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Chris Stone’s message to Darl McBride

Mar 23, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Chris Stone reiterates Novell's position as a Linux champion

Many of you, I know, are at Novell’s BrainShare conference this week, although I’m not. Some of you may have gone to the Open Source Business Conference  (OSBC) in San Francisco last week. Not too many, though, would have attended both, so there’s little chance for you to personally compare Chris Stone’s remarks during the keynote sessions at each show.

Due to the vagaries of deadlines, I’m writing this issue before Stone’s (and Jack Messman’s) Monday opening at BrainShare (which I’ll most likely talk about in next week’s newsletters) but I can tell you about Stone’s remarks to the OSBC last week.

Jumping right to the juicy stuff first, Stone managed to take a few swipes at ex-Novellian Darl McBride (who has lots of other ex-Novell employees working for him at SCO). In the most widely quoted bit, Stone said: “Sorry, Darl, Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet, and you didn’t invent the Linux kernel or intellectual property law. We believe Unix is not Linux, and Linux is a free and open distribution. It should be and it always will be.” Regarding the seemingly endless round of lawsuits, claims and counter-claims over licensing and intellectual property, Stone got a bit testy: “The problem is we’re focused on all this crap. That isn’t the issue, Darl. Licensing isn’t the issue.”

What’s interesting is that, in the span of one year, Novell (as personified by Messman and Stone) has gone from not knowing a lot about Linux (Messman called it an “immature operating system” at last year’s BrainShare) to being the open source platform’s foremost shield against the depredations of SCO. That’s quite an epiphany.

Stone also defended Novell’s purchase of Linux-based technology companies SuSE and Ximian and attempted to re-iterate the NetWare-will-always-be-with-us mantra when he said: “We still support NetWare; we still sell it. Linux is complementary to NetWare because it gives customers choice.” Yet there’s still that lingering worry as to why an operating system company feels its customers need to be able to choose a second, competing operating system.

Still, there’s a lot more to open source than just Linux (as the readers of my Windows Networking Tips newsletter – – are learning this week) and the bulk of Stone’s remarks were about the services and applications that open source offers on multiple platforms. We’ll look at those remarks in the next issue.