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SuSE Businesses

SuSE Announces More Layoffs 136

jdfox writes: "SuSE announced more layoffs on Friday: 10% reductions in Germany, or about 50 (mainly non-technical) staff. This follows the February layoffs of 30 out of the 45 US staff in Oakland. Perhaps a merger with MandrakeSoft is in order? Both are RPM-based, both offer KDE-based admin tools. OTOH, as MandrakeSoft is right in the middle of an IPO, it might not be the best time to be thinking about a major acquisition. I mainly use Debian, but SuSE is an excellent distro, and I would hate to see the company go bust."
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SuSE Announces More Layoffs

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    SuSE is too reliant on YAST, which will ultimately be their downfall as a distribution. That, and lack of sales/profit, of course.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because the German soldiers like to march in the shade. (rimshot) Thank you!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sorry to disabuse you, but IMNSHO Mandrake tools are some of the worst and most amateur tools ever made. Even just *launching* them takes forever, and we're talking GTK here, not even GNOME. The interfaces themselves are horrible and have had no thought put into them, they lack feedback, flexibility, elegance or anything that could justify such supposed fandom as yours.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sure, the Linux kiddies are annoying, but I'd say that the biggest problem with Linux is the GPL. Pretty much ensures that all these companies will continue to lose money.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    links, lynx
    netscape (hey, I just installed 4.78, hasn't crashed in the 30 seconds it's been up ...)

    ... and a passel of others, too ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You have no idea ! SuSe, lazy Suze, it's cute, it's female, it's "pummelig" and I take my little SuSe very serious. SuSe is the kind of thing you want to cuddle with and fix her a computer, the dream of every *cool* and lonely, misunderstood hacker, who needs sometimes to prove that he is a good guy. (Did I say sometimes, oh, I sometimes say sometimes, yes)

    Penguins need lizards, because the penguins just don't know what kind of hat to wear with the chic tuxedos, black, white or red.

    SuSe will tell him, it really doesn't matter. :-)

    You can't cuddle with a penguin. You always think he is wet, cold and too slick, even if he kinda looks cute. Besides penguins get too exited en masse. Well, penguins are kind of cute though too, especially their eyes and the tuxedo really makes their belly so much more adorable.

    So, I think, penguins and lizards make an excellent couple, but as you know they are different, penguins and lizards, or do you think women and men are alike ?

    Aside from that, in Germany it's not necessary to be a big company, it's good enough to be a good company. I hope they make it.

    They should come out with the equivalent of the RH's professional server together with their new firewall CD and sell it at a higher price in the U.S. RH's professional server is so much more expensive here in the U.S. that they can afford to raise their prices and compete. The stupidity on both sides is that they so much divide their out-of-the box installs into workstation and server etc. Why ? Nobody will just remain with their Linux box at a workstation level. Everybody would like to run their home-based servers and network like the pros after a while. I don't get it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nobody takes a lizard as a logo order to step it up and play with the big boys perhaps Suse should incoporate a common household object as it's logo like some other companies a flying door or something else (****window****)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, I'm an ex RedHat user.
    I keep looking at new RH releases, but the one thing I like SuSE for is -ironically- one aspect of YAST: the complete package integration. I have _one_ CD I insert, and I can choose from all the packages in the distro. RH lacks the integration, their idea of a 'Pro' pack is to throw in some more CDs and a manual - it's up to you to figure out what you've got and on which CD it lives (the only way out is to use the DVD instead, but that's not always practical).
    And manuals - the contents makes you forgive the occasional translation slips (stray bits of German throughout). RH is quite good - but I feel SuSE beats them by being complete. And it usually works ;-).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Their technical expertise and quality of their distribution is closest to Caldera. As well with geographical location - Caldera and Suse engineering are about a 12 minute train ride apart in Germany. I have a lot of respect for both distributions in their focus on quality. The Caldera and Suse engineers actualy have quite a bit of mutual respect for each other and get along quite well (from very good sources). They are also both focussed on making the LSB a major force in the Linux world wich is a very good thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't see how MandrakeSoft and SuSe could merge since the former is 100% dedicated to free software, whereas SuSe does not have any problem with not releasing ISOs of their product and developping a proprietary software (YaST).

