An invitation, not a conspiracy

Monday, November 27th, 2006

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

78 comments:

  1. Murtog says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Talk is cheap. Show me the code.

  2. Suzan says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks very much for your statement!

  3. muszek says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    Hopefully this will help to cool down the heat around this delicate situation. I don’t know how those that got upset by your invitation are going to respond, but to me, inclusion of the word “apologies” instantly adds several points to poster’s karma. Way to go, SADBFL!

  4. bartek says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    [quote]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. [/quote]
    There are over 400 different Linux distributions. Collaboration should be a goal for every developer.
    It’s not good to invent the wheel over and over again. We should all work togheter to make the free and open software better.

    People who reject this idea are not welcome in the Ubuntu community.
    Human knowledge belongs to the world not to a single group or firm.

  5. mc says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    I think a town hall meeting isn’t really appropriate to discuss things said about OpenSuSE, as I hope it remains an invitation from you, rather than the Ubuntu community as a whole.

    I think, however, a town hall meeting on some of the more, erm… *controversial* specs planned for feisty would be welcomed by many.

  6. Vincent says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    I also have my doubts about Novell’s deal, and I’m not saying Ubuntu is free of controversy, or that Ubuntu should not collaborate with other projects, and of course you had to point out the Ubuntu Open Week, I just think you should not have aimed it at OpenSuSE developers specifically. Aren’t there loads more who the Open Week would be beneficial for? By making this an OpenSuSE-specific invitation, is leans more to the conspiracy side.

  7. Roman Kennke says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Hello there,

    I am worried about the integrity of Ubuntu a little. On the one hand you invite developers from OpenSuse because you are concerned about the Free-ness of software. Fine. But what about the proprietary/non-free blobs that (I heard) are about to go into Ubuntu (default install)? That’s like pissing the affected free projects in the face. I believe if you are really going to do that, you risk to loose quite a bit of Ubuntu’s current momentum. I already hear from a couple of people that are thinking about turning their backs to Ubuntu, because they feel they’ve been mocked. They ‘bought’ Ubuntu’s Free software message and advocated this to others and then you come and turn things around. Sorry, I don’t get that. Maybe you want to clarify the rumours a bit more.

  8. DBCummings says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve been reading up on this so-called “controversy” the last few days and I have to say that I really don’t see any problem with what Mark has done. I do believe that the Open Source community should cooperate and work together to continue to produce well-crafted software. I also think that any craft which is driven by a bottom line of profit rather than excellence will always produce a sub-standard product. Software design should be directed to make the PC a tool which benefits our neighbor rather than seeks to simply take his last dollar. If I had been a developer for OpenSuse and had concerns over the direction of that project reaching the aforementioned goal, I would consider Mark’s offer as way to continue that vision. If I thought that OpenSuse was still moving the right direction and not threatened, I would politely disregard his offer. Either way, I don’t think any unwritten rule of Open Source etiquette was broken. In addition, what Mark did was in the light of day. The criticism has been so great, because Mark was willing to make this invitation publicly. I appreciate your goals Mark and I think that your intentions were honerable.

  9. Matt Lee » Blog Archive » Those in glass houses… says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    [...] An invitation, not a conspiracy [...]

  10. brickbat says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Novell stabbed us all in the back with this sleazy deal. I can’t imagine a developer that could feel comfortable writing free software under a SuSE banner now. I see nothing wrong with;

    a. Confirming your commitment to free software
    b. Welcoming SuSE developers to a place that has a philosophy more in line with theirs.

    It is not you that has generated discord – It is Novell.

  11. Stoffe says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    Hello,

    I wonder why you don’t believe in your own stated goals. I’ve been with Ubuntu since early Warty, and back then, the goal was that all people of the world should have access to excellent, free and open software, because clearly that was the way of the future for all. Actually, I still see those goals stated and promoted just as much. This started out by taking one of the most free distros there is, Debian, and making it work out of the box – awesome!

    However, Ubuntu seems to more and more become a distro for rich western kids and in parallell less and less free. Scott James Remnant called it a slippery slope, and he’s right about that. It’s a strange shift in focus, Ubuntu is already probably the most popular Linux among those rich western kids, and on top of that, these kids have more distros to choose from. The non-rich, non-western people… not so much. So why target them, at the cost of your (stated) beliefs? Why, if open source is the best way forward, is Launchpad closed, why is Firefox using closed artwork, why is so much of the distribution shifting towards being non-free?

    I mean, you’ve said you admire RMS and all he’s done, and here you are peeing on his lifework.

    I can only conclude that somewhere along the way the goals and the visions were lost. It’s kinda sad.

  12. John says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    As a long time Linux (over ten years) what has me a touch worried is if Microsoft “takes over” Novell, then who is next? What Microsoft can’t kill, it buys.

    I see nothing wrong with a town hall meeting. You knock a few ideas around and see what happens next. The Linux community could benefit in the future.

  13. e.p. says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    If you have a problem with Novell, take it up with Novell. Don’t take it up with the SuSE Dev’s.

