Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mantel Leaves Novell / Suse

I suspect that when Novell purchased Ximian and later SuSE, the higher-ups at both firms probably had visions of eventually running Novell. I believe it was inevitable to see a shakeout or coup take place within Novell given the polar opposites that SuSE and Ximian team are -or- were. On all kinds of levels I bet these two teams had a certain disdain for one another, or at minimum a disgust with each's vision of the future for Novell.

Yes, Novell is going to have the KDE libraries included on their future releases, but as a practical matter I think SuSE's KDE support is going to go largely (at best) the way of RH's and Fedora's. Sure, a community project will probably appear, perhaps through OpenSuse, that keeps KDE going - but it's obvious to me that Novell is casting its lot with the Ximian/Mono team and all things Gnome. This was probably a business decision driven not so much by technical merits, but by internal lobbying and PowerPoint presentations. ;-)

If there is any good that stands to come from all of this (and such a thing is certainly questionable), it's that future editions of SuSE are definitely going to become focused on a core set of tools (Gnome, Mono, etc). That may ultimately make SuSE the winner with Gnome that it was with KDE, albeit at the latters expense. Novell probably looked over and saw all of the other big commercial outfits using Gnome - namely RH and Sun - and figured it might as well join the gang. Although I think Novell would have been much smarter to dump Gnome and focus solely on KDE with respect to the desktop, they probably couldn't justify it given all of the investments they made in Mono and the Ximian guys. Besides, I don't think Novell bought Suse because of its strong KDE focus, rather it was interested in the SuSE brand, market position, and a fast way to become the #2 player in the Linux ballgame.


At Thursday, November 10, 2005 1:25:00 PM, Blogger Novell Insider said...

I agree with you, completely, however, Novell didn't make that #2 spot by marketing the system, or selling it, SUSE did it, their developers, their leaders, and their coders. Now all that is gone, there has been virtually NO development at SUSE and I doubt there ever will be again.

I have my own little blog going about what the company I work for is doing to fix things, if successful, SUSE has to operate independently and be alowed to explor its own development.

At Thursday, November 10, 2005 2:51:00 PM, Blogger MajQa' said...

Whoops. God forbid I hope my post didn't make it seem like any credit is due Novell for Suse's #2 spot (Novell marketing is perhaps some of the worst marketing - ever - by a tech company of its size).

The brain drain at Novell/Suse seems pretty obvious and is probably becoming downright contagious within the company, and is especially evident with the loss of such a key developer like Mantel. Evidently, Novell doesn't place much stock in the Suse engineers, or at least as much as they do in the Ximian guys (somehow... the Ximian monkey-themed stuff is taking on a Dilbert quality to me).

Likewise - I agree with you on having Suse spun out on their own, but this really doesn't fit into the culture history of Novell. On this I expect the worst is yet to come. Is it possible to count the great products Novell has bought and run into the ground? About all I can do is hope that Suse isn't the next one.

I think Novell would have had a winner had they merely bought Suse, backed it with capital and resources, and left it alone. Rather than operate as a caboose SuSE could have served as an engine for Novell growth.

I really hate to see Novell and Suse fail. Novell has been fighting the good fight with IBM when it comes to SCO's antics, has been playing very nice with the GPL, and could still come through. It's just that ... I have strong doubts about the future of Novell/Suse with what appears to be Ximian (in some form) at the helm.

At Thursday, November 10, 2005 7:40:00 PM, Blogger Novell Insider said...

Again, you are right, Novell is due no credit. Though I would associate their "Brain Drain" as more of a financial drain. How, in this world, can it take a sales force 8 months to learn how to sell SuSE? I mean really, can we be just blunt, that is pathetic, and the problem lies with the management.

Again, I agree with one of my commenters, I don't think that they should have promoted Hovsepian, he is too much of a political player, he is not "in deep" with Novell, therefore doens't have a reason to dig them out.

And, from a "stock" standpoint as to how much faith Novell has in the SUSE developers, look at how development has just plumeted, all development has stopped, it's a lifeless group. I agree with Mantel in that it is no longer the group he founded.

We believe that SuSE, NetWar and all other Novell Softwar should be sepearte from what we plan on doing with the "Novell Managed Service." Seperate it, and let them work at their own pace, let them develope what they want, and give them the freedom to make it great again!

But that will never happen, under their current leadership, which is why we are stepping in. If you want to get more information about what we want to do, and talk more about whats wrong with Novell, email me:

inside.novell at gmail dot com

Look forward to it


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