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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superstoned
Member since:
2005-07-07

Suse has for a long time been the most viable option on the DESKTOP (Red Hat is mostly used for servers). And 90% of the Suse users use KDE. Novell (Nat) is indeed trying to change that. Bad for the users, imho, and a waste of money, but hey, let 'em if they want...

Reply Parent Score: 5

natfriedman Member since:
2007-04-04

You probably won't believe this, but I don't particularly care whether SUSE users choose GNOME or KDE or something altogether different. The big problems that early Linux desktop adopters face today are: interoperability with corporate systems and file formats, hardware support, and availability of applications for Linux. These things have nothing to do with what window manager, file manager, panel, and widget toolkit you use. I don't know the percentage, but most of the desktop work that we've done at Novell in the last 3 years has been in areas that have nothing to do with KDE or GNOME.

Reply Parent Score: 1

superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

True, I've seen that. Work on Evolution or OpenOffice, it has been noted for sure.

But if you want to solve these problems, you must realize you can't do it alone. Thus fostering a efficient development platform might even be more important than the actual work you do yourself - it allows others to chime in.

Imho Novell should be more ambitious. Now they focus on copying what the competition has (see OO.o, Gnome) instead of trying to innovate and do or facilitate much really new stuff. Ok, there are new things, sure, but how much innovation is there in OO.o? How much CAN you innovate with that codebase? It's larger than the whole of KDE + Koffice...

I think Novell is focused too much on the short run. How can we get this-and-that-feature on linux as fast as possible. Not - how can we gain a real, more permanent edge over the competition. I miss a longterm strategy here, you'll always be behind if you mostly focus on these big problems you mention.

They are important, sure, but again, where's the ambition? I simply miss that in the OO.o, Evolution and Gnome communities. And no wonder, they have such a huge cruft of code to maintain, they don't have the time to dream... It takes some guts to spend 2 years on laying the foundation for innovation, but I think KDE got it right. Compare Koffice to OO.o - the first might really offer something new, better - the latter will only ever be a MS clone, nothing to see here, move along.

Innovation is a hard thing, and it actually needs a vision, ambition. I'm not saying you guys aren't ambitious, but I think you're not ambitious enough. In terms of exploitation vs exploration, you focus to much on the first, which will lead to a competence trap in the long run. You'll find you've been left behind (yeah, I happen to know a little about this, doing research in the area of strategic innovation).

Love to talk about it, I might look you up on some show or event, once ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 2