JAN
12
2004

TechCentral on KDE and Novell/SUSE Acquisition

With the KDE development and user communities flourishing more than ever, some people are anxious to drum up panic and drama surrounding corporate plays such as the acquisition of SUSE by Novell. As you might know, SUSE has thus far been a huge KDE believer and by using KDE has benefited from a loyal and enthusiastic Linux desktop userbase of its own. Last year, Richard Seibt CEO of SUSE confirmed this sentiment and pledged to maintain SUSE's strong support for KDE. A recent investigation by TechCentral reveals the same: "SuSE will continue (to operate) as a business unit of its own." said John Phillips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region. "We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux."

With the number of incredible KDE Enterprise features available now and planned for the near future, the robustness and vitality of the KDE community, we can remain confident KDE will be an incontrovertible choice for Novell in the long term as well.

Comments

"We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface"

Novell isn't committed to Ximian, even if Ximian is. I think they are planning something, or they would have said they expected to make Ximan the default user interface. Maybe they will make Ximian polish KDE or port Evolution to it.


By Anonymous at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

> "Maybe they will make Ximian polish KDE or port Evolution to it."

I would love to have Ximian Connector ported as Kontact/Kolab plugin (or better yet, native webDAV support), so that I could access my company's global address book, and group calendar (MS Exchange based).

> "Novell isn't committed to Ximian, even if Ximian is."

I get your overall point, but does that statement really make any sense? :-)


By David K at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

Why should it be ported when we have our own? Thanks to Jan-Pascal van Best there will soon be an exchange-resource for kontact (kdepim 3.3?)


By birdy at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

Novell's interest and focus on the medium term is to remain in business. They have some cash, a good dealer network, some goodwill, some good products. Linux on the server was probably eating away at their already shrinking marketshare. So they join them, rather than get beat from both ends
(MS -><-Linux).

SUSE, from what I understand, is paying their own way. Novell would be foolish to mess around with something they really don't have any experience in.

I suspect that they are just going to watch what happens in the market. They aren't stupid. Take OpenOffice and Mozilla out of the equation, and what does anybody have? What connection do they have with Gnome, or KDE for that matter? Is there going to be an amalgamation of the desktops? I don't think so, but time will tell. Will one or the other become ascendant? Will they both exist as they do now, both vigorous and growing? Once things become more clear, or more muddled (more likely) they will probably make a decision. Or maybe not.

Derek (who notes that the PIM stuff is sponsored by someone other than SUSE)


By Derek Kite at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

Just to clarify (as many people still seem to get it wrong): The PIM stuff is not _sponsored_ by any German governmental entities. The German BSI contracted a few companies (erfrakon, Intevation, Klarälvdalens Datakonsult, who regularly won the public invitation to tender) because the BSI wanted to use the KDE PIM applications, but were missing a few groupware features. That's no sponsoring. Instead it's regular commercial software development. This also shows that commercial software development and Free Software development under the GPL is very well possible. No LGPL is needed for this.

The only thing that one could maybe confuse for sponsoring is that the additions were merged back into KDE (the GPL wouldn't have required them to give back the changes if the BSI would have just used the patched PIM apps internally). But that can't really be called sponsoring either. If they had not given back their changes then they would have had to continue paying the companies to port new features and bug fixes from the official PIM apps (i.e. from KDE CVS) to their patched versions. This would have cost a lot of money. Making sure that the changes are reintegrated into KDE saved them this money.

And FWIW, all participants of the Osnabrück Meeting (http://dot.kde.org/1073950883/) paid their travel and accommodation expenses themselves. So again no sponsoring.

Please don't confuse sponsoring with commercial Free Software development by companies like the aforementioned. Instead use this example to counter the argument that commercial software development and GPL contradict each other.


By Ingo Klöcker at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

Thanks for pointing that out. Nevertheless, you've got to give it some credit. This is commercial software that people obviously see a real need for and have funded. It shows the GPL business model works. Qt also shows that the proprietary business model works. What is Ximian's business model again?


By David at Wed, 2004/01/14 - 6:00am

I don''t believe that in a long run its viable business strategy to have focus on 2 desktop enviroments. One of them will drop into the "alternative" maybe even "unsuported" category.


By magneto at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

What if there are active developers and an active support community for two desktops? As there is right now. What if there are consultants and service operations that sell solutions based on one or the other, and who contribute back to the respective projects? As there is right now. What if there are large corporations that fund developers, contribute code and back the respective projects, again, as it is right now? What if there are distributions that put focus and polish on one or the other, including both, but defaulting to one or the other, as it is right now?

Right now there are viable businesses doing work in the desktop area, using one or the other desktops. Kinda like there are viable businesses that use or prefer php, others perl, others java.

It sounds like a healthy vibrant marketplace to me.

Derek


By Derek Kite at Tue, 2004/01/13 - 6:00am

Don't get me wrong i don't except KDE to die quite the opposite. But, how many companies you can name which have focus (services, solutions & software) on both KDE and Gnome?

What i am saying is, Novell will be (if all goes well) one company (no more suse or ximian) whit focus on one enviroment.

Of course if freedesktop.org goes forward well we don't have to worry about this shit anymore.


By magneto at Wed, 2004/01/14 - 6:00am

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