Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell Promotes ASP.NET, Demotes OpenSUSE

Novell bleeds
“Novell is bleeding to Death”

ABOUT a year and a half ago, Novell told the press that it would increase the hiring of .NET developers. The company seems to have kept its promise because as time goes by, Novell becomes more and more like a reflection of Microsoft, especially in the technical sense. As Microsoft's Sam Ramji recently admitted, Novell is pretty much Microsoft's department for GPL material (and other licences that Microsoft does not want to get in direct contact with).

The news is not particularly shocking and two readers sent us some pointers that are worth sharing.

Less than a year ago we saw Novell Web pages requiring the use of Internet Explorer, but to make matters worse, Novell is now investing resources in promoting and spreading ASP.NET. Well done, Miguel, well done.

Improved ASP.NET support

Our ASP.NET story is getting better. web projects are now compatible with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008 SP1.

Our ASP.NET text editor now offers code completion of tag, attributes, attribute values and event handlers is now supported for ASP.NET and various HTML DTDs.

Novell et al are already cheering the insertion of the Microsoft/Novell project called Moonlight into Ubuntu 9.04. What was not known yesterday is that early remarks about it had come from a Novell employee.

As the title says, I have a wonderful new job, working full time at Novell on my favourite open source project, Mono. What more can I say? :D *happy little coder does happy little jiggly dance*

This came just shortly after some massive layoffs at Novell (gist below). What is their strategy then? They hire Mono developers to assist .NET promotion/proliferation.

The layoffs of up to 1,000 people are expected to hit the SUSE Linux and consulting groups particularly hard, both in the U.S. and in Europe.

Over the past week we've written quite extensively about all the Moonlight/Moonshine hype that Novell had generated in the press despite the fact that there was no news at all (other than compatibility milestone) [1, 2]. In fact, even Moonshine was not a new release, but its buzz was timed so as to serve as a sidekick with the Moonlight press release, which was followed blindly by reporters who failed to realise that it was very old news.

Sadly, the hype prevails as Mono continues to be covered, having been initially injected into the Microsoft-sponsored Slashdot. Paul Krill's article for InfoWorld later reached IDG's MacWorld and David Meyer's article (also noted before) reached They are trying to moon everyone, leading to the perception that Moonlight is wonderful and that Silverlight is cross-platform, which it is not. As a result, some additional Web sites unknowingly shut GNU/Linux users out, the latest example being CBSSports. Microsoft uses Novell to pretend that GNU/Linux users are not being excluded (see the comments).

There is a coordinated campaign, as noted before, to hype up Silver Lie using lies, so even Free software initiatives get a slap in the face. The (very old) news about Moonlight 1.0 also sneaked its way into Asian publications.

The Novell-backed Mono project has released its widely anticipated Moonlight 1.0, a plug-in based on Microsoft's Silverlight 1.0 rich interactive application (RIA) runtime.

Last but not least, from this new TuxRader audiocast it become obvious that Moonlight would make an elegant Trojan horse for bringing Mono into all GNU/Linux desktops, not just GNOME. Big distributions have already become unsuspecting victims.

So why is Novell doing all this?

Looking ahead into the future, is Novell dedicated to technologies other than Microsoft's?

Is this what Novell's CEO meant when he said that the partnership with Microsoft was "going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on"?

What is a GNU/Linux developer under Novell's wing/umbrella supposed to deduce when this company, which employed .NET developers, is shafting its GNU/Linux developers and paid workforce (with more likely to come next week after a strong start)? Is this what Novell acquired S.u.S.E. for? A brand and a userbase, not to mention loyal volunteers?

Novell is at the moment contaminating not only SUSE but it's doing the same thing to other distributions which share the same codebase. The community is built upon trust, which Novell cannot offer and in the coming fortnight we'll be posting many videos of Gabriella Coleman, a researcher who explains this point very clearly.

According to a new post, there is already unrest in the OpenSUSE community.

The whole story started by a flame on a mailing list why some of us are not happy with the current state of openSUSE. It turned out there is a lot of different issues. So, we’ve met on a raining winter Friday 3 weeks ago to collect those issues as well as things that people consider to be good about openSUSE

More importantly, a widely-circulated open letter to the openSUSE Community has just been published. Pascal, one of the key people in the OpenSUSE community [1, 2] since the last elections [1, 2] and even beforehand [1, 2, 3] (he also boasts responsibilities in FOSDEM) implicitly endorses the concerns raised within the letter by echoing these words in his personal blog. It reads as follows (fragment only):

As you may know, recently Novell made the decision to reduce the workforce in their organization in the wake of our current economic outlook which is affecting everyone globally in all sectors of life. Unfortunately, this has also impacted some members of the openSUSE Community who were employed by Novell when, earlier this week, they were laid off.

We hear about layoffs every day now. Most of us have been hit by layoffs in recent times, if not personally then friends and family. The sadness we feel for our fellow community members is just as strong and our hearts go out to them in this time.

Some people have approached us publicly and privately and asked us what this means for the future of openSUSE. In fact, openSUSE is a community project driven both by Novell and the Community at large. Within this project, we make no distinction between Novell and non-Novell employees.

A headline found in another very recent article is extremely telling because it states that Novell is "Pushing Beyond SUSE Linux On Feb. 26." This comes from an author who is in regular touch with John Dragoon (Novell marketing), so he should know. He does not even contradict persistent claims that predictions of gloom are true.

“Novell hardly cares about what used to be in 2004 when SUSE was a new asset.”The actual article that's going under this headline is promotional and it welcomes Novell's financial results that are certain to involve some layoffs.

Novell hardly cares about what used to be in 2004 when SUSE was a new asset. Novell's managers work for their shareholders, to whom they are obliged.

It seems rather likely that Novell's future direction will incorporate more surrogate Microsoft technologies like Mono and disruption of existing, well-established projects like using a Novell/Microsoft-controlled fork, Go-OO [1, 2].

Our private sources indicate with great certainty that Novell is set to announce layoffs next week and that the layoffs will be focused on Germany (but not only Germany). The executives have meanwhile enjoyed their vacation in a prestigious Mexican resort like a bunch of drunken gamblers in some bachelor's party.

How did Novell end up this way and why does it take pleasure in ruining GNU/Linux in exchange for cash infusions from Microsoft? Well, perhaps it's because -- as one person put it a couple of days ago -- “Novell is bleeding to Death”. People are advised to learn about Novell's finances just before the Microsoft deal [1, 2]. Novell was apparently going out of business prior to the deal with Microsoft and there were problems with the NASDAQ too. The answers are all out there, but people tend to forget or ignore.

Novell's stock fell sharply today (even tanked) to just $3.25. The latest financial results are only days away.

Novel's stock falls very low


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