In the early days of companies based around open source, the questions were: would they make any money? Would they survive? Once it was clear that they not only could survive, but also make money quite nicely, the next question became: what happens when they become successful enough to get bought by traditional software companies?
We’ve been finding out. Oracle’s purchase of Sun has led to open source projects being abandoned, others being forked and suits alleging infringement of patents being filed. More recently, we’ve had the saga of Attachmate’s purchase of Novell. This, too, has led to plenty of concerns about patents, but now that side seems to be dying down, if not entirely resolved, we’re beginning to learn about the fate of other parts of the business, as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports:
I had thought that after Attachmate bought Novell it would be keeping its open-source teams working. Indeed, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn had told me that, “Business will operate as usual.” While Attachmate will be keeping SUSE Linux as a spin-off company, Mono, the open-source implementation of Windows’ .NET, is being shut down and there have been hundreds of additional Novell layoffs. So much for business as usual.