wounded in the line of duty
First of all, as opposed to Redhat, Novell is pushing several options, from completely OSS (openSUSE) to half proprietary (OES, which is SLES + Netware in a Xen VM) to 99% proprietary (e.g. Zenworks, based on Red Carpet code for package management AFAIK).
"Novell itself is promoting Mixed Source and promotes its own proprietary software on top of SLES (also see OES)."
Well, OES is one of the many options, and it's for backwards compatibility. Netware is hardly a strategic direction for Novell.
"This obviously scares part of the community away."
I honestly don't think that it's driving people from the community away. It definitely doesn't as far as openSUSE is concerned. And, after all, SLED, SLES and OES are based on openSUSE (including from a technical point of view).
"The deal with Microsoft obviously does as well."
Oh dear, not that BS again.
As far as business customers are concerned, I really don't think it's putting them away from SLES/SLED/OES -- rather the opposite.
And as far as the community is concerned, then we're talking about openSUSE and not about SLE*.
As said above, it's not the same ecosystem as with Red Hat/Fedora/CentOS.
There is no "community around SLES", because openSUSE is the community-driven project, and openSUSE is the base for SLES.
"As a result Novell is big within Enterprises with little community people, and these are not the kind of people that would spend their free time rebuilding packages and do QA."
Well, yes, that's correct if you consider that SLES is supposed to have a community on its own, as with CentOS. But again, openSUSE is the community project, and from that point of view, I'd hardly say that openSUSE has "little community people".
It's a different model, just don't compare it as-is to RHEL/CentOS.
"Another reason is that Novell is not in favor of such a project"
I'm not sure that's true. At least, I've never seen a position against (nor in favour) of such a project. Rather sounds like your interpretation (which is fine, but I don't think there are any likewise statements from Novell's management). I might be wrong though, but I'll poke around ;)
"And Novell considers OpenSUSE their free SLES alternative even though it does not match the Enterprise Linux definition (read: long term support) and therefor does not attract the same kind of people that CentOS does."
True. But frankly, "Enterprise Linux" first of all means support (as in incidents/trouble tickets, 24/7, hotline) to me, much higher on my list than long term. I'm not saying long term support for security fixes and such isn't important, but it's definitely not the only aspect.
"In comparison, Red Hat actively worked on making sure that projects based on RHEL know exactly what to remove/change and made it easy to replace those parts that contain the Red Hat trademark."
Cool thing. Note that trademark removal and such is going to be addressed at some point, it's somewhere on the TODO list ;)
Some tools are already available.
"All in all, CentOS provides a big community resource that RHEL people can equally tap into. It is a win-win situation, but I prefer to call it a symbiosis."
Certainly. But I don't understand why you need to shoot on Novell to do CentOS marketing.
Although I deeply respect everyone involved into CentOS (and Red Hat, and Fedora, and Debian, and ...), I'm not sure whether CentOS is that much of a reason for RHEL's market dominance. There are many other reasons, e.g. the fact that RHEL has been there for quite some time before Novell positioned SLES in the US certainly plays a much more important role. Or the fact that some think that RHEL is just better (I'm not saying they're wrong, but others think that SLES is better ;)).
"I hope Novell realises sooner than later what it is missing out on and changes its mind about a free SLES product and a thriving SLES community."
So do I, it would certainly be a win for anyone involved into opensource at large and more specifically wrt the openSUSE community, but I'm not sure whether it's the most compelling option. At least, providing LTS for openSUSE seems more straightforward to me.
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