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Businesses Linux Business Novell SuSE Linux

VMware Looks To Acquire Novell's SUSE Unit 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the talking-turkey dept.
minutetraders writes "According to the Wall Street Journal, VMware is attempting to acquire Novell's SUSE Linux operating system business. This move would give VMware a full stack of enterprise software and allow it to establish itself as a full-blown infrastructure and software vendor in direct competition with Red Hat." The WSJ report is behind a paywall, but it's accessible in full through a Google search.
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VMware Looks To Acquire Novell's SUSE Unit

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  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Friday September 17, 2010 @08:48AM (#33609852) Journal
    - with one exception - dump Miguel. Please. Mono is something you see a doctor about. Let's keep it that way.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JamesP (688957)

      Really, no

      Keep Miguel, he's underrated (and unjustly hated) by lots of people.

      Mono, free software, patents, MS is evil, blah blah blah

      The guy started Gnome (ok, I hate it) but it's a solid work.

      Mono is also a solid work. And Oracle has just shown that there are issues with Java as well w.r.t patents and stuff

      Also, Mono is something I see as embrace-extend backwards, that is, Mono does that to MS

      Really, Miguel may be 'debatable' sometimes, but he's valuable

      • by mdm-adph (1030332) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `hpdamdm'> on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:12AM (#33610612) Homepage

        If there's suddenly a problem with Java w.r.t. patents and stuff, would the alternative really be something "open source" based upon a Microsoft product? :\

      • by arivanov (12034) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:42AM (#33610956) Homepage

        Dude, whatever you are smoking can you please share it.

        Gnome perpetrates Winhoze coding practices into the unix world. Just take any piece of gnome code and read it. Carefully. And follow the code design, not just the code "quality".

        Let's just take ekiga as an example, though any gnome app will do.

        The state machine is tightly coupled with the UI just like a Windows application. As a result making it use multiple CPUs properly or reusing the code for anything other than another Gnome application is impossible. Not surprisingly it triggers races in underlying (similarly badly coded) libraries like there is no tomorrow. Same for having the UI stripped away. This is impossible. And just do not get me started on the subject of trying to integrate something to a piece of gnome code. Because the apps state machines are built around the UI half of the key functions that should show up on dbus end up as inaccessible. Taking same ekiga as an example - call is exposed while hangup is not because it is so UI-tied up that there is no way in hell to expose it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Winhoze? Seriously?

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          You have a 5-digit UID and you're still calling it Wonhoze? :)

          Anyway, I have a different take on it than you. The developer just wanted a mature, visually appealing, and featureful library to make his/her life easier. And this is GNU stuff here. So even though it may not match easthetically (say if you use E17/Sawmill/FVWM/etc.), anyone can download the Gnome library and use (and display) the application anyways.

          Whats wrong with that?

        • At almost every level of the "Windows" UI/GUI almost anything can be exposed: to modify, append-to or straight-up block it completely.

          Even a fairly simple language like AutoHotKey: (Script interpreted by an on-the-fly C++ compiler) can do amazing things with DLLCALL and RegisterCallBack.

          Or even some of the work by BlackWingCat : BlackWingCat's KDW API Wrapper & Tools [site90.com] or OldCigarettes : OldCigarettes Windows 2000 XP API Wrapper Pack (OCW) [site90.com], which do API wrapping on Binaries like ntdll.dll, user32.d
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 21mhz (443080)

          Let's just take ekiga as an example, though any gnome app will do.

          The state machine is tightly coupled with the UI just like a Windows application. As a result making it use multiple CPUs properly or reusing the code for anything other than another Gnome application is impossible. Not surprisingly it triggers races in underlying (similarly badly coded) libraries like there is no tomorrow. Same for having the UI stripped away. This is impossible.

          That's why GNOME has switched to Empathy [gnome.org], just another GNOME app but done right.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by butalearner (1235200)

        Mono is also a solid work. And Oracle has just shown that there are issues with Java as well w.r.t patents and stuff

        Java is perfectly fine. It's when you want to mess with the bytecode and VM implementation that you can run into trouble. Mono, on the other hand, the main implementation already violates MS patents for which there is no patent protection (e.g. ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Windows Forms).

        • Java is perfectly fine. It's when you want to mess with the bytecode and VM implementation that you can run into trouble.

          Are you saying that Java is open source except where you can't actually do things to it that you are supposed to be able to do with open source?

          Mono, on the other hand, the main implementation already violates MS patents for which there is no patent protection (e.g. ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Windows Forms).

          Who in a sane mind would even want to use any of those on Unix, though? Gtk# is where it is, and it is not subject to any MS patents (obviously). While the language, binary format, VM semantics, and base class library are all under Open Spec Promise, so patents there do not apply.

