The claim is bogus on its face, and Matt Asay fisks it good. The idea that one Linux works better with Windows than other Linuxes (or Linuxii) is phony baloney. Unless, of course, Novell is putting proprietary stuff in its Linux, and making people sign a proprietary license to get it.
So how bad is this? Matt notes that Novell also does some good things. Does that outweigh the stupidity of its sales pitch?
And just how serious an offense is a little white lie inserted into a sales pitch, anyway? Aren't college coaches constantly tossing around such insinuations to get kids to sign with their schools? Isn't that what marketing is all about? Isn't that what political ads are all about?
I think to a lot of people in the open source movement the answer to these last questions is no. Or rather, NO!
Credibility is something you either have or you don't have. It's not something you can have in one department and not have in another. It's something you earn, and must keep earning, every day, and something you can lose in a Mike Vick minute.
There is no such thing, in an open source world, as "just" marketing.
How you sell matters in an open source world. It matters because consumers of all sizes are far more free to switch vendors in an open source world than in a proprietary world. It matters because we can check up on bogus claims the same way we can buy from you, and just as easily.
And it's not just how you sell, but how you respond to "yes" that matters. If your first instinct on getting an order is to "up-sell," or to demand a good report on the sales experience, you're going to turn people off. And they're going to walk away.
This remains a hard lesson for vendors which, like Novell, began life in the proprietary world. And as the open source world spreads, from software to other products to public policy, it's a lesson more and more people and institutions are going to face.
My guess is some will make Novell look good.