    There are too much philosophical gaps between those 2 companies. I bet lot's of Mandrake developers would leave the company if they were told to work for SuSe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:33AM (#67615)
    • gcc 2.96 is actually more standards compliant than any other version of gcc released at the time Red Hat made this decision (3.0 is even more compliant, but not as stable) yet). It may not be "standards compliant" as in "what most others are shipping", but 2.96 is almost fully ISO C99 and ISO C++ 98 compliant, unlike any previous version of gcc.
    • gcc 2.96 has more complete support for C++. Older versions of gcc could handle only a very limited subset of C++. Earlier versions of g++ often had problems with templates and other valid C++ constructs.
    • gcc 2.96 generates better, more optimized code.
    • gcc 2.96 supports all architectures Red Hat is currently supporting, including ia64. No other compiler can do this. Having to maintain different compilers for every different architecture is a development (find a bug, then fix it 4 times), QA and support nightmare.
    • The binary incompatibility issues are not as bad as some people and companies make you believe. First of all, they affect dynamically linked C++ code only. If you don't use C++, you aren't affected. If you use C++ and link statically, you aren't affected. If you don't mind depending on a current glibc, you might also want to link statically to c++ libraries while linking dynamically to glibc and other C libraries you're using: g++ -o test -Wl,-Bstatic -lstdc++ -Wl,-Bdynamic (Thanks to Pavel Roskin [mailto] for pointing this out) Second, the same issues appear with every major release of gcc so far. gcc 2.7.x C++ is not binary compatible with gcc 2.8.x. gcc 2.8.x C++ is not binary compatible with egcs 1.0.x. egcs 1.0.x C++ is not binary compatible with egcs 1.1.x. egcs 1.1.x C++ is not binary compatible with gcc 2.95. gcc 2.95 C++ is not binary compatible with gcc 3.0. Besides, it can easily be circumvented. Either link statically, or simply distribute libstdc++ with your program and install it if necessary. Since it has a different soname, it can coexist with other libstdc++ versions without causing any problems. Red Hat Linux 7 also happens to be the first Linux distributions using the current version of glibc, 2.2.x. This update is not binary compatible with older distributions either (unless you update glibc - there's nothing that prevents you from updating libstdc++ at the same time), so complaining about gcc's new C++ ABI breaking binary compatibility is pointless. If you want to distribute something binary-only, link it statically and it will run everywhere. Someone has to be the first to take a step like this. If nobody dared to make a change because nobody else is doing it, we'd all still be using gcc 1.0, COBOL or ALGOL. No wait, all of those were new at some point...
    • Most of gcc 2.96's perceived "bugs" are actually broken code that older gccs accepted because they were not standards compliant - or, using an alternative term to express the same thing, buggy. A C or C++ compiler that doesn't speak the standardized C language is a bug, not a feature. In the initial version of gcc 2.96, there were a couple of other bugs. All known ones have been fixed in the version from updates - and the version that is in the current beta version of Red Hat Linux. The bugs in the initial version don't make the whole compiler broken, though. There has never been a 100% bug free compiler, or any other 100% bug free non-trivial program. The current version can be downloaded here [].
    • gcc 3.0, the current "stable" release (released quite some time after Red Hat released gcc 2.96-RH), fixes some problems, but introduces many others - for example, gcc 3.0 can't compile KDE 2.2 beta 1 correctly. Until the first set of 3.0 updates is released, I still claim 2.96 is the best compiler yet.
    Trolling for GCC 2.96
  • I believe Red Hat is certified for use with Oracle as well.
  • by emil ( 695 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @08:30AM (#67617)

    I heard some rumor about Oracle pushing an ERP solution at RedHat that involved WinNT, which started the bad blood between them.

    Then, out comes RedHat Database, which would surely cause Oracle some displeasure even if it is no competetive threat.

    Perhaps even a larger concern is Suse's use of ReiserFS. Red Hat has been screaming that fsck and other user-level tools for ReiserFS are tremendously substandard, and that ReiserFS corrupts itself under heavy load, to say nothing of the NFS problems (I don't know if these are fixed).

    (Gee it would be nice to know which JFS RedHat is going to choose before I install any more XFS versions - perhaps it really will be ext3 after all.)

    Why is Oracle coming to a different conclusion about ReiserFS? Granted, it's not that hard to restore a corrupted Oracle data file, but why have any question of risk?

    There is more here than meets the eye.

  • ..the alleged sysadmin went with Redh*t (7.0, no less...isn't that the one with the borken gcc?)

