Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Unintended Effects of Conflicting Agendas

or "Why Mark Shuttleworth doesn't denounce the deal as often as he used to"

A week and a half ago, an interview reminded us that there remains high-level opposition (coming from prominent figures) to the Novell/Microsoft deal. Mark Shuttleworth, having already invited OpenSUSE developers to join his team last year, insists that deals with Microsoft, including Novell's, are harmful. They are indeed; not only to Linux as a whole, but also to individual Linux distributors that "sell out", to borrow PJ's phrase.

"...there are many agendas to consider (AMD/ATI drivers, Mono, OpenOffice, SCO litigation, et cetera)."I try hard to keep my personal stories out of this Web site (keeping it more informative than egocentric), but this time I cannot help it. Some months ago we collected and prepared questions for an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, but since then he seems to have changed his mind, I would guess because of some undeserved infamy of this Web site (although the interview was bound to be published elsewhere, by a professional publisher whom I work for). I only received what seemed like an excuse a few days ago, after some promises.

I tried to inquire through a common friend. I wanted to find out if Mark Shuttleworth has said anything about Novell or about us. I was told (not for certain) that "he said before that he doesn't like the Novell deal, but he may have changed his mind." This seems unlikely given the recent interview which is cited at the top.

The bottom line is this: I do not want him to be grumpy about this Web site. There is no reason for this to be the case, either. I know he's a friend of Matt Asay, whose opinions about Novell align with mine. Matt is a former Novell employee and he recently got slagged off by Novell's Bruce Lowry for citing us. Yes, Novell likes to control what bloggers say about the company.

Darl McBrideSCO (now to be spelled "$ < 0") tried this too and it quite clearly backfired. Censorships and PR spin do not work because they lead to backlash. For entertainment purposes only, FUDMeister McBride is shown preaching lies in the image on the left. We will not be seeing or hearing much from him next year.

Like PJ (Groklaw) [2], Mark dislikes the Novell deal, but he has to act nice to them because there are many agendas to consider (AMD/ATI drivers, Mono, OpenOffice, SCO litigation, et cetera). Does that mean that, as long as Novell holds some key elements of Linux, other distributors will refuse to speak against the deal? Does this mean that, only when pressured by Microsoft or the blogsphere will Mandriva's CEO openly express his opinion?

It's hard to be liked by everyone when you have a divisive, controversial, or even unpopular opinion. Actually, it's more of an interpretation, not an opinion. I firmly believe in everything I write and I have provided over a thousand auxiliary references to support what I write here. It can be defended for being factual unless we post explicit corrections, which we sometimes do (see this recent example).

If some people or sites became wary of and upset about this Web site, then so be it. OpenSUSE might be hostile towards Groklaw and the FSF as well. Nothing is perfect. But if nobody is willing to present the unpopular side of the story, who will?

"They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round"

                                      -- From the song "They All Laughed"

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