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Linux Business

The Differences Between Red Hat and Novell 134

Posted by Zonk
from the besides-the-fact-that-they're-two-companies dept.
Tiberius_Fel writes "A former Novell employee has done a comparison at InfoWorld, reflecting on the business practices of Red Hat and Novell. They focus on such areas as customers, culture, and partners." From the article: "Red Hat has a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners approach to the market. If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear ... This has led the growing open source ecosystem to Novell, which is partner-centric and easy-going almost to a fault. Ron Hovsepian is changing this, and Novell is starting to become much more choosy about opportunities (customer and partnering) that come its way."
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The Differences Between Red Hat and Novell

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  • by rizzo320 (911761)
    It must be a slow news day. It's a short article with not much analysis. It is good to see an article comparing the business practices of Linux Vendor vs Linux Vendor compared to the usual Linux Vendor vs Microsoft we usually get.
    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:20AM (#14289850)
      It must be a slow news day.

      Manye that's why they're running "stories" about how big an actor's penis is. [slashdot.org] Could be worse, though I can't think how at the moment.

      • Maybe if they were running a story comparing the penis sizes of various Linux vendors?
      • Manye that's why they're running "stories" about how big an actor's penis is. Could be worse, though I can't think how at the moment.
        It could be worse, if they were running stories about how big an actress's penis is.

        <Shudder>
        • It could be worse, if they were running stories about how big an actress's penis is.

          This is usually called clitoris for a female, but since you are a Slashdotter you are forgiven for not knowing this. Perhaps some education is needed for insensitive clods [the-clitoris.com].

          • This is usually called clitoris for a female, but since you are a Slashdotter you are forgiven for not knowing this.

            No shit, dumbass. For your information my wife (yes, I'm married) is pregnant (yes, I've had sex) with our first child, and she's gone from DD's to G's (yes, she's got boobs).

            The joke was referring to transexuals [wikipedia.org], but now that I've had to explain it to a stupid schmuck with no sense of humour, it's gone and lost all it's jokey goodness. Thanks for ruining it for everybody else, moron...

    • I thought it was very lightweight as an article and had too many rose colo(u)red glasses around. Red Hat seems to be a Novell obsession (the Novell folks here gave me an eight page Red Hat vs Novell competitive paper, full of speeds and feeds, stuff about YAST, some very subjective positioning on partnering and heritage). So, trying to pick a fight with Red Hat when they could really be more productive focussing on the untapped 97% of the market.

      Most people don't care; Novell have a competent Linux distri

  • Because (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kawahee (901497) on Monday December 19, 2005 @03:35AM (#14289485) Homepage Journal
    This has led the growing open source ecosystem to Novell, which is partner-centric and easy-going almost to a fault. Ron Hovsepian is changing this, and Novell is starting to become much more choosy about opportunities (customer and partnering) that come its way.

    Yes... that's because Novell has woken up and realised that just because a company is pro-OSS it doesn't make them good. Hopefully IBM will figure it out soon.
    • Re:Because (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yes... that's because Novell has woken up and realised that just because a company is pro-OSS it doesn't make them good. Hopefully IBM will figure it out soon.
      What does make a company good then? And, more importantly, why will what's good for one customer be good for another?
      • Re:Because (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kawahee (901497) on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:07AM (#14289549) Homepage Journal
        A good company is one that gets stuff done. Take Microsoft for example. You get a new version of Windows every 5 or so years, you get a new IDE every two, and a new version of Office every 3 or so.

        And for what's good for one customer being good for another: market research, market research, market research.
        • Re:Because (Score:4, Insightful)

          by kfg (145172) on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:14AM (#14289568)
          And for what's good for one customer being good for another: market research, market research, market research.

          That's funny, my experience is that market research always ends up telling me to get fucking lost, because I'm interested in buying solid technology for a fair price, not chrome, tailfins or squids with tits on 'em at porno rates.

          KFG
        • Re:Because (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Bill? Is that you?
        • Re:Because (Score:2, Informative)

          by tob (7310)
          You get a new version of Windows every 5 or so years,

          I count at least 10 in about 25 years (dos/win3/win95/win98/winMe/NT3/NT4/W2k/XP/2k3), leaving out many early and minor versions.

