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Planning the BrainShare 2007 General Sessions (part one)


January 23, 2007 1:37 pm



n_red.jpgIt’s official. I have been assigned to plan the general sessions for BrainShare 2007.

Along with my colleague Clint Carroll, it’s my job to make the general sessions at BrainShare blow the doors off of any BrainShare keynote you have seen before. Clint and I are diving into the task with zeal.

Having already seen the stage comps from the production company, we already have a lot of cool ideas for what we want to put on stage.

Before I get started on sharing some of our ideas, I want to hear from some BrainShare alumni about what you want more of and less of out of the BrainShare general sessions. So please, lecture and confabulate, advise and rant, invent and inspire, let loose, open up, and tell me what you think Novell needs to do this year in the general sessions. In other words, please comment.

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Novell Open Audio: Live at BrainShare?


January 8, 2007 4:41 pm



We’re considering doing a couple “Live” shows for Novell Open Audio at Novell BrainShare 2007.
Two questions for our listeners: Should we? And if so, who do you want us to interview?

I’ll post a little more about some of my BrainShare plans coming up soon. (Apologies about the blog silence, BTW. My life beyond Novell has been a bit tumultuous lately.) If you’re interested in registering for BrainShare, click here.

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December 12, 2006 4:46 pm



As many of my readers know, the community manager for Ubuntu, Jono Bacon, is a good friend of mine. One thing I love about Jono is that he’s a level-headed thinker–especially on issues that can stoke the flames of passion among the free software community. His recent post “Sensationalism takes a choke-hold” shows that clearly as he pleads for some sanity in response to a poorly researched Groklaw article about Novell “forking”

Now one of my favorite Linux-enthusiast journalists, Steven Vaughan-Nichols, weighs in on the matter, as well. Perhaps I can add some fact-check on the matter while strengthening Jono’s orginal point about falling for the diviside-and-conquer tactic that is playing out in the community.

There are some who claim that Microsoft entered into the Novell deal as a divide-and-conquer strategy. To wit, recently the founder of Ubuntu and leader of Ubuntu’s backing company Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth used an openSUSE mailing list to recruit openSUSE community of hackers over to Ubuntu. This mis-step was quickly identified by many members of the openSUSE and free software community(ies) as divisive, and possibly playing right into Micrsoft’s hands. (Please note, I use this event as a way to illuminate the issue, not to project any ill feelings toward Mr. Shuttleworth, as much of the backlash could easily be argued to have been equally overblown. For your consideration, I link to a rather well-balanced summary article about the issue.) The point is that some of the loud protests against the Novell-Microsoft agreement (and, no, I do not overlook the agreement itself) have created a rift in the community where facts are unimportant, and conspiracy claims are king. Somewhere, a monkeyboy is smiling.

To Groklaw’s claim that, “There will be a Novell edition of and it will support Microsoft OpenXML,” I submit this fact:

  • There was already a Novell Edition of In fact, those with any memory at all will remember “, the Ximian Edition.”

Michael Meeks’ team at Novell is often said to be the largest team contributing to OOo outside of Sun. The kind of large sub-projects that they have contributed are not easy to integrate quickly into upstream, and so, Michael’s team has been managing a minor-branch version ever since their Ximian days. However, they submit all of their contributions under the same license that upstream uses (and they continue to do so). Groklaw’s claim overlooked this, and in so doing, it perpetuates divisiveness through further misunderstanding. (Again, allow me to acknowledge that I fully recognize that it was not Groklaw who orginally opened this Pandora’s box. I cite it here as another example for why a monkeyboy would be having a good knee-slap right now. And, while we’re still within the parentheses, I remind my readers that the opinions expressed or implied in this blog are mine alone and not my employer’s.)

Whatever your feelings about the Micrsoft-Novell deal, none of us should let our passion for free software to precipitate the spawning of unsubstantiated claims or the recasting of history in order to construct the telling signs of a thinly-veiled conspiracy. It ventures dangerously close to becoming an attack on open source developers–actual people–who don’t deserve such contempt in light of their contributions to the free software meme pool .

To finish this short post, let’s put a finer point on it by examining a recent accusation from “Beranger,” who recently linked back to my post on VBA Macros in Calc (from the July 17th-released Novell Edition of Open and opined that Novell may have planted an IP bomb inside of the VBA Macro execution code. To some, this may seem a righteous and deserved attack on Novell. However, it’s not an effective attack on Novell management at all. Rather, it directs unsubstaniated suspicion about the integrity of Michael Meeks and his team. In other words, it is a personal attack, and it comes simply because Michael and team happen to work for Novell. Thankfully, it is a rare few who would stoop to this approach in order to voice their objection to the Novell-Microsoft agreement.

So, back to the primary point: the important thing to remember, Neo, is that there is no fork.

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NOA: Linux Kernel Scaling now online


November 17, 2006 7:28 am



The new Novell Open Audio is now online for inspection. It features Kurt Garloff and Hannes Reinecke explaining new scaling features in the Linux kernel.

Also, we are finally cutting over to the new Novell Open Audio site today, so please try out the comment feature.

Next week we will post the Open Enterprise Server 2 edition, featuring over 45 minutes of Jason Williams explaining all the exciting new stuff. It’s huuuuuge.

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Microsoft, Novell, and Novell Open Audio


November 3, 2006 8:55 am



A small flood of requests to get an interview on the Microsoft/Novell announcement has begun to fill my inbox. I will be working today to put together a special edition for Novell Open Audio.

