Home > linux, pleasantries > Why Novell (openSUSE's) so-called "deal" with Microsoft does not matter

Why Novell (openSUSE's) so-called "deal" with Microsoft does not matter

My last review of openSUSE 11.0 generated mixed comments, but one of the recurring themes was disapproval of my recommendation because SUSE is the “enemy” of Linux, simply because it struck a “deal” with Microsoft.

I am no expert in legal matters, but from what I can find, it seems that Novell legitimized Microsoft’s claim on some work in exchange for being allowed to use it.

For one thing, such things are common in the world. Take, for example, that very favourite of Linuxes, Mandriva, which packs its One and PowerPack versions with proprietary software (is that not also against the “Open” and “Free” nature of Linux? And Ubuntu Launchpad also appears to be proprietary. So much for principles.

Remember also that there are few companies actually as committed to Linux as Novell. Who gave us the best enterprise power Linux (SUSE), given that Fedora is no more than a test pad for Red Hat distro? Who gave us the first way to use Microsoft Office’s new *.docx (OOXML) format in OpenOffice? Who is one of the largest contributors to the Linux kernel?

The answer to all those is Novell. And their SUSE line of OS is no short either.

In the end, it does not even matter whether, if, how, and why the “deal” of non-aggression was made. As long as we have the choice, the freedom, and the peace of mind that results from a good distro, we must feel free to use, nay support, Novell’s products.

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