Novell Cool Solutions

Mea culpa



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March 21, 2007 3:09 pm

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Guest blog entry from Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions.

Last week, in an interview with ITBusinessEdge, I gave a quote that said, “I do want to tell you that Novell is a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation.” At the time I made this statement, I believed it to be true, based on information I had received from individuals inside Novell.

However, since that interview, I have learned that I made a mistake when making that claim. Peter Brown of the Free Software Foundation issued a public statement saying, “Novell last gave funds to the FSF in October 2005, when they donated $5K as part of FSF Corporate Patron program. Since their deal with Microsoft was announced we have not asked them to renew as a patron, nor would we. Novell is not ‘a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation.'”

Further research inside Novell confirms that Peter Brown is correct and I spoke in error. I want to make it clear that I had no intention of making false claims or providing misinformation to the market. I simply said what I believed to be true. Now that I have learned my statement is not true, I want to correct that error.

Thus, I want to apologize to the Free Software Foundation and to the open source community for making this misrepresentation. I should have double-checked the accuracy of my information before speaking, and for that, I offer no excuse.

Novell values its membership in the open source community, and as a member of the marketing team at Novell, I appreciate the opportunity that I personally have to participate in open discussion with the community. Part of an open and intellectually honest discussion is to admit when you’re wrong and accept responsibility. That’s what I’m doing today, and I hope we can continue a fact-based and open conversation in the future.

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Categories: Expert Views, General, PR Blog

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4 Comments

  1. By:Roger

    I’m sure that most people in the open source community will accept this with good grace, but you need to publish this statement outside of the Novell site.

    Novell is also going to have to be a lot more carfull in the future as any error is being jumped on as an indication that Novell is miss-using the open source community and this is messing up the good work that Novell is doing.

  2. The “Covenant to Customers” says that “Microsoft reserves the right to update (including discontinue) the foregoing covenant pursuant to the terms of the Patent Cooperation Agreement…”

    Under what circumstances may Microsoft discontinue this committment?

    The Covenant also excludes “Clone Products”. What’s the definition of “Clone Product”, and what components of SUSE Linux Enterprise qualify as “Clone Products”?

  3. By:Charles

    First, Commendations for stepping up to the plate on what seems clearly an unintentional error.

    Now to the important issue: Where is the entire agreement published? Nothing Novel does will begin to restore public trust until the agreement is fully vetted. Worse, not having such a ‘groundbreaking’ partnership in the sunshine feeds uncertainty and doubt: how could it do otherwise?

    So the question is: When?

    Disclosure: I do not run Linux or Mac

  4. By:Charles Durst

    Do you care to restate the other part of your comment:

    “We’re one of a number of large corporate entities that contribute to the FSF. … We have lawyers in the room contributing to the GPL v3 draft process, … I want to make it extremely clear that Novell is … committed to helping develop a version of the GPL that enables [the Microsoft patent] agreement to continue.”

    I am far more offended by the idea that Novell, to serve it’s own selfish purposes, is planning to use its money and lawyers to derail any attempts by the FSF to close the loophole they abused. I don’t care how much money Novell did or didn’t give the FSF. But I can’t believe that you’d try to claim that that money gives you the right to hijack the entire organization’s goals to suit your bone-headed business decisions.

Pingbacks

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  4. From: Novell’s Steinman Misspeaks on FSF Contributions - Open for Business

  5. From: James Governor’s Monkchips » links for 2007-03-22

  6. From: Novell: the truth unveiled, software patents are part of the deal | Commercial Open Source Software

  7. From: 451 CAOS Theory » 451 CAOS Links - 2007.03.21

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