    • No, that's the one with the more standards complaint gcc that breaks some shitty bug-ridden old C++ code.
    • Spelling "broken" as "borken" does not make you look like a wise, witty and bearded old-school hacker. It makes you look like a wanker and an idiot. But it could be worse - you could have written "b0rken".
  • he could have just accidently hit the o before the r :)

    No chance. He was going for that zany ESR-loving hacker jargon file [] stylee..

    Ah, I see my original post was marked "Overrated". The coward's moderation. If you think I'm trolling, call me a goddamn troll.

  • I forgot: why do I know this? Well, I work for SuSE in Oakland and also at Oracle (building 401 right where the Oracle Linux group is) in Redwood Shores.

    Michael Hasenstein
  • Oracle used to use a RedHat 6.0 based Linux for Oracle 8i. In December, for Oracle 9i, they switched to SuSE Linux 7.1 for all Linux work, and later they used the 7.2 kernel with their 7.1 installations. They now use SuSE Linux 7.0 for the older glibc 2.1 based products and SuSE Linux 7.1 and 7.2 for the glibc 2.2 based (Oracle 9i) ones and for the Oracle 8i+glibc 2.2-oracle patch stuff.<p>

    SuSE Oracle support page is<p>

    See the LVM whitepaper there for some interesting SuSE-only things (although it's all opensource (GPL) stuff).

    Michael Hasenstein

  • Oops, I meant that Linux/Intel is one that is still supported.

  • The original comment was correct and you are both wrong. For Oracle 9i, only SuSE is supported.

    Also the idea of Oracle buying SuSE does make some sense. Oracle has seriously chopped down the number of future supported platforms and Linux/Intel is one of them.
  • by thorsen ( 9515 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:30AM (#67624) Homepage
    Please don't take this as a bad sign. SuSE is just restructuring a bit and there is absolutely no signs of the company going under or whatever other gloomy future timothy has in mind for the company.

    Merging with Mandrake is a ridiculous proposition and it's incredibly bad behaviour of a journalist (or someone acting in this role) to suggest something like this.

    Bo Thorsen.

    Disclaimer: I work for SuSE Labs, but I speak for myself.
  • It's not clear to me that the original poster was talking about gcc-2.96. If I'm not mistaken, Mandrake has used things like pgcc in the past.

  • SuSe is the ONLY really good distro for the IBM s/390. Marist College has one that is pretty outdated (and hard to install) and Redhat has a beta (alpha?) version out, but SuSe is by far what most people seem to be using currently. Perhaps there is some incentive for IBM to bail them out (or cut them off and encourage RH to speed up their deployment of the s/390 port)

  • According to Oracle () RedHat 6.x/7.x and SuSE 7.x

    Please check your facts, never mind this is /.

  • If you think HardDrake is slow just try YAST2.
  • "The superior product comes out on top."

    The truth is, the American product comes out on top.

    That is, exposure is worth more than quality.

    Which doesn't mean that quality is unimportant. But in my experience, the difference between Redhat and SuSE is less significant than the difference between two SuSE or Redhat releases.

  • by tippergore ( 32520 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:18AM (#67630) Homepage
    Slackware have about 4-5 people, I believe. 2 maintain the website predominantly, Patrick Volkerding has full control over the distribution. It gets along quite nicely.... I can understand perhaps, some programmers for designing the Suse-specific apps, but how many could there be?

    70 expendable workers? You just can't throw workers at a problem and expect everything to just organize. This is why so many companies tank.

    Of course, I'm sure Slackware would have been getting along a lot _more_ nicely had they not put their store on a very slow ASDL line when their new release was announced on slashdot...

    That's just dumb. It was bogged down for like 3 days, and even now it's very slow.

    Slackware Store []

  • You can copy the CDs all you want. What the license disallows is the selling of copied CDs or of works derived from YaST. You can hack up YaST all you want as well. The source code is there. In fact, YaST2 is a very nice framework for developing setups. You want to write a module that configures X package? Go for it.

    I hate it when Slashdotters don't read licenses. Most haven't even read the GPL and go around telling untruths about it.

  • Lot's of BS under this story...

    I had no trouble downloading ISOs for Alpha.

    I also had no trouble downloading a single floppy disk and installing SuSE directly from It's a hell of a lot quicker than downloading the entire thing, including stuff you don't want, then burning 7 CDs, then switching them during each install.

