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Novell, Attachmate and openSUSE

November 22nd, 2010 by

Is this thing on? *tap* *tap*. Good evening friends, this is your openSUSE Board speaking. If you didn’t hear yet, Novell has agreed to be acquired by Attachmate Corporation. What does that mean for the openSUSE Project? We don’t know exactly yet because our crystal ball is currently in the shop and therefore fortune-telling is not our greatest talent ;-) However, we have other talents: we are a software developer community and we’re here to work on one of the greatest GNU/Linux distributions and other world class software distribution tools to advance Free and Open Source software together with the global FOSS community!

For now, we don’t know much about Attachmate, we have had no dealings with them yet and, as Novell is a publicly traded company, all of this is as new to us as to anyone else. But the openSUSE Project has had, since its beginning, a very vibrant cooperation with Novell, especially with Novell’s SUSE business, and we are looking forward to continuing this once Novell and SUSE become part of Attachmate! Our best wishes go out to the people of our community that are employed by Novell and SUSE, may this bring nothing but good things for you and your careers.

The second part of the deal relates to the intellectual property that is changing hands. Our hope is that this does not add to the minefield that software patents are today for Free and Open Source software developers. The openSUSE Board generally believes, like the rest of the global FOSS community, that software patents impede innovation and are inconsistent with Open Source and Free Software.

What makes us proud is that Attachmate wants to further and strengthen the SUSE brand, which is based also on products and technology built by the openSUSE Project. Furthermore we are more than willing and looking forward to teaching another corporation about the principles, values and strengths of the Free and Open Source software development model. If you are reading this as an Attachmate employee, we would like to encourage you to just swing by and talk to us about the opportunites we can offer you to participate in this project!

And apart from all that it’s business as usual and we are continuing to work on, rather than predicting, the future of this project and have a lot of fun!


By the way if you wonder what that means practically, the next step into the future of this project is described in the post below: Our great bug squashing day on Saturday. See you there!

Your openSUSE Board

UPDATE

Meanwhile Attachmate released the following statement:

In conjunction with the announcement today on the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire, upon closing, Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL), Attachmate Corporation released the following statement:

“The openSUSE project is an important part of the SUSE business,” commented Jeff Hawn, chairman and CEO of Attachmate Corporation. “As noted in the agreement announced today, Attachmate plans to operate SUSE as a stand-alone business unit after the transaction closes. If this transaction closes, then after closing, Attachmate Corporation anticipates no change to the relationship between the SUSE business and the openSUSE project as a result of this transaction.”

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35 Responses to “Novell, Attachmate and openSUSE”

  1. Mike Veltman

    Me, and probably many with with am more worried about the sell of ip indirectly to Microsoft then anything else.

    The last two years I basicly gave up on Novell because they had no clear goal. What is sad because I love that company. So I hope the sale will give the company new chances and leadership that goes forward.

    I just fear for all the great engineers that work for the company. And their contribution towards openSUSE..

  2. user

    I believe in the openSuse-community and I believe in GNU, but I don’t trust Microsoft:

    “(…) [Novell] also confirmed that it will also be selling certain, as yet undisclosed, IP assets to CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium organised by the Microsoft Corporation (…)”

    http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Novell-acquired-by-Attachmate-1140233.html

  3. mala tempora currunt et peiora secuntur…

  4. Spyhawk

    Here is the Attachmate statement ob the openSUSE Project:

    “The openSUSE project is an important part of the SUSE business,” commented Jeff Hawn, chairman and CEO of Attachmate Corporation. “As noted in the agreement announced today, Attachmate plans to operate SUSE as a stand-alone business unit after the transaction closes. If this transaction closes, then after closing, Attachmate Corporation anticipates no change to the relationship between the SUSE business and the openSUSE project as a result of this transaction.”

    http://www.attachmate.com/Press/PressReleases/nov-22-2010-SUSE.htm

  5. Will

    The big question is who ended up with the IP for Unix. Wasn’t that the winning blow in the SCO case? Also, what happens to http://www.novell.com/licensing/ntap/pdf/novell-vs-redhat_assurance.pdf ?

    That is the big $ question isn’t it? I am sure Microsoft would appreciate ownership or control of that gem. Then they might have some strength to sue Linux holders.

