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Simon Phipps: “Linux is No Longer Important Enough to Justify a Business Unit at Novell”

Novell loves the monopoly



Summary: A look at Novell's de-emphasis on GNU/Linux and increased focus on Microsoft software

AFTER YET another rough week for Novell, the big news about big departures is being ignored by the Var Guy as well Zacks (also here). They both focus on Novell's decoy, which goes under the "reorg" banner. This deficiency in reporting is probably not deliberate, but it could be the act of self-censorship due to bias or the cattle effect (other reporters were fooled as well).



Some time in the middle of 2009 a Xandros manager said: “We are kind of getting away from being a Linux company.”

“Novell is pushing (with press releases and funding) Microsoft imitations of original software like Flash and Java.”We last mentioned this when we showed that all vendors that had signed a patent deal with Microsoft sooner or later faded. Xandros has been getting into Microsoft's ecosystem ever since the deal was signed and so has Novell, which is no longer promoting web standards and GPL-licensed frameworks like Java. Instead, Novell is pushing (with press releases and funding) Microsoft imitations of original software like Flash and Java. Microsoft is manipulating Novell and Free software, playing these two groups off against each other (ever since they manufactured a way to attack the GPLv2, using software patents).

In a quick post about public statements, the head of free and Open Source strategy and licensing at Sun Microsystems interprets Novell's so-called "reorg" as: "linux is no longer important enough to justify a business unit at Novell."

The matter of fact is that OpenSUSE is left with unpaid "boosters" [1, 2, 3] that Novell seems to care too little about (Novell fires SUSE developers while promoting Mono and Silverlight for Microsoft [1, 2, 3]). Sascha Manns writes:

The [OpenSUSE] Boosters Team tried to make the Webpresence easyer. So they would like to give more Information in shorter Time.


Novell's CMO wrote about branding a few days ago. From his blog post:

Heck, what CMO wouldn’t want one of the worlds most famous athletes speaking on behalf of their brand. Yet while the emotional side of me loves the idea, the practical side says our brand is far too important to entrust to someone else.


Novell lets lizards do the marketing for a major product. It might seem awkward, but the mascot was inherited from S.u.S.E. Another mascot Novell seems to be putting its presence behind is actually a monkey that it inherited from Ximian. It represents Microsoft's presence in GNU/Linux. It's easy to see why.

Banshee, a Novell project that only Novell customers are permitted to use safely, has had some notable changes amid its inclusion in OpenSUSE alongside the latest Mono. Another employee of Novell sheds light on how close Mono, .NET, CodePlex, and Ms-PL are becoming. Groklaw called it "fusion" with Microsoft (Novell embracing Microsoft, not the other way around).

NerdDinner is an ASP.NET MVC sample, licensed under the Ms-PL with sources hosted at CodePlex.


Is this the future of GNU/Linux as full-time Novell staff ought to see it? Its vice president Miguel de Icaza is already a board member of Microsoft's CodePlex Foundation. It's one step away from working directly for Steve Ballmer and there seems to be a vacancy for those who are particularly enthusiastic about anything Microsoft does (even it it's bad).

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