          Regards,
          Tob
          • Bah. You're right. I was referring to major desktop releases from '95, so 95, 98 and XP. ME just cancels itself out.
            • ME just cancels itself out.

              Windows ME is the new Microsoft Bob. It is the single worst version of Windows to troubleshoot or repair. It is the ONLY version of Windows where I have had to resort to reformat/reinstall for relatively minor issues that I'd have been able to repair in any other build of Win9x in mere minutes.

              • Windows ME in microsoft marketing terms was highly successfull, it was designed to force people off the windows 98 kernel by being basically unusable. It's purpose was to push people across to win2kpro and later to stale piss.

                It was very successfull in achieving that target and at a profit (double profit counting those that were forced to replace with the other versions of windows, it in order to achieve some level of stability), tough for any customers that bought it of course but hey microsft is all bou

          • Re:Because (Score:2, Redundant)

            by _Ludwig (86077)
            DOS is a version of Windows?
          • Re:Because (Score:4, Informative)

            by Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) on Monday December 19, 2005 @08:59AM (#14290180) Homepage
            You actually make the Grandfather's point for him.

            win3-win95-win98-winME was a separate product line to NT3-NT4-W2K-XP-2K3. Lumping them in together is like lumping MS Office and MS Works together.

            I still don't buy the 5 years claim though,
            Win 1.0 came out in 1985 (did anyone notice?)
            Win 2.0 was in 1987 (ditto)
            Win 3.0 1990
            Win 3.1 in 1992
            Win 3.11 in 1993
            Win95, 98 and ME - well, guess.
            I would *not* call 3.1 a minor release, and 3.11 was only minor if you did not need any form of networking.

            NT3.1 was in 1993
            NT3.5 in 94
            NT4 in 96 (my work PC was upgraded away from this in February AT LAST :-( )
            W2K in 2000 (doh)
            XP in 2001
            not sure I'd count Server 2003, but what the hell.

            There are 5-year gaps there, but that is because the MS had noticed that business users are more than reluctant to upgrade. At my previous job, they upgraded from NT4 to W2K in 2002 for some arcane reason. At both places there was a complete hardware + software rollout involved.
    • IBM (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 16K Ram Pack (690082)
      IBM have a different motivation, because they are less interested in selling software than selling hardware and consultancy.

      IBM aren't doing OSS just to get a lot of geeks to like them.

    • My experience with Novell is somewhat different than the news item suggests.

      I tried, for six months, to license their ZenWorks software distribution system in an OEM capacity and embed it in software I was using. Here's what I discovered:

      1) Mean time to return phone call: 12 days
      2) Each time someone returned a call, I was forwarded to someone else
      3) It took over two months just to get license prices
      4) Never did manage to get anything than low level functionaries who enjoyed phone tag

      The company needs, in my
      • I've had similar experience with Novell. It is VERY difficult to reach the person you need to speak with there about ANYTHING. With that said, I'd rather give them money than Redhat. I've hated Redhat ever since they abandoned the desktop market, back when they had the potential to expand their offerings to OEMs. I mean, you could at one point go to CompUSA or Micro Center and buy RedHat linux off the shelf. They had an amazing opportunity to go head to head with Microsoft and they blew it, IMHO.

        Also, the
  • > Red Hat has a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners approach to the
    > market. If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear

    Like every other company out there that is a for-profit. try getting freebies from anyone else or get them to do work for you that isnt going to earn them money. by by see the door.
    • by Ithika (703697) on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:03AM (#14289540) Homepage

      I'm fed up and sick to the back teeth of reading the words "for-profit" and "company" in the same sentence, especially when they are used to (attempt to) justify antisocial business practices.

      I can't find any definition of the word "company" which wouldn't imply that its aim is not profit; that would be a "charity". Thus, "for-profit company" is a tautology.

      Why does being in business mean someone's ethics have to be flung out the window? My work does the occasional freebie for local community projects, we do discounts for charities and the like. Being in business does not imply being an arse.

      • by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:41AM (#14289633) Homepage Journal
        I can't find any definition of the word "company" which wouldn't imply that its aim is not profit;

        Actually, no such aim is implied by "company" at all.

