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Novell Talks Red Hat, Still Sidles With Microsoft

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, SLES/SLED at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Competition is a funny thing when one’s friend becomes a foe and one’s sworn enemy suddenly becomes a friend. It appears as though Novell’s rivals these days are only Linux distributers. Having taken off all comparisons with Microsoft Windows from its Web site [1, 2], Novell has moved on to speaking about the weaknesses of GNU/Linux that’s not developed under Microsoft’s iron fist, so to speak. I have just caught the following article from Salt Lake Tribune:

Novell spokesman Kevan Barney said the downfall of Red Hat’s Fedora Legacy Project only strengthens Novell’s commitment to its own partnership with open-source, or free, software developers worldwide.

“What has happened with Fedora does not affect what we are doing with our Open Systems Project,” he said. “We have over 30,000 registered members. The project is doing quite well.”

Novell offers its own Suse Linux product line, but it differs from a companion, free-to-download Open Suse version only in the level of technical support and the stability required for each generation of retail editions.

There is not much to be seen here, but it seems evident that Novell is after Red Hat’s customers while it remains obedient to (READ: scared of) and ‘plays nice’ with Microsoft. It is a case of Linux fighting Linux, which is precisely what Microsoft sought to achieve when striking this deal, also paying a lump of money for easier persuasion. The divisive nature of the deal—that which separates customers from the developers community—is another harmful side-effect. It ought to bother you that only months ago, Ron Hovespian complained about Microsoft’s business practices. Here is what he said before befriending Microsoft:

“Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux, according to Novell Inc president and COO, Ron Hovsepian”

In other news, about Novell:

Just a bit of credit where it’s due. We consider this site to be impartial, not rebellious. We aspire to discover stories and facts that escape the attention or interest of mainstream press. If you can offer any contributions or stories we have missed, be sure to contact us. We would like our loyal readers to drive the site, rather than let it be controlled by editors. Let us make use of the wisdom of the crowds.

Addendum: here’s another new article which fits the theme of this post. It’s titled “Novell CTO Touts ‘Mixed Source’ Strategy, Takes Jab At Red Hat“.

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  1. wyretrip said,

    January 5, 2007 at 1:24 pm


    “We consider this site to be impartial, not rebellious.”

    May want to reconsider the name of your site then. =/

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2007 at 1:41 pm


    May want to reconsider the name of your site then

    We already have. See the latest entry, which is only one among a series that explains why the domain name misrepresent the nature of the site.


    Trust me, in retrospect, what came to become the textual identity of the site is not the brightest of ideas. Domain registration was rather quick and impulsive. Whether or not this choice will haunt us in the future is yet to be seen.

  3. shane said,

    January 5, 2007 at 2:29 pm


    I don’t regret it, I am Boycotting Novell

    So long as this patent covenant deal is in place, I will not support or endorse Novell’s actions in any way, and will continue to campaign against them and their partner Microsoft.

    We are not alone, Roy and I, look to Bruce Perens’ petition and the actions that Eben Moglen and the FSF are taking to ensure that the exploit Novell has wrought on the GPL is patched in the next release, in addition to Jeremy Allison’s public stance against the deal.

    As Bruce said in the petition ( http://techp.org/petition/show/1 )

    The covenant of the GPL is that in the face of a software patent aggressor we must all hang together, lest we each hang separately. Novell accepted that covenant when you chose to include the Linux kernel, the GNU C library, and hundreds of additional works created at no charge to Novell by individuals in the Free Software community and licensed under the GPL.

    It is abundantly clear that Novell and Microsoft took the time to engineer a circuitous legal path of issuing covenants to each other’s customers, rather than licenses to each other, in order to circumvent Novell’s earlier agreement with the community of GPL software developers.

    In short, now that Novell has chosen not to hang together with the Free Software community, we’ve chosen not to do so with you.

    Boycott Novell

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