Novell Seeks to ‘Unbend’ MS ‘Facts’ About Open Source

In a move to diffuse Microsoft’s “Get the Facts” campaign that openly slams open source, Novell has launched a Web site bent on “unbending the truth.”

This comes at the same time that open-source advocate Chris Stone, Novell’s vice chairman, office of the chief executive officer, unexpectedly left the company to “pursue other opportunities.”

Could the two events somehow be tied together? Was Stone kicked out of office? What will this double whammy mean for Novell’s open-source strategy?

Stone Says So-Long

Steve O’Grady of research firm Red Monk told LinuxInsider that he is not surprised that Novell would take a jab at Microsoft and its anti-open-source rhetoric, but he is shocked that Stone has left Novell.

“I don’t know what would prompt this,” O’Grady said. “I thought that some of the reorganization over there was complete. A significant executive departure at this point was not something I anticipated.”

Novell Mocks Microsoft

Meanwhile, the open-source initiatives that Stone is widely credited with pushing will continue without him. Novell’s new “Unbending the Truth” Web site is an all out accusation against the veracity of Microsoft’s “Get the Facts” campaign.

“Recently, Microsoft has been challenging the suitability of Linux for the enterprise, bending the truth quite a bit to make it fit their view of the world,” Novell’s counter attack on the new site reads.

“This site is dedicated to unbending the truth and setting the recordstraight. Take the time to explore the facts, and you’ll understand whyMicrosoft is challenging Linux, and why Linux is often a better choice than Windows for satisfying the business needs of enterprises.”

Novell is also highlighting some truths it alleges Microsoft “failed tomention,” including excerpts from the very same Yankee Group reportsMicrosoft cites in its “Facts” campaign.

Novell’s bottom line, of course, is that enterprises should not only choose a Linux solution, they should choose Novell’s Linux solution.

Tightly Twisted Knot

O’Grady said both sides of this open-source tiff have cherry pickedinformation from analyst reports to suit their cases, and Novell’sresponse is very “careful and studied.”

“These types of exercises ultimately don’t benefit customers too much,” he said. “We have significant issues with the whole ‘Get the Facts’ notion because that implies that people didn’t have the facts before, and I don’t think that’s true.”

Stone had responsibility for engineering, product management and alliances for Novell and was instrumental in the company’s acquisition of SuSE Linux. No successor has been named.

“It is with some regret that I have decided to leave Novell and pursue other professional opportunities,” Stone said. “I am proud of my work and accomplishments at Novell, but now is the time in my career to do something else, and I look forward to new challenges.”

Open-Source Strategy

So what will all this mean for Novell’s open-source strategy? It’s too soon to tell. For now, Novell Chairman and CEO Jack Messman will oversee Stone’s responsibilities.

“We thank Chris for his service to Novell over the past two- and one-half years,” Messman said. “He made significant contributions to changes in our strategic direction, and his vision and energy will be missed. We wish him well.”

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