Novell: Novell’s apologizing is a sign of .. ?

Matthew Aslett’s article “Novell apologizes for false free software funding claim” tells the full story of Novell’s head of marketing for Linux and open source, Justin Steinman, who just apologized to the FSF after making misleading statements about the company’s financial contribution to the FSF.

Steinman made the claim in an online interview last week but was quickly forced to retract the statement after the FSF’s executive director Peter Brown disputed it via a statement to the Groklaw web site.

“Novell last gave funds to the FSF in October 2005, when they donated $5K as part of FSF Corporate Patron program. Since their deal with Microsoft was announced we have not asked them to renew as a patron, nor would we. Novell is not ‘a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation’,” Brown stated.

In his apology Steinman stated that he believed his original statement to be true at the time he made it, but nevertheless apologized for misrepresenting the facts.

“Further research inside Novell confirms that Peter Brown is correct and I spoke in error. I want to make it clear that I had no intention of making false claims or providing misinformation to the market,” he wrote. “I want to apologize to the Free Software Foundation and to the open source community for making this misrepresentation. I should have double-checked the accuracy of my information before speaking, and for that, I offer no excuse.”

Read the full story and wonder what is going on at Novell, I have no clue..