“We listened to the inevitable “We all love each other and everything is going to be wonderful” press conference, looked at readers’ reactions to the original Novell buys SuSE announcement, monitored and asked questions in assorted IRC channels, and talked to contacts at Novell, SuSE, Ximian, and elsewhere. But whatever we say (or anyone else says) this week, don’t expect the full effect of Novell’s SuSE purchase to be visible for at least two months; the purchase isn’t expected to become final until January, 2004.” Read the article at NewsForge, while check here for an analysis at ZDNews about it too. Update: See detailed comments from former-Ximianites Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman.
Novell’s SuSE Purchase in Perspective
2003-11-05 Novell and Ximian 51 Comments
I can’t tell if it’s good or bad – Novell that is. They are becoming the ‘Microsoft’ of Linux. Not in a sense that they release crappy products, etc., but in the way that they will control a lot of the share in Linux. This is good because maybe with a large company like Novell behind it, Linux can grow more. It could also be considered bad. One of the reasons I moved away from the Windows market is because Windows controlled everything. I didn’t want that. I don’t want that to happen to Linux, and I don’t think it will.
Mark my words, five years from now this day will be marked as a bad one for Linux. Novell has a history of buying things and then dumping them whenever they are no longer trendy. WordPerfect, Quattro, anyone?
Yep, and don’t forget Unix.
Who is this “community” you speak of? Is this the followers of the RMS cult? By the way, Linux is not an acronym.
“I thought the community had decided to refer to it as GNU / LINUX?”
No. Lot of people contribute to Linux and don’t get their initials in the name of the operating system. But more than that, I don’t see Linus referring to it as “GNU/Linux” so why should we?
Besides this is the Novell/SUSE thread not the who created Linux thread.
Wether to call it Linux or GNU/Linux is a subject of great controversy. “The community” (whover that is) has not decided on the matter. Richard Stallman has decided. He’s hell bent on giving GNU credit for its part in making the Linux kernel usable early on. I think GNU does deserve credit, but many people wonder why it’s necessary to burden a word that people already have a hard time pronouncing in the first place with a strange acronym and a slash. If people want to call it GNU/Linux, fine. And if people want to call another OS “Microsoft Windows XP Professional Home Edition” then that’s fine too. But I’ll call them “Linux” and “Windows.”
This is what Linux really needs ! A company which puts out commercial home user applications to buy and replace windows equivalents. I have yet to see any company set up in this regards. The first one to step up and provide mainstream apps like tax preparing software, mp3 ripping, media player software, dvd ripping and playing software, graphic software, etc.. will be the first one to gain an edge. Yet being the first does not always mean that you’ll be around or succed though.
Wait, wait, wait. It might be a good development, or a bad one. We’ll see the results in a few years (make it 5 years). But, don’t ever forget; there’re always the BSDs.
They are becoming the ‘Microsoft’ of Linux.
You people really need a new analogy. That same one is already used to describe Redhat, SuSE, and Lindows. And it is appropriate for none of them. At least not in the negative context you seem to use it.
There is no “Microsoft of Linux” and there never will be. There are many Linux vendors, yes, but they are all a far cry from Microsoft in terms of their marketshare, business practices, or commitment to open source and open standards.
The GPL prevents any single company from controlling the Linux market through any unscrupulous means.
AFAIK suse has been a big supporter of KDE and uses KDE as the default for the suse desktop. Does this mean suse will now be pushing the ximian desktop instead of kde desktop?
Actually, Linux started out as an acronym. It stood for “Linux Is Not UniX”. But it’s close enough to Linus’ name that it hardly seemed to matter.
actually, if you would bother to read Linus’ biography, you will see that it was dubbed Linux by the small group of folks who he introduced it to in the beginning… they called it Linux for LINUs’ uniX.
I got that information from the horse’s mouth, so I would check your sources.
“if you would bother to read Linus’ biography…”
It’s a good read too. Anybody who hasn’t checked it out, should pick it up.
“”actually, if you would bother to read Linus’ biography, you will see that it was dubbed Linux by the small group of folks who he introduced it to in the beginning… they called it Linux for LINUs’ uniX.””
From memory the phrase Linux was coined by the first guy to put it up on the net for download. They needed a name to store it under and Linux became that name…the rest is history.
As a matter of fact, names don’t really hold a big meaning in the Open Source world, you can always rebrand everything under a different name. You could even call it something silly like “Lindows” and it would still… oh, wait.
