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While Helping Microsoft, Novell Harms Linux Companies and Instead Markets Proprietary

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell Tux

Summary: The company which impedes cloning of SLE* spreads resentment against Red Hat for addressing the clones dilemma; Novell also puts proprietary software before Free/libre and Open Source software

EARLIER this month we showed that Novell was gunning for Red Hat customers, not Microsoft customers. We wrote about statements from Novell’s Applebaum, which are further fuelled by a press release and timely copies that say: “Support program adds more platforms, lengthens server lifecycle support time to 10 years; final service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 packages improvements and supports latest hardware” (also see notes about service pack 4 of SLED 10).

“When it comes to Open Source stuff like OpenSUSE, Novell just sticks it in some wiki somewhere, almost as though it’s something to be embarrassed of.”Novell is not targetting (to harm) Microsoft but targetting Red Hat instead. As Gareth Halfacree put it in his article “Novell reveals its tactics for taking on Red Hat”, there is veiled belittling that we never see from Novell against Microsoft (a Novell ally). Halfacree writes: “A blog post made by Novell late last month – accusing one of its largest competitors in the commercial Linux space, Red Hat, of deliberately obfuscating its code to hamper third-party support efforts – raised some eyebrows in the community, so we sat down with the post’s author, Michael Applebaum, to find out what’s what.” Guess which server distribution has many clones and which one has none? As we explained some years ago (a series of posts, e.g. this in 2007), Novell impedes access to SUSE source code, but do not let the FUDmeisters have such facts slap them on the face.

Novell never disrespects Microsoft like this. It chose a side and that side includes IE8 and promotion/videos about Windows. Posted by Novell accounts we find stuff like this and some other videos [1, 2] which make no mention of GNU/Linux. Ross from Novell started advertising videos about Vibe [1, 2, 3], which is proprietary software made out of Open Source software (Novell turns free into proprietary). Proprietary software is definitely something which Novell can put its weight behind, even with paid press releases and extremely shallow coverage [1, 2]. When it comes to Open Source stuff like OpenSUSE, Novell just sticks it in some wiki somewhere, almost as though it’s something to be embarrassed of. The same goes for Novell vulnerabilities, which one needs to pursue by reading non-Novell sites [1, 2].

Novell is a shameless parasite. People who support GNU/Linux should give their money to other companies.

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  1. MrNthDegree said,

    April 21, 2011 at 5:40 am


    Novell doesn’t prevent access to source code any more than Red Hat does. In fact, the real reason there isn’t a clone of SLED/SLES is lack of interest on the most part.

    For SLED/SLES, the full sources are freely available to the base distribution. But patch source access needs a subscription. It’s well known that all someone has to do is buy one subscription to SLED/SLES and then one can simply rebuild the patches with full source access. In the world of deltas, one need not even strip artwork, as deltas won’t contain anything that’s identical to what is in the original package (incl. artwork). So if someone wanted to, they could provide updates to SLED/SLES rather than a rebuild.

    The only major difference is that Red Hat just happens to be extra kind and also provide full SRPMs for patches on their FTP server; but that’s because Red Hat are awesome ^_^

    twitter Reply:

    How do you reconcile the lack of interest in SLED and the great interest and activity surrounding OpenSuse?

    I don’t think Roy’s point was that Novell has made things any more difficult for developers than Red Hat supposedly has, his point was that it was hypocritical and foolish of Novell to sling FUD at Red Hat. Novell’s attacks on Red Hat and other gnu/linux distributions are a long standing issue. By working with Microsoft and attacking Red Hat, Novell squandered a better business opportunity pursuing the larger Windows business desktop market. Their falling market share, revenue, losses and impending sale to Attachmate are a direct result of this. Roy reports Gareth Halfacree’s opinion and adds to it his own observations. Your assertion that Novell may be in technical compliance with GPL v2 misses the point.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s the red herring Novell/SUSE people responded to us with back in 2007.

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