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SuSE Businesses Software Linux

Mark Shuttleworth Tries To Lure OpenSUSE Devs 258

polar_bear` writes "A lot of developers are angry at Novell for its deal with Microsoft, but is it fair game for other vendors to try to capitalize on dissatisfaction with Novell? Apparently, Mark Shuttleworth thinks so. Shuttleworth sent an invitation to the openSUSE developers list inviting developers 'concerned about the long term consequences' of Novell's deal to participate in Ubuntu Open Week and consider jumping ship to Ubuntu. OpenSUSE and Ubuntu developers are not amused."
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Mark Shuttleworth Tries To Lure OpenSUSE Devs

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  • I wonder... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by AVonGauss ( 1001486 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:04AM (#16989390)
    I know this is an open invitation for flame bait, but what the hell... I wonder if opinions would change if Novell took a substantial portion of the money Microsoft is giving for pre-purchased SUSE support licenses (say $250 - $350M) and divided it amongst the open source community. Would that make Novell not-so evil and just a little dirty instead?
  • by Espectr0 ( 577637 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:07AM (#16989410) Journal
    I am amazed that comments on his blog post are being deleted. I posted one around noon remembering him that ubuntu 6.10 uses novell software (gnome 2.16, which includes mono) and that he should be pushing novell to back out of the patent deal with microsoft instead of luring opensuse developers.
  • Response (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fabioaquotte ( 902367 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:07AM (#16989412) Homepage
    Someone sent an amusing response to the ubuntu mailing list: 6-November/022578.html []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:08AM (#16989414)
    Good point.

    Most Microsoft developers don't realize that it's only a matter of time before Mr. Ballmer and friends show up to claim their work as Microsoft IP. That's no joke. Microsoft does not play nice with anyone. [PERIOD]

    They *will* subtly change the MSDN licenses (they have already) such that *anything* you produce *will* be theirs ... because they *patented* everything in anything that's supplied to a MSDN developer.

    Time will tell all. Anyone who has not judged them or is not aware of their (Microsoft's) previous actions is doomed and/or a fool.
  • by bealzabobs_youruncle ( 971430 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:08AM (#16989420)
    I've been an avid Ubuntu user since Breezy and really like the distro and was enamored with Mark's persona early on. Most of his public statements seemed to really back up the Philosophy section of the Ubuntu web site as well, so like many Ubuntu users I felt pretty secure I had made a good choice. But lately I have grown a little concerned with some behavior...

    -Recent announcements that closed source drivers would be default installed in Feisty Fawn is a concern for me, this is truly the edge of the slippery slope in some respects.

    -The debacle with the art team and Edgy Eft (somewhat explained but I felt maybe a little too much of the SABDFL side was employed, similar to the proprietary drivers in Feisty)

    -Now the open letter to OpenSUSE devs, that depending on how you read it might come across as a little disengenuous?

    I can't say I'm totally turned off on Ubuntu, and the beauty of Linux is that there is always a distro to scratch your itch, but I am now waiting to see how Mark and Co handle the next few weeks/months to follow up with some of this behavior. I'm not jumping off any cliffs and I am definitely not assuming the worst about all of these things, but they do give me reason to pause.

    For the first time in a while I'm distro shopping again, have to see how my laptop likes Fedora Core 6 one of these days. Or maybe things will play out and I"ll be handing out Feisty Fawn CDs to friends, time will tell...

  • by iamnafets ( 828439 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:14AM (#16989462) Homepage
    I don't know if that necessarily is true. I'd much rather leave the back alley poaching "behind the scenes" so to speak. It's kind of like prostitution. You know it's happening, but a lot of times, you just don't want to have to look at it.
  • Re:Nu-uh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by krmt ( 91422 ) <therefrmhere@yaho o . com> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:45AM (#16989590) Homepage
    Because we're all on the same team. Poaching people from other projects simply isn't done not only because their work will benefit you even if they're working elsewhere, but also because it shows a lack of faith and friendship with other projects who depend on those people. What Mark did was very tacky, and anyone who doesn't recognize why probably isn't involved in any substantial way on a large free software project.
  • Re:Bad Call (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:54AM (#16989638) Homepage
    Also you contradict yourself. You say "OSS is about choice". News flash: Jumping ship is about choice. Mark Shuttleworth is reminding the openSUSE devs of one of the choices available to them.