    So again, where did it go and what are they planning to do with it?

  6. toim

    i just hope there won’t be fork of opensuse, that’s all

  7. FlyingGuy

    Unfortunately a fork may have to happen.

    If I were you I would make room on a server someplace and grab the source now while you still can.

  8. Joseph G. Mitzen

    I’m an openSUSE user and would just like to say that I don’t lie awake at night worrying that Microsoft is coming to get me (that’s so last century). I also don’t pre-emptively fork, and thus throw away the corporate support for, software, just because a company with more than seven employees or an actual profit goal gets involved (*cough* Libreoffice). I don’t view software as a political ideology. I just want and appreciate good, quality software that does what I need it to do reliably, open or closed source, free or pay. As such, I am tremendously glad to have found openSUSE 11.3, or as I call it around here, XP-killer, and begun using it for all my home and business needs.

    I take Attachmate’s statement at face value and I don’t think their thoughtfulness in reaching out positively to the openSUSE community right away via this press release should be met with talk of forks. Also, the IP sold to CPTN Holdings almost certainly has to do with networking. This should have no effect on openSUSE – that’s just Novell trying to generate some cash for the dying end of the business no one else was interested in.

    • Awat Saha

      For someone that is not interested in “politics” you sure make a lot of political statements. A pure apolitical human. What a miracle…

      If money is no problem then i can’t see why are you using open source software…

      Perhaps you’re a multimillionaire that likes to live a like a homeless person…

      Your advice to others is: behave like sheep, don’t protest or contest, be tame and docile! Nothing to see here, move along, move along…

      • Chris

        You use because you are able to evaluate what the software is designed to do, and whether it is implemented as documented, and whether it is secure enough to meet your security requirements. It has nothing to do with cost (Open Source software is either commercial, which means you have to pay for it anyway, or broken, which means you have to fix it yourself, and pay for it in house; openSUSE is broken, but there is hope of getting it better.)

  9. Jason Swenson

    I think talks of forking is a little premature. Let the dust settle. Attachmate recognizes the community’s contribution. So far, I’d say we’re off to a decent start.

  10. AlbertoP

    I wonder why people is talking about forks and is worried about IP transfers which are not known to anybody in detail, except to the companies involved in the deal.

    Wait, see, and then, if it is the case, decide. At the moment the situation seems won’t change at all. SUSE will be an independent company, and the statements made by Attachmate CEO are reassuring. We will have to see how this translate in reality, but until then, please stop the FUD and the negative thinking, since it is based only on hypotheses.

  11. manchette

    Merci pour ces informations, c’est encourageant ;)

  12. Carlos Caicedo

    I am a loyal user of SuSE and openSuSE since SuSE version 3 ;-)

    Never changes to me. I plan to keep using openSuSE and SuSE at my home and work, and recommending to my employers to buy support licences too ;-) Another distros simply don’t convince me as SuSE. IMHO, is the better distro today. I don’t want to start a distro war, please, each distro have their own strengths but people that use SuSE really love its features, like stability, large and updated software ecosystem and ease of use :-)

    I am happy of see big corporations investing on real value open source projects! I see a winning model at Novell bussiness. Being realistic, i see a very good future to SuSE. And the Attachment’s plans of made stronger the SuSE brand are great!

    Hey people, please keep doing good things and had fun! :-)

    Best regards from Venezuela, South America.

  13. hello attachmate, as a suse user since 9.1 i welcome your ivolvement and interest in running a viable business based around opensuse and its community, and i will take your statement of intent at face value.

    opensuse and its open infranstructure projects are truly amazing, keep them that way, and continue on in the same direction.

    looking forward to 11.4

    regards

  14. I love the blind faith here… oh wait I don’t.

    Where do people here get the idea that the far smaller and poorer A*mate has deep pockets..? Or that Suse would be operating as an “independent company”?

    I’m sorry but if this shady proxy deal eventually goes thru fewer people (devs and users) will be interested in the once great SuSE Linux product.

    Unless this is all about a Linux shakedown based on Novell’s patents and IP… only in that case would the “MS-protected” A*mate Linux be temporarily “competitive”.

    Why do the veritable boneheads of what is Novell’s board need to sell the company in the first place?