I am not sure who I will have as a guest yet, but if there was ever a time for listeners to provide their questions, it is now.

Here are some ways that you can get your questions in:

  • Comment on this blog post.
  • Leave us a voicemail via Skype. Our Skype ID is “novellopenaudio”
  • Send an email to Audio attachements are especially good.
  • Voice mail us at our North American toll free number: 800-218-1400

I will try to use as many questions from the community as I can.

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Microsoft and Novell, Working Together…Say, What?!


November 3, 2006 5:42 am



Tux embracing Windows This afternoon [Nov 2] was the first I learned about what I see as a massive announcement: Microsoft agrees to collaborate with Novell to make their software interoperate with Linux.

Beg your pardon? Novell and Microsoft sharing the love? Despite the eerie feeling that something has gone horribly wrong with the space-time continuum, this makes a lot of sense if you know Ron Hovsepian at all. The first time I ever heard Ron Hovsepian speak, he was on stage before the entire North American sales force. He was brand new to Novell. I expected the usual, “I did this and I did that” kind of talk as his introduction. Instead, Ron told a story about the first customer he ever worked with in his life, and that he could still call on that customer today. Then he cited the phone number from memory. Ron’s point? It’s not about him, or anyone else in that room. It’s about serving our customers. (I liked him immediately.)

Since his time at Novell, Ron has been working to change Novell’s systems and methods to be about the customers. Throughout his steady rise to become Novell’s chief executive, that’s been his steady campaign. So it was no surprise to me when, during the press conference web cast, Ron responded to a question about how this big announcement came about by saying that he started it back in April. He called a former customer of his, now working in a senior role at Microsoft, and asked him to help him get the two companies to set aside all the old rivalries (20 years!) and do what is right for our mutual customers.

Yes, it’s a huge day for Novell, for SUSE Linux, and for open source software. And, for Microsoft. But moreso for the businesses who simply want Linux/OSS and Windows to work well together.

Expect more from me on what this is all about from the technology and community side–there is a lot more to discuss. But for now, I use this post to fulfill a promise made so long ago that it’s almost forgotten: the much-delayed post about Ron Hovsepian becoming Novell’s new CEO.

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Feed Update Notifications through Instant Messaging


October 31, 2006 11:47 am



A while back, Jon Strickland wrote a Cool Solutions article on how to enable RSS feed updates to notify you via your instant messenger client.

If you have an RSS feed, such as a blog or podcast, that you regularly monitor for changes, this is kind of a cool tip to check out.

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Automate Banshee Updates


October 30, 2006 6:27 am



Okay, time to finish off the “How to Update Banshee” posts. The Mighty Aaron Bockover has put up a repository for SLED10 and another for openSUSE 10.2 (openSUSE 10.2 is still being developed).

  • If you followed my previous steps on buidling banshee from source, you have to uninstall all the packages before adding these. This is as easy as using “sudo make uninstall ” on each of the source folders from which you previously did the install, but going in reverse order. (If you did not save the source install folders, then you have a bigger problem–same as a couple of my systems–that I have yet to work out how to fix.)
  • Remember that on SLED10 this is not officially supported by Novell, so this is not for production deployments.


1. Add the Banshee Update Repository to your Update Lists
Add Banshee Installation Repository

  1. Start YaST2, and open the “Installation Source” tool
  2. Add a new HTTP installation source
  3. In “Server Name,” enter “”
  4. In “Directory on Server” enter “SLED-10/”
  5. Click OK
  6. Import the crypto certificate when presented
  7. Click Finish to close and save the added repository

(click the thumbnail at right to see interfaces)

2. Banshee PackagesSelect the Banshee packages to Install/Update

  1. Start YaST2, and open the “Software Management” tool
  2. Select the following packages to Install or Update
    1. banshee
    2. banshee-engine-gst
    3. banshee-engine-helix
    4. banshee-plugins-DAAP
    5. banshee-plugins-default
    6. banshee-plugins-extra
    7. helix-dbus-server
    8. libipoddevice
    9. ipod-sharp

(click the thumbnail at right to see interfaces)

Technical Issues

  1. Main menu often locks up after installing the packages.
  2. Banshee start up does not complete on the first attempt.
  3. If you did my previous method for compiling banshee from source, Banshee may crash on each subsequent starts.
  4. Others? Please comment below.

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Please Help Us Test the New Novell Open Audio Site


October 20, 2006 4:28 pm



The new Novell Open Audio site is online, but we have not replaced the old site with it, because we’re not sure it’s 100% ready to go.

So, I am asking any willing members of our listener community to help us test it out. We’re looking for suggestions on the look and feel, and whether all the interactions work well or not.

If you find any issues, please let me know by commenting on this post. Thanks for your help!

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SLED10 Deployment Tips Wiki


October 19, 2006 10:20 am



Thanks to Novell Open Audio listener Mike Petersen, the Cool Solutions wiki now has an initial collection of articles about deploying SLED10.

Says Mike: “Just listened to the Survey results show and noticed that you may do a show about Deploying SLED10. Well, I had a guide on my site that had some tips ‑ but I now decided to move it to Novell’s Wiki so other admins can edit or add to it.”

The coolest thing about wiki is that it’s community property, so anyone can add or modify content on it.

Erin and I did a BrainShare session on using wiki and implementing wiki, and we posted the accompanying how-to guides on…wait for it…on the wiki!

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