  14. Zach says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    My impression is that the controversy isn’t over the “invitation” as much as the forum in which it was communicated. Probably the OpenSUSE developer’s list might not be appropriate for things which are non-technical in nature and not directly related to development of OpenSUSE. Certainly, as ubuntu-ers know, Ubuntu devs, get frustrated when folks spam the ubuntu-devel list with non-technical, non-development issues. Perhaps an open letter would have been better received.

    Regarding the larger issue of Novell’s deal with Microsoft over IP, I believe it is unfortunate. I believe Novell really has built up a tremendous amount of goodwill in the Linux community in the last few years with their development of SUSE. I think it is tragic that they have chosen to squander so much of it in one fell swoop. This is as bad as those silly “linux licenses” that SCO was peddling a while back. Perhaps Novell should have bought a bunch of those for each of their users, as well.

  15. Glanz says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Ballmer of Monopolo$oft has already indicated that he feels he has bought the right to have some input as to what SuSE offers to users. The facts indicate that he has indeed bought the right to comment on it to the media to spread FUD. I know that I would not be comfortable developing for a LINUX DISTRIBUTION that has a monetary association, directly ot indirectly, with a criminal monopolist. Perhaps some SuSE developers feel the same. Perhaps not. That’s their affair. MS FUD is already in the works, crudely thrown in the media gears by Ballmer. I have a question for Open SuSE developers: Do you feel comfortable having Ballmer speaking for you and for your efforts, and also believing that he has some control over them?

  16. meneame.net says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Mark Shuttleworth: Una invitación, no una conspiración [EN]…

    Mark Shuttleworth aclara ciertos puntos sobre la polémica invitación que hizo a los desarrolladores de Suse después del acuerdo Novell-Microsoft….

  17. Tom says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Was it that what Microsoft has planned all the way?
    Split the community?

    Don’t forget it, these guys _are_ clever.
    So the best thing you can do is: don’t let yourself be splitted.
    A communitie’s town hall meeting (never heard that before) can’t be wrong. It poses no risks while at the same time holding the possibility of avoiding splits and wars.

    Let’s kick Ballmer’s ass: Let’s stay relaxed.

  18. lmf says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Honestly, if someone was genuinely offended by your invitation, they’re too stupid to matter. As long as the code being written is GPL’d who cares? How could it possibly hurt Linux? The ‘offense’ taken is not at all sincere.

    Novell will (as usual) be looking for a new CEO shortly. This guy is to dumb to run a pay toilet.

    I hope there is a version of Ubuntu with no proprietary junk installed by default, or else you will be worse than Novell, and Ubuntu will definitely be removed from my computer. If I want garbage installed, I can install it myself. If I wanted other people installing garbage on my computer, I’d be running Windows and surfing the internet with Internet Explorer.

  19. DC@DR says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Hi, Mark
    I would like to thank for your “apologies”, since I do hope it will help to cool down the heat of this unnecessary “controversial” situation. I myself don’t see any problem with your invitation to openSUSE devs, it’s all about offering free choices to others, and it’s expressed in a friendly way. I’m writing this just in order to express my thoughts about recent Ubuntu direction: I’ve been using Ubuntu for about 6 months or so, and I do love it, Ubuntu just works, and more than that, I do love the philosophy behind it, it’s “Linux for human beings” after all. But I have to say that I strongly disagree with the decision to have proprietary/non-free binary drivers installed by default in the upcoming Feisty Fawn. I can understand that Ubuntu devs just want to help to make newbie/n00b/non-IT people life easier, but it’s not necessary to install those drivers by default. It could be an easy option made by Ubuntu community (like automatix project), it’s better than for those people who do want a binary driver, and there could be an easy-to-find instruction for them to find (and it’s even better to educate them the meaning of free/open-source softwares by giving an warning, explaining why they shouldn’t do that, before they try to install binary drivers and such)…I do love Ubuntu, and I do hope it will help convert more people from Windows to Linux, but by encouraging non-free binary drivers, I think you’ve made a mistake. Please reconsider and listen to the voice of the community. Thanks.

  20. Donald says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    This is the kind of FUD Microsoft wants, and the FOSS community is playing right into their hands. If one thing Microsoft does well is playing psychological games with it competitors and the game is Divide and Conquer.

  21. Lucien Demeuse says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Hello Mark,
    You are on the right track and your analyze is exactly what I think. The agreement between Novell and Microsoft is at juridical point of view a big mistake. Now all Linux distributions will be attack by Microsoft. It was the goal of Microsoft and maybe Novell also.
    I would like thank you for supporting Ubuntu the best Linux opproach in the world.

    Lucien

  22. concept10 says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Mark,

    I truly enjoy the universe of Free and Open Source software and have used and enjoyed Ubuntu since the beginning. I also appreciate the your vision. Personally, I did not take offense to the letter that you presented to the community of openSuSE developers and the idea of inviting more people to contribute. There are always critics out there who take the extreme route. (Maybe it was your posting on the mailing list).

    The Free software community needs to embrace more collaboration between projects. I firmly believe that this is the best way for GNU/Linux to gain more traction in the corporate/home desktop marketplace by concentrating efforts on what’s needed to make the complete stack easy enough for anyone to use.

    One last note, please silence these critics and naysayers. Please do not ship non-free binaries. (nVIDIA drivers, et al.) Make this stuff easy to configure but please do not taint the integrity of the distro.

