Bonum Certa Men Certa

When Novell Staff Becomes Technology Writer



Summary: Zonker responds to FUD from Forrester but spreads his own Red Hat FUD after departing from Novell

WHEN a company collapses there is often the unintended effect of having employees move to other companies. These employees carry with them the burden/baggage of bias and connections to the former employer. Biases are everywhere because truth is relative and today we'll cover a couple of new examples.



Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is generally a very good writer. He writes coherently and makes it all very engaging. This is why Novell hired him. Forrester, on the other hand, is a bias up for sale. We already showed how Microsoft paid Forrester to smear GNU/Linux. That's just the business model. “Analysts sell out - that’s their business model,” explains Microsoft [PDF].

A few days ago we tried to ignore new FUD from a Forrester analyst, who immaturely heckled some Linux fans.

"Some Analysts Still Don't Get It," wrote Zonker in his response, posted quite suitably in Linux.com. To quote:

In the early days of Linux, analysts were spouting all kinds of nonsense about Linux. It was pretty clear that folks from firms like Forrester and Gartner weren't clued in entirely about what Linux is, how open source works, nor did they have any vision for the future.

But after 20 years, I figured that most analysts with a major firm like Forrester would know better than writing silly posts that say mobile has killed Linux's hopes for world domination. Unfortunately not.

Mike Gualtieri writes, "the real end to Linux's hope for world dominance came when mobile platforms iOS and Android cleaned clocks in the mobile market. Sure, Android is built on top of Linux, but Linux is only one of many piece parts of the Android mobile operating system. It is not Linux."

Say what?

In as much as any operating system using the Linux kernel is "Linux," then Android certainly is Linux. Sure, Android ships a lot of different pieces compared to Ubuntu or Fedora, but it's still Linux.


Yes, that FUD is not dead yet. Forrester is still trying. We generally don't bother rebutting outdated FUD that has been debunked to death.

"We generally don't bother rebutting outdated FUD that has been debunked to death."Zonker did well when he countered that FUD (there are other refutations, but they are not quite so well written). The problem we have with Zonker is that around the time of SUSE PR and promotion (because OpenSUSE 12.1 is imminent) he took this bit of news and then decided to spin it a little for drama. Now just to clarify, Zonker (Joe Brockmeier) is not a normal journalist. He is one who received wages from Novell while he was still working as a journalist, so if he takes a shot at Red Hat while promoting Novell/OpenStack (as a reminder, OpenNebula is Hyper-V/Novell/Microsoft-laden and OpenStack is not much better), he should not be missing a disclosure of his past work which only goes over a year back.

For Red Hat it makes perfect business sense to do what it is doing, so the slant from Zonker is quite unfair. Another Joe, the VAR Guy, who had a relationship with Novell over the years, writes about the same subject and notes that:

Red Hat, Canonical (Ubuntu) and SUSE already compete in the Linux market. Now, they’ll increasingly compete in the cloud computing world. Both SUSE (owned by Attachmate) and Ubuntu are getting cozy with OpenStack, the open source cloud standard initially promoted by Rackspace and NASA. On the flipside, Red Hat is marching forward with its own cloud standards, though Red Hat insists those standards will be open and community-developed.


Yes, and there are good reasons for that. Sean Michael Kerner writes about why Novell chose the side that it is choosing:

What's even more interesting is how SUSE is delivering this OpenStack distribution. SUSE is using their SUSE Studio as the platform to distribute (and likely build)OpenStack. That means that enterprises can potentially custom build their own OpenStack distributions in SUSE Studio. That's an incredibly powerful model and one that no other vendor currently offers.


OpenStack shares its bed with Microsoft since last year [1, 2]. It is the Microsoft "open" option (open... except the proprietary), one among several which owing to Novell now include some more lock-in and non-free components. This is basically the role that SUSE/Attachmate play at Microsoft's behest and it is why we urge people to boycott them.

Inherently, Attachmate is a proprietary software company with proprietary Novell products and SUSE is now funded by Microsoft in an attempt to tax Red Hat customers by moving them over to SUSE, with what Microsoft calls "royalty payments" (patent royalties) according to sources (this is publicly marketed as "support", but not internally). Euphemisms make better marketing.

"I've heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons "royalty payments"..."

--Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

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