        The general aims of a company are defined in its articles of incorporation and typically expanded on in its memorandum of association, including whether or not it intends to operate for profit (generally a company doesn't restrict itself from making a profit, unless explicitely noted). Companies whose aims do not include profits often can avail of tax relief, and possibly other forms of relief.

        That companies typically exist to make profits does not mean all companies do, nor that the definition of company implies for-profit.
      • you are absolutely right. it doesn't mean u have to play dirty. however, if your competitors are, it makes it hard to stay clean if you want to remain in business.
      • My work does the occasional freebie for local community projects, we do discounts for charities and the like. Being in business does not imply being an arse.

        Community projects and charities are public known works. That's marketing and goodwill. goodwill increases business and increased business is profit.

        You wouldn't find your work doing anything 'charitable' if it were private and nobody knew about it.

        All profit in the end.
      • Wow... a company can not be non-profit? Tell that to the world. Google for "non-profit" and "company" and you'll find 57,000,000 hits. Non-profits exist all over the world. They are not charities.

        Though there is also a concept of a "social entrepreneur" -- one who makes money but makes it helping people. They tend not to be _as profitable as regular businesses because they tend to act more ethically.
        • I think this post speaks marvelously of how legalism is such a profound social disease. The term non-profit doesn't mean the organization doesn't make money. It means that for tax purposes, the corporation doesn't pay corporate income taxes.

          Sure most people who work for non-profits make less than other companies, but the people at the top often do very well. They of course have an interest in perpetuating that. Further, this is a huge scandal these days as people at the top of these organizations are oft
      • "for-profit company" is a tautology.

        Even though your point is clear, this is a pleonasm, not a tautology.
      • I'm fed up and sick to the back teeth of reading the words "for-profit" and "company" in the same sentence, especially when they are used to (attempt to) justify antisocial business practices.

        Dude, thats the historical definition OF a corporation. Corporations can, as an "entity", protect the individual owners from legal liability yet still take profit from the company. Want to pollute? Go for it, and heck, if you break the law by only this much the fine is less than the savings so go for it! Get the pic
      • There are a lot of companies out there who's aim is just to cover their costs and not to make any money. They were usually founded for legal reasons, e.g., to get the protection of limited liability for non-criminal behaviour, or to represent the stakes of their owners in decisions formally. E.g., it is good practice to found a company for management of property (e.g., a house) that one shares with a partner when no marriage is involved. (I speak from practice. :-)

        Sometimes a company is even founded to lo

      • Think "ballet company"

        Now there's a money-making proposition!
      • by wolf31o2 (778801) on Monday December 19, 2005 @10:20AM (#14290530)
        The Gentoo Foundation is a not-for-profit company. We are not a charity. Donations to Gentoo cannot be written off. Our goals have nothing to do with making money and everything to do with making software.
      • I can't find any definition of the word "company" which wouldn't imply that its aim is not profit

        No? I can't find any definition that implies a company's aim must be profit. For example, the business-related definitions from Merriam-Webster [m-w.com] are:

        3 a : a chartered commercial organization or medieval trade guild b : an association of persons for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise

        Both definitions mention "commercial". Does that imply a profit motive? The definition of "commerce" specif

        • Most are all about profits, some don't care about profits and lots fall in between.

          To expand on that, most are out there to increase shareholder or owner value, whatever it may be.

          In the case of Gentoo, the shareholder/owner value is to make a better Linux.

          In the case of GE, it's to make money to pay out dividends to shareholders.
      • Technically a company is not necessarily a for-profit venture and therefore it should be specified whether a company is non-profit or for-profit. You will come across this very early if you read up on starting a business from places like http://www.sba.gov/ [sba.gov]

        That said I agree that for-profit does not mean at all costs and ethics be damned. Obviously there are many companies that throw ethics out the window and believe in the principle "the ends justify the means". In fact it seems that entire countries and cu
      • Non profit corporations are in fact quite common and thoroughly outlined in the tax codes.

        The local irrigation company is the first example I can think of, many charities are incorporated and non profit.