      • by rantomaniac (1876228) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:52AM (#33611100)

        While personally I think Mono is a very nice piece of technology, in many ways superior to the Java platform... in my eyes Miguel lost all credibility back when he endorsed OOXML and later Silverlight.
        Helping Microsoft embrace/extend the web with Silverlight by giving the illusion that it's cross-platform was the last straw.
        For reference, Silverlight is neither cross-platform by design, because it's able to call native DLLs, or in practice because Moonlight is waaay behind.

        • by JamesP (688957)

          Helping Microsoft embrace/extend the web with Silverlight by giving the illusion that it's cross-platform was the last straw.

          Well, see how that has worked out quite well! Oh wait, it didn't, everybody keeps using flash and now HTML5. Silverlight is stillborn.

          I guess it's because Flash is designer centered whereas SL is developer centered. Also much easier to use than wathever MS did for SL.

          For reference, Silverlight is neither cross-platform by design, because it's able to call native DLLs, or in practice because Moonlight is waaay behind.

          I never tried Moonlight, but all vm / interpreted languages can usually call native code. That's with .NET, Python, Java, etc.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by rantomaniac (1876228)

            I never tried Moonlight, but all vm / interpreted languages can usually call native code. That's with .NET, Python, Java, etc.

            Sure, but we're talking about web apps, there's a different standard of openness, accessibility and security we expect from those. Neither javascript in browsers nor actionscript in flash allow native code.

      • Check out OpenJDK and Icedtea. Oracle is suing Google for Java related patents, but that doesn't affect Java developers, because any Java implementation that conforms to the old specs by Sun is covered.

      • by greenskyx (609089) *
        Agreed. Miguel rocks. Just look at how well Mono is doing. It's being widely used to write iPhone/pod/pad applications with MonoTouch and it they are extending the tool so it can write Android applications as well.
      • by arth1 (260657)

        Also, Mono is something I see as embrace-extend backwards, that is, Mono does that to MS

        Never assume that the enemy of your enemy is your friend.

  • by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:16AM (#33610052)
    This news seems to me to be another bad omen. We run NetWare, Border Manager, ZENworks and Groupwise and have been very happy for many years. However, Novell seems to be a ship without a rudder and as the IT Director will cause me to consider other alternatives, including Microsoft.
    • by symbolset (646467) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:42AM (#33610298) Journal
      Microsoft is giving away their shiny new hypervisor with their operating systems. What would be more fair than for VMWare to give away operating systems with their hypervisor?
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Novell has been that way for a very long time I fear.
      Netware was great. I have not used it for years but if you need a NAS it is probably still a good way to go. It probably flies on modern hardware.
      Novell bought WordPerfect ,Quattro Pro and Unix and ran them right into the ground or at least just let them waste away.
      Novell could have intergrated Netware services onto Unix which they only half hearty did now they are really pushing for that on Linux which is a little late.
      WordPerfect and Quattro Pro where b

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      My shop has been Novell ever since they got an internal network around 1995 or so. They're in the process of going all-Microsoft now.

      Glad I'm close to retiring, I don't like much of MS's software.

  • by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1NO@SPAMverizon.net> on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:17AM (#33610060) Homepage
    It seems that patent portfolios is holding up the sale of Novell. http://gigaom.com/2010/09/16/novells-patents-are-complicating-its-sale/ [gigaom.com]
  • by brennanw (5761) on Friday September 17, 2010 @09:36AM (#33610258) Homepage Journal

    ... does that mean we'd eventually see versions of vCenter Server and vCenter Client that run on something other than Windows? That would be nice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrNemesis (587188)

      As much as I'd love that... I doubt it. vCentre is a pretty complex bunch of code, at least a large chunk of it in .net. It's also the flakiest part of the VMware infrastructure IME; the ESX hypervisor hasn't crashed on us since the earliest days of 2.0.

      Not saying that VMware couldn't re-implement VC as a linux client but.. biggest issue with a port would be the plugins however; the integrated live P2V management (VMware Converter) runs on windows because it's easy to provide Linux services from a windows h

      • by swb (14022)

        I can't help but agree with all of this.

        I also think that outside of some edge cases, VMware's biggest target market is Windows consolidation as IMHO, Windows server proliferation is a "feature" of Windows apps/services not playing well in the same machine.

        If MS could ever come up with some kind of per-application on-demand virtualization that didn't require copying the entire OS environment into RAM but provided total insulation from the OS, it'd eliminate a big chunk of the need for virtualization.