    If you want, download the FTP installation tree and stick it somewhere on a networked computer. Then you can do FTP installs *really* quickly. If you have a 100Mb network, it's a lot faster than a 7 CDROMs.

    As for the *proprietary* nature of YaST, I recommend a reading of the license. The only thing you can't do is resell it. Big deal. I can still modify it if I want. Isn't that the *real* point?
  • Quote: "some people enjoy having a stable, unchanging system that's up-to-date."

    How's that for a contradiction? unchanging <-> up-to-date
  • Sounds like you need to listen more to Linus and less to Stallman.

    If you don't want to use SuSE then don't - there's room in the Linux world for more than one distro, and SuSE is extremely popular for good reason.

    Go try RedHat, Mandrake, Debian, Slackware, SuSE then come back and tell me with a straight face that they all provided the same bang for the buck to you, and were all of equal quality, etc.

  • while i appreciate your enilghtened viewpoint, you should also realize that the quality of a distro is irrelevent if they cannot pay the bills. i'm sorry you had a bad expirence with mandrake. i personally cannot comment on it-i tried mandrake out once a couple years ago. for every distro there is at least one person who has had a good expirence and one person who hasn't.

    there are alot of people on slashdot that bash other distros. i personally think the only people who have an opinion that matters is someone who creates a distro. a person who creates and maintains a distro has an understanding of what that process is like and can make an informed decision on what is and is not utter CRAP. so mandrake didnt work out for you, thats nice. i really dont think they want people like yourself as a customer. personally i would prefer customers with level heads and a little reason.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • actually right after the ipo might be a good time for acquisitions. if suse has alot of tools that can be adapted to enhance mandrake it might be a good idea. after the ipo mandrake should have alot of capital and will need something to invest in.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • While I do not condone the useage of the word pussy, to describe a frenchman, poster has a point(although its different then what he thinks);

    Why is this US based website, so goddamn USCENTRIC? Well Ill be darned.., TWO distro's in Europe?? One is in money probs? Well certainly one distro is enough! Let them merge! They probably both are eurobabble localized anyways!

    It seems much more rationale from codebase POV to merge Mandrake and RedHat or.. or.. SuSe and Slackware.. or or RedHat and Suse...

    Anyways, mergers are never a solution to afloat a sinking ship again (not to say that SuSe is sinking.. Its just not a way to SAVE a sinking ship)

    Greetz Richard
  • The whole hoopla about gcc 2.96 was never about bugs.

    It was about releasing it too early AGAINST the wishes of the maintainers.

    Gr /Dread
  • My take is: the poster ment FREE browsers.

    Gr /Dread
  • Go out and _buy_ the ISO!

    I recently bought the personal version of 7.2 - to use to update my 6.3 box. Being a relative newbie on Linux, I had my doubts and "fears" on doing the update (after all, it was a major version upgrade). I wasn't sure the update would work properly, or that something would break after reboot, or what...

    I figured something would go wrong - how could it go smooth?

    But you know something - it did! The update worked great - no problems at all. Reboot happened and everything was fine...

    Ok, not everything was fine - everything worked and appeared OK - but I found that X4.0 hadn't replaced the old X, though KDE updated fine. The kernel didn't get updated either (that was my own fault, in a way - earlier I had patched my 2.2.13 kernal, that comes standard with SuSE 6.3, to 2.2.14, to fix a bug with the parallel port zip drive. I had placed the vmlinuz in /, and told Lilo to look there, based on the patching HOW-TO - SuSE 7.2 places the new kernel in /boot - so I had to simply repoint Lilo, and reboot to fix the issue - still have to rebuild the kernel anyhow, and customise it, cause I lost joystick support).

    Even so, with all that - I am highly pleased with the results. I have updated a lot of my software, and KDE2 is a joy to use and see. I have a love/hate relationship with the NVidia drivers for my TNT card now (I was using the "reference" source drivers - or whatever they were - under X3 - but they don't work for 4) - they are faster, but I hate that damn logo - anybody know how to get rid of it (the only reference I found was something involving a hex edit patching of a binary - not something I really want to do).

    I am really pleased. I loved the update so much, I really want to see how/what a virgin install is like, on a brand new system. Something tells me "simple as pie"...

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • SuSE is too reliant on YAST, which will ultimately be their downfall as a distribution. That, and lack of sales/profit, of course.

