Suse co-founder leaves Novell

Hubert Mantel resigns, saying company is no longer the one he founded 13 years ago.

Suse co-founder and kernel team member Hubert Mantel has resigned from Novell, the server software company that acquired the German Linux company in 2004.

Mantel announced the move on a Suse Linux mailing list Tuesday, and Novell confirmed the move Wednesday.

"I just decided to leave Suse/Novell. This is not (any) longer the company I founded 13 years ago," Mantel said in the e-mail. "I have been the maintainer of the Suse kernel for more than a decade now. I'm very confident the Novell management will find a competent successor very quickly."

The move won't affect Novell, spokesman Bruce Lowry said. "He was one of a large number of people on the kernel team. It doesn't impact our strategy or our ability to execute on it," he said.

Novell acquired Suse Linux in 2003 for $210 million and has been under pressure to build its open-source business faster. Novell last week announced a plan to elevate its Linux products, lay off 600 employees and divest its Celerant consulting group .

Despite its troubles, Suse Linux is the top alternative to Red Hat and remains a major factor in the Linux market. It's certified globally to work with major server and software products, something others haven't achieved. But Red Hat Enterprise Linux remains much more popular, and Red Hat is much more profitable.

The cuts at Novell last week were significant, but there was "virtually no impact" to the Linux development team, Ron Hovsepian, Novell's president and anticipated chief executive officer , said in an interview last week.

One significant change in Novell's Linux strategy, reported earlier by eWeek, is the decision to make the GNOME software the default user interface for its Linux products. That's a sharp change for Suse, which long preferred the rival KDE project as its default. That preference was complicated by the fact that another Linux company Novell acquired in 2003, Ximan, specialized in GNOME.

Another person no longer working for Novell is Chris Schlaeger, vice president of research and development at Suse Linux, sources familiar with the situation said. Schlaeger had been a longtime KDE contributor. Novell declined to comment on Schlaeger's status.

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