  15. Awat Saha

    Novell sold all its assets to one of their competitors, not some simple competitor but one who is determined not to compete but to destroy. More than 800 patents at 450 million or so dollars. This sale is highly suspicious. Why would a company buy another that has a dying business and few perspectives of recovering the old days and without any assets.

    Attachmate (what a stupid name) will clean up the two “divisions”, Novell and SUSE, and then sell then for scraps.

    This is just another case where the “community” is just an unneeded appendice.

    The naivete of these “communities” never ceases to amaze me. First, opensolaris, then java, and now suse. “Battered wife syndrome”. Please betray me again.

    Fork what exactly? You’re already separated, you just need to stop “collaborating” with Novell/SUSE. At least you didn’t have copyright agreement like Canonical. I predict that Canonical is the next one.

    Business don’t care about “community”. For them open source and their communities are an easy and cheap way to achieve what they want and as soon as they have it they’ll throw you out like a used chewing gum.

    Oracle gave the same kind of assurances, not only to “communities”, but also to regulating bodies, in Europe and the US. Did it matter?

  16. NestorAcevedo

    “The openSUSE project is an important part of the SUSE business,” commented Jeff Hawn, chairman and CEO of Attachmate Corporation. “As noted in the agreement announced today, Attachmate plans to operate SUSE as a stand-alone business unit after the transaction closes. If this transaction closes, then after closing, Attachmate Corporation anticipates no change to the relationship between the SUSE business and the openSUSE project as a result of this transaction.”

    that’s by the moment, after… Microsoft will play and will begin to private UNIX just like Oracle with Java

  17. Dennis

    “Novell will continue to own Novell’s UNIX copyrights following completion of the merger as a subsidiary of Attachmate.”

    Source: http://www.novell.com/company/ir/message.html

    • anony

      aaaaand all the silly conspiracy theorists are proven wrong. Of course they won’t advertise THIS on their websites, no will they?

  18. Flo

    At leats the things are clear now. Furthermore, Microsoft seems that achieved their goal to approach, or at least poke, the Linux world. It started 4 years ago when they signed that ambiguous “partnership” with Novel. I am sorry to say that but Novell company was a bliss from the IT point of view hence they were a mess during the last period in terms of moral principles promoted by “open source” world. What can be done done now? Understand what further steps Microsoft might take further and prevent/fight against any intention to jeopardize de FOSS principles. Be sure that the future of OpenSUSE shall be clarified very soon by the ownership. My opinion is that you should be prepared to switch to other distros which are backed by strong organizations which can defend the FOSS principal and are strong enough to fight against further aggressive behavior of the biggest “close sources” promoter.

    Long live Linux !

    • anony

      Oh come on. Why does everyone want to see MS behind this? And even if they are, wake up, there are far worse companys around these days – MS has been pretty docile compared to eg Oracle or Apple. At some point you can be too paranoid. Business is about money, get used to that. Attachmate thought they could do a better job than Novell on SUSE, so they bought it. Let’s just hope they are right!

      Moreover, nobody can and will kill openSUSE. It is developed in the open, EVERY piece of infrastructure is copied at least 3 times on the web. It’ not like SUN’s “open”Solaris which was still basically developed behind closed doors. And openSUSE is even working with Novell on setting up an openSUSE foundation. Yes, still. Even if atachmate would be to pull back from openSUSE, the community can keep doing what they do – as long as they pick another name there is no problem. I know the vast majority of the SUSE employees would keep working on openSUSE – and if management would forbid that, quite a few would quit and look for another job – and keep contributing.

      And from a business pov it would be crazy to kill of openSUSE – really, you’d be destroing a huge amount of value, for what?!?

      • pablo

        > And from a business pov it would be crazy to kill of openSUSE – really, you’d be destroing a huge amount of value, for what?!?

        oh my! what a lame question! can’t you see the single repeating pattern in microsoft’s history? sadly, there is value in destroying good things and hindering progress, and not just in the sofware business (e.g. the electric car) think a bit about this please.

  19. Reality Check

    (oh, it appears that the first attempt at replying wasn’t approved…)

    Who do you reckon actually *controls* the Unix copyrights nominally held under A*mate subsidiary Novell’s name and for what purpose? Same with patents and other IP ..? Oh, the latter are being sold to Microsoft directly…

    http://blogs.computerworld.com/17424/who_owns_what_in_the_novell_deal

    Summary: MS *is* behind the ‘engineering’ of the whole Novell takeover using proxies (their usual modus operandi). Ask yourselves why. Then ask yourselves if that is acceptable.