        They are incorporated for liability protection and tax purposes, they have employees whom they pay salaries, benefits and have workmen's comp for etc. In the case of the local irrigation company holding shares determines how much water you get and shareholders pay fees to to the company for employees and eq
  • well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by know1 (854868) on Monday December 19, 2005 @03:36AM (#14289489)
    "If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear"
    they make that sound like a bad thing, there aren't many for profit organisations that are any different i would imagine.
    • The line should likely be "If you're not making them money today...." See, its not all about making money on this one sale. Its about them coming back next year, and them telling their friends about you. Its about breaking even to pay for developers. Its about laying the foundation for making money tomorrow.
  • by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Monday December 19, 2005 @03:41AM (#14289499)
    Redhat is where it is because it is the company that employs the people who write Linux, most notably Alan Cox. There is a lot of code in the Linux kernel and periphery that simply wouldn't be there if Redhat wasn't around to pay these programmers to put it in there.

    So if we consider the authors of the source as the ultimate support channel, then Redhat will always filter its way to the top. Throw in the existing momentum behind the platform, both on the "child" distros side and the business side, and you've got an unstoppable (for now) juggernaut. Want embedded Linux? Montavista's got a custom RedHat Linux for you. Want some esoteric hardware supported? Redhat's gone through the trouble to port a driver for you.

    It's so far ahead of every other commercial distribution that it's not even funny.

    Is it ahead/better than non-commercial distros like Debian? No, probably not. But they aren't really competing against each other.
    • Good point. The only way to compete in the linux market these days is to code the bulk of the source code. Companies that can lay claim to having the technical capacity to understand and implement vast tracts of Linux and other GNU, OSS source code are going to be the most trusted when it comes time to support all that free code.

      It should come as no surprise then that RedHat is a leader in this industry. Companies that don't contribute source aren't going to be half as trusted as the industry leaders.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:34AM (#14289614)
      First SuSE labs (Novell) employees some Linux kernel developers.
      Even IBM does.

      Second all three employees GCC developers though they are not all equal.
      RedHat has more global write maintainers than any other company but that is because they started working on GCC before any of them. RedHat's GCC developers are leaving Redhat and are going either to Apple (at least three examples) or Codesourcery (a couple) or AMD (one example though he was at metrowerks for a while). These are main developers of GCC and not just some unkown developers. Novell is gaining more and more mainainership of GCC in general, and already employees the maintainer of the x86_64 port which is one of the major ports for the comming year or two for servers (even though I don't really want to say it is as I am more of a powerpc person).

      Any other point is Novell is getting more and more into free software they have to go slowly and choose and pick their partners otherwise they will find themselves in a way of the internet bobble.

      -- a semi unknown GCC developer.
    • by PimpBot (32046) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:18AM (#14289842) Homepage
      Is it ahead/better than non-commercial distros like Debian? No, probably not.

      This line rubs me the wrong way. The reason why folks choose commercial distros like RedHat or Suse is because they are better for what people need -- they provide a supported, easier to configure setup which allows them to solve whatever problem they or their organization have with a minimum of fuss. Distriubtions like Debian/Ubuntu/Gentoo/etc. are useful for the tweakers of the world (and yes, given enough gumption could be used to replace RHEL/SES), but they're not ready out of the proverbial box.

      Am I missing something here? Is there some other reason why Debian et al is better?
      • Am I missing something here? Is there some other reason why Debian et al is better?

        I read that line as an attempt to avoid being flamed, as opposed to an actual opinion of the author.

        That said, I think "better" depends a lot on the context. At my last job, we got RHEL bundled on a Dell workstation. In that context, it was great because much of the work was already done for me, and there was support when I ran into a glitch.

        At home, "better" is gentoo, because I've been amazed at its speed and configurabilit
      • I wouldn't lump Ubuntu in with Debian or Gentoo. Ubuntu looks like it is aiming to be a for profit distro. I think they are planing on making money on support contracts sort of like Red Hat.

        As to why Debian is better? Well some people feel that Debian isn't tainted by the need for profit so it is pure. Frankly Debian is a good distro, stable and has a good package system, I love apt and think it is a good server distro.
        • Ubuntu looks like it is aiming to be a for profit distro.

