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Novell Creates OpenSUSE Team But Decreases OpenSUSE Support

SuSE logoSummary: New OpenSUSE team not likely to elevate the project, but Novell tries it anyway



Novell is not a bad company when it comes to PR. It is only to be expected from a company of that scale. At the moment, Novell is trying to take advantage of that whole "Open Thing", so it created a new avenue to disseminate the illusion of a company where customers and partners get to determine the directions adopted by decision makers. There is at least one report about it already, such as this one.



Novell has announced that all partners and users will have access to the product development portal. If you're agitating for an enhancement, here's your chance to push it through.


There is more of the same "community"/"open" meme elsewhere, also inside the Mono team at Boston (where most of the Microsoft-Novell stuff is done nowadays, to distinguish from OpenSUSE).

“Haeger also said secrecy was a culprit.”An kinder, more open Novell? That would truly be something. After Ted Haeger had left Novell he wrote: “I removed the statement about my departure having nothing to do with the deal. It was a false statement made without consulting me. I did not want to make my departure a statement about the deal, but by using my name in this way on this page, it forces me to state a correction. My departure did have something to do with the Novell-MS deal. I would likely still be at Novell if it had not happened. I prefer to focus on the positive side of why I left, so please do not cite my departure as unrelated to the MS-Novell deal.”

Haeger also said secrecy was a culprit. Earlier today, our reader Marti told us that "most people of SuSE G.M.B.H. ran away when it became part of Novell (read it in interviews)."

Here is a new article from IDG:

We should all be used to seeing open-source companies acquired by now but what is interesting is how many of the bigger deals have been problematic. Look at Novell-Suse where Suse founder Hubert Mantel left within two years of Novell picking up the German Linux distro, reportedly saying "This is no longer the company I founded 13 years ago".


Those who were more adamant and stubborn probably could not bear the thought of working for a proprietary (or "mixed") software company like Novell. Some existing SUSE people are even using Macs. New sighting:

From time to time I use Mac OS X and I really like the application management with its dock.


Novell is now forming a new team, arranging what it considers to be full-time staff (paid 'community') for OpenSUSE. The Register and Heise have the details.

Novell has created an openSUSE Team within the company with a team of ten experts exclusively dedicated to the openSUSE project; the move is aimed at increasing Novell's support of the community distribution.


It should not be forgotten that Novell laid off many SUSE employees not so long ago. This seems like a partly PR-motivated step.

Linux distributor Novell is reorganizing: from now on, one developer team will dedicate itself entirely to openSUSE.


Here is the original message from Roland Haidl (also here).

It is no news that the OpenSUSE community is on shaky grounds amid notable departures [1, 2]. The "People of openSUSE" series is still delivered very sporadically, not once a week as it used to prior to a long draught. The OpenSUSE weekly newsletter for this week is also accompanied by a public call for more regular cycles in finalisation.

We publish the Weekly News each Saturday after proofreading.


What serves as another sign of stagnation begins with the following message:

[opensuse-announce] Advance notice of discontinuation of openSUSE 10.3



Dear opensuse-announce subscribers and openSUSE users,

SUSE Security announces that openSUSE 10.3 will be discontinued soon. Having provided security-relevant fixes for two years, we will stop releasing updates after October 31st 2009.

As a consequence, the openSUSE 10.3 distribution directory on our server download.opensuse.org will be removed from /distribution/10.3/ to free space on our mirror sites. The 10.3 directory in the update tree /update/10.3 will follow, as soon as all updates have been published.

The discontinuation of openSUSE 10.3 enables us to focus on the openSUSE distributions of a newer release dates to ensure that our users can continuously take advantage of the quality that they are used to with openSUSE products.

This announcement holds true for openSUSE 10.3 only. As usual, Novell/SUSE will continue to provide update packages for the following products:

openSUSE 11.0 (supported until June 30th 2010) openSUSE 11.1 (supported until December 31st 2010) openSUSE 11.2 (currently in development, to be released November 12th 2009) for the next two openSUSE releases plus two months overlap period.

Please note that the maintenance cycles of SUSE Linux Enterprise products and products based on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system are not affected by this announcement and have longer life cycles.

To learn more about SUSE Linux business products, please visit http://www.novell.com/linux/suse/ . For a detailed list of the life cycles of our Enterprise Products please visit http://support.novell.com/lifecycle/ and http://support.novell.com/lifecycle/lcSearchResults.jsp?sl=suse

If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please do not hesitate to contact SUSE Security at <security@suse.de>.


The Register -- much like other publications -- covered this too and also mentioned the future release:

This week, the openSUSE project said that it had reached Milestone 5, with openSUSE 11.2 now based on the Linux 2.6.31-rc4 kernel and supporting the Xen 3.4.1 RC10 and VirtualBox 3.0.2 hypervisors, the Gnome 2.27.5 and KDE 4.3 graphical user interfaces, and a slew of updated packages that you can read all about here.

The whole shebang is built using the GNU GCC 4.4.1 compilers. You can download openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 5 here for x86 and x64 machines. This is still beta code, and not intended for production environments, of course.


But buried among all these events was this important observation that the OpenSUSE support window is shrinking rather than expanding.

The issue of how long a Linux distribution will support a release is one that tends to go back and forth. Novell's openSUSE Linux is now revising its policy.

Starting with the openSUSE 11.2, maintenance support will be approximately 18 months which is a reduction of 6 months from what openSUSE 11.1 and prior releases, offered users.


To make matters worse, releases too have become less frequent (about 8 months apart).

Novell's so-called ally uses this type of stuff to spread FUD about future prospects.

MS comes out swinging



Microsoft SA yesterday kicked off its annual Partner Summit conference in Durban, with MD Mteto Nyati laying down the gauntlet as far as the company's goals and competitors are concerned.

[...]

The company is heavily targeting the public sector going forward. “Look at Novell,” Nyati said. “In the public sector space it has a huge install base, and it has publically shared the fact that there is no roadmap for its product beyond 2010. We need to go share that with our customers. They need to move from that platform to something else. Instead of them moving to Lotus Notes or something else, let's help them move to the right platform.”


With 'partners' like these, Novell must really feel proud and confident. How foolish a deal Novell has gotten itself into.

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