    IMO there is no reason for Novell to be sold, let alone to be sold in a sneaky way to advance Microsoft’s destructive agenda.

    Novell’s management… now that is a different issue, but how to get rid of those [deleted for the sake of this site's sensors and the developmentally challenged]?

  20. Lots and lots of comments, but why don`t we wait and see what happens instead of making assumptions? (my opinion of course)
    If things get worse then a decision will be taken(again that`s me)

  21. Ulenrich

    I hope the new SUSE management can prove some more openness by announcing what parts and directions of development they want to sponsor.

    openSUSE as a communities would feel safer:
    If it showed up we have other goals than SUSE as a corporation, we would know what kind of work would have to be taken by ourselfes…
    Any feelings to be manipulated would trash away…

    As Politician Heiner Geissler at S21 round table in Germany said: Every not outspoken conflict potentially gets poisoness.

  22. Guru Sakya Banana

    A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, “He’s behind you!”

  23. Raj

    Quick question: Who owns/runs the servers these community pages are running on? Including the Mirrors, Package Rep. and Susestudio?? Cause that’s where the immediate power lies…

  24. Cherev

    Should Novell shareholders sue? Seems to me that they may be getting screwed if those 800+ patents have indefinite-duration royalty value.

    Maybe this deal is a sneaky way for M$ to undo some Federal decisions? A case of M$ thumbing its nose at that court, without even paying off the Chicago crowd…

  25. Q_Element

    My question is: How does Attachmate come up with 2.2B to purchase Novell. How did the terminal emulation business become so profitable? I doubt the company is even worth 2.2B. Microsoft is provising the purse-strings on this one.

    • No One

      How did Attachmate come up with 2.2B? Simple answer: terminal emulation is just the tip of their iceburg. Furthermore, terminal emulation is an overlooked and underestimated market. One example is that many airlines and municipal governments make extensive use of their services.

      If Microsoft was paying for the acquisition SEC regulations would require it be disclosed. Is amazing how many goofy conspiracy theories surround this one. Trust me, Attachmate hasn’t survived for 30 years by being stupid I doubt they are going to waste a choice acquisition like SUSE.

      Bah…all this

  26. Michal

    Im not opensuse user anymore.

    Thats all.

  27. ksovi

    unfortunatelly every company that had anything to do with microsoft was distroyed by the giant monster. novell is just another story, nothing strange. too bad that suse and opensuse was dragged into it. sles and sled is a threat to microsoft and microsoft will destroy them both. i just hope opensuse will find a way somehow to survive due to its comunity and the fact that linux is becoming more and more popular amongst people.
    it would be most shamefull to see another extraordinary kde distro (the other one being mandriva) slowly dying.
    but it will happen, everyone who says opensuse will be fine under attachemate is in denial, you all know guys thet’s not the case, and we have to deal with it. fork opensuse? too soon to make such assumptions.
    appart from ubuntu, and it’s father canonical,fedora and red hat, we maybe have to admit that linux distros are better off without big coorporations backing them. look at mint, arch.. perfect for gnome or kde lovers.
    i will still use opensuse and mandriva untill they will die out, and they both will. mageia might be the perfect replacement to mandriva, but what comes after opensuse? i maybe should start getting used to arch for the future :P
    our dream to be free is still there, just the whole linux community should make efforts that something like this never happens again, and i mean never allow a free linux distro be bought by microsoft.
    peace to all of you!

    • Helen South

      ksovi, openSUSE has NOT been bought by Microsoft. Attachmate has expressed their intention to continued support of openSUSE and why wouldn’t they – it’s free R&D for a leading enterprise LInux in SUSE. They probably recognize that the world is changing and people are no longer happy with corporate monopoly – FOSS is the way of the future and Attachmate want to be part of it.

      The first steps are being taken to establish the openSUSE Foundation.

      Your favorite Linux distribution isn’t going away, it’s going from strength to strength.

      Why not come on over and participate – we need writers, designers, marketers, educators as well as programmers. http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:How_to_participate