          I'm amazed how often that rumor comes up. From the Ubuntu Wiki [ubuntu.com]:

          Canonical has signed public undertakings with government offices to the extent that it will never introduce a "commercial" version of Ubuntu. There will never be a difference between the "commercial" product and the "free" product, as there is with Red Hat (RHEL and Fedora). Ubuntu releases will always be free.
          • No Ubuntu always said the distro would be free. That doesn't mean that it is not for profit. I think Ubuntu is going for a service based model.
            • Ah, I misunderstood. In a way, that's already the case. Also from the wiki [ubuntu.com]:

              We currently make some money offering certification related services (certifying developers, administrators, applications, and hardware) as well as customisation services (you want your own distro, based on Ubuntu, let's talk). Demand for those services is growing. I'm pretty confident that I can get Canonical to break even on that basis...It's also important to distinguish between Canonical, which is a for-profit services operatio

      • ...The reason why folks choose commercial distros like RedHat or Suse is because they are better for what people need -- they provide a supported, easier to configure setup which allows them to solve whatever problem they or their organization have with a minimum of fuss...
        I would further clarify this by saying most commercial entities want to run apps - this restricts the choice of OS to what those apps are qualified to run on.
      • -- they provide a supported, easier to configure setup which allows them to solve whatever problem they or their organization have with a minimum of fuss.

        This rubs me up the wrong way. Speaking as a system admin with the choice of disto to use on our servers, and a lot of background in Redhat and other distros, I converted (am converting) them from Redhat to Debian. The only things I see in Redhat are; support, good security (at least in Fedora Core 4). In principal some of our hardware would be supported

  • by melted (227442) on Monday December 19, 2005 @03:44AM (#14289508) Homepage
    >> If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear

    Hmm, maybe it's time to invest in RHAT.
    • RHAT has been berry, berry goo' to me. Last time I checked (one day last week) my RHAT was up 59% since I bought it in July '04. I'm happy I put a few bucks behind these guys, and I can't say that hearing they run a tight ship makes me feel worse.
    • "Maybe it's time to invest in RHAT"

      Given that their 52-week range is 10.37 - 26.32, and they're currently at 26.30, I'd say that you missed the best time to make that call. However, given that RHAT just entered the Nasdaq 100, and their earnings continue to grow at stupid rates, you might do well to invest in them.

      I am not a stock broker or otherwise deeply knowledgeable when it comes to such matters. Do your own DD.
    • Hmm, maybe it's time to invest in RHAT.

      If you were smart you'd invest in Microsoft. Whether or not you like them as a company, they are profitable and that's the only real goal of an investment... anything else is charity.

      • I would read up before investing in Microsoft. Some consider their stock a value right now, but it might be a while before the stock shows decent growth again. Red Hat is technically high right now, but a long term investor could probably garner some profits.

        It's true that Microsoft is a company to check out, but money invested a year ago in Red Hat would have produced much larger profits than money invested in MS during the same period. Like you said, anything else is charity.
    • Except that RHAT's P/E ratio is 96. That's kind of high. For my money, I'd rather invest in IBM.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2005 @03:45AM (#14289511)
    This is what needs to be done if Linux is ever going to take over as the "Main Stream" OS. Novell needs to leave the server stuff alone, RedHat has got linux on the server down to a science. What Novell needs to do, is take what it has in SUSE, and work on getting more linux on desktop users machines. If both companys would realise this, and work on it, it would pose a VERY big threat to Microsoft, and push Linux as the mainstream os.

    ~Alan
    • This doesn't make any sense to me.

      Novell has had decades of experience on servers. It has a brand that is respected. It can use that credibility on the server side to convince a small number of knowledge elite to buy their products instead of Unix or even Win32 servers, by showing them that the change will not only not be disruptive, but actually make their lives easier.

      On the desktop side, even if you are total Novell fan-boy, you aren't going to switch your users over to SUSE from Windows. Desktop chan
    • "...Linux is ever going to take over as the "Main Stream" OS."

      According to my experiences Linux IS a mainstream OS. At the last 3 years I could not have been in any server room without at least 1 but rather more Linux boxes, cubes or wardrobes. It is especially true for SMB-s (headcount 5 - 100 enterprises).

      What is a mainstream OS if Linux isn't?!

    • What Novell needs to do, is take what it has in SUSE, and work on getting more linux on desktop users machines.

