A number of people have commented on my invitation to OpenSuSE developers to join Ubuntu Open Week, some have expressed dismay that I would risk creating discord in the free software universe by inviting developers to leave one project and join another. There have also been plenty of reasonable comments and suggestions, and I hope the net effect is to leave both communities better informed about the efforts of the other.
I think it may be worth having public “town hall meeting” in the usual Ubuntu style to discuss the invitation and make sure everyone has a fair chance to air their views. Feel free to continue to comment on this blog – I do the spam-moderation thing about once a week usually, will try to get to it more this week. Till then, let me say the following:
- No offense was intended to SuSE – it’s a great distribution. This is about Novell’s extraordinary decision to legitimise Microsoft’s IP claims over Linux in general. I have serious concerns about the Novell-Microsoft deal – and so do other people who make huge contributions to the body of free software. Novell and SuSE are of course deeply linked, and so the actions of one do have consequences for the other. I would expect the same sort of consequences in Ubuntu if Canonical made poor decision. In the past two weeks I’ve fielded many mails from SuSE developers in regard to this, so I believe it was reasonable to point out the timely Ubuntu Open Week. I very much hope all of this helps to bring home to Novell executives the folly of their course, and results in the termination of the patent-related aspects of the deal.
- Collaboration between SuSE and Ubuntu is welcome, and I would support efforts to make that collaboration happen in practice. Most free software developers want to see the whole free universe succeed, not just one or other distribution, and collaboration is a good step towards that goal.
- Ubuntu is not free of controversy, and neither is Debian. I was not suggesting that Ubuntu or Debian are somehow perfect – only that we would have nothing to do with Ballmer’s offer and are deeply conscious of the impact of this sort of deal on the long term future of free software.
Apologies to anybody who was offended by my extension of the invitation to OpenSuSE developers, it was certainly not my intent to upset you. Thanks to cool heads on both sides who have kept the discussion focused on our shared goals of improving the quality of free software and ensuring that it continues to be widely and freely available.