Open Source Gives Users Choice - InformationWeek

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3/17/2004
10:46 AM
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Open Source Gives Users Choice

Novell vice chairman Chris Stone offers a pragmatic view of the open-source market, calling it "another way" to make money selling software.

While he didn't get a rousing reception from the crowd at his early-morning keynote speech Tuesday at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco, Novell's vice chairman Chris Stone did offer a pragmatic view of the open-source market, calling it "another way" to make money selling software. After his talk, Networking Pipeline caught up with Stone to get a few additional insights on what Novell can bring to the open source table, and to ask how much time users should spend worrying about the threats of lawsuits from the SCO Group.

Networking Pipeline: What is Novell's value-add to the open source business?

Chris Stone: Things like file, print, directory services, security, software distribution, patch management -- those are all things you can make money at. And those are the things we've been building for 15 years. So if you substitute the [NetWare] OS with Linux, you can still complement it with all those services up the stack.

So that's what we're doing. And you can mix and match -- you can mix and match proprietary code and open source code, and you can charge for the open source code, or not. What people really want is the customer service. Now NetWare users can move to Linux, and get the same things.

Networking Pipeline: Are NetWare users reluctant to move to Linux?

Stone: We thought that since it was scary for us [Novell] to move from NetWare to Linux, we were worried how the customers would be. The reality of their reaction was -- "it's about time."

Networking Pipeline: Are Linux users and the Linux community spending too much time worrying about potential lawsuits from the SCO Group?

Stone: I think they used to be. If you'd asked me three months ago, I'd have said yeah, you're focusing way too much time on this. Now, I think most people don't bring it up anymore. Bright people have finally realized this is a waste of time.

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