Suse Linux co-founder Hubert Mantel, who left Novell in 2005, has rejoined the company.

But in an interview with Italian IT magazine Data Manager Online, Mantel explained why he had decided to return after an acrimonious departure.

"After many years that consisted of nothing else than work and some unpleasant experiences with our investors, it didn't took very much to throw in the towel. I simply needed some time off," he said in the interview. But he rejoined at the beginning of December because of the "ongoing opportunity to contribute to Linux".

"I had more than one year of time to think about my future and came to the conclusion that the thing I'm most interested in still is Linux," he explained. "Also I do have many good friends at Suse. So I just came back." Mantel said that unlike many in the open source community, he approves of Novell's deal with Microsoft, which he says shows Linux is now "taken seriously".

"Now even Microsoft acknowledges that it exists and will not go away," he said. "We are not working against somebody, we are working for Linux. Fundamentalism always leads to pain."

Mantel quit Novell following its brief and disruptive decision to standardise on the Gnome desktop. "This is no longer the company I founded 13 years ago," Mantel wrote in a resignation email. "I'm very confident the Novell management will find a competent successor very quickly. After all, there are lots of extremely skilled people over there in the Ximian division." Ximian was a Gnome-based company also acquired by Novell and a culture clash between the two divisions was thought to be behind Mantel's decision to leave.

Several other Suse executives also left Novell around the same time, including European channel executive Petra Heinrich in October and former Suse president Richard Seibt in May, but Mantel was the first core member of the Suse engineering team to depart.

Mantel is reportedly now team leader for kernel quality assurance at Novell's Suse division.

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