  23. Interesting… « Linux and Unix Links of interest says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth corrects the impression that he is trying to steal developers from SUSE [...]

  24. Kenneth says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Even though I too am against the Novell / Microsoft deal, I do feel it is double moral to ask people behind one distribution making a choice going against the spirit of the free software moment go for another that have just decided to step on the same movement by deciding to include non-free software by default just to have the rich people with best equipment get the most out of their systems. I mean – isn’t it just as slippery to move for including non-free drivers in the system by default as it is to make such an agreement with Microsoft?

    I hope the misstep of Novell should be a wakeup call for the Ubuntu team not to commit the same mistake – stepping on the free software movment that made this all possible.

  25. Runar says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    Can you please:
    1) Make public statements regarding your view on software patents in general
    2) Explain why non-free suddenly is okay with you regarding drivers

  26. Pra says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    Oh, Grow up!

    What’s wrong with extending an invitation to the Open SuSe community. There’s probably a few of them that are wondering where the recent events will leave them. So far the exact details of what the Novell-Microsoft deal will offer clients have not really been revealed. There’s a lot of speculation and gossip.

    Given that, the Open SuSe community should know that the Open Source context is wider than the little distribution. So if your are discussing ‘town-hall-style’ the issues with your current distribution, it has an effect on Linux in gneral, much like the Firefix-Debian issue affected all of us using open source software.

    We need to rid ourselves of the ‘Us-and-them’ mentality, we must get out of our little boxes and jump into the communities that give us what we have.

    That’s true UBUNTU.

  27. zege says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    I think that an email on the OpenSuSE Mailinglist was not the right way to show that you (Mark) aren’t happy with novell’s decision. You should speak with novell not with the developers which volunteer their time to develop a _free_ Distribution. I don’t think that any kind of code in OpenSuSE will be sponsored by Microsoft, this may be so in SuSE Enterprise Desktop.

  28. Jetpeach says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Using something controversial in one distribution to promote another is not a productive way to go about creating the best distribution. Afterall, no distro is perfect and Suse people can find controversies in Ubuntu easily as well, so the entire field gets torn up and nobody wins. In general, it is better to focus on the positive.

    With that in mind, however, the biggest counter-criticism of Ubuntu has been Feisty’s binary proprietary drivers. While I think comparing this “infraction” on the free software philosophy pales in comparison to Novell’s deal with MS, I believe it is critical to resolve this in the best way possible. IMO, simply including or not including the drivers is not the best solution (the pros and cons of each of those situations have been clearly stated previously). So, what is the best solution?

    Well, what did the community think?
    http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=297392
    As of now, 53% (805 votes) said users should be given a choice about which drivers during installation.
    There are drawbacks to this as well, largely the extra development and size (a factor if keeping all on a single-cd) necessary to maintain two different choices at installation. But
    these challenges can be overcome (some drivers may need to be downloaded during installation, and one of the choices is the recommended choice, more polished than the other, etc). Dealing with these challenges is a better option than the risk Ubuntu takes if it simply does or does not include the drivers, and is backed by the fact that this is the desire of the community and compromises appropriately with everybody’s concerns.

  29. RobMo says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Stoffe- What are you talking about? Rich western kids and not free? Huh^2?

    And to add to the discussion, I completely support Mark’s original message, and am baffled that he feels he even has to apologize. Free means free, as in free actions too, people!

  30. Delta says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    A much needed post I think, although even the original invitation didn’t seem that controversial to me. But then again – I’m not a dev – just an oridinary power user and OSS enthusiast, still like everyone, I have an opinion.

    I think that what happened was both – to be expected, right and important. Because when M$ gives some money to a company behind a Linux distro development and starts talking about some patients, this smells bad however you look at it. While it seems like just about anyone has tried to interpret the consequences of this deal, it’s clear that M$ doesn’t deal with the OSS community out of the good of their heart. It was only natural that someone, let’s say, visible enough in the community and in a capacity do so, brought this up so that everyone in the field had to think about – how do I feel about it?! Where do I stand? Why is this happening and what will it bring? What can i do now to better the movement for good? Mark did right to bring this up, even if it’s controversial – it should be, I think.

    Personally I believe that this specific event with M$ and Novell is a landmark event – the beginning of the end for the M$ and their whole business model. Like Ballmer said – it’s contagious this OSS (or something like that). Yes it is – OSS is a distruptive technology compared to the long established proprietary software business model. And when the open-sourced ecosystem of code reaches a critial mass (somewhere around now:) – it is going to be an end for microsoft as we know it. As Mark has said before – unless they embrace the open source software model… and this is like how probable? … imagine M$oft open sourcing everything and 400 forks of Windows out there?….yeah in a million years! Their deal with the Novell in my eyes is like trying all straws to poison the OSS movement and scaring some uneducated people with patent rights in the meantime. This is screamingly acknowledging that they are seeing threat in the OSS movement and will try to fight it with every most lowly and unbelievable option possible.

