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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.

13 Responses to “Observations on MS/Novell”

  1. GN Says:

    thanks for including my thought on this one Scott 🙂


  2. Scott Morris Says:

    You bet, bro. 🙂 Have a good one.

  3. GN Says:

    Scott, I just came across the “Boycott SUSE” campaign, thought you’d be interested

  4. Scott Morris Says:

    Wow, that’s crazy. I understand the mindset (I fly off the handle often), but this time, I think it’s a better idea to just hang out, do your thing like you always have, and see what happens. I may switch to another distro if absolutely necessary. SUSE is great, and will stay on my boxes until it is obvious that things aren’t going to work out, if it comes to that. I’m hoping that all this will just blow over, and that the M$/Novell alliance will break down. I do *NOT* like the prospect of M$ having its fingers in my Linux distro, though. That is not going to work for me.

    Anyway, thx for the heads-up. Spread the Linux love. The more people we can get to use it, the better position we are in. Power in numbers, baby. Right now, we don’t have near enough. Burn Linux install CDs and give them out to everyone you know. It’ll take years to get the numbers, but we have to start somewhere. I don’t even care what distro you push. Just take your favorite and give it to everyone. 🙂

  5. GN Says:

    Scott, I completely agree with you on this one. SUSE is going to stay on my disk as long as possible, but if I detect even the smallest amount of “MS pollution” in it I’ll switch to Fedora Core right away. I already have it here though I don’t use it as much as SUSE. I’ve been on the SUSE boat for 6 years now and it’s my distro of choice. You’re also right when you say that Linux must get more popular. I also hate to see how other distros fight against each others, this is crazy, Linux is Linux, it doesn’t matter what distro you’re using. I see a lot of Ubuntu folks saying things like “Ubuntu for life” and how good it is. But if tomorrow Mark decided to make a similar deal with MS, I’m sure they’ll start bashing Ubuntu just like they do it now with SUSE. This is stupid. I think that if a distro is in trouble, we should reach out and try to help it.

    And here’s another boycott, this time it’s Novell’s time:

  6. Scott Morris Says:

    Yep, I’m with you, man. I’m totally with you. Let’s get as many people as we can to use Linux. That will probably be our best recourse. Just keep your eyeballs peeled, and maybe start getting familiar with some other distros. 🙂

  7. GN Says:

    Scott, vote NO on the MS/Novell deal here:

  8. Scott Morris Says:


  9. LA Says:

    You know, there is so much naive opinions out there. I never feel this is a MS vs Linux war. My fight is to simply see Linux succeed both in the home and in the office. Michael states above “I realize that in the enterprise or corporate sector there will likely be a significant increase in market share.” Isn’t this a good thing. If one Distro makes it easier to get Linux technology in front of Management, I say good. There are so many MS bios peeps in high places that if this MS/Novell agreement opens the eyes of the business world then the Linux success as a whole will improve. Boycotting Novell is a knee-jerking/naive opinion. Suse works, therefore I use it. The right tool for the right job. MS and Linux are all tools I use as I provide solutions for my customer.

  10. Scott Morris Says:

    Great way to look at it. I’m arriving at the same conclusions. 🙂

  11. Dana Says:

    See? We all LOVE it. We think its a great idea. Microsuse says so!

    I’m glad I dropped Suse.

  12. Scott Morris Says:

    Heh, that’s certainly one way to look at it. 🙂 Hope your day gets better.

  13. Rick O'Shay Says:

    I don’t think it’s knee-jerk to boycott a product that deliberately circumvented the GPL by relying on a loophole. I know it’s not knee-jerk when their partner in crime is Microsoft. A partnership with Microsoft has been the kiss of death for more than one company. Finally, you would be hard-pressed to find a company with a more dismal track record than Novell. When they acquired SUSE, I scratched SUSE off my list of Linux distributions, certainly not because of anything inherent with SUSE.

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