      I will agree here. Novell has successful products on the market why not take what it already has and benefit where Linux might prove useful with its current products. For example developing SUSE to be the finest and most well-integrated desktop OS with its Networking, Exchange and Sharing products.

      The authors conclusion [infoworld.com] identifies Novell's strength and direction when Asay writes, "Novell is growing
    • What science is that? Voodoo and Marketing?

      Please tell me some things a RedHat Linux *server* will do that any other Linux server won't.

      I'll determine if that feature is worth the additional cost I'd have to pay for RedHat over say, Debian.
  • Yes... that's because Novell has woken up and realised that just because a company is pro-OSS it doesn't make them good. Hopefully IBM will figure it out soon.

    I agree, the thing is that if you factor in good buisness practices that actually work better all round for the customers and buisness. For instance if I was a Red hat customer and they chose to disgard me before I made any real money, then I went to another company who were more endearing and offered better customer support, who would be losing ou
    • What I meant moreover was that is the customer makes money in a different company after red hat disregard you, then red hat are losing out. And also, I meant "if you factor in good buisness practies that work overall better for the company and customers then it will benifit all, and make the company a better runner".
    • I suppose it depends on the type of customer you are. If you are someone who wants to put RedHat on your company's servers, they'll be happy to set you up with a support contract. But if you are someone who wants RedHat to port a driver for some esoteric piece of hardware, you've got to have a long-term viability (Texas Instruments = Good, Joe's Silicon Shack = Bad). And of course, if you want them to port those drivers, they aren't going to do it for free.

      It's not so much an anti-customer mindset than a
      • But if you are someone who wants RedHat to port a driver for some esoteric piece of hardware, you've got to have a long-term viability

        Well, I'm basically agreeing with you but I don't see it as a problem really. Obviously no company is going to be especially interested in putting in man-hours to do something they'll never get paid for. But the thing with Linux is that you have the option of paying a third party developer to write some code. (With Windows, third parties can write drivers but certainly not
        • I don't think it's a problem either. In fact, it's part of the ecosystem that many "bottom feeders" will exist to service the needs of Joe's Silicon Shack and the rest of the little hardware players. These are typically very small shops of a handful of engineers who know one part of the system very well and can provide the driver imlementation at a low enough cost.

          As long as people are innovating new devices, or don't want to pay licensing fees for existing drivers, little shops that specialize in writing
  • Many people have replied saying that it's okay or normal for a for profit organization to care about money the way Red-Hat is accused to be doing.

    I have never dealt with Red-Hat in that way, so I won't judge Red-Hat.
    But speaking in general, no it is not okay.
    Organizations are members of our society, globla orgnizations are members of the global community.

    The same way, its not okay for a person to only care about money, it's not okay for an organization to be all about money.
    Being NICE, is a good r
    • Indeed. Some people should maybe Google a bit for corporate responsibility [google.com].
    • The same way, its not okay for a person to only care about money, it's not okay for an organization to be all about money.
      Being NICE, is a good reputation, treating your smallest client the same as the biggest, is NICE, and we should encourage all organizations to do it, because that way we will be living in a NICE society


      If the public cares about companies being "nice," then it won't spend its money on "mean" companies. (The definition of "nice" and "mean" is rather vague ...) What is the result? "M
    • Well said. I've recently done an accounting of my business and I've found that I've donated over $50k this year to non-profits and to small businesses that needed a hand. While it's true that a company's main goals is to make money, being a part of the community also creates longevity. I own a small company that's been around for 15 years in a small town. I wouldn't still be around if I didn't make our presence known and make absolutely sure that we were seen in a positive light. So while that $50k is
  • by Quirk (36086) on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:12AM (#14289562) Homepage Journal
    The Reg has a Dec 15th article [theregister.co.uk] commenting on IBM's... "elevating the pair to IBM's Strategic Alliance program, its highest tier partner status. The move is designed to make it easier for firms to acquire Linux-based systems by integrating and streamlined sales, distribution and service channels between the hardware vendor (IBM) and its two principal open source software partners, Red Hat and Novell."

    The Red Hat/Novell heavyweight competition benefits everyone.

  • Ecosystem. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bubulubugoth (896803) on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:16AM (#14289576) Homepage
    Partners are needed for having a good sustainable bussines ecosystem.