    So this is going to bring a lot of controversy from now on – more and more, I think. Like Ubuntu controversy about non-free “blobs” in Fiesty. The fact is – harware compatability is important and to catch the moment when everyon’s going to be pissed with Windows Vista, Ubuntu is going to need those dirty things to run hardware – I want it to run on all my friends computers with all the features they were made with – at least have the option to do it. If that means making a _temporary_ compromise of using some non-free parts _with serious annoying warnings_ that this is not the OSS ideal we are all working towards, well someone has to make that choice. That is a gamble – Ubuntu could gain a lot of users because of eveything it is and the added hardware compatability. And the bigger the number of people on Ubuntu and Linux in general the more pressure the hardware manufacturers would feel towards open sourcing everything. And this would benefit everyone in the long run. But it could also alienate a lot of people towards Ubuntu, for not standing up to it’s ideals, to the letter, full time.

    Time will tell, but while many people have been harmlessly working on their favorite OSS project, M$ has been strategically planning ways of ruining this, from their power positions. At some point someone will have to act tactically to gain the momentum of mass linux desktop adotion to start the really inevitable downfall of the M$ empire. And this could require a compromise – like the one people are worried about in Fiesty. And for some reason I feel that this M$-Novell deal, and Mark’s invitation marks the point in history where the battle for getting linux on desktops starts for real- it’s been going on for quite some time, and I can sure imagine seeing Windows boxes for yet another decade around, but after Vista comes out, I’ll switch to Linux compleatly, and will tell everyone I help out with computers to do the same. And by the time I do this I will need it to run all the hardware. And that’s gonna take some compromise at least for the time being… So I think this is a moment in time for everyone to contemplate about where we all stand and what we want – and what kind of compromise we are ready to make and to what extent – be it Novell, SUSE developers, Mark with Canonical or users like me.

  31. dabaR says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Hey, Mark.

    It is nice that you have an open communication channel like this for the whole world to be able to speak to you.

    In any case, was “Welcome, OpenSuSE developers” your first public comment on the Novell-MS deal?

    I think that is part of the reason you are hearing so many comments about it.

    Cheers

  32. Jason Quintana says: (permalink)
    November 27th, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    Stoffe — Why is there a problem with rich western kids? Why is it bad that they have been the first adopters of Ubuntu? Ubuntu has actively promoted their OS all over the world. Young westerners are the likeliest first adopters of most knew technology. That is just how things are at the moment.

    And why is it wrong for people to have the option to CHOOSE to use non free software during the installation process if they choose to? It is interesting how there seems to be two groups of free software advocates — one group that actively creates it and promotes it like Mr. Shuttlesworth and another group who I will call FSFs (Free software fascists) who want a distribution like Ubuntu to be less user friendly because they don’t want to give people the OPTION of installing the evil “proprietary software”. They also think there is some problem with certain groups of people (in this case rich western kids that have computers) FREELY CHOOSING to use the software as if this hinders other groups of people and keeps them from also using it. Your warped notion of “software freedom” is really an agenda of software restriction based upon a nonsensical set of ideas.

    – Jason

  33. Matt Lee says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 12:32 am

    Jason,

    Do you know that the FSF holds the copyright to a huge amount of your typical GNU/Linux distribution?

    matt

  34. Andreas says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 1:38 am

    Jason,

    “Why is there a problem with rich western kids? ”
    They’re the ones most likely to not care about anyone else. Your framerate doesn’t help dissipate knowledge and equality, Free Software does. Catering of non-free software towards a privileged demography just for popularity undoes a lot of good work.

    The word “ubuntu” doesn’t mean “I rock because my windows wobble”.

    “one group that actively creates it and promotes it like Mr. Shuttlesworth and another group who I will call FSFs (Free software fascists) who want a distribution like Ubuntu to be less user friendly because they don’t want to give people the OPTION of installing the evil “proprietary software”.”

    I suggest you read up on the various relevant philosophies and histories and take it from there to build up an informed point of view.

  35. mario says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 1:39 am

    Matt,
    We all know that the FSF retains the sole copyright for the GNU codebase instead of actually sharing and developing it under the GPL only. But why should that entitle them to ‘govern’ Linux users or constantly make prescriptions beyond the free usage clause of the GPL?

  36. Johnsie says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 1:46 am

    I’m glad you cleared this up a little. Collaboration is necesary between distros and we can all help each other at times, especially when it comes to improving the software we all use and share. Whether or not we agree with Novells decision to work with the enemy we do still need to collaborate with them. Infighting between distros only helps the enemy and market strategists like Microsoft know that only too well.

  37. Johnsie says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 1:49 am

    ps. I’d like to see a joint suse/ubuntu convention or football match some time :-D

  38. Sylvain Picker says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 2:21 am

    When you understand what free software means and can/will do, there is no place for compromises. The Novell/Microsoft deal could only slow down the evolution of free software in my opinion.
    Good move, the #1 bug is very agressive, but there is one good solution: erase, erase, erase…

  39. james says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 3:31 am

    it was only an invitation – you can either accept it or not accept – don’t understand what the big deal is.

    but I am glad that some of the novell guys got upset – they upset me with the this stupid deal in the first place.

