Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell Criticism Comes from Red Hat Too

Unsurprisingly, the anti-Red Hat deal [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] which Microsoft and Novell had signed did not leave Red Hat too happy. Nevertheless, the new CEO has not said much about Novell. In the following new article he finally explains the difference between Novell's approach and Red Hat's approach (as Charles recently did).



Tell me more about the settlement.

What was impactful and important about it was we not only protected ourselves and our customers, we protected all upstream and downstream use of the technology. A lot of times, not to pick on anyone in particular, but Novell in the Microsoft settlement didn’t protect all their upstream and downstream users. We’re not just protecting ourselves, we're protecting everyone who uses that technology.

Are patent disputes a common problem for you?

It’s always one of the issues, how do you handle patents with open source, because of the necessity in open source to protect up and downstream. It’s a complex set of legal issues. We generally don’t run into it that much because open source is really good at working around patent issues. It doesn’t take up a lot of my time.


GNOME RPMRed Hat seems to be tuned in to developers' needs a lot more than Novell is, the latter being a mixed-source company [1, 2, 3, 4] with a non-Free (non-libre) mindset. As such, this self-serving attitude is only to be expected in the future. Remember:

"Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand."

--Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO (2008)



If the following comparison is anything to go by, Novell is to Free software what Nokia is to open source.

SUSE used to be a solid and stalwart promotor of free and open source software. The commercial boxsets had the best and most extensive collection of manuals and tutorials in the field, showing it understood the need of new W2L migrators. For Novell it was good thinking to buy SUSE and use it to salvage it’s declining Netware business. Corporations are driven by other sentiments than the communities of developers, as the recent remarks of Nokia’s VP show. Corporations will enter into strategic partnerships to protect or expand their market share and thus the partnership between Microsoft and Novell does make sense. But I am also raising my eyebrows at the attempts spearheaded by Novell to port Microsoft-based technology (.Net and Silverlight) to Linux (Mono and Moonlight).


Speaking of Mono, Nokia's gadgets and Microsoft sellouts, never forget Samsung + Microsoft, which we last mentioned yesterday. Samsung is one of the companies that pay Microsoft for Linux in its gadegsts. It's better to avoid it. Mono is believed to be part of this deal [1, 2, 3], but there's insufficient evidence.

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