        Obvious

        • by MrNemesis (587188)

          Agree on the server proliferation thing 100% - I've come across dozens of companies that have been forced to run hundreds of massively overspecced servers because support agreements mandate that "no other apps can be installed on the box"; if you want to use tin that's supported you're stuck with buying a new box every 3-5yrs that ends up being three times as fast as it's predecessor (but the shoddily written app is still just as slow). VMware provided an easy answer to that and IMHO it's why they got so bi

      • You forgot something (Score:3, Informative)

        by brennz (715237)
        VMware has a Linux vcenter in beta..... http://communities.vmware.com/community/beta/vcserver_linux [vmware.com]
        • by MrNemesis (587188)

          Yowza, nice comeback - hadn't heard hide nor hare of this one; although at ~18 months without an update I wonder how much momentum there is behind it.

  • by 42sd (557362) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:12AM (#33610610)
    No matter how much VMWare is willing to pay, Novell can't afford to lose that part of the company. They are already hardly relevant. They need SuSe and the clout they have to make sure that they have a suitable place to run all of their other software. I'd guess they'd have to get the whole company instead of just the SuSe division.
    • by tsstahl (812393) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:35AM (#33610886)

      I think you missed the news about Novell looking to break itself up into pieces.

    • it's not like they're buying the code, the only real losses are the Suse name and possibly the coders. plus i think they're pretty keen on the money, from their jumping into bed with MS i'd say they like money, not that there's anything wrong with that, i feel like they just want to keep there company ticking, which at the root of it keeps a shitload of open source devs in a job.
    • They need SuSe and the clout they have to make sure that they have a suitable place to run all of their other software.

      Seriously, VMWare is only interested in SuSE. They want a complete stack to compete with Microsoft's and Red Hat's VM product lines. I believe they recently picked up another company to fill another role in that stack, but I'm far too lazy to look it up right now. They do offer a version of Linux called Just Enough OS, but I've heard nothing spectacular about it.

      Novell's other software is b

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Thats the great thing about selling 'SuSE' to someone else ... they still keep it for themselves as well. They can just restaff ( or keep staff depending on the deal ) and do the same thing.

      As a general rule, 'buying a linux company' is an absolutely retarded idea.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        Except for the name, the partly-finished projects that aren't yet distributed, the reputation, the control of the project, etc... If Novell were to keep a group doing "the same thing", they wouldn't be much better off than someone else just forking the project.

        VMWare would be "buying a Linux company", not "buying Linux". Like any corporate acquisition, it makes sense if the assets are worth more to VMWare than the amount they're paying for it.

        Consider what VMWare might be able to do with SuSE. SuSE has a go

    • In 15 years of working around the IT industry, I have heard of only one management decision which was looked on in a positive light and that was the purchase of Suse. At the time this happened most everybody said they would screw this up. Well here they are.
      I'm leaning toward NOVL being managed worse than JAVA, mainly because they had a chance to be relevant more than once. JAVA was relevant and they just couldn't change with the times or pick up on the right direction.
  • interesting move (Score:2, Informative)

    by slshwtw (1903272)
    An interesting move since VMware's flagship virtualization product (ESX) is based on Red Hat, yet the current release of that product is the last that will support using the full-blown ESX with the privileged (red-hat-like) guest. They are moving to only support the bare hypervisor product (ESXi).
    • Re:interesting move (Score:4, Informative)

      by Courageous (228506) on Friday September 17, 2010 @11:25AM (#33611430)

      ESX is not "based" on Red Hat, even using a loose reading of the word "based".

      When you log onto the console operating system in a ESX environment, you are not, in fact, logging onto ESX at all.

      The console operating system is a privileged VM running on the ESX server that solely exists to let you run command lines and the like, to discover information about the hypervisor's state, tell it what to do, and so forth. That has turned out to be the source of numerous security holes, hence the moving away from it.

      C//

  • If VMware buys SuSE that will be a blow to Xen.

    Red Hat has already switched to KVM, and Ubuntu doesn't provide a Xen Dom0 kernel. If SuSE goes to a virtualization vendor that competes with products built on Xen, what options will be left for enterprise distros that provide Xen Dom0 support? Oracle Unbreakable Linux?

    • Don't be surprised if EMC buys Citrix next.

      People do build large Xen clouds when they could afford VMWare if they wanted it. EMC bought VMWare because it recognizes the power of virtualization. Now they're back for more. SuSE and Fedora are the only distros that are actually keeping up with Xen, and Fedora has been doing well only by two (awesome) community members who garner little inner-circle support.

      Redhat has been chasing after KVM trying to be like VMWare, when it's VMWare that's been trying to be

  • by eap (91469)

    Don't they know they can just download it for free?

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