Novell is now officially in big trouble for its deal with Microsoft. It may have helped it financially initially, but it earned the ire of the open source community. Now, the Free Software Foundation is mulling blocking Novell from using its code in future versions.
That’s not the end of the road for Novell, since it can still keep on developing on its own, but then that costs R&D money, loads of it.
Two possible scenarios come up. If FSF succeeds, then Novell is smothered, and goes bankrupt / is bought by Microsoft (they’ll call it ‘bailing out’). Thus Microsoft will win with its ‘Embrace, Extend, Exterminate’ approach.
Or Novell might actually spend on R&D and create its own breed of Linux, which effectively splits the open source community. And if other major players like Red Hat start doing that too, then Linux is cooked – divided into multitudes of fragmented pieces.
I’d initially given a bit of cautious support to the Novell-Microsoft deal, but now it certainly seems that it was just an extension of Microsft’s FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Destruction) plans. It’s not too late for Novell to back out, give up the money guys, and come back to pure open source.