  40. towsonu2003 says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 5:10 am

    Your email was problematic, but I still think you did good, especially after reading the news about their IRC meeting regarding the deal. I feel sorry for the opensuse developers who fell into this bad trap… they were doing their job, and now their work is being exploited by a company that gave Microsoft’s IP claims legal legitimacy. :’(

  41. links for 2006-11-28 at tecosystems says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 5:40 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » An invitation, not a conspiracy wherein Mark clarifies his recent post and email missive courting OpenSuSE developers (tags: Shuttleworth OpenSuSE SuSE opensource community Ubuntu Canonical Debian) [...]

  42. Matt says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 7:28 am

    Offering up your apologies to anyone who was offended is not quite the same as a flat apology.

    This strikes me as more of a political move than an apology.

  43. cantormath says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 7:40 am

    I certainly agree,

    there was nothing but kindness in Mr. S’s invitation.

  44. cantormath says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 7:42 am

    Blame microsoft……

    Not other parts of the linux community damn it! We are just starting a war with each other and loosing focus of the true objective.

  45. Delta says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 7:53 am

    A much needed post I think, although even the original invitation didn’t seem that controversial to me – just like some people said here before. But then again – I’m not a dev – just an oridinary power user and OSS enthusiast, still like everyone, I have an opinion.

    I think that what happened was both – to be expected, right and important. Because when M$ gives some money to a company behind a Linux distro development and starts talking about some patients, this smells bad however you look at it. While it seems like just about anyone has tried to interpret the consequences of this deal, it’s clear that M$ doesn’t deal with the OSS community out of the goodness of their heart. It was only natural that someone, let’s say, visible enough in the community and in a capacity do so, brought this up so that everyone in the field had to think about – how do I feel about it?! Where do I stand? Why is this happening and what will it bring? What can i do now to better the movement for good? Mark did right to bring this up, even if it’s controversial, I think.

    Personally I believe that this specific event with M$ and Novell is a landmark event – the beginning of the end for the M$ and their whole business model. Like Ballmer said – it’s contagious this OSS (or something like that). Yes it is – OSS is a distruptive technology compared to the long established proprietary software business model. And when the open-sourced ecosystem of code reaches a critial mass (somewhere around now:) – it is going to be an end for microsoft as we know it. As Mark has said before – unless they embrace the open source software model… and this is like how probable? … imagine M$oft open sourcing everything and 400 forks of Windows out there?….yeah in a million years! Their deal with the Novell in my eyes is like trying all straws to poison the OSS movement while scaring some uneducated people with patent rights in the meantime. This is screamingly acknowledging that they are seeing threat in the OSS movement and will try to fight it with every most lowly and unbelievable option possible.

    So this is going to bring a lot of controversy from now on – more and more, I think. Like Ubuntu controversy about non-free “blobs” in Fiesty. The fact is – harware compatability is important and to catch the moment when everyone’s going to be pissed with Windows Vista, Ubuntu is going to need those dirty things to run hardware – I want it to run on all my friends computers with all the features they were made with – at least have the option to do it. If that means making a _temporary_ compromise of using some non-free parts _with serious annoying warnings_ that this is not the OSS ideal we are all working towards, well someone has to make that choice. That is a gamble – Ubuntu could gain a lot of users because of eveything it is and the added hardware compatability. And the bigger the number of people on Ubuntu and Linux in general the more pressure the hardware manufacturers would feel towards open sourcing everything. And this would benefit everyone in the long run. But it could also alienate a lot of people towards Ubuntu, for not standing up to it’s ideals, to the letter, full time.

    Time will tell, but while many people have been peacefully working on their favorite OSS project, M$ has been strategically planning ways of ruining this, from their power positions. At some point someone will have to act tactically to gain the momentum of mass linux desktop adotion to start the really inevitable downfall of the M$ empire. And this could require a compromise – like the one people are worried about in Fiesty. And for some reason I feel that this M$-Novell deal, and Mark’s invitation marks the point in history where the battle for getting linux on desktops starts for real- it’s been going on for quite some time, and I can sure imagine seeing Windows boxes for yet another decade around, but after Vista comes out, I’ll switch to Linux compleatly, and will tell everyone I help out with computers to do the same – and at least 10 people will have to follow. And by the time I do this I will need it to run all the hardware. And that’s gonna take some compromise at least for the time being… So I think this is a good moment in time for everyone to contemplate about where we all stand now, and what we want now – and what kind of compromise we are ready to make and to what extent – be it Novell, SUSE developers, Mark with Canonical or users like me.

  46. Delta says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 7:55 am

    sorry, for the double post – i thought it got lost, because i have cookies disabled – this happens. so i tried to repost it :(

  47. Lesley Clayton says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 8:29 am

    Hi Mark

    I have no problems with your MOVES, I would have used the same plan.

    Yesterday was the first open day and I absolutely loved it! I was expecting to meet weird people in the classroom wearing cloaks and masks, but all was fine. Some guys teased me saying there are a few ghosts around that disrupt things! It was weird and wonderful to have so many people all in one place – I was in Cape Town with a sundowner, someone else joined saying, “good morning!” and another dude was getting ready for bed! Well, I know sometimes things are a bit difficult, but I am sure you have plenty of hair on your chest – all that now left is to see your MOVES on the dance floor!