    ...and what is wrong with YaST? It's one-stop shopping for package management and system configuration. I've set up primarily SuSE boxen at my previous jobs; coming into a new job where the alleged sysadmin went with Redh*t (7.0, no less...isn't that the one with the borken gcc?) is a bit of a culture shock.

    I use LFS [] at home as you can build the lightest, fastest system that way (and it's not that big a deal if I screw something up on my own boxen), but I wouldn't consider anything other than SuSE for a business system. I've used SLS and Slackware in the past, I have Debian on an old Mac as it's the only game in town, and I appear to be stuck with Redh*t at work (until I take over as sysadmin, at least). From what I've seen, SuSE beats them all.

  • If we end with only one Linux company, prices are going to skyrocket(unless for some reason their ideology keeps the prices low(not likely))

    Don't forget about the GPL. Thanks to it, prices can never skyrocket.. at least for the software. No matter how you get a copy (of the freely redistributable versions), you are free to redistribute copies and charge however much (or little) as you wish. The software will always be free. Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about anyway. Services.

    I work for IBM e-business. IBM Global Services has always added value for customers with service offerings. Now by strongly embracing Linux, we can sell our own hardware, charge an install fee for a free OS, and optionally sell our own non-free Linux software. The big gain is in the services. From what I understand, RedHat now sells multimillion dollar support contracts. They may even turn a real profit within a year or so. They "get" Linux. You can make a little money selling CDs, a little more building a better distro, or a lot more providing consulting services.
    Steve Jackson
  • fucking can't sell the distro yourself. The code for yast is otherwise completly compaitble with the GPL.
  • Let's see 4 people do what SuSe does. Does Slackware support all the languages SuSe does? Definately not. What about the deals they've done with large storage and clustering partners? No.

    SuSe needs a lot more people than Slackware because they do more.
  • 50% isn't that much worse than the US. I figure I pay around 35% of my income in taxes one way or the other. What blows me away about Germany is the Kirchen Steuer (church tax). When I was over there, I couldn't believe the gov't collected taxes for the Lutheran and Catholic churches.
  • I'm not catholic or lutheran so that issue never arose. It is just very different to an american. It was very wierd to me when people wanted to leave thier church they went and talked to the tax office not a religious official.
  • by z84976 ( 64186 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:58AM (#67647) Homepage
    In this past month's Linux World (or Linux Mag... I get both) there's a great interview with Dirk Hondel, premier SuSE dude. Pretty good stuff, Dirk assures us in the article that they are going strong. They are still a privately funded company, remember, so lack of profits today != investors backing out tomorrow. Also keep in mind that SuSE WAS profitable for the first few years of its existence. It's only been recently (and a result of expansion) that they've become less-than profitable. They'll be fine. Their distribution was the first to be better than Slackware and is years ahead of RedHat or Mandrake (sorry guys).
  • Read the rest of my post. I said the Linux Desktop is strong now, because we are developing browsers and Office apps. There is a ton of development activity within the Linux Desktop range. I was contending that even without Linux companies, Linux Development is still strong and growing stronger.

    You also shot yourself in the foot. I mentioned the growing success of LInux Office applications, and then you tried to slam Linux by stating that it is not a productive platform. The fact that we have more and more Office apps proves that more and more people can be productive with it.

    What can I do with Linux that I can't do with Windows? How bout go a week without rebooting my box? Since we're talking browsers, how bout printing web pages to postscript files, and then using a simple script to turn them into PDF files? I can do that for free in Linux; I would have to buy Acrobat to do that in Windows.

    And lastly MS IE integration. Again, you proved my point: in Windows, you have the "choice" of pretty much one browser. The options are much better in the OSS world.

  • SuSE is laying off more people, both RedHat and VA Linux's stocks are way down. I also heard a rumor (I think over at Linux magazine) that Redhat et al. are about to start charging per-CPU licenses. Add to this that SGI recently laid off a lot of its (XFS!) staff, and I am starting to worry about the future of free-OS distros.

    That said, Linux has never looked stronger. We now have FOUR browsers - Netscape, Mozilla, Galeon, and Konqueror. Plus plenty of Office apps. And I recently read another atricle that shows how Linux is taking over the graphics-workstation desktop (at Pixar, etc).

    I can only hope that the current decline in the vitality of OSS companies is parallel to that of the entire tech industry, and nothing more.

    Anyone have any input on this?

    /me crosses fingers

  • Oracle has seriously chopped down the number of future supported platforms and Linux/Intel is one of them.

