From LinuxWorld: Messman's found his mojo
- By Jack Vaughan
Novell head Jack Messman kicked off LinuxWorld Expo in New York City today
with a keynote address in which he told attendees that his company was prepared
to wager its future on open-source software. He spotlighted Novell's recent
moves, Linux benefits, some Linux shortcomings and the general industry need to
indemnify users of Linux products.
Chairman and CEO Messman admitted Novell was short on Linux capabilities not
too long ago. He said the company's recent Linux-related acquisitions -- notably
Ximian and SuSe -- have helped to infect Novell's army of developers with ''the
His comments on liability issues come in the wake of systems house SCO's
increasing efforts to assert patents on open-source Linux. Messman described SCO
in passing as ''another Utah-based company.'' Novell is one of a handful of
companies that have pledged to indemnify users against suits related to the
ownership of the Linux software they buy.
''Vendors have provided indemnification for years. Why should they expect
anything less now?'' he asked. ''We need to do a better job of explaining the
intellectual property protections inherent in the open-source model,'' he
continued. Messman said there was no indication that SCO's threats had slowed
Linux sales, but that there was no way to measure if Linux growth may have been
affected as corporate CIOs paused to review these events.
Messman said Novell will work with others in industry to improve Linux on the
desktop. There is particular traction in foreign governments to support such
systems, he noted. Messman said the surfeit of Linux patches and updates
represent an opportunity for Novell.
''Open source is all about change,'' he said, adding that a vendor that can
help manage such change can provide substantial value. Novell does not, in
effect, sell ''free software,'' but instead ''sells a service that helps CIOs
manage Linux in the enterprise,'' he noted.
Messman said Novell's now has a significant position as a protector of the
open-source flame. ''We will not mess up,'' he vowed.
For more Linux news, go to ADT LinuxWorld News Page
Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.