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Novell Responds to Pfeifle Opinion Article

Nov 05, 2005, 00:00 (64 Talkback[s])

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

An opinion article submitted to Linux Today earlier today accused Novell with implementing cuts in its SUSE Linux division, an accusation that has raised concern amongst community members and Novell itself.

Novell, the article stated, is laying off at least one KDE core developer employed by SUSE. The entire Evolution development team, currently based in India, is also slated to be dissolved, with only one maintainer left in place for product maintenance. Hula development is said to be cut completely; Mono development is also affected; what the future holds for the Novell Linux Desktop product is still unknown, according to Kurt Pfeifle, the author of the submitted article.

The article speculates that Novell's Linux business strategy appears to be mirroring that of Red Hat, Inc., with more of a focus on server and enterprise customers.

When contacted for comment, however, Novell representatives categorically denied that they were making significant changes to their Linux strategy. Bruce Lowry, Director, Global Public Relations, stated that "if you have five fingers on your hand, then less than a handful of engineers were laid off at the Nurmberg facility."

Lowry would not comment on specific employee names or functionalities that were let go. But he vehemently denied reports that Novell is out to decimate the SUSE Linux division. "Those rumors, those reports, are simply not accurate."

Lowry referred to the points made earlier in the week when the initial layoff announcement was made. He emphasized that Novell will continue to focus on "data center, desktop, workstation, resource management, and identity" core businesses. The desktop, he added, is a key part of Novell's Linux strategy moving forward.

Novell has spoken at length to other media sources, including eWeek's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. That article is linked below.

eWeek: SuSE Users' Panic Unfounded

"Rumors circulating that Novell is going to kill off its popular Linux desktop lines are completely false.

"A Linux Today story, which asked the rhetorical question 'Why has Novell management decided to discontinue their entire SuSE Linux branded desktop and workstation product line?' seems to have been the source of these stories.

"Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, Novell Inc.'s director of marketing for Linux and open source, said, 'Novell has a Linux desktop leadership position with NLD [Novell Linux Desktop] and SuSE 10, and we intend to keep the pedal down hard...'"

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