    Does that sentence mean:
    1. Linux / Intel is one of the chopped down platforms?
    2. Linux / Intel is one of the supported platforms?
  • Both are RPM-based

    I should damn well hope so. RPM 3.05 has been the Linux Standard base method of installing software for some time now, and at least 98% of production systems are RPM based according to Netcraft. Hence I doubt that's the basis to merge.
  • SuSE is laying off more people, both RedHat and VA Linux's stocks are way down.

    Red Hat's stocks were overinflated, but the company is profitable and going well. VAs stocks deserve to be down - the company replaced a business model which was established (they supplied Akamai) and understandable with one that will see them go out of business real soon.

    I also heard a rumor (I think over at Linux magazine) that Redhat et al. are about to start charging per-CPU licenses.

    Not sure who you mean by (et al), but Red Hat is not and will never charge per seat licenses for their OS, and have said so repeatedly in th epast. You're probably thinking of Caldera, whose move to per seat Licensing for Workstation / Server 3.0 involves per seat licensing (and who prompted Red Hat's statement on the topic)

    Add to this that SGI recently laid off a lot of its (XFS!) staff

    Some of the XFS staff - just a couple of members. The project is till going stong AFAICT.

    That said, Linux has never looked stronger. We now have FOUR browsers - Netscape, Mozilla, Galeon, and Konqueror.

    Plus plenty of Office apps.

    StarOffice can't do a word count on a selection of words. It can't add multiple rows to its spreadsheet when needed. It uses its own bizarre font system, and like Mozillas own fatal mistake, it uses its own UI toolkit. All these thigs will take a very, very long time to fix.

    Most of the other office apps aren't finished or are less feature complete than StarOffice. Corel is unusable (if you can install it), Applix is odd, and AbiWord ain't done.

    For those of us who used Netscape 4.x to read our mail, Mozilla 0.9x is a failure. XUL makes this nearly impossible, its that slow (yes, I have a variety of PIIs and Athlons with at least 128Mb of RAM and its unusably slow on all of them).

    And I recently read another atricle that shows how Linux is taking over the graphics-workstation desktop (at Pixar, etc).

    Indeed. Historically it's mostly been for batch rendering and compositing, but its nice to see it changing.
  • Merging with Mandrake is a ridiculous proposition and it's incredibly bad behaviour of a journalist (or someone acting in this role) to suggest something like this.

    I submitted the story; timothy posted it. I certainly meant no harm to SuSE, nor was I attempting to act as a journalist (shudder). Rather, I would like to see a large, pan-European distro vendor which can compete effectively with Red Hat, offer large-scale retail supply and support of a superior product into North America, and maintain the lead in Europe that Mandrake and SuSE currently enjoy.

    May I ask why a merger with Mandrake is a ridiculous proposition? As a SuSE employee you might know something I don't about the distros. Are you referring to a technical problem or a cultural one? Or both? Or something else?
  • Argh! I would be pleased for SuSE to take over Caldera, but not vice-versa. The Caldera engineers might be fine people, but their CEO Ransom Love has a bad attitude to software freedom IMHO, and is not the man I would want at the wheel of any major Linux company, especially a European one.
    A few choice bits of vintage RL:
    Ransom thinks Linux is proprietary []
    Ransom thinks Microsoft is right about the GPL []
  • Suse? Green stinks, and it's too European, too German.

    Too European? For whom? Americans? Quel horreur! I think we can live with that. Linux is a European operating system, and now getting very popular in the rest of the world. Here in Europe we are more than happy to buy it from a European vendor, but more to the point it is a better product than Red Hat. If I wanted an inferior product just for the sheer thrill of buying from a US company, I'd buy Windows.
  • For some good insight into how SuSE does business, go out and buy (or stand in a bookstore and read) the August 2001 Linux Magazine article on pp 36-40. It is an interview with Dirk Hohndel, and he discusses where SuSE is and isn't profitable. He says that for the most part they have been profitable, but during the Linux hype in the stock market they spent a little too much, and now have to work on tightening up a bit.

    I also have a flyer I got in the mail from SuSE (because I registered my 7.1) urging me to buy 7.2, and listing some of their other products. They have a $2500 Lotus Domino + SuSE package they sell (amongst other expensive products) and I imagine that if they can sell plenty of these to corporate customers then they probably won't be hurting too bad.

    Many of