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New OpenSUSE Foundation will still be dominated by Novell

One of the questions that has yet to be completely answered by Attachmate’s pending acquisition of Novell is what will happen to its associated community Linux, openSUSE. Some people in the open-source community, including my friends, Pamela Jones of Groklaw and Andrew “Andy” Updegrove, a founding partner at the law-firm, Gesmer Updegrove, are concerned that Attachmate/Novell will be calling the shots in the post-buyout openSUSE.

Much as I hate to disagree with two people I respect and like so much, I don’t see why they think that there’s a big deal is here.

Jones points out that “There’s more than one stakeholder in the OpenSUSE foundation being set up, and you’ll see that discussed in the log. Trademarks have economic value, and if the community is helping in building that value, I think it’s logical that they should gain a share of ownership rights so as to get some share in that value and some say in what happens with the trademark.”

She’s right, of course. The other stakeholders should get something more than a virtual pat on the head, but they won’t. This was also the case before Attachmate arrived on the scene. When push came to shove Novell has controlled openSUSE since the day it was first spun out.

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