Enterprise Linux Log

Aug 8 2007   2:04PM GMT

LinuxWorld: User Q&A with Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian

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There wasn’t as much clapping as I thought there’d be. What I mean is; is when a user stepped up to the microphone to grill Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian about Microsoft, the GPLv3 and those infamous “coupons,” there wasn’t the zealous explosion of applause that I had become accustomed to over the years.

There was some, to be sure, but the response was most definitely more subdued than I thought it would be when Hovsepian opened his keynote with the revelation that he’d be taking questions from the packed hall. In fact, I at first thought maybe he’d have donned various pieces of plate mail as he spoke at length about Linux’s rise to dominance in the data center. This never came to be, and the navy sport coat remained in place; apparently all this executive needed to deflect the four — yes four — questions from a room that held hundreds of sitting and standing Linux geeks.

Anyway, the Q&A…

Q -With so many distros, all with multiple interfaces and APIs specific to each distro, how will you get your first point about standardizing ISVs done?

Ron Hovsepian: That is our tech challenge; we need to leverage the bodies that exist already. We don’t need to create new ones, but we need to take advantage of what the Linux Standard Base has already created. Most of the parts are here but the earnest effort to work with ISVs to get them to standardize on what they are comfortable with remains.

Q – Are you talking to other stakeholders inside of the distro side of things, as well as components?

A- We are having real time conversations now with different partners, and obviously this will be a vendor neutral application driven by people in this room. It is a critical success factor for entire market

Q- You stated that Novell will ship GPL3? Then how will Novell support MS coupons and customer s with GPL3 software when Microsoft has explicitly said that they will not support or endorse GPL3? (pause for applause — Jack)
A – Fundamentally what this relationship is, is that as a customer goes to redeem certificates the customer calls up Novell and redeems, and then with that certificate we will give them the most current release we are shipping to the market — including GPLv3 code. What Microsoft feels is they are not a legal party to the contract. In its simplest form it is a coupon that customers redeem and we’ll deliver to them latest distro on the shelf at that time.

Q – What is the official Novell position on OpenDocument?
A – Life is a series of steps. Novell’s position is that we absolutely want the OpenDocument format (ODF). That is our primary sort key. We support the Open XML translator, and we will talk with whatever group we can get to get things done. We must separate the religious argument and take whatever steps we can take to get customers over to the ODF approach. We support ODF’ that is first sort criteria. We also support OpenXML translators to get you to ODF over time.

More to come!

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