    There is the need of a supply chain. And Novell has a much more longer experience than Redhat, it also has a long standing user base around the world, there still are a lot of novell 486/3.11/4.0 running, 5 to 10 users, and not wanting to go with Microsoft.

    Novell and SuSe, also spend lots of money at developing OSS, ximian, mono, X, drivers, kernel patches, kde and gnome stuff, also redhat.

    And even more... SuSe born in germany, and it has a huge user base at europe, Redhat has born at U.S.A. and there is a LOT of countries, that doesnt want to be working with U.S.A. enforsable companies... so there is the reason why, at Linux there will be very, very, very hard to have a "single vender Enterprise distribution"...

    • And even more... SuSe born in germany, and it has a huge user base at europe, Redhat has born at U.S.A. and there is a LOT of countries, that doesnt want to be working with U.S.A. enforsable companies... so there is the reason why, at Linux there will be very, very, very hard to have a "single vender Enterprise distribution"...

      While your statements are true as to the origins of the companies, they are now both owned by companies based in the USA.

      Red Hat has offices in Europe just like Suse/Novell. I think
  • by recharged95 (782975) on Monday December 19, 2005 @04:48AM (#14289645) Journal
    Nice article, but it doesn't say much about the importance of the two companies co-existing and creating a market for OSS. In the end, it comes down to who has the better product--so far Red Hat has the market since it was the first on the scene as a legit business. It is attacking the right industries (Financials and Gov't-i.e. DoD), and has a strong university presence. SuSE had a lot of respect before Novell and the acquisition was looked upon as promising with all the international support, but they were slow in getting 10.0 out the door. SuSE has hardly any university presense and Novell hasn't focused on any industries aside from what IBM or Sun had before the acquisition. Though you can't beat Novell's networking knowledge base. That's the diff.

    As a developer & user, Red Hat needs to tighten up on their edge releases (FC4 and it's migration to EL for instance). FC4 maybe used by more folks out there, but it's too klunky for the application developer market and less stable that OpenSuSE. And app-development is where the real cash is made.

    Novell, aside from focusing on a couple of markets only needs to increase [kernel] performance as SuSE (and openSuSE) are much more polished for a enterprise environment that RH. I find that application development is much easier on SuSE where kernel dev is easier on FC4. I picked out the F/OSS projects only because companies are moving to the model of developing against the 'F/OSS' version and then deploying on the paid 'OSS' version, hence delaying the licensing/service purchase. It makes sense since if forces the developer and vendor share the risks and have mutual interests to succeed.

    • by houghi (78078) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:54AM (#14289918)
      but they were slow in getting 10.0 out the door.

      Slow? They were on time as scheduled. http://www.opensuse.org/Roadmap [opensuse.org] will tell you the future dates. Oh and nowadays it is SUSE (and the comunity openSUSE) not SuSE anymore. It used to mean something and now it officially means nothing anymore.

      Performance is something they are working very hard on and a noticable difference has been seen in 10.0 Also look at http://www.opensuse.org/SUPER [opensuse.org]
    • Paid F/OSS is still F/OSS, not OSS. I know exactly the distinction you are making. But, I do not like dropping the word 'Free' as the whole reason it's there has nothing to do with whether you pay for it or not, or whether or not you can easily download it without paying anything.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      When you say 10.0 I assume you're referring to base SuSE and not Enterprise Server; which is still at 9. (Minor nit: Novell's branding SuSE Linux v SuSE Enterprise Linux is not very clear.)

      I'd say that Gov't acceptance of SuSE isn't bad, primarily because of EAL cert. and IBM's influence.

      As for educational/University saturation: I think that Novell's sales force (University sales team in particular) is partially at fault. I'm an University customer and I needed to purchase 100+ SLES HPC licenses this summer
    • so far Red Hat has the market since it was the first on the scene as a legit business. It is attacking the right industries (Financials and Gov't-i.e. DoD)

      Yes, please.

      I have been doing some work for a few mortgage companies recently and their reliance on IE and the windows platform is *very* ingrained.

      We need an OSS competitor to Point [calyxsoftware.com] and get the .asp extension off of the servers in this industry ASAP. Choosing the right CRM project to base this on would be a good start.

