Almost 10 months ago, I wrote the post, "Dear China, Microsoft Wants to Charge You for Air Too" and now Novell follows up with its own plan to charge China for air. The Chinese assume that since Linux is open source that it means that it is less capitalistic and less money driven.

OK. Now let's see if you can get them to believe that.

The conversation will go something like this:

Novell: Hi, we're Novell--we represent the open source operating system, Linux.

China: Great. You did know that Red Hat and Microsoft both have already been here, didn't you?

Novell: Yes, of course. Our version of Linux is better than Red Hat's and we have an agreement with Microsoft. [Giggling in the background]

China: Microsoft? But aren't they a monopolistic, greed-based, capitalist company bent on world domination--umm, you know like Communism without the monopoly or greed things. [Giggling]

Novell: Yeah, but our agreement with Microsoft is to protect our customers from any patent infringement caused by Linux.

China: So, using Novell's SUSE Linux, we'll be protected from patent infringement? Red Hat gives us the same deal--Ubuntu does too, I think. What's the advantage of using your version when we can get it for free and ignore patent infringement anyway? After all, we're the biggest software pirating country in the world.

Novell: Yeah, but you should use us're Novell and our production software is only a little behind the curve on innovation.

China: Yeah, OK. You've convinced us. [All out laughter]

[On the Plane back to Utah]
Novell: I think we did well. They like us. They really, really like us. [High fives all around]

[Beijing - Ministry of Information Industry]
China: That was interesting [Tossing marketing materials and info into trash]. We'll own them in a year. [High fives all around].

This is causing me mild pain. I have been using SuSE since before Novell purchased it. Although I install others, it remains the distro I am most comfortable with. I even like Yast although I do use other tools. I am currently using OpenSuse 11.0; no plans to upgrade until KDE 4.2 is included unless I change to another distro.
BTW: You may have seen this already, but I find this article about GNU and GPL quite interesting.

I liked SuSE too when it was still owned by the German company. In fact, it was the first commercial version of Linux I ever purchased. I think Novell's involvement has screwed it up. I'm sorry. I used to really like Novell but they did some things very wrong to their customers years ago that I'll never forgive them for with NetWare. Most of their great people are also gone so I'm barely hanging onto them as a distro at all. I do really like their SuSE Studio product though--it's awesome. OpenSUSE isn't too bad either.