That doesn’t mean that you should forget about the roots of a project. Nobody minds if you say “Ximian Desktop” or “SUN Java Desktop”, but educated people should know, that it’s all based on the GNOME desktop (and not flip out, when someone mentions it). What we call Linux (the OS) today (or Xandros or Lycoris) was indeed based on GNU, which was and is a project to create a completely free operating system, just like GNOME is a project to create a completely free graphical desktop environment (and not any particular program). I also still use too many parenthesis.
What’s with the rabid anti-RMS zealotry displayed in these forums? Give the man some respect. I’d like to see you try to run your GNU / LINUX without GNU tools. Not bloody likely!
The KDE and Gnome desktops (not projects) are merging, under guidance from Freedesktop.org and pressure from Linux vendors (like Red Hat). Config files, methods and even themes will be harmonized.
Vendors have to offer default apps. There will always be alternatives out there, but it’s too expensive to support everything, and customers don’t want to have to make meaningless, uninformed choices. (Don’t like your vendor’s defaults? Change them or use a different vendor.) A best of breed desktop already includes some KDE apps and some Gnome apps and some others. Novell will surely offer their own Ximian Evolution for their customers demanding an Outlook equivalent, for example, and Ximianized Openoffice.org is a more complete offering than Koffice. So the desktop will be mixed. But in the end, it won’t matter what toolkit the panel or the configuration apps use, as long as they work. Bad news for desktop partisans, good news for Linux!
Lot’s of hype and hotdog talk. I’d much rather see what Linus has to say about it. I’m sure he has an opinion. Not long ago he said that the desktop is the only part he cares about. http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=5005
that they will keep the KDE support at least at the same elvel it is currently if they don’t increase it. KDE is the best, only problem is its license.
Next year, if Ximian and Suse original employees haven’t been fired, we’ll know that something good can result from Novell spending spree. Otherwise, it will be just another case of “Daddy, my old toy is broken, can I get another one ?”
I don’t believe Messman is a fan of open source. Rather, he needs something that will help his company come out of the server closet (no pun intended).
I think it’s great to finally have a big company actually producing a distro…
There are just so many friggin distro’s out there already… If Linux stops becoming “trendy”, then it’ll stop becoming “trendy” with or without Novell.
My god, they quoted me. Grr – lurkers in #kde.
Mark my words, five years from now this day will be marked as a bad one for Linux. Novell has a history of buying things and then dumping them whenever they are no longer trendy.
Except that Novell didn’t buy Linux, it bought SuSE. You can’t “buy” Linux and them dump it.
A positive sign in Novell’s press release (emphasis mine):
“Novell is firmly committed to open standards and maintaining the existing open source kernel development efforts. From advocacy and development resources to events and support of open source efforts like kernel projects, XFree86, ReiserFS, KDE, GNOME and Mono, Novell stands side-by-side with the open source community.”
Also, Nat Friedman has stated on Slashdot (and I quote):
“Yes, we will still support KDE on SuSE.
Actually, he stated:
“Yes, we will still support KDE on SuSE. However, we hope to use this opportunity to provide Linux developers and ISVs with a single stable platform for desktop application development.”
For me, this sounds like “There will be packages, but SuSE’s default desktop will become Ximian.” Dunno.
I cannot help but feel that Linux has become way too commercial these days. I took a step back and now realize that no one wants to work for free and if I was a developer for any Linux project I would probably stop contributing my code to the project. Why would I do this? Well, why should I work for free to let other companies make a fortune with my code? It makes no sense to me. Linux at one time was a community not littered with the commercialism that it now spews. I am sickened at how it’s been exploited. I can only say that I am glad there still exists some distributions that are pure at the heart. However, it seems that every 6 months another one disappears or falls victim to becoming commercial. I will never forget the day a few years ago when I installed SuSe after not using it for a year. The installation was littered with advertisements. It’s been down hill from there in my opinion.
It’s not Linux that has been acquired by Novell; it’s SuSE. The Linux (kernel, kde, gnome, tools and etc) source code is safe. No worries, sleep well.
What’s with the rabid anti-RMS zealotry displayed in these forums? Give the man some respect. I’d like to see you try to run your GNU / LINUX without GNU tools. Not bloody likely!