      Phone systems and Auto-Dialers are
  • Shock! (Score:1, Redundant)

    Business Seek to Stay Solvent! The cheek!

    I know we like our OSS community to be warm and fuzzy, but these guys need to make money. If they have to get a little less "easy-going" in the process, then so be it.
  • by irabinovitch (614425) on Monday December 19, 2005 @05:17AM (#14289692) Homepage
    Matt Asay [socallinuxexpo.org] the author of this article will speak at SCALE 4x [socallnuxexpo.org] this year. SCALE will be held in Los Angeles on Feb 11-12, 2006.
  • by EMIce (30092) on Monday December 19, 2005 @05:32AM (#14289722) Homepage
    This is just a delicate way of saying that Novell has vested too much in R&D. So sacrifice R&D to follow technologies that are already showning wide adoption. Novell has taken the lead in introducing now popular technologies like directory services, but has had trouble keeping marketshare. Why is that? Did R&D prevent prevent Novell's customers from getting something their competitors had? What is that exactly?

    It sounds to me like Novell is going the way of HP, but I hope they continue to make R&D enough of a priority.

    • This is just a delicate way of saying that Novell has vested too much in R&D. So sacrifice R&D to follow technologies that are already showning wide adoption. Novell has taken the lead in introducing now popular technologies like directory services, but has had trouble keeping marketshare. Why is that? Did R&D prevent prevent Novell's customers from getting something their competitors had? What is that exactly? It sounds to me like Novell is going the way of HP, but I hope they continue to make
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I ordered from Red Hat once recently, and it was my worse
    buying experience ever. I sincerely hope they go broke
    so that I won't have to order from them again.

    Everything was so Red Hat-centric... They started by
    ignoring the order completely because there was no e-mail
    address in it (instead of contacting the person who
    originated the order by other means... they had a delivery
    address, but they chose not to use it).

    When someone from my company woke them up because they hadn't
    sent a bill for the order, they asked
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why not order from one of their resellers instead, if you only want the cardboard box and the plastic discs?
    • I think you're full of it, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and allow for the fact that you're just utterly incompetent. Your 'story' is so full of conveniently placed loopholes that it appears highly incredulous. Another person placed the order by 'other means'...RH mistakenly contacted 'someone else' who 'rightly' ignored them...it was too 'complicated' to log in to RHN. To be fair you're posting as an AC, so maybe you really do find the idea of logging in to be complicated.

      For the rest of us
    • I think they make you burn the CDs because they get so out of date quickly. For example we recently bought several DELL Precision 380 workstations. Full support for these machines didn't come out for RHEL3 until update 5. So if you tried to install this machine with a RHEL WS3 update 4 CD it wouldn't work.
    • It's better to call to businesses, I think, force them to deal with you (instead of an email inbox). If they are using a SW ticketing system, and you forgot your address and so they had to use contact info. from a previous order, well, I've worked in customer service with a ticketing system at a co. recently, so I don't think you are lying. It works a lot better when all of the information is entered correctly the first time, a whole lot better.

      Yeah, I like that other guy's suggestion of just buying the b
  • the difference... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:09AM (#14289816)
    ...between RedHat and Novell is that they are two separate companies. That means they are not the same. They are two, not one. They are run by different people. With different views on lots of issues. With different products. Yes, they have something in common, they have linux-based OSes to sell. Apart from that, I can't see anything else they would have in common. What's such an article good for, then ? Well, in any case, it's better than another dupe, I guess.

    • The biggest difference is that one begins with an "R" and the other an "N". Commercial Linux Companies offer less than totally free distros and its sad that everyone comparing GNU/Linux to other OS's use these commercial distros as comparison every time. Why is it everyone thinks the only thing worth having, costs more???? People amaze me. We are raised with the mindset that cheap things are well....crap. While this is sometimes the case, here it is definitely not. Sorry for the rant! Now everyone start fla
  • by aapold (753705) * on Monday December 19, 2005 @08:58AM (#14290177) Homepage Journal
    When all of their administration tools (Zenworks in particular), it makes for a fantastic management environment. Their linux stuff isn't quite up to par with their windows desktop integration yet, but it is getting there. These things are much more useful in a corporate environmnet.
  • Personally, I can't see much of a difference... But I'm no expert, so, hey...

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