    So, let me get this straight. The openSUSE developers are smart enough to work on openSUSE, smart enough to be welcome to other distros, but too stupid to realize they can work on another distro if they want to?

    Whatever OSS is about, Shuttleworth comes off as condescending. The openSUSE developers aren't idiots. If they're unhappy with Novell, they don't need to be reminded of their options.

    Also, OSS is very much about attracting developers. Projects without developers don't go anywhere. Projects that have developers do, almost without regard to technical merit (cf. PHP)

    Newsflash: Ubuntu is currently one of the most popular Linux distros around. They're not exactly hurting for developers. Certainly not enough to necessitate stealing developers from other distros.

    With Ubuntu's questionable inclusion of non-GPL, "binary blob" and closed source drivers, maybe Shuttleworth should worry more about his own distro, and let the openSUSE developers worry about theirs.

  • Re:Bad Call (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elysiuan ( 762931 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:56AM (#16989654) Homepage
    It was a timing and tone issue. And the post to the opensuse dev list was just uncalled for, his widely syndicated blog would've been sufficient. He could have done all the same things, the same Open Ubuntu summit, and explain Canonical/Ubuntu's position on patents as the catalyst without taking this to such a personal level. Shuttleworth has done a lot of good, and he's an intelligent guy. I don't think he should be burned in effigy for this, but it was a bad call.
  • by eklitzke ( 873155 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @02:12AM (#16989952) Homepage
    Much of the GNOME development is heavily funded by Novell. As we now see, Novell is heavily funded by Microsoft. Unfortunately, GNOME is also the default Ubuntu desktop environment. So in a way, Ubuntu is directly using software developed by Microsoft.

    For better or for worse, GTK is a very attractive GUI toolkit for commercial developers to code with. Hence, Sun, Redhat, and (recently) Novell all write their apps in GTK and use Gnome for the desktop environment. In fact, until very recently Suse was a holdout to this rule, and was very KDE and Qt centric. I would wager that Gnome has seen much more code from Redhat (and Sun) than it has from Novell. And Gnome is still very much a free desktop environment.

    As an aside, I would like to point out that despite great protest from KDE fans, it looks like Gnome is winning the desktop wars. Trolltech aside, Gnome and GTK have the most commercial support behind them, and that support is really translating into a huge amount of momentum for Gnome. I have long been a Gnome user, and I remember just a few years ago when the number of KDE users vastly outweighed the number of Gnome users, and now it seems just the opposite. Given this trend, and they heavy investment that Canonical has made in Gnome, it really doesn't make sense for them to switch desktop environments.
  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Handover Phist ( 932667 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @03:26AM (#16990178) Homepage
    the binary driver issue and the world's most popular desktop disto's handling of the matter, is crucial. We need to pressure the hardware companies to release drivers, and Ubuntu may soon brutally undermine those efforts.
    NVidia, the folks with the currently best closed binary driver, is considering releasing the source after seeing what market there is. Getting others to release a binary driver may open their eyes too by just introducing them to the market. Inclusion is good thing. Besides, releasing binary only is their choice.
  • Re:Bad Call (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grey Ninja ( 739021 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @03:45AM (#16990262) Homepage Journal
    I am a Linux person. Not a developer, but a Linux user for years, and I am fairly technically competent. (I am a video game programmer, and have a BSc if that means anything). I had no idea that Ubuntu was offering new developer sessions in the near future. Which was basically what Mark said. It didn't come off as condescending at all.

