Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNOME and Novell: The FUD Never Existed (Updatedx2)

FUD is an acronym which stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. You probably know this already. The term FUD is typically used when one instills fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of people using lies, i.e. using false information. We do not believe that FUD is being spread here, not by the de facto definition of the term.

”We don't write down speculations as though they are facts.“When solid proof is absent, we make decent proposals, speculations, or reach out for feedback. We don't write down speculations as though they are facts. Rather, we present things which we do not feel comfortable with and make a clear distinction. We present things that seem a little suspicious, or even too 'coincidental'. We use these as evidence that may or may not support our hypotheses.

Jeff has written a good blog item to clarify things about Novell and GNOME. We never stated (but only wondered) that there is a tighter-than-necessary connection between GNOME and Novell. NOOOXML wondered the same thing and posed this as a question about the relationship.

You are encouraged to read Jeff's detailed and honest writing on this issue. It alleviates many doubts. I can only spot two facts which strike a nerve and I wish to quote them for future reference (somewhat of a mental note). The first is this:

Interestingly, Miguel was actually the President of the GNOME Foundation until only a few weeks ago, but we have been asking him for years to send a resignation letter, and recently nailed down a plan to finally get his resignation and appoint the President and Vice-President from the directors. As of the last Foundation Board meeting, that process is complete.

It’s important to point out that during this time, the Foundation Chairman was capably performing the role of President, and Miguel was not participating or interacting in GNOME Foundation activities or administration at all.

This is news to me and I cannot help but think of Miguel's remarks on OOXML ("superb standard") and the timing (the lack of confidence inside GNOME began a few weeks ago also). Jeff assured us that Miguel was somewhat of a passive president at this stage, so we must assume that he had absolutely no involvement in policies pertaining to OOXML in the GNOME Foundation.

Moving on, there is another bit which seemed a tad interesting.

I sat down with Nat Friedman at GUADEC in order to talk about a few things that were on my mind regarding Novell and GNOME. I had a very clear three-point agenda that I wanted to go through:

1. The relationship and agreement with Microsoft. 2. Novell’s approach to feature development and ‘code dumping’. 3. GNOME and Mono.

We didn’t end up talking about the first two points, because Nat was extremely focused on the Mono issue, and whichever way I tried to lead him through my thought narrative, it would quickly come back to Mono.

I cannot help wondering why point 1 was not discussed at all. Maybe it's just my paranoia instincts. Nevertheless, it's something to keep in mind, especially because Nat Friedman used to discredit us and he also defended the pact with Microsoft.

Finally, one thing worth adding is that if any FUD is being spread, then one ought to look at:

  1. Novell, which uses FUD against its Linux competitors
  2. Various parties including Novell, who question the credibility of this site using vague or empty accusations

Remember that there are (at least) two sides in every argument. We too are victims of FUD sometimes (or "muck-raking", as Jeff calls it) .

Update: we have only just received valuable feedback from Repre Hendor. If you were to ask me, I would honestly say that it does not look good. Here is the comment (left in our Web site), which I will quote in full:

Roy said:
"[Miguel] actively supports OOXML and he is still very influential in GNOME (no matter how hard you try to deny this)."

Jeff said:

"Miguel is not influential in GNOME. I deny it because it’s the truth [....] If anything, these days, Miguel is seen as an irrelevant embarrassment among the majority of GNOME developers. But he is still respected as our founder."

According to the minutes of the Gnome Foundation Board meeting happeing on 15th of November 2007 (and published a week later, that was: last Thursday), for topic '4)' it is noted:

GNOME President

Miguel has officially resigned as the GNOME President.

Uh huh. So up until a week ago, Miguel officially was the GNOME President?

Looks like Jeff himself thinks Miguel is an irrelevant embarrassment to GNOME, so that he even avoids mentioning this 'hot news' which reached the public eye only 4 days ago (even though it could have served to strengthen his point).

Why did Miguel resign? Was he put under pressure to do so? Was it because of the continuous negative wave of publicity he is causing for Gnome (see his infamous "OOXML is a superb standard" stance...)?

Update #2: I've just received a headsup that informs me of another rebuttal to Jeff's latest blog post. The strong reaction is summarised as follows:

Well, toute compte fait, I don't see in which way or to which extent of the imagination is the cited blog post supposed to end the so-called FUD with regards to GNOME, Novell and Mono.

It's nothing more but a clumsy PR attempt.

I've also been sent this one, which is equally harsh.


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