  48. Gnusci says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 9:06 am

    Anyway I won’t feel safe working shoulder by shoulder to a rat tail of MS… I just can warn to our friend to be aware of the worms that MS know very well how to get in form the back side…

  49. Gihel2 says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 11:20 am

    Hi everyboby,
    M$ came and opensource community is (seem?) divided, not M$ who keep united.
    I just say: we must be very careful what we think! LIBRE is the only one concurrence …. no?

  50. Michel says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Thath’s better !
    Thanks for this statement!

  51. Colpo di tacco « Ubuntista says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth ha recuperato con eleganza una brutta situazione: “Non sono contro OpenSuSE. Sono contro l’accordo Novell-Microsoft.” [...]

  52. Alan Jones says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I think it was important that you did vocally let the developers know they would be welcomed. Far better than having them wonder if they’d be stigmatized by Novell’s decisions.

    Thanks again for your continuing contribution to, and support of, the free software community.

    Cheers,

    Alan.

  53. houghi says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    So if this was just an invitation, aren’t other developers welcome? If so, where are the invitations to them? To Fedora developers? To Mandrake Developers? To all others?

    Why were openSUSE developers isngled out?

  54. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with an invitation to the SuSE developers. I hope that they do leave until Novell wakes up.

    However, the invitation to a “Free Software” project (i. e. Ubuntu) is somewhat hypocritical given your willingness to have Feisty install binary blob video drivers by default when ATI/nVidia cards are detected. Those cards work just fine in 2-D mode, today, with Dapper.

  55. Jason Quintana says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    Andreas — In response to: “Why is there a problem with rich western kids? ” You said :

    “They’re the ones most likely to not care about anyone else. Your framerate doesn’t help dissipate knowledge and equality, Free Software does. Catering of non-free software towards a privileged demography just for popularity undoes a lot of good work.”

    This is a nonsensical point of view because it views “equality” as an intrinsic value. The rich world will continue to be on the cutting of technology use and creation. Almost all new technology (including free software) is the result of actions taken by people in wealthier parts of the world. That is a simple reality. These are also the people who are most likely to have a computer and so it would be silly not to cater to them if you want to market to a broad audience of computer users. If poor kids had computers they would want cool graphics too. The critical thing is that all of this work and technology being created in the developed world allows people in less developed parts of the world to gain ground FASTER (the “rich world” gets bigger every day for precisely this reason). The world’s economic standing does not improve as a result of charity it improves as a result of productive work. While some probably think that free software development should take on the feel and purpose of charity work I believe this is a flawed concept.

    It should be about making people’s computers run great — and that includes cool 3d effects, multimedia and all of the rest. Like anything else, the free software author should aim to please himself and his end users by creating something that works well, is fun to use, and offers some competitive advantage over other solutions for the widest audience of computer users possible. That seems to be exactly what Ubuntu and its developers are in the process of accomplishing. Considering the fact that it is FREE I don’t think your argument has any ground to stand on. It is available to EVERYONE FOR FREE.

    – Jason

  56. Jay says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    I’m not a developer so I don’t know how I would feel if I considered myself part of the OpenSuse community and received the invitation to consider joining a different community. But from the outside looking in it seemed to be polite and respectful. I really appreciated all the thoughtful and respectful comments made on both sides of the controversy and wish all posters had exhibited the same class as Mr. Shuttleworth.

    On the issue of binary video drivers I’ll throw in a vote for including them in Feisty Fawn. As I said, I’m not a developer (I can handle spreadsheet functions and that’s about it). I can find the command line and follow instructions that spell out all the details but one misplaced character and I’m lost. As one who has run Dapper and now Edgy for a few months I consider myself a typical representative of the non-developer, secondary wave of Linux adopters. But if you want to reach computer users below my level of computer experience you’ll need to package it up with a nice bow and that may mean binary video drivers.

    I’m sure many Linux developers have no such goal of expanding Linux usage to users of my technical caliber or less. They would dearly like all Linux users to know the joys of getting inside the system to customize and tune it. And I can understand and respect that stance. But anyone who keeps dreaming of this year being the “year of the Linux desktop” is probably going to have to adopt a flexible attitude.

    And by the way, I’m not a rich western kid…just an average, middle-aged, western office worker. Is that OK? :-)

  57. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    November 28th, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    Jason,

    I agree with you except for one part. In your last paragraph, above, you are mistaking Free Software for “free as in beer.” That is not correct; please see

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.

    When we speak of Free Software, we are referring to Freedom, not price. If it happens to be “free beer,” then fine, but “free speech” is more important. You’re right; cool 3D effects are cool…BUT only when you don’t have to use binary blobs to do it. If you want people’s computers to run great, then start encouraging folks to use Intel graphics instead of ATI and nVidia. You get your “cool 3D graphics” and avoid the blobs.

    Now, *that*, I believe, is the true way to help make the “rich world” bigger, at least when discussing computers. Let’s remember that Ubuntu is “Linux for human beings,” not “Linux for selling uncooperative vendors’ hardware.” If some folks want those blobs installed by default, then that’s what Linspire/Freespire is for.

