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Novell's open source legacy – wake up, little SUSE

The H Open - Novell's unrequited romance with Linux and free software is over. Having completed its $2.2 billion takeover, Attachmate is dividing the spoils. Novell and its legacy networking business will survive in Utah. NetIQ will inherit Novell's identity and security management solutions, and SUSE has been given autonomy and control of Novell's open source projects from its base in Nuremberg.

Mono has been cast adrift, and the worst aspects of Novell's attempt to sell off a large part of its patent portfolio to a consortium led by Microsoft have been scuppered by the US Department of Justice and the German Federal Cartel Office. But there are still questions left to answer.

SUSE is the only mainstream Linux company to have been owned by a proprietary software company – if we exclude the short history of Corel Linux – and the awkwardness has shown.