Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 1st Apr 2007 21:56 UTC, submitted by suka
Novell and Ximian "Nat Friedman has been one of the driving forces behind the development of the Linux desktop for a few year now. First with his own company Ximian, founded together with Mono chief architect Miguel de Icaza, after its acquisition now inside Novell. A few months ago he has been named 'Technologist of the Year' by the VarBusiness magazine for his work around the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Since then he has been promoted to Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Open Source, besides the desktop he is also overseeing Novells server business now. During Novells Brainshare Andreas Proschofsky had the possibility to sit down with Friedman and talk about the Linux desktop, the consequences of the Microsoft agreement and the mistakes of the Hula project."
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Some Interesting Bits
by segedunum on Mon 2nd Apr 2007 00:35 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

One of the interesting things though, is the work we have done closely with customers - like the Peugeot deal...we have learned a lot from that. Resulting from that there has been lot's of interoperability work, Active Directory...

I sincerely hope you're getting Peugeot to ditch AD and use a Novell client and server that will support your desktops, and Windows, under your control. Otherwise, people will continue to bitch about how difficult it is to manage Linux desktops in AD and how the obscure group policy they've just committed has no effect on those desktops. It's the chasing tail lights thing again, and all you're doing is running on a tread mill.

We also did a lot of work on Microsoft Exchange support

Sigh. Speaking of another tread mill. The only way you can support Exchange is through MAPI, and that's just too complex to implement. You'd be better off convincing people to move away from Exchange to a much more convenient, and cheaper, groupware solution that will allow Linux desktops and Outlook access on a level playing field and providing it as an all-in-one thing.

Quite what that groupware solution is, I don't know, but it certainly isn't Groupwise. What it should have though is a dead simple, no brainer migration tool to get everything out of Exchange and into the new environment inside about half an hour. Same with AD.

So all in all we've a huge 300.000-400.000 line application, we have a dozen or so engineers working on it inside Novell...

I do agree with the tone of the interviewer here. Circa 2001, Evolution was a half decent mail client, but over the years, with the addition of groupware support amongst other things, it has become an awful lot less stable.

You know, Service Pack 1 is still not out, so there is still some work left to do.

Sounds like something Microsoft might say. "That must be why we're not releasing it yet".

We have set some performance goals for those kind of issues, both the main menu and the "more applications" should open in less than a tenth of a second.

You can't just set meaningless and arbitrary performance goals, unless you're going to spend a ton of time and throw a lot of developers at the problem. You're on a hiding to nothing there.

And most of that negative sentiments don't seem to come from the people who accept patches anyway, they come from people who have a sort of "professional commentator" role in the community.

I wouldn't exactly call someone like Jeremy Allison a commentator.

Tracker on the contrary doesn't work half as good as Beagle, it doesn't do half the things that Beagle...I think what you'll see as the Beagle memory footprint gets lower and lower, it'll become even more dominant in terms of who uses it.

We keep hearing about how much less memory Beagle is going to use in the future, and indeed every Mono application. Constantly. The fact is, Tracker is written with what Gnome is natively written with and should integrate an awful lot better with the desktop as a result. They look as if they're going to be collaborating with Nepomuk and through FD as well, which is great.

Novell are going to be stuck maintaining an open source application in-house while Gnome and KDE move ahead with better integration of desktop search, right within their infrastructure. Better integration of search in the desktop is the way to go, rather than having some entirely separate, polling service dragging down your system that has to react to what you do.

Are you interested in doing something like Time Machine / Shadow Copy...Yeah, I think that's interesting, it could be very good to have something like that, I'm not sure exactly how to do that.

Volume Shadow Copy could be done easily with LVM, but something like time machine would need something more fundamental at the filesystem level - certainly if it was real time. However, you might be able to do something like it with better integration with something like Bacula, and you'd get networked backup as well!

One thing I commented on a while ago was that Novell look as if their desktop activities are going to consume more and more resources, and require more and more in-house developers - hacking on open source software whose functionality they are largely duplicating. I can't imagine that being a good thing.

Edited 2007-04-02 00:38

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