Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell's Business and the Curse of Investors/Marketers

Novell blinded by money
Original image from Wikimedia



Let's just face it. Many people who are in marketing and finance are not intimately familiar with technical computing (if at all). By "technical computing", narrower knowledge of individual applications is assumed to be excluded.

" It remains to be learned if Novell fell victim to money-blinded ignorance"Novell can be defended for submitting to various external forces and pressures. Novell's shareholders are likely to have miscomprehended the way Free software operates. Philosophy plays a role as well. They must have treated software as a commodity that is bought, i.e. consumed through payments. In reality, a complex system like an entire operating system involves many thousands of developers who work not just for money, but also for a goal which is unassociated with money.

To investors (and maybe to Novell's management too), the idea of delivering "what the customers asked for" completely escaped (or neglected) an important factor which is the supplier. Without an 'army' of volunteer developers, where would Novell be? Just the stagnating proprietary software products and business.

A lot more could be said about Novell's failure to address the needs of the customer in the long-term (embracing Microsoft is a shortcut only a short-term solution), but the key argument against Novell is the betrayal of developers who have worked hard for over 20 years. I too am a developer of GPL-licensed software. It remains to be learned if Novell fell victim to money-blinded ignorance.

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