Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell and OpenOffice.org -- Harming, Helping, or Just Exploiting?

Novell's promotion of Microsoft OOXML and bringing of Microsoft .NET (Mono) closer to OpenOffice.org hasn't escaped developers' attention. Moreover, their confrontation with Sun Microsystems over control of the project was quite nasty [1, 2, 3, 4]. Novell was seen as self-serving at the time.



Novell has a double commitment. On the one hand, it is a partner of Microsoft, so sales of Microsoft Office are important, even if they are defended through elevation of Microsoft formats. On the other hand, Novell works with Sun, which competes against Novell and Microsoft on several fronts while also collaborating. The question is: in which way would Novell lean?

According to recent communication among OpenOffice.org developers, Novell may slowly be alienating itself. Consider, for instance, what Michael Meeks writes.

Hmm, "they are in alpha, beta, whatever stage" :-) I beg to differ. Yes - some of the patches in ooo-build are experimental, but we [Novell] disable these by default on stable branches so they are not applied. Everything else that is applied to our product Novell offers L3 support for - if you find something broken, we will fix it (well, if you're a paying customer - but we're interested in bugs of course anyway).

Interestingly, when you look at our L3 work-load, only a tiny fraction of our bugs are specific to our changes - almost all are present in the "conservative" up-stream OO.o. Conversely, in many other cases the fix for a bug is not in the "conservative" up-stream OO.o - so up-stream users suffer it, but not ours :-)


That is of course just selfish, but it's part of a broader picture. The thread as a whole is worth seeing.

GNOME CalcThe basic premises of Michael Meeks are a lie. OpenOffice.org versions that are produced by the Novell build system are typically much buggier than the 'vanillas'.

More importantly, the thread above teaches us about that old admission that Novell is refusing to contribute to the codebase of OpenOffice.org. It then accuses Sun Microsystems of standing in its way (see the links at the very top again). Not nice.

Novell is not a team player. It did, after all, sell out the GNU/Linux ecosystem as well, did it not?

With 'friends' like these, who needs Microsoft?

Novellsoft

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