  58. Andreas says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 12:22 am

    Jason,

    Proprietary software is divisive and harmful. Unles you read up on that and understand it your whole argument is based on a false premisse.

    Things such as:
    “While some probably think that free software development should take on the feel and purpose of charity work I believe this is a flawed concept.”

    and

    “The critical thing is that all of this work and technology being created in the developed world allows people in less developed parts of the world to gain ground FASTER”

    make no sense and contradict your point.

    I appreciate you took the time to write that explanation, but it doesn’t address the problem at hand.

  59. Jason Quintana says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 12:42 am

    “When we speak of Free Software, we are referring to Freedom, not price. If it happens to be “free beer,” then fine, but “free speech” is more important.”

    And this is precisely the concept I disagree with. I think that the notion of “software freedom” entails a flawed set of ideas that really DO NOT add up to freedom. I believe that the right to intellectual property, whether it is owned by an individual or a group of shareholders is a critical element of any concept of freedom (along with economic prosperity). People need to have the right to legally dispense with what they have created. If someone (or some company) wants to open source their work, that is great also and I thank them. I (like most people) will just use the stuff that works best for me. I don’t really care if it is a “blob”. Currently what works for me is Ubuntu and a lot of this open source stuff. I appreciate the fact that it exists and I look forward to future versions.

    In any case, I don’t want to clog up Mr. Shuttlesworth’s blog, if you want to email me privately at jquintana@cox.net I’d be glad to continue the discussion.

    – Jason

  60. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 6:04 am

    Jason,

    Thank you for that offer. I accept, and it is appreciated. Will email you this evening; it’s a discussion worth having.

  61. Novell responde Shuttleworth e recebe pedido desculpas « Terramel says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    [...] Mais pode ser lido em: http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/82 [...]

  62. Vigor says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    Now walk outside, take a breath, admire the sky, always remember to wear sunscreen.
    Was anybody injured?
    Thats nice.
    I am going outside now, there is a bird singing and I like its song. And if that isn’t a bird singing, I just may sing a song myself and be happy.

  63. FreeSoftNews » Blog Archive » Shuttleworth responds to openSUSE invitation fallout says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    [...] In an email response to questions about his most recent blog post, Shuttleworth says that his offer is “an invitation to an Open Week, not a criticism of SUSE. [...]

  64. PuhLeas says: (permalink)
    November 29th, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    god… why dont you all just shoot a load all over Marks face… He made a mistake.. If he wanted to do this he could have don eit in the opne and not gone directly to the Devs of Opensuse… He better make sure that he wasnt soliciting novell employees,,, which are SUSE devs as well… Cause his Canical (what ever its called) could be in for it from Novell Lawyers… The same ones that over see the ATT licenses and BSD agreement that you use to develope your OS with.

  65. Microsoft Linux says: (permalink)
    November 30th, 2006 at 12:17 am

    Mark you made many good points in your post to the “Open” Suse mailing list. The tone and content was very balanced and insightful.

    The question I have is who really will use Microsoft/Novell Linux anyways? I mean do they have like .00000001% market share. Personally I don’t know anyone who uses it at all and now even fewer will. It is certainly my hope that we will be talking about them in a few years in the same way we speak of the irrelevant SCO. Bring it on Microvell. Long live real FOSS!!!!

  66. C.R. Conway says: (permalink)
    November 30th, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    I have to agree with what you said in this post. I read your post with the invitation to participate and I didn’t read anything into it other than an invitation to look and, if interested, join… and certainly not as an attempt to get SuSe developers to jump ship (so to speak). While not a developer I am a member of a number of different distributions forums, including both Ubuntu and SuSe, and like to participate in any manner I can, if only as a test subject . The one factor that I’ve noticed that every one seems to be overlooking isn’t that Novell is admitting to having MS IP in the Linux-GNU code base but that MS might be trying to get something INTO it that WOULD qualify as MS IP. The whole purpose of the deal is to increase interoperability, yes? How is that supposed to happen? By MS probably providing some type of access to their IP that would allow such interoperability. Now once that happens, how likely is it that MS will claim that code that has made it out to the rest of us (even in a reverse engineered manner) is the result of, if not directly based on, their IP that supposedly only Novell had access to. How likely is THAT scenario to cause trouble?

  67. Martin says: (permalink)
    December 1st, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Mark,

    Thank you for all the effort you put in Ubuntu, is really well worth! You are a person of the future!

    Best wishes for you and the Ubuntu community.

    Regards,
    Martin

  68. Super Mike says: (permalink)
    December 4th, 2006 at 6:26 am

    I don’t see any problems with what you did. I think it’s an over-reaction.

  69. LivreSansPage » Mark Shuttleworth dans la liste d’openSUSE : stratégie à laquelle tous ne s’associent pas says: (permalink)
    December 9th, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    [...] Modif au 27 nov. 2006 (2) : Shuttleworth a posté un nouveau billet dans son blog pour clarifier la situation à propos de son annonce. S’il prétend avoir voulu dire ce qu’il affirme dans ce nouveau message, alors il s’y est pris plutôt maladroitement, m’est d’avis. De plus, il amalgame encore openSUSE et Novell, ce qui n’est pas la meilleure chose. [...]

