05.19.11

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AttachMSFT Still in Control of SUSE, Even After Novell Takeover and Split

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 1:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken heart

Summary: SUSE is maintaining Mono intrusions and AttachMSFT maintains its proprietary software status by shelving SUSE

EARLIER this month Glyn Moody thought that SUSE would be sold. It still can happen. Right now AttachMSFT is separating SUSE from the company, detaching it and putting it in Germany. An AttachMSFT executive “Takes Control of SUSE Linux” following the departure of key people like Rex. The new manager is not FOSS-savvy as AttachMSFT is a proprietary software company (with the intention of keeping that way). Is he a liquidator? The editor of The H (pro-SUSE publication) believes that the new manager is “very prominent”, but this does not say much about his commitment to freedom (if any). That’s the currency in a lot of the GNU/Linux world. To quote the piece:

Attachmate’s SUSE division has confirmed, as The H reported three weeks ago, that Nils Brauckmann is the new head of the freshly created business unit which will be headquartered in Nuremberg. For the first time, The H talked with Brauckmann about his new position and how the changes in the SUSE division will affect openSUSE. The H pointed out to Brauckmann that there was only one mention of openSUSE in the press release on SUSE and that might be taken to mean that the open source version of SUSE Linux was being downgraded.

Here is the press release about the shakeup at management level (lots of coverage ensued [1, 2]), which probably leaves quite a few Novell/SUSE managers out of work. Here is another article about Nils Brauckmann — one that says AttachMSFT is a “legacy software lover”:

Legacy software lover Attachmate has put one of its own long-time executives in charge of what was formerly Novell’s SUSE Linux operation and will focus that unit on serving Linux customers and growing Linux business.

Attachmate has tapped Nils Brauckman, formerly vice president of sales and marketing for the company’s EMEA region, to be president and general manager of the SUSE business unit. Markus Rex, who was a vice president of engineering at the original SUSE Linux AG back in the late 1990s and who became the company’s chief technology officer and eventually was general manager of Novell’s Open Platform Solutions group, which included the SUSE Linux and related businesses, left Novell as it was being acquired by Attachmate; Brauckmann did not know what Rex’s employment plans were.

Here is a sister site remarking on what it calls out by writing:

Sweeping changes blow through Novell’s board

[...]

Bob Flynn will lead the firm as president and general manager and oversee its move back to its Utah headquarters. Joining him are Dave Wilkes, who is VP for engineering, and Eric Varness, who is VP for product management and marketing. We’ll expect to hear a lot from him.

Novell’s friend, Joe the VAR Guy, is optimistic:

SUSE is a new business unit focused on Linux. Nils Brauckmann, a 20-year industry veteran with both Attachmate and Novell heritage, leads the SUSE organization. The VAR Guy’s Spin: According to SEC documents, Attachmate originally did not bid on SUSE as part of the proposed Novell acquisition. So The VAR Guy will be watching to see how Attachmate manages the SUSE business going forward. This could definitely be a growth unit…

So, as expected, SUSE is being separated from the rest [1, 2] and the news about it [1, 2] does not really deny the possibility that SUSE will get sold. The project/product still makes the big mistake of supporting Mono, whose patent protection expires for Novell Inc. within half a year.

“Mono is part of the SUSE Linux business,” Brauckmann said.

Brauckmann commented that the goal of the SUSE Linux business is to innovate in the areas that matter to customers.

“So what you saw happening in the last few weeks is we were starting to adjust our investments in Mono to be better aligned with our business,” Brauckmann said. “Unfortunately that resulted in some layoffs.”

Though Attachmate has laid off a number of Mono developers, Brauckmann said that SUSE Linux will continue to support Mono.

The worst thing about it is that it helps contaminate other GNU/Linux distributions because it develops around the GNOME desktop (here is Uwe’s take on SUSE Manager). It’s not a OpenSUSE/volunteer work, this is the activity of paid developers a lot of the time.

In other news, Novell (AttachMSFT) has more proprietary software for SUSE. It does not seem like AttachMSFT has any intention of directly supporting Free/open source software. Bad sign…

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