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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.”

Thesis on openSUSE Published

May 24th, 2008 by

A year’s research on Novell and the openSUSE project is now published as a master’s thesis at the University of Oslo. “Managing Firm-Sponsored Open Source Communities” details the collaboration between Novell and the openSUSE community. Community members and employees in Novell have participated in the study.

The study deals with the tension between openness and control often found in projects that mesh corporate entities with the open source community. On the one hand, Novell wants to enable participation and contributions from external contributors, but cannot turn over full
control to the community because it produces its enterprise product from openSUSE.

The study finds that the relationship between the community and Novell is evolving rapidly, and how the relationship works and where it may go.

A summary of the study, the full thesis, and pictures are available at Jan Fredrik’s Weblog.