I’m so sick of hearing this argument. With the exception of gcc, there is a competent replacement for every single piece of the GNU project. I’d love to port the BSD userland to the Linux kernel just to keep people from spewing this crap. I’d love to see you try to run your Linux server without Apache, do they get credit? How about a Linux desktop without XFree86, do they get credit? So where are we right now for RedHat? Apache/XFree86/GNU/Linux. Of course there are some things taken from BSD in some distros. BSD/Apache/XFree86/GNU/Linux, catchy ain’t it? This madness has to stop. Anyway, what the HELL does this have to do with the SuSE sellout, err I mean buyout.
This is definitely giving me a bad vibe. As previous posters have mentioned, Novell has a bad track record with their buyouts. This also does not bode well for KDE. This leaves them with the relatively weak Mandrake as the top KDE distro. Novell says they’ll continue to support KDE, but this could mean several things. RedHat technically supports KDE, but we’ve all seen what that amounts to. It’ll probably mean seriously cut funding for KDE’s development, and a default desktop of Ximian Gnome in future versions of SuSE.
Oh well, at least we still have Slackware, Fedora, and the BSDs.
Suse will always support KDE, but now they my end up supporting Gnome as well, ie when you supply the latest KDE desktop & supply the old Gnome (2.2) desktop, aren’t they saying they only support KDE. I like SuSe & I like Gnome but so far Suse haven’t supported Gnome. So I look forward to the new SuSe Gnome (latest) desktop that will come out. And why is the joining of resoures so bad, I think its going to mean a more polished desktop. I’m glad that they are letting other countries like India get jobs out of this to. Why do all the jobs have to go to USA if Linux/GNU is suppose to be a globle thing!
> The KDE and Gnome desktops (not projects) are merging, under
> guidance from Freedesktop.org and pressure from Linux
> vendors (like Red Hat). Config files, methods and even
> themes will be harmonized.
If you really believe your misbelief. KDE and GNOME as projects are NOT going to merge. The community behind both plattforms are too strong and both of them want to keep their individuality. It’s right that the KDE and GNOME people are meeting at freedesktop every now and then discussing about unifying Theme structures, Trayicon structures, and a few other aspects that can easily be changed without the user noticing.
But you are totally wrong here if you believe that KDE would adopt something like the GNOME HIG (changing buttons), use DBUS (while they already have their own messaging system) or things like GConf. Even if the 1-2 developers of KDE who participate on freedesktop may see benefits in them (be it that way or not I’m not to judge about this) but then the community from KDE stands up quickly protesting against these things to show up in their Destkop. As a long follower of GNOME (where I develop my own stuff under ) and a companion to KDE – I can tell you to know both sides good enough.
The problem with freedesktop is, there is none – but it’s places like OSNews and their editors who bring freedesktop up 20 times in a sentence until people believe the misbelief and the wrong stuff spread.
> that they will keep the KDE support at least at the same
> elvel it is currently if they don’t increase it. KDE is
> the best, only problem is its license.
KDE’s license is GNU/GPL.
> For me, this sounds like “There will be packages, but
> SuSE’s default desktop will become Ximian.”
I also don’t belive this stuff. SuSE was and always has been favoriting KDE here, they spent a lot of fundings into that project. I think that Ximian (regardless of being bought earlier here) have anything big to say there because the purchasing costs of SuSE are 4-5 times as much as Novell spent to buy Ximian. This would sound like Son is telling Daddy which car he should drive.
I couldn’t understand Novell anyways, they have bought 2 companies from 2 different ends. One specialised on Ximian Evolution and Mono (The Desktop is basically worthless to mention, it’s just a überpolished GNOME and people should better consider getting the REAL GNOME from the real sources) and then there is a company specialised on entire Linux Distribution, KDE, Servers and so on.
I think that the keywords for Novell are ‘MONO’ and ‘KDE’. This would also come close to what I heard from different resources. We need to wait and see until we can speculate more whether KDE will make it or GNOME – specially when SuSE is mentioned here. From what I have heard is that the Novell engineers are revisiting KDE and GNOME now and their tendency looks like KDE here. But it’s to early to say…
By the way, this is stuff I only heard from other people talking about. But I call them reliable resources after all.
Maybe Novell is trying to consolidate the distributions, that would mean less of a need for cross distribution packaging tools. I don’t have any problem with Novell buying SUSE, along with the support of IBM.
