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Stone: Linux is a crusade to free users from oppression of Mordor and Sauron

Dec 16, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Open source magazine interviews Chris Stone

“Consulting Times” is an online magazine for the open source movement. Last week, it published a wide-ranging, typically irreverent interview with Chris Stone about Novell’s recent moves to embrace open source.

Read the whole interview (link below) if you want to be enlightened about what Novell has done and is planning, but I’ll just give you a couple of “juicy bits” to whet your appetite.

When asked if users could potentially do things on Novell’s future Linux suite that they cannot on Windows, Stone replied: “They can afford to feed their children.  Linux is about choice, freedom of applications, using software that you can get from anywhere, lower costs (hardware and software).  It’s a social movement, a crusade to free the users from the oppression of Mordor and Sauron.” (Maybe Chris had jetted off to New Zealand for the early premiere of “The Return of the King”!)

While Novell spokespeople have worked hard to minimize the antagonism of Microsoft over the whole “move to Linux” strategy, Stone appears to have just as much anti-Redmond zeal as former Novell CEO Ray Noorda did in his heyday. That bodes well for those of us who need exciting quotes to write about, but it could signal trouble ahead should Gates, Ballmer and Co., perceive Novell as a real threat to their operating system hegemony.

Stone was then asked about the bottom line (I did say that “Consulting Times” is a staid business journal). Specifically, Stone was asked – “Some observers believe the best thing you can do for yourselves, your shareholders and the open source communities is to become a profitable company…[but] it’s easy to speculate that Ximian, SuSE and Novell were not profitable companies at time(s) of acquisition. Where’s the synergy?” In what can only be considered an obscure reference, Stone replied “…do not pass go, do not collect $200.” What did he mean? Would Novell try to create a monopoly? Or would all of its execs be going “directly to jail”? Neither strikes me as good corporate practice.

Read the entire interview, though, before forming an opinion. For what it’s worth, the tone – to me – says that Stone is comfortable with what Novell is doing and has done and is upbeat about the future. With Nterprise Services for Linux just about to ship (next week, according to rumor) we’ll soon see if Novell has a good vision of where this whole Linux and open source fascination will be taking the company.