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Linux Magazine and Novell: Conflict of Interests

Bullets on board
Totally missing the point



Novell's PR people proudly (yet blindly) announce that they were well placed in Linux Magazine, but they neglect to mention a serious conflict of interests.

Linux Magazine has peered into its crystal ball and picked Novell as one of its “Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2009”.

[...]

Linux Magazine notes our SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Subscription with Expanded Support program as well as our groundbreaking partnership with Microsoft and the development work being undertaken as part of that partnership.


"Groundbreaking partnership with Microsoft," eh?

One of the key people in Linux Magazine is Zonker (Joe Brockmeier), who is now leading the OpenSUSE community as a Novell employee. No conflict or interests there, eh?

“One of the key people in Linux Magazine is Zonker (Joe Brockmeier), who is now leading the OpenSUSE community as a Novell employee.”Novell's relationships in mainstream media have always made it difficult to trust coverage. The same goes for smaller sites like OStatic by the way, as Zonker is an author there [1, 2]. They promote Novell products like Mono and even Go-OOXML (several times in fact). Kristin, who is Zonker's colleague, covers a lot of OpenSUSE, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

We have already commented on Zonker's appointment and what it means to Novell when they hire a journalist. They can manipulative coverage and thus alter public perception.

This is also happening right now in CIO Magazine (of IDG|IDC [1, 2, 3]). Zonker is preaching about "Corporate Contributions", which is the tune Novell wants to sing in order to isolate grassroots from "commercial", "enterprise" and other buzzwords that elevate Novell's status at the expense of "unsupported" distributions. He does the same thing in his ZDNet blog, albeit it's rather subtle.

"Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, "he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2." Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition's technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors' technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time."

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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