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Novell Apology Accepted or Rejected October 6, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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Dana Blankenhorn wrote a blog entry about Miguel De Icaza’s interview with Paula Rooney sounding like an “apology”.  He goes off into this whole left field tirade about it reading like a “weepy romantic comedy”.  The funniest part about David Blankenhorns post is this:

” Novell is like the unfaithful lover who comes to your door while still engaged and begs you to take it back.

Here’s what the script tells you to do next. After you listen to the apology you kick them out the door, turn around and cheer yourself.

Novell made its bed with Microsoft. It got engaged to Microsoft. It took Microsoft for better or worse, and this is the worse. Now that it sees just what Microsoft is about, it wants the open source movement to forgive it, to accept its apology and to continue dating it, to continue paying for its SUSE Linux licenses.”

Ok thats the funniest thing I have read in awhile.  The not so funny and disturbing part about  Blankenhorn is how misinformed he is and how he misinforms his readers.  I read the interview, nowhere does it sound like an apology.  In fact after I read both pieces I thought maybe it was a title to attract more hits and the more I read it the more I realized thats exactly what it was.   But Mr. Blankenhorn seems to think Microsofts announcement with Novell and even Sun translates to joining the open source community.  It doesnt and I think the illustration of Microsoft being a wife beater and feminizing the open source community to be in poor taste. 

Microsoft has never said, nor wanted to be part of the open source community.  They partnered with these companies to improve interoperability for customers (like myself) who run a host of different operating systems. 

Microsoft didnt say at all that they were going to contribute their core software to the open source community and they havent.  Microsoft has helped with several projects that needed it.  Moonlight, open XML translator, ODF Translator for Office and they continue to partner and work with many open source companies.

Microsoft never used the words Open Source or community in the language for the release of the .NET class libraries.

This release is for Windows and .NET developers.  If you are an open source or bust type person this release isnt for you.  If you are looking for .NET for Linux or Mac OS X, this release isnt for you.  If you are a Windows developer who wants to make sure his/her project runs great on Windows and wants to debug against the .NET class libraries source code then this release is for you.

Its very surprising the misconceptions people have about the Novell/Microsoft agreement and about every press release Microsoft puts out about releasing source code.  Davids comment ” I’m the guy on this beat. I talk to open source developers all the time. They don’t like being feminized. They do take this personally.”  Who is being feminized?  Nobody.  Novell and Microsoft are businesses and they make business decisions, their business is to write software.  Novell needs a selling point for their software.  Having patent protection and getting Microsoft as a partner to assist them is a great selling point for customers.  If you dont like the deal quit whining about it.  Use something else but be prepared to start whining again when Microsoft files a patent infringement lawsuit. 

 Obviously a few people in the open source community do not have the competence to understand business.  Some in the community see Novell, Linspire, Xandros and LG as unfavorable because of their respective deals with Microsoft.  Its their own fault.  If the open source developers dont like just anyone being able to take their software, change it, redistribute it, monetize it and make money off of it then the solution is easy.  Dont put it under an open source license.

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