  70. Lee says: (permalink)
    December 12th, 2006 at 8:26 am

    Mark Shuttleworth invitation: unprofessional
    Mark Shuttleworth apology: professional
    Ubuntu users (based on comments on this blog): immature

    Examples:
    * I just learned that I’m a rich western kid
    * Users are about to drop Ubuntu because they “heard” it was going to install proprietary software by default
    * Mozilla is evil because of its artwork
    * Some believe it is okay to poach developers on other projects mailing lists
    * Novell is mostly evil simply for associating with the criminal Microsoft (the details of the deal don’t *really* seem to matter to anyone)
    * Novell is evil for taking money (I guess good companies only give money)
    * Everything’s work is “Human Knowledge” that should not be owned by any entity

    Regarding that last item and free software fanatics (only fanatics):
    It seems to me that the “rich western kids” seem to be doing all of the creation of knowledge even though they are using a capitalistic system to feed their families using proceeds from their creations. The poor (eastern?) kids don’t really contribute to “human knowledge” and just want to take every one’s creation for free. So not only do they not produce knowledge, but they can’t feed their families!! I wonder which system is better?? I’ll take the capitalism. If it wasn’t for that, there’d be no computers, and there’d be no internet and certainly no free software. My point is that free software fanatics should be a little more accepting of capitalism, business, and corporations because it would not exist without it. If the anti-corporation people had their way, we’d be waiting for computers to go from trees.

  71. Uncle Che says: (permalink)
    December 16th, 2006 at 2:43 am

    Rich western kids? Get a life. What other Linux distros will send over to Thailand a dozen cds of their distro? They have done it for me, not just once but now three times. I am distributing to my students and some are using it and enjoying it.

    I think Ubuntu is doing more to advance Linux than any other distro out there. Ubuntu works out of the box and has everything you need on one cd install. A lot of hardware just works on the distro. And the support? Community support is awesome. Most questions answered in just a few hours, tops.

    OpenSuse? I thought Suse was charging for their distros or giving a limited version? Didnd’t know you could download the is?, Are they shipping it for free?

  72. dpt says: (permalink)
    March 17th, 2007 at 9:40 am

    There is nothing wrong in providing drivers for hardware. The computer owners have paid for the hardware, the hardware has to work in other OS than MIcrosoft OS. When I purchased my laptop recently, it was “Vista’ ready, they did not say that it was NOT LINUX READY. If I want to run Linux, I shall, and not without wasting my time.
    I am neither rich, nor Western and certainly not a kid. I still love Linux and have loaded Ubuntu. The Internal Card Reader does not work, ENE has no Linux driver for it.
    Novell has provided a back-door entry to Microsoft to the Free world of Linux. I do not like it, I sense trouble for Linux.

  73. Mark Shuttleworth gets quote mined « Limulus says: (permalink)
    June 16th, 2007 at 2:01 am

    [...] “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.” [...]

  74. Eric says: (permalink)
    August 30th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Mark, you did nothing wrong when you made this offer. The negative reaction by some OpenSUSE developers was on the high side of hypocrisy. Every single day they contribute work on OpenSUSE is another day they support the false and meaningless patent claims Microsoft has asserted. Anyone doing code work for Novell as it pertains to Linux is also supporting Microsoft’s IP nonsense. The use of the word OPEN in the distribution’s name should be changed so that they are honest with the end-users who don’t know better.

    I applaud what you tried to do in a place filled with Microsoft shills and opponents of a free Linux. I am certain plenty of developers have since moved on to other distributions whose promise of free (as in speech) still has some meaning. I recently visited the OpenSUSE site and there is very little open about it. The home page reads like a corporate banner where very little discussion is allowed to take place and Novell copyrights fill every single page. There is very little inviting about this distro.

    As one of the leaders of the free Linux movement, your fight against the dangerous monopolistic practices of Microsoft are bound to draw the response from many company shills and ignorant users who continue to misrepresent themselves.

    Ubuntu continues to move forward because it still represents the wishes of thousand of developers over nearly two decades – a Free and easy to use Open Operating System available to all with no strings attached. People are listening… they are greatful… they are using Ubuntu because it’s a great distribution. They are standing up against its’ detractors because they believe in you.

    Thank you for keeping hope alive.

  75. Mighty Linuxz » Shuttleworth: It was an invitation, not a conspiracy says: (permalink)
    November 4th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  76. Boycott Novell » IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 2nd, 2009 - Part 1 says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2009 at 4:25 am

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com… [...]

  77. Novell responde Shuttleworth e recebe pedido desculpas says: (permalink)
    March 16th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    [...] Pediu desculpas a todos que ficaram ofendidos com o convite aos desenvolvedores do OpenSuSE e que sua intenção não era chatear ninguém e agradeceu aos que mantiveram a cabeça fria nos dois lados e mantiveram a discussão focada nos objetivos que compartilham de melhorar a qualidade do Software Livre e garantir que continue sendo amplamente disponível de forma livre. Mais pode ser lido em: http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/82 [...]

  78. Mark Shuttleworth invites OpenSUSE developers to join Ubuntu | Ars Technica says: (permalink)
    November 17th, 2011 at 6:36 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth has written an apology in his [...]