I'm posting this here because I want to reach Novell/Suse developers without throwing it to the wolves on the opensuse user lists.
I've been reading all there is to read about the Novell/MS deal since it happened. My company had been considering doing business with Novell, so I'd already been doing diligence. For us the deal changed everything. Definitely made us take a step back from Novell.
Novell had been our favorite company because of its developers. I've had Suse on my desktop for more than two years now, and I tend to be more of a dilettante than a loyalist when it comes to OS's. Just haven't had an urge to change. And I can easily find whatever help I need in the mailing list archives. The connection between Novell/Suse engineers and users is unparalleled. There is a feeling of real openness in this community.
Watching the fallout from the Deal has magnified my faith in Novell/Suse developers. I am very impressed with how publicly you are struggling with this, questioning it, and expressing opinions about on mailing lists and in on-the-record meetings. I understand that most of you are guardedly optimistic about the whole thing.
The contrast between the openness in the developer community and the corporate-style disinformation coming from the Novell execs is glaring. It is much more this lack of candor at the executive level than the deal itself that makes us nervous about going forward with Novell.
There is a lot of speculation about the REAL reasons Novell went into this - slipping revenues, sudden need for cash, massive internal FUD due to musical-chairs style executive turnovers... Any or all of these reasons are understandable. I would be greatly relieved to hear these reasons from Mr. Hovsepian or Mr. Jaffe, or anyone at the top level. No matter how sordid the real reasons are, I'm sure they are perfectly sensible and human and reasonable in the context of running a major corporation that has been floundering for quite a while. If the executives started behaving with the candor of the engineers, I believe that they would have a chance of regaining some of the trust of the Open Source community.
Some of you guys actually sit down with the execs from time to time, right? What are the chances that you could convince them that if they started to adopt public openness into their corporate culture they would be a lot more credible as supporters of Open Source and Open Standards?
I think right at this moment Novell is at a tipping point between closed-door oligarchy and real freedom and creativity. You guys are smart. I have faith you'll figure out a way to give the company a nudge.
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