Bonum Certa Men Certa

Zemlin Flirts with Hovsepian: The Best Novell Commercial Money Needn't Buy

Three weeks ago we explained why the Linux Foundation must assist, if not even promote, the products from Novell. It does not matter how Novell has sinned because the Linux Foundation is funded by Novell, making it unable to bite the very same hand that feeds it.

“By association, therefore, the Linux Foundation must be civil towards Microsoft (its beneficiary's partner).”It's an interesting dilemma of course because Novell is a Microsoft partner. By association, therefore, the Linux Foundation must be civil towards Microsoft (its beneficiary's partner). Therein you can find the dangers of allowing Novell to become more dominant.

Yesterday we wrote about the interview involving Jim Zemlin (of the Linux Foundation) and Ron Hovsepian (CEO of Novell). It wasn't as much of an in-depth interview as much as a commercial for Novell. Ron Hovsepian spoke like a salesman, possibly mimicking the CEO of its ally.

In his latest short article, "In Praise of Journalistic Scum", Glyn Moody harshly criticises this interview.

But there's also a big downside to this approach, as the latest interview shows. It's with Ron Hovsepian, the CEO of Novell. Reading the transcript, I found myself constantly wondering when Hovsepian was going to say something new or, well, interesting. Instead, what we got were a series of marketing platitudes.

And then I realised what the problem was. The name “Microsoft” occurs just three times in the whole interview, which runs to many thousands of words. And none of those instances refers to the Microsoft-Novell deal that has proved so divisive in the open source world.

Now, I fully understand why Zemlin moved gingerly around this topic: it's deeply problematic for Hovsepian, and he is understandably unwilling to explore its deleterious effects on the free software community. Equally, Zemlin is naturally unwilling to put important open source figures like Hovsepian on the spot since this will make his job much harder in the future.

This is where cynical journalists like me come in. We have no compunction in sticking the interrogatory knife in to interviewees and twisting when we find the pain point.


In case you wish to hear this interview for yourself, it's right here. With so-called 'interviews' like these. is it surprising that they generate some positive press? Here are the words of one whose arm was twisted by Novell on several occasions in the past (it's truly a habit).

To run down again through the facts that we stated yesterday:



How about asking Ron Hovsepian some questions about those points in future interviews?

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