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Groklaw Warns Against OpenSUSE and Novell Layoffs Foreseen

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw headline

Summary: The collapse of Novell brings with it dangerous implications for those who contribute from the outside

A few days ago we showed that OpenSUSE had lost some of the people who regularly contribute to OpenSUSE Weekly News, which continues to be released nonetheless. Many volunteers apparently see no need to serve AttachMSFT [sic], which is the new home of a company that fed Microsoft with more software patents and subsequently got slammed by Groklaw (Pamela Jones called Novell a “community rat” [1, 2]). In a new post, Jones warns “OpenSUSE Guys” (probably the volunteers) that they ought to rethink or recheck what they do. To quote one key part:

I’m still working on the Comes v. Microsoft exhibits project, and I swore I’d finish first, so it will take me a while to get to this to explain in detail, but in the meantime, I just want to say to the community stakeholders in the OpenSUSE Project, here’s what I think you should do:

Hire your own lawyer.
Don’t rely on Novell’s lawyers to represent the community’s interests in the foundation.

I’m as serious as a heart attack.

The same should probably go for Novell employees. Microsoft sucked the patents out of Novell and Singer threw the carcass at some tiny company that has no history in “open source”. Meanwhile, one longtime supporter of Novell got in touch (via IRC) and told us yesterday that this news article states: “Utah County Job Club, which meets on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. at the Novell cafeteria conference room, 1800 S. Novell Place.” The person then asked, “is that Novell trying to help its people find jobs?”

Maybe there are layoffs coming. It’s unlikely that AttachMSFT will keep all of Novell’s projects alive, so redundancies seem imminent. This also makes Mono and Moonlight very risky, so someone should pay attention to more of the same Banshee boosting from OMG!Ubuntu. Should we allow poisoning of Canonical/Ubuntu now? Microsoft has quite the reputation for company assassination and OpenSUSE was somewhat of a Trojan horse through which a team led by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza tainted all the rest of the distributions (OpenSUSE was usually first to adopt these packages) and as someone from India put it yesterday:

@schestowitz I think #Microsoft is doing the same with openSUSE that #FBI did with BSD. They put backdoors and they are putting licensing..

Given Groklaw’s new analysis which says to Henne “listen to your inner voice [...] I share your concerns,” OpenSUSE should be forked immediately or its contributors moved to distributions which are not a vehicle for Microsoft et al. OpenSUSE falls into the same trap which Microsoft’s Codeplex sank into by design. To quote Groklaw, “Outercurve’s by-laws are here. Outercurve is what they call the Microsoft-organized and funded Codeplex Foundation now. Note that the by-laws were revised in November, and that Andy Updegrove was hired by them to help them out. They likely picked him because he trashed their original by-laws, and do read what he wrote, because it will show you the shadows behind the wording in bylaws.”

“It’s a shame that it takes people several years (after the Microsoft deal) to grasp the seriousness of this new situation.”For those who consider “Boycott Novell” to be insidious (I’ve just uploaded 9 parts of Jono Bacon’s 2009 attack on “Boycott Novell”), please bear in mind that in 2005/6 I was promoting Novell in a very major way in newsgroups, mailing lists, and my blog. It’s a shame that it takes people several years (after the Microsoft deal) to grasp the seriousness of this new situation. Groklaw is one of those who took over 4 years to wake up and smell the coffee. We, however, saw that coming years in advance. If we learn no lessons from Novell, then another company can have Microsoft ‘pull a Novell’ on it. Thankfully, Jono Bacon is becoming aware of it based on last night’s IRC conversation (in logs which we’ll post shortly).

Does anyone remember Novell’s pro-GNU/Linux ads? Like the “I’m Linux” ad where Linux is the attractive girl? That was just before the Microsoft deal, which had Novell tear down criticism of Microsoft (Novell changed/censored its Web pages). Now we’re left without the most major advertiser of GNU/Linux (at that time) while YouTube receives just more videos with lots of FUD in them (also embedded below). Just watch the following FUDfest where the man pretends it’s counter-culture (or used by nerds only) and about cost/cheapness. Microsoft suspended Novell’s pro-GNU/Linux marketing and if we ignore this, then other victims will fall into Microsoft’s assassination/exploitation pipeline.

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A Single Comment

  1. satipera said,

    December 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm


    Yes I do remember watching that videocast with Jono giving you a hard time. He struck me at the time as someone who thought he was swatting a bothersome fly. Since then he has had to engage. You have to deal with these people, how do you treat them so decently when they have behaved so shabbily? The main point is that Groklaw has named the “Community Rat” BN/TR is vindicated and the recommendation to fork openSUSE has been made. Keep being right and early.

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