>If you really believe your misbelief. KDE and GNOME as >projects are NOT going to merge.
No, I said:
“The KDE and Gnome desktops (not projects) are merging”
meaning the projects will always be seperate (they are ideologically incompatible) but the big vendors will provide desktop environments containing elements of both with default apps from each project, for example.
>I think that Ximian (regardless of being bought earlier >here) have anything big to say there because the purchasing >costs of SuSE are 4-5 times as much as Novell spent to buy >Ximian.
That’s irrational. Companies will do whatever they need to do to generate profit. Suse provides Novell with a technical support infrastructure, a brand name, a customer list, and other things, but that doesn’t guarantee that KDE will continue to be supported, although it may.
I am finding all the anti-commercial posts a bit daunting. “linux is becoming too commercial”????? This just smacks of the kind of brokenglassed/pocket protected geek speak that has made people say things like”what is linux??” Companies like novel and ibm are necessary for linux to flourish. Lets face it, Devs need to make a living right? And all of them dont have time to just hang out till the wee hours and code right?So they need companies like novel and ibm to actually PAY people to code. I wonder if some of you really want linux to remain a fring religious zealot os, of become mainstream. Personally.. I’de love to see it everywhere.
I’m afraid Novell is just trying to make a stunt to improve their (already bad) situation and use SuSe and the whole “Linux is the next big thing” stuff for that. Once a new trend shows up, or their stockholders get upset, they spit SuSe/Ximian away and…there goes 2 nice companies down the drain.
Maybe I’m just seeing the glass as half-empty, but I’m a bit scared about their commitment to Linux.
PS: About Linus’ biography, I thought it was a damn boring book. I recommend “Rebel Code” instead, it gave a much better view of the whole “movement”, and gives credit to more people (Cox, Icaza, etc) instead of just Linus.
Quite correct about what will happen with the Novell and Suse merger. However, one thing is for sure, there is no such thing as a merger. Its more like who will be on top of whom. If Novell purchased Suse, then it will be Novell calling the shots, making the walk etc. I think they may be in a better position in some respects than their purchase of Wordperfect years ago. Also better than Schlumberger’s purchase of Sema, not that was a case of oil and water not mixing.
I wonder if this anything to do with IBM v SCOX thing? IBM made $50 million investment in NOVl. $50 is the exact same amount that scox got in that baystar/rbc deal.
Novl still owns a lot of the rights to UNIX. In particular, scox can not cancle anybody’s UNIX license without permission from novl. So if novl owns suse, and IBM uses suse, then there is no way scox can cancle anybody’s UNIX license.
they bought Ximian not too far ago, and we all know that Ximian is really committed to GNOME, now they buy SuSE that is one of the main forces behind KDE…it doesn’t make sense to me.
Novell is not the same old Novell that fsck’d its Unix and Wordpefect acquisitions. Messerman the the current CEO came from an acquisition in 2001. I think it is a case of the acquisitions taking over the old Novell a la Next and Apple.
Nat Friedman dubunks the list of one off things that Novell acquired Ximian for, but missed out what may be the most important part of Novell’s reasons to acquire Ximian – to get on board two of the most clever, creative and dynamic people in the software industry today.
Novell is in a position now to develop supply and support (for lots of money) a free software stack that could dominate corporate computing within a few years or then again they could bugger it up.
I forgot to mention that by taking over SuSE they not only get one of the top Linux distributions they also get SuSe CEO Richard Siebt a long standing IBM Germany senior executive who was parachuted into SuSE by IBM a couple of years ago to get them out of the financial problems they were then facing. This will help cement the link with IBM.
What a potentially great team:
Messerman, deIcaza, Friedman and Siebt.
To all the people claiming it wouldn’t be possible to run the Linux kernel without those GNU tools: I’d just like to note that I’ve a friend who’s ported quite a number of BSD programs (for his own use only, though) and is running Linux without any GNU tools now.
Go out a support Linux buying shrink wrap releases so that the suits can get a big payday. I’m sure we’ll hearing all the soothing smooth words on how nothing will change and how this is really a good thing. Time will tell I guess. By the time Longhorn is released I’ll be ready to upgrade to a new machine and I’ll gladly buy a pre-loaded windows box. At least I won’t feel like such a extra special fool having believed that Linux companies were some kind of differnet.
This just smacks of the kind of brokenglassed/pocket protected geek speak that has made people say things like”what is linux??”
