No licensing changes planned for Ximian, says Novell

By   |  August 11, 2003

Novell\’s announcement early last week that it had acquired Linux desktop provider Ximian raised a number of questions in the open source community and some fears that the takeover would change the ways that some of the products distributed by Ximian would be licensed. In an email interview with Tectonic Novell South Africa\’s Jesse Pretorius clears up some of these concerns and explains immediate plans for the Ximian products.

Will the takeover affect the licensing of any of the products currently distributed by Ximian?
All existing GPL projects will remain under the GPL. Novell will not be changing the licensing of any of the open source projects. Mono and Gnome, specifically are owned by the open source community. They were
never owned by Ximian and are not owned by Novell. The Ximian group within Novell will continue to be major contributors to the projects as they have been in the past.

Are there any plans to offer a split offering much like the OpenOffice/StarOffice setup?
The existing license will be respected. It\’s a little early at the moment to give an indication of what the business plan will be in the future. We have some thoughts and ideas, and now we have the experts
(Miguel & Nat) to help us validate and bring them to the market in an appropriate way. For now, however, Ximian operates as it always has and the software is delivered in the same way as it has been.

Novell has made suggestions that it it cutting back on its NetWare development. Does this, together with the Ximian acquisition, suggest we will see a \”linuxWare\” in the near future?
You won\’t see LinuxWare, but you will see NetWare 7 giving customers the choice of using a Linux or NetWare kernel.

What does the takeover mean for Novell?
The acquisition of Ximian is as important for the Linux Community as it is for Novell. For Novell it brings the expertise of the Ximian development team and the vision of Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. For the Linux community it adds the weight of Novell\’s supporting community providing a wealth of experience all the way from direction-setting consulting to training, deployment and support.

Novell Ximian Services will continue to be active within the open source community in their existing projects, The GNOME Project and The Mono Project, and will complement Novell\’s existing open source initiatives.

Ximian\’s Red Carpet, which updates software for linux desktops and servers, will complement and converge over time with Novell\’s ZENworks Suite where Novell will extend the functionality to include directory and policy-based management for the linux enterprise.

Ximian Desktop, a desktop environment for linux which provides familiarity and compatibility with Windows desktops, will continue to be developed and Ximian Evolution will be expanded to support Novell GroupWise in addition to it\’s existing support of Microsoft Exchange, Sun ONE messaging servers.

Novell\’s goal is to reduce the barriers to Linux adoption in the enterprise and we believe that this acquisition is a step in that direction.

Jesse Pretorius is Systems Enginner at Novell South Africa

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