Bonum Certa Men Certa

2006 Déjà Vu: OpenSUSE FAQ as Damage Control

Photo of Johannes Mehserle used to symbolise recent trial of Novell's new manager, Jeff Hawn (downloaded from this page)

Johannes Mehserle



Novell in Provo



Summary: Novell's 'brain' moves to a company which is run by a man previously jailed for illegally murdering animals, one whose history at AttachMSFT has zilch to do with "open source" projects

OpenSUSE is a Novell product, albeit one of the least profitable ones. Novell used it for PR purposes and for free labour. AttachMSFT, on the other hand, need not prove that it doesn't give a damn about "open source". Its lack of "open source" history speaks for itself, so OpenSUSE members are rightly concerned.



Jeff 'Bison Slayer' Hawn was sort of interviewed by his employee, Jos Poortvliet, in order to create a face-saving FAQ just like the one produced with Ted Haeger and Ron Hovsepian after he had sold out to Microsoft in 2006. They tried to limit the damage before Haeger left the company due to "careless disregard for the people that the company never bothered to consult (including me)." This time too the OpenSUSE community was left out of Novell's decisions and to make matters worse, Novell gave many of its patents to Microsoft. Some deal, eh? It's like 2006 all over again.

Here is Poortvliet advertising the FAQ, which was also advertised by the KDE account in Identi.ca (seemingly used by this Novell employee for self-serving purposes). Based on what's said in the FAQ, this looks quite bad as it confirms what people have been saying for a while. AttachMSFT is likely to be worse than Novell when it comes to treatment of OpenSUSE (if that's possible at all, as Novell already neglected the project anyway, e.g. when it hardly provided server resources for hosting). To quote one part from the FAQ (they call it a "Q&A", but the questions raised are those which OpenSUSE folks wanted answered, so the community manager stepped forward):

Attachmate does not have a corporate track record in the open source business. However, we recognize the importance of open source technology, particularly Linux, and the growing value it brings to enterprises globally. We also recognize and value the openSUSE project, the contribution that the community makes to the SUSE business and most importantly, the many ways in which the community benefits SUSE customers.

At the end of the day, we are a technology company that is customer-driven, made up of engineers and technology enthusiasts. We have a lot of individuals that are long-time users of open source and participants in the open source movement. We recognize and understand what the community has developed, particularly over the last decade, and we are excited to be part of its future.


See the comments in LWN and the remarks from Phoronix, which concludes with:

It will be interesting to see how Attachmate operates Novell's business units and particularly their open-source projects once their billion dollar acquisition is complete.


OpenSUSE recently lost and replaced its leadership and here is the press release about it. They should all just fork the project. The sooner, the better.

Apart from OpenSUSE, it remains to be seen what AttachMSFT does with Mono. Sites like OMG!Ubuntu! (which promote a lot of Mono) keep deceiving on Novell's Banshee, which they insisted would be part of the next version of Ubuntu. We wrote about the subject in:



OMG!Ubuntu! is now saying that Banshee is not in Ubuntu 11.04, at least not yet (they contradict themselves and thus misinform readers):

To avoid any sensationalism, the switch has not yet been flipped, today Rhythmbox remains installed by default. This is likely to remain the case till at least January.


Banshee is being written by AttachMSFT (if at all), which expresses no real commitment to the "open source" projects it inherits from Novell, except SLE* (which is not really open source, either). Does Ubuntu want to set as default an application that can be orphaned soon? Surely they want to reconsider, or at least one would hope so.

Novell has just made another SUSE-related announcement, but it's about proprietary software, as usual.

NEC and Novell today announced the immediate availability of a high-availability and disaster recovery solution optimized for SUSE€® Linux Enterprise Server. Designed to enhance availability and serviceability in mixed operating system and hypervisor environments, NEC EXPRESSCLUSTER X 3.0 is now certified for and supported on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11. First available in Japan, this new solution represents an expansion of the partnership between NEC and Novell to deliver mission-critical services to joint customers worldwide. As a result, it is now easier for IT organizations to ensure business continuity for environments containing both Linux* and Windows* workloads.


Techrights believes that AttachMSFT's commitment to Novell's "open source" projects will be weak. It might take some months for one to get definite answers though. In the mean time, it's safer to avoid everything from Novell. The company is not in good hands (just watch what another cowboy, Darl McBride, did with SCO). Even VMB_ware would have been better.

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