Friday, November 24, 2006

Ubuntu's Open Week - and openSUSE

Ubuntu's open week sounds like a really good idea. I'm just surprised that it is done to get users away from openSUSE as Mark Shuttleworth announced on the opensuse mailing lists.

Mark, let me reiterate that the openSUSE community and the Ubuntu communities share the same goals. We might put different emphasis on some of them, so let me speak just about one where I see a different focus.

For us at SUSE it was always important - and still is - to not only have a great distribution but to work together with the community to bring open source and Linux forward for the benefit of all. I was responsible for the port of Linux to x86-64 (now AMD64 and Intel EM64T). This port included not only development effort especially in the Linux kernel, the GNU C Library, the GNU Compiler Collection and the GNU binutils but also porting of many applications that were not 64-bit clean. All the code was available in the public and went in the public repositories before we made the first distribution. You could even get the code before any chips were available. Without this foundation, a first distribution on x86-64 would have taken much longer for everybody.

There's further development work in different areas, like NetworkManager, XGL, evolution and beagle, where Novell and openSUSE developers are involved as part of the open source community to develop a foundation that every distribution, including Ubuntu, can use.

Together with Ubuntu's great marketing and our great engineering, we can change the world (Note: I do not want to exclude other great projects like Debian, Fedora and Mandriva). The Open Week targeted at Microsoft users and developers would be a great idea!
Mark, I'd like to invite you to discuss what possibilities we have to work together against the domination of Microsoft on the desktops and servers - instead of fighting against each other.

I would prefer to see more users switching from Windows to Linux than just Linux users switching distributions.

Daniel, I liked your balanced response.

UPDATE: Burgundavia, thanks for your apology and pointing out the satirical reply.


g said...

Hi Andreas, I'm totally with you. I don't think that Mark should do such things as there's a lot of development involved in openSUSE so if he manages to get most of the users/developers to switch over to *buntu then all the hard work you guys had done for the past years will be lost

I also want to bring you up to date about a petition Bruce Perens has started on the MS/Novell deal


James said...

Hi Andreas,
I would like for some developers, especially 64-bit developers, to help Ubuntu if they can. Even if they can not give a whole lot of time to the project.
The reason? 64-bit Ubuntu is awful. Owners of 64-bit systems regularly install the 32-bit instead of, or as a replacement of the 64-bit version. There is no multi arch like in SuSE. It is not possible to install 32bit applications with their package manager.
Maybe someone reading this can help them. They don't seem to be able to do it themselves.


Merlot said...


Exactly how do you expect anyone to convince Windows users to migrate to Linx ( other than perhaps SLES & OpenSuse ) when Microsoft's CEO, your owner's partner, is publicly threatening Linux users around the world with patent infringement?

Claims of wanting to work along side developers of Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and other "non-protected" Linux distributions, and for the betterment of Linux, under the circumstances sounds like empty rhetoric.

As for OpenSuse's technical contributions to the community, it will be irrelevant if Windows user's fear legal action switching to it.

Until we see your name, and other OpenSuse staff as prominent signatories to Bruce Peren's Open Letter calling for equal legal protection to users of other Linux distros, any comments from you on this topic are likely to be viewed as just more Novell sponsored spin.


Tenshu said...

I think this was not a post against Open Suse. No Mark is following one goal fix the bug #1 of Ubuntu : "microsoft has a major market share".
That is why he think Novell is insulting dev playing with GPLed sources.

Like or not Open Suse depends on Novell the same way Ubuntu depends on Mark through Canonnical ltd.

Like it or not some people including Mark (and me) couldn't accept the deal with Microsoft and try to react.

Indeed it is a little bit controversial i admit
But ubuntu open week is a good initiative.

James said...

Isn't it a little hard to defeat microsoft when your company gives money to microsoft when you sell a SLED maintenance contract? I agree that microsoft is the enemy but it makes it hard to defeat that enemy when your company gives microsoft money for every SLED contract sold.

Andreas Jaeger said...

Merlot, I'm in dialog with our executives about the whole situation and this is far more productive than me signing the letter. Signing the letter would be a signal for you externally - but I do not agree completely with it. I understand the spirit of it and the values behind it - and share them.

Tenshu, James: I understand completely why you do not like the patent part of the deal.

James, we get money from Microsoft as well (and more from them than they from us) - but a fixed sum might have been better.


davydm said...

Good day all.

First off, I think that everyone should bother to read the post from Mark in it's entirety. Foreseeing the outcome that has arisen, he openly states that he doesn't want to stir the pot. Instead, he's just offering an alternative to anyone who may be thinking twice about working on OpenSuSE -- rather than they be lost from the GNU/Linux community forever, and their important contributions cease, he is offering another haven, if they are looking for one. Even if they aren't he offers an open door for collaboration and information sharing at the open week.