Such a comment is hard to take seriously from a guy who uses the name of a Philip K. Dick character as a nickname… 🙂 (I’m no better, btw.)
Ok, first: There was only one person claiming this, so saying “to all the people” sounds a bit inappropriate. Exaggerating is the first step to starting flamewars. :/
Second: Of course you can replace almost every GNU tool, so what. You can also replace the Linux kernel (easily), that doesn’t mean it’s desireable. The point is, it’s not really smart to name “the entire thing” after one particular program that can be replaced. When people say “GNU”, they usually don’t mean “the GNU tools”, they mean “the GNU project”, as a project to create a free operating system.
Neither GNU nor Linux have been released as a complete OS yet, only vendors have taken both parts and created complete operating systems like Debian GNU/Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (some free, some less free). It doesn’t matter what you call it, but you should not forget or deny its roots.
A lot of people see Ximian GNOME as the best option for the enterprise desktop, and SuSE has a firm footing in the European Linux market
The two together can make a solid distribution to rival Sun’s Java Desktop System in the Business desktop Linux market.
Don’t forget to look beyond the US market – a lot of people want to avoid buying American products, altho this merger presumably means SuSE becoming part of the US-based Novell, SuSE remains a well-known brand with a European identity.
RH has a distinctly US-centric feel to it, SuSE doesn’t
Moreover, assuming the intent to distribute a Linux OS with a Ximian-designed desktop environment, this is very helpful to sysadmis who previously had to install a distro and then add Ximian and configure it.
Good news on both counts
It is vitally important that neither of these gets too much control over the Linux market. The active competition is what gets a lot done. The fact that a large amount of the software in their distributions is GPL means that it is difficult to get a serious upper hand, only a short term lead in features etc.
The biggest problem is if we end up with one large linux company. Having two large ones is far less of a problem. (What could be a problem is if Novell+Suse buys RedHat… hopefully that will not happen, but one never knows.)
I think Novell combining with Suse will be very useful in the long term: it proves a clear migration path for legacy Novell networks that does not involve Windows 2000/XP/whatever everywhere.
“I personally would like to see more competition on the desktop, because that is the area where Linux deployments are still weak,” said Chad Robinson, an analyst at the Robert Frances Group. “It’s a complex topic and not something a small company can tackle alone.”
One of the reasons I moved away from the Windows market is because Windows controlled everything. I didn’t want that. I don’t want that to happen to Linux, and I don’t think it will.
Here is my linux blog to help people
I got linux, because I was tired of windows crashing.
Linux would do better with a big company behind it, & linux applications in stores to buy would be a refreshing change. Open source is fine, but crap, most people don’t have linux is because they can’t go to their local software store and buy a linux app. Maybe the compiler junkies out there are fine with downloading a app. then compiling it. I just want a simple way to install software, but that seems to be a linux sin.
Here is my linux helper blog [url]http://linuxlounge.blogspot.com/%5B/url]
>>What’s with the rabid anti-RMS zealotry displayed in these >>forums? Give the man some respect. I’d like to see you try >>to run your GNU / LINUX without GNU tools. Not bloody likely!
I give RMS full credit where credit is due (Emacs, for example) and he is obviosly very talented. But the problem is that RMS tries to take credit for everything _else_ that is going on. OSS is moving beyond him, period. Unfortunately he doesn’t like that and intends to insert GNU wherever he can. My own .02 – he is more than a little jealous that _he_ didn’t write Linux (maybe Stalux? Or Stalinux [yes, intentional!] ).
The press attention accorded to GNU shows that the FSF is the beneficiary of Linux’s success (in terms of the current hype), nothing more. Whether someone replaces GNU software or not in Linux is immaterial, the OSS world will continue to move on with or without RMS. He tries in vain to hold center stage, and the more pronouncements he makes the longer corporate acceptance of Linux (and by extension GNU) is delayed. A great commentary on the mindset of RMS is right here:
Nothing more need be said.
Where would KDE be without Trolltech? I think we should start to call it Trolltech/KDE 🙂
“Sun/Tomcat” and “Tim Berner Lee’s Mosaic/Netscape/Mozilla/Galeon” are two other examples I can think of.
That’s a good point, since in both cases you also need to ask where would Trolltech be without KDE and respectively GNU without Linux. It’s clearly not the case that the benefits go only one way.