07.27.10

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Source Seems to be the Hardest Word

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Novell, Videos at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at the recent talk from Novell’s PR/CMO and a reminder of why SUSE developers ought to leave Novell

John Dragoon, the Senior Vice President and Chief Spin Officer at Novell, gave the following talk some weeks ago (Open World Forum).

Dragoon keeps talking about “exploitation of open source software” and of “Linux”. Yes, he uses the word “exploit” (or “exploiting” and “exploitation”) quite a lot in this talk when referring to use. He must be thinking of Novell’s own attitude towards “open source”” and “Linux”. Novell is exploiting these. Also notice how more than once he has a hard time saying “open source software” (he says “open software”).

We could go on making criticisms about other things, such as the fact that he talks fluff-speak like “going forward” and he is using shamed analysts (Goldman Sachs for example) while pretending that they are not like PR, by actually saying so. Experience suggests otherwise.

From around the same time we also have this Markus Rex (Novell) interview where he talks about many issues, including Novell’s identity management product that lost to IBM’s. Novell can sell neither open source nor proprietary software as well as it wants to. By contrast, OpenSUSE volunteers make a fine distribution which has just received praises from Jesse Smith at DistroWatch. He concludes as follows:

I found the latest release of this distribution to be a solid offering. Some of the previous issues regarding codecs have been corrected, the new KDE desktop is light and fast. I like that openSUSE gives users the option to use the Smolt system profiler and YaST is an excellent control centre. The distro’s work with virtualization is great and there is a large selection of software available on the CD. The only thing I’d like to change about this distro is in regards to the package manager. The existing YaST tool for handling software is effective, but I’d like to see a more novice-friendly program added. Ubuntu offers a good example of this where they have a beginner-friendly Software Center and a separate menu entry for Synaptic. The way Linux handles software packages is, in my opinion, one of the operating system’s greatest strengths and it’s important not to frighten people away from it. Over-all, I see openSUSE 11.3 as a great release, possibly the best we’ve seen of the lizard yet.

As we argued yesterday, OpenSUSE volunteers out to fork and/or rebrand; people who work on SUSE for money ought to apply for a job somewhere like Red Hat. Novell is not the place to be at the moment and many people avoid SUSE because of the Novell affiliation.

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