Don't take it so personally guys. Really, we are on the same team, and there's no point fighting in-house. There's enough pressure from the enemy at Redmond.

That being said, one is (and should be) wary of anyone who makes deals with the devil. Microsoft has been quite open on it's stance against GNU/Linux and it's willingness to help bring the GNU/Linux communities built around all distro's down. For Ballmer and the boys, it's all about profit -- and every GNU/Linux box out there is less profit for them.

A quick note to James: OpenSuSE's multi-arch isn't that fantastic. Ever had a mission compiling up something because your 32-bit devel libraries get in the way? Try compiling up ImageMagick (because the one in OpenSuSE 10.0 and 10.1 is broken, often producing inverted color on 1-bit tiff's) -- you'll see what I mean. This isn't a bash at OpenSuSE, really. Just a note (:

Stefan said...

Hi Andreas,
I liked to read your comment. I do fully agree, that it would be a good idea to show MS users, what they can do on a Linux System (which IS more than they can do on Windows).
And I do fully agree, that the OpenSuse and Ubuntu (and others) developers should work together!
You are right.
But I also think that Novell has done wrong with this deal. Let me explain why:
If you want MS users, and I would like to think here of small sized companies, that have no clue about IT, to switch to Linux, you have to do a lot of things:
1.) Let them know that Linux exists. This is not easy, as you will see, when trying to buy laptops from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Fujitsu and most other manufacturors. Ubuntu has made a great leap here!
2.) You have to take the fear of them, that they will have a lot of problems with Linux. And here the deal beween MS and Novell comes in. MS is using this deal (which might in every other respect be very harmless) to frighten companies THAT HAVE NO CLUE about software! You can read about this deal in every daily newspaper! Ubuntu (which is definitly not perfect in the open source thing) has not nearly done anything that bad for linux! Really, the deal with Steve Ballmers remarks has frightend 60% of all MS users from using linux (just a number :-) ).
3.) And las you have to make sure, that everything works. OpenSuse is here as good as Ubuntu. Here starts the development work, which is useless, if the first two steps are not made.

Hope to here again from you in an anouncment from Novell, that they will never to something like this again.
Or if not, I would like to meet you at any other distro-meeting.

Bryan said...

We, the Linux community is the absolute greatest source of FUD, bar none! If we, the Linux community, would intelligently discuss the issues, educate corporate entities and respond to FUD with legal facts, instead of merely practicing hatred of IP, ignorance of common issues and -- in some cases -- McCarthyism, we might find ourselves taken more serious.

We've gone from the legacy "Red Hat is the Microsoft of Linux" to now a rabid hatred of Novell. Now I fully admit I'm a Red Hat cronnie (out of sheer, fiscal selfishness, as that's where I've made my living over the last 10 years, especially as a traveling consultant the last 5), but I'm finding myself "educating" everyone from corporate executives to the rabid Linux commoner on everyone from for-profit Novell to non-profit LPI.

Andreas, thank you for your clam, clarity and leadership in this matter. You are not merely just another shining example of how Linux advocates should act, but a prime example of how and why companies (e.g., AMD) can trust you as not just another competent developer, but as someone who can provide technical counsel when it comes to IP. Because when we have such individuals, we -- the Linux community -- get more corporations to open up and share their IP, for the greater cause.

Because that cause is not to bring the brand name, marketing and other "X versus Y" non-sense from the commercial world to Linux. I don't know about others, but that's why I left the commercial software world and came to Linux! That cause is a community by, for and of the people -- individuals and corporations -- who wish to work together to solve problems.

Shuttleworth's attitude really exposes the serious issues that plague the community. Many of the largest complainers that company's have "agendas" actually have THEIR OWN "agendas." And if that's not the best example of "McCarthyism," what I've been more recently terming "Linux McCarthyism," I don't know what is.

Bryan said...

Gotta love Blogger -- if you aren't a Beta user, your profile link doesn't work. Here's my Blogger (since the link to my profile doesn't work):

antirj said...

As a microsoft user who recently switched to linux, opensuse to be exact, I personally can't understand what to me appears to be a childish reaction from the linux community towards Novell and Microsoft. I picked opensuse for a number of reasons, one that it is prepared to work outside of the box to improve it's product. Two, I walked away from trying Ubuntu because of the childish comments towards Novell, instead of building the linux community, it seems some linux distributions want to fracture it and try to gain users through doing so.

Personally as a noob any agreement that allows a company and product to continue to grow is a damn good agreement. Pitty others don't see that.

Loving opensuse, only thing I hate is that I'm stuck with firefox on my computer, a browser I hate, and no support groups seem to know how to remove it without the conflicts. Argh, honestly it is like installing windows and getting stuck with that monster IE. LOL.