Bonum Certa Men Certa

Some Victims of the Novell and Xandros Deals

There are quite a few people whose role in the recent developments is that of a bystander. It is a passive role, not an active one. Among those who feel hurt, we feel obliged to take an active role. Some of those who are hurt have to pretend to be happy or apathetic because they are tied to a company's payroll. Others have to accept changes in the market. These are changes which are absorbed by volunteers, paid developers, end users, and customers. Here are two such examples.

OpenSUSE Volunteers



Steve Ballmer rides SUSESee the folowing article and assess its content briefly. Pay particular and special attention the bits at the bottom which talk about OpenSUSE. I too used to help the OpenSUSE project, but the impact of the deal was too much to bear and accept. It was worth abandoning and making compromises by criticising a decision which had been foolishly made by the management. No advice or opinion was sought which actually involved the community. It was only the Big Egos at Novell that counted.

From the point of view of a developer community, this was unacceptable. It was a betrayal, without a doubt. I know this because I was there, among the SUSE fans. I also saw the reaction from other groups and it was not pleasant. SUSE's reputation among the Free software enthusiasts was bound to get worse.

Novell has just tried to separate OpenSUSE from Novell. It is using a board's affiliation as some sort of a PR stunt and a strategic decision. We covered this last week and on Saturday as well. My guess is that Novell tries to elevate levels of participation in OpenSUSE because that's the distribution Novell feeds on. It hopes that it can hide in the fog while others do all the labour. Later it will sneak out of the fog and grab the free labour (yes, it's free because many volunteers are still involved).

Someone really ought to fork SLED or OpenSUSE. OpenSUSE is a decent distro, but it's ruined in Novell's hands (Mono IP, patents, etc.). As for SLED|S, Novell strongly resists letting its source code go, which says a lot about its hesitant approach towards open source, even as far as SUSE Linux alone is concerned.

ASUSTek



”ASUS is caught in the middle of this because it isn't known why it chose Xandros.“Remember the Eee? That's the device which can keep Xandros floating for a while. It was roughly 6 months ago that Xandros had layoffs, which they conveniently named "staffing adjustments".

ASUS is caught in the middle of this because it isn't known why it chose Xandros. It's also a bit of a mystery how long they have worked together on this device, which they first unveiled in an Intel conference, if I recall correctly.

To be fair, the unit is said to be hacker-friendly, so one could install another distribution on it (with iffy support nonetheless). Having said that, the sales of Eee units contributes to the bottom line of Xandros and it probably includes the Windows tax (via Xandros), so mixed feelings remain. Microsoft might actually be paid for each Eee unit that is sold.

ASUS should really pull out all that source code and artwork, then graft it and pour it onto another KDE-based GNU/Linux distribution, preferably one which is not associated with Microsoft's mythical patents in any way. This may never happen, but there is always hope. The same goes for an SUSE fork.

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