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November 21, 2006

Observations on MS/Novell

by @ 1:28 pm. Filed under General SUSE, My Opinion, novell, SUSE News

Grozdan wrote in with a great point of view, as follows:

In reply to your blog on planetSUSE, I send you my own point of view. This is actually take from my own blog ( where I wrote how I see this is going to play out in the near future. Keep in mind that this is just my personal point of view and I might be wrong (I really hope so)… OK, here it is….

The MS/Novell deal caused a pretty big disturbance in the FOSS community. I know that this has been covered many times on a lot of web sites but I just wanted to give my personal point of view and I’ll make it as short as possible 🙂

MS saw for the past 5 years or so that it’s losing market share to Linux in the enterprise market and it will continue to lose. Now that they have a deal with one of the major companies that are involved in Enterprise Linux, they can use it to split the FOSS community in two. On one side you’ll have the commercial FOSS developers who will be “protected” by this agreement between Novell & MS. On the other side you’ll have the non-commercial guy who is contributing to the FOSS community but is not “protected” by MS in any way.

That is what MS is looking for. Once they split the FOSS community in two, which they are trying to do that right now using their contract with Novell to spread FUD that they can sue you if you don’t use SUSE products, it will be much easier for them to control the commercial side of Linux trough Novell’s SLES/SLED products. When they accomplish this, they can stab Novell in the back by breaking the contract thus making it very easy to enforce their patents if Novell decides to insert some MS code into their products during the contracts period.

I just fail to see how this deal could be good for Novell or the FOSS community in general.

I can accept this point of view. Microsoft is very seldom in something for the fuzzy-bunnies and glittering princess fairies. They are starving carnivores, and they smell blood. They should adopt the title of “The American Dismemberment Association”, or TADA! I am not all that sure that this was that great of an idea myself, but as another reader Michael pointed out, “Right now I’m in a wait and see mode.” He says, “I just can’t throw it away because Novell may have screwed up.” I dig ya’, man. I think I’ll at least keep with the open source distro. SLED and SLES 10 are quite solid products as well.

One of my big concerns is that there will be a significant decline in the open source community of people who are using SUSE. I realize that in the enterprise or corporate sector there will likely be a significant increase in market share. However, then it becomes a sell-out distro used only by people who don’t care about it. I’m not all that excited to use a distro in such a situation.

Nevertheless, if it does come to that, I’ll likely jump ship at that time. Until then, I’ll probably just stay with SUSE.

Michael also pointed me to his blog which references a great article by my boy Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

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