February 22, 2001

Compaq recruiting laid-off SuSE Linux developers?

Author: JT Smith

- by Robin Miller -
Some of the U.S.-based developers working for SuSE until its recent layoff of a majority of its American staff have reportedly been receiving calls from Compaq. Confidential sources tell us that SuSE people are moving beyond the "first interview" stage and have now had direct phone interviews with Compaq people in a position to hire them, although as of this writing no ex-SuSE-r has reported receiving a written employment offer.
We're not naming names here because we don't want to destroy anyone's chance of getting a new job, but one little birdie tells us Compaq's engineering and professional services divisions are both on the prowl for Linux expertise.

There are questions yet to be answered, though, like whether Linux and Open Source developers used to "scratching an itch" and working for an all-Linux company like SuSE will feel comfortable in Compaq's traditional "top down" -- and famously stuffy -- corporate culture.

Another angle to be explored is Compaq's commitment to Open Source. Will people hired for their Linux expertise be allowed to release their work to the community, or will Compaq try to proprietorize their efforts?

So far, we hear, different Compaq business units seem to be giving out different messages to potential Linux hires, with ones that were originally part of Digital before Compaq bought that company (and that retain some of Digital's free-wheeling attitude) being more friendly to Linux-head thinking than divisions directly controlled by Compaq biggies in Houston who have long been proud of their close relationship with Microsoft.

Anyway, no matter how this all plays out, we wish all the laid-off Linux people talking to Compaq about jobs all the success in the world, and hope that if they find the corporate culture there not to their liking, they manage to help change it from the inside instead of letting it change them.

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