    I read it as "Hi. If you are unhappy with Novell right now, I would like to extend an offer to join the Ubuntu project, as we are having developer sessions soon, which might be up your alley."
  • Re:Nu-uh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @03:46AM (#16990264) Homepage Journal
    Open Source, by its very nature, has no "employee/employer" structure. Anyone can contribute, employees of Novell are merely contributing during office hours, and those who are developers for OpenSuSE but not on Novell's payroll are merely developers of choice.

    The Free Software Foundation has a whole bunch about the whole rewards mentality, but it really boils down to this: If a developer for OpenSuSE is obligated, then they cannot do their best work and will likely be far more counterproductive. This is because obligation to a "leader" (whatever the form of business, whether OSS or not) is feudal in nature and feudal systems emphasize pleasing the leader of the moment, rather than doing what needs to get done. The only way to do what needs to get done is to eliminate all feudal and monarchistic elements from the project.

    (The Linux kernel is not an exception, because most of the modules that Linus ends up approving or disapproving have existed for some time and have an established track record. They were not developed to be pleasing to him, they were developed because it needed to get done. Those projects Linus turns down from the vanilla kernel often lead perfectly happy lives and are routinely patched in by assorted distros anyway.)

    So the head of Ubuntu is trying to "poach" developers whose code SuSE will likely end up using anyway, as opposed to them being at SuSE and Ubuntu using the code if released. Big wah. It really doesn't impact SuSE, since they can still use the code developed. If it's not the code SuSE wanted done but nobody else thinks that SuSE's idea was worth coding for, then perhaps it was no big loss. If the idea was good, then the developers will develop it anyway. The only loser in this is whoever picks a scoring system that makes them lose.

    Would I like it if people poached coders from my Open Source projects? Actually, yes. The SOBs rarely contribute anything as it is. I'd far prefer it if those who aren't interested left and those who were interested joined. It would make life much easier and progress much swifter.

    Would I have always felt like that? Well, no, but the meds help a lot. :)

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EsbenMoseHansen ( 731150 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @05:31AM (#16990558) Homepage
    On the other hand, as you will find out if you follow all those links in TFA+TFS, it appears *someone* at Ubuntu decided to ship binary drivers by default (!) in the next version of the OS. Now that is just wrong, for so many reasons. In any case, it doesn't show Ubuntu a pure-FOSS supporting distro. Some claim the decision was made with little or no community input.

    Now, I am not a Ubuntu dev, so I may be wrong ,but from my short research:

    1. This change was discussed publicly (the opposite rumour stemmed from a opensuse dev as far as I can tell)
    2. The change stems from the demand for AIGLX (if you assume that eye-candy is anything less than enormously important for many, many users, you are wrong.)
    3. The drivers will be offered among other choices, and only recommend in the cases where there is no way to do AIGLX without these drivers.

    I, for one, think they did the right thing. And the moment anyone produce a decent gfx card (say, can play A Tale in the desert and Savage 2), I will be moving to those gfx cards. Until then, I'm stuck with Nvidia or ATI.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @08:02AM (#16990946)
    Some compromises have to be made in order to survive a proprietary world

    And if that means that you have to compromise the licensing on someone else's code then that's a sacrifice that you are willing to make, right? Why not go the whole hog and just pirate Windows?

    For reference: ml []

    "Closed source Linux kernel modules are illegal."
    "Closed source Linux kernel modules are unworkable."
    "Closed source Linux kernel modules are unethical."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @10:15AM (#16991346)
    Just out of interest, why do none of the major kernel contributors (and in particular Linus) not seem to agree with this?

    WTF? Did you even follow the link, or do you have some criteria by which Greg Kroah-Hartman isn't a major kernel contributor?

    It IS true that Linux has stated that in his PERSONAL opinion it is POSSIBLE for a non-derived module to exist as long as it wasn't "written with Linux in mind" (Reference: []) but he certainly doesn't claim to speak for all major Linux contributors even to that extent.

    Now if you actually have ANY source to support Linus or all major kernel contributors supporting all the proprietary crap in Ubuntu (principally wireless card drivers and increasingly graphic card drivers too) then how about you cite them? How about you apologise for the slur against Greg too?

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