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We haven't gone titsup.com says SuSE's Wiegand

Not pulling out of ZzzServer biz

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Updated SuSE US president Volker Wiegand says he's been misrepresented by Linuxgram's "Fallen Angel" article. No, he doesn't think Linux businesses are inevitably doomed, and SuSE is sticking around to be profitable. And nor is SuSE pulling out of S/390 ZServer development, he says.

"I've laid off thirty of my best friends, said Wiegand. "That doesn't feel good. I was emotionally moved and this lady took advantage."

He says hypothetical discussions with Linuxgram about technology waves were "wilfully misinterpreted as comments about Linux and SuSE respectively. No, he believes in Linux - SuSE is a pure play Linux company and is focused on getting profitable. And no, he wasn't talking about SuSE being up for sale: it isn't.

Wiegand says there were communication problems with the announcement and that PR staff had been given too little information.

He confirms that between 12 and 15 people will remain at SuSE's Oakland office, while 30 to 35 have lost their jobs. "Some people haven't taken the decision yet," he said, referring to relocation or redundancy.

In a press release issued yesterday, the Germany- headquartered company said: "While SuSE remains fully committed to the US market and our US customers, we can be more effective by streamlining our on-site presence in the US and integrating certain functions such as the technical support into our operations in Europe."

A call centre of 100 staff has recently opened in Europe, adds Weigand, for English-based support. But more than just support has been axed. Key enterprise developers, including Alan Robertson and the HA (high availability) team have lost their jobs too.

"We had to concentrate a lot of HA in Germany. We're concentrating a little more on FailSafe as the basis of HA work in SAP's Linux Labs," said Wiegand.

FailSafe is the clustering technology that SuSE helped persuade SGI to release as open source. But wasn't it going to be hard to concentrate on HA by laying off the key staff, we asked? "Yes, but we can't keep too many projects in HA under our direct control," was Wiegand's reply.

Wiegand can't speak for SuSE's IBM AS/400 plaform work and he's adamant that S/390 will continue.

"We've done the engineering. We've seen that this is a process that's coming to closure now and it's time to move on, and deploy." Wiegand said. By missing out the "deploy" he told us today, we were giving the impression that SuSE was cutting the platform loose

"Our S/390 committment has increased," he told us today. We hope SuSE Germany can confirm this today.

He cites the move of two staff into Oracle, where they'll be working as SuSE employees, as an example of strengthening ties with enterprise partners (SGI and Compaq are also examples). ®

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