I’m Not Boycotting FOSDEM About Novell, So Please Stop Saying That

Last Friday, I wrote “I’m not going to FOSDEM again because there are better value-for-money events around now” right near the start of an article on here. But on Wednesday, I was surprised to learn from another website that I “find it necessary to not only whine, but also boycott a conference, because [I] believe that FOSDEM should not take money from [Novell], just because they also happen to be a company, and as such make business deals with Microsoft.That’s just plain false. I also found a link from the Boycott Novell website holding it up as an example of the boycott working – huh?

Firstly, my wording wasn’t perfect (by “not going to FOSDEM again”, I meant I didn’t go last year either, not that I’ll never go), but I feel it was pretty clear that I’m not boycotting FOSDEM due to Novell. Both schestowitz (on the boycottnovell site) and Wouter Verhelst (quoted above from his personal website) were naughty to suggest otherwise!

Secondly, Novell didn’t do a deal with Microsoft “just because they happen to be a company”. Lots of companies haven’t done deals with Microsoft. Novell did it to make a net profit from the deal and so I have some admiration for campaigners who aim to make the deal a huge liability for Novell. That’s just influencing corporations as they were designed to work, so don’t blame the campaigners for trying.

So, I feel that both No-Novell-ers and company-blinders should try to find some compromise instead of flaming each other from twenty paces. It looks to me like the No-Novell-er’s request (roughly: tell us how much to donate to get rid of them) was a reasonable suggestion. If the organisers are so open-minded, why not make a counter-offer instead of simple “they still deserve a place” defence?

To close, I repeat: if you’re going to FOSDEM, I hope you have a safe journey and a fun time and why not tell them what you think of the Novell-MS deal. If you’re helping run FOSDEM, thank you!

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