined by spokespersons from Red Hat Fedora and from Ubuntu.

Oops. Sean forgot another person who is a “Novell staffer”. How come?

Up until recently, the Linux Foundation’s technical officer was a Novell employee and it continues to show. Here is the new press release which states “The Linux Foundation to Make the openSUSE Build Service Available Through Linux Developer Network.”

This press release is also in Novell’s Web site (alongside press releases about .NET and joint press releases from Redmond).

The openSUSE Project and the Linux Foundation today jointly announced that the openSUSE Build Service will be added to the Linux Developer Network (LDN). The openSUSE® Build Service is the only development platform that enables developers to package software for all major Linux* distributions, and is used to provide transparent infrastructure for the creation of the entire openSUSE distribution. Additionally, the openSUSE Project, a Novell sponsored and community-supported open source project, announced a new release of the openSUSE Build Service with support for compiling for the ARM platform.

There’s more in Trading Markets and some Linux-oriented sites, including Sean’s blog at Jupitermedia, OStatic (the author always covers SUSE stuff), and eWeek.

One of the first announcements rolling out of the Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco this morning is the Linux Foundation’s addition of the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) to its Linux Developer Network. The Foundation plans to provide an interface to the OBS via the LDN site to aid developers wishing to package their projects for all of the major Linux distributions.


The Linux Foundation (LF) announced that OpenSUSE’s Build Service will be incorporated in its Linux Developer Network (LDN). Claimed to be the only development platform that enables software to be packaged for all major Linux distributions, the OpenSUSE Build Service was released in a 1.6 version that adds ARM support.

This is not good because Novell may be trying to turn a patents-encumbered distribution from Microsoft/Novell into a de facto standard. Its influence at the Linux Foundation must be playing a role.

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  1. Goblin said,

    April 10, 2009 at 7:21 am


    Thanks for the mention Roy. Youve taken the subject far deeper than I did.

    The “dodgyness” continued when another staff member piped up to defend and help Chaks (as happened before) and they went down the trademark routine of trying to insult me when they didnt have a counter argument. This resulted in one of the reporters (who I believe would like to be taken seriously) making a remark about tin hats. (which you would think was coming from the owner of a fanboy gaming site, not a site which appears to want people to take it seriously)

    Chaks called me a FOSS lover, which is a lie and I challenged appropriately. Theres plenty of proof in my previous posting that I dont champion FOSS for the sake of it, I champion decent software which gives the end user freedom. I only challenge underhanded tactics and dubious posting along with the silly and incorrect facts that usually accompanies it.

    Im still waiting to hear about the feature OpenSUSE is offering Chaks which cant be achieved elsewhere. Somehow I doubt we will ever get an answer (unless of course another distro producer signs up with Microsoft, then Im sure that one will aswell.)

    BTW Roy, did you notice my challenging of a Twitter user called Optionetics? They were promoting Microsoft stock almost exclusively and after further investigation and challenge it transpired that they were actually imposters, using the name of an innocent company to try and appear legitimate.
    The real company (as a result of my challenge) made a complaint to Twitter and the account has been disabled. Optionetics actually is a Stock market education company and does not give out stock tips ever.
    I wonder what the imposters motives were for promoting MS stock under a false name? Could there be a nasty shock instore for shareholders when the next set of sales figures are released? Ill let your readers decide what the motives could be.

    Great site, as always Roy. Happy holidays.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    This last part of very interesting because it is a fact that Microsoft hired agencies (at least two which we know of [1][2]) to manipulate Twitter, in addition to its own employees doing this, as last demonstrated yesterday (Gray Knowlton, Doug Mahugh, Alex ‘turncoat’ Brown, Patricia Fernandes [3]).

    [1] http://boycottnovell.com/2009/03/25/microsoft-hires-federated-media/
    [2] http://boycottnovell.com/2009/03/12/microsoft-astroturf-roundup
    [3] http://boycottnovell.com/2009/03/11/patricia-fernandes-vs-magalhaes-linux/

  2. Karl Katzke said,

    May 8, 2009 at 12:14 am


    Well, this will probably go over like a refrigerator in Siberia, but …

    I may have been curious at the time why Novell packaged SLES11 the way they did, but in the end, I’m a pretty happy customer and we’re rolling out SLES11 across our entire formerly OpenSuSE, BSD, and Solaris infrastructure.

    Historically, linux has had very poor documentation. The High Availability project (Linux-HA, aka Heartbeat) is a great example. Between Pacemaker, Heartbeat, and OpenAIS, it’s difficult to figure out how to deploy these things in a way that works. One of the beautiful things about SLES11 now that I’ve spent some time swimming in the cool-aid is that things are documented so that the old gray haired Netware guys will adopt them… they’re used to having 300 page manuals. And Novell will even support ‘odd’ or ‘incorrect’ configurations while they help you get their products deployed … instead of saying “See this knowledge base article, fix these problems, and call us back when you have a supported configuration.”

    Novell’s documentation is very good, and their staff is making huge contributions to the linux clustering projects and they’re making it easy for everyone to use, from young command line jockies like me to the old grayhair that I’m learning the intricacies of Groupwise from. This is an essential service to the linux community. For parallels, look at Zend and PHP, IBM and it’s contributions to SuSE, all the code that Sun’s released into the public domain, and … well, the list goes on. All those companies also work with Microsoft.

    The license terms for our educational institution are very nice, and Novell has worked hard to integrate our distributed infrastructure and get us all using the same set of license keys and the same site licenses where they make sense, even though our campus is spread across an entire state and some groups have purchased extra products or gone through different sales channels. Other companies (Among them: Redhat, Atlassian, and Microsoft) have knowingly sold multiple site licenses to the same site for the extra money and refuse to refund it when someone does their homework and finds that there’s already a site license paid up.

    I’m not really a rabid fan or huge disliker of anything, but Microsoft plays rough and has a crummy product that they charge dearly for. Everything that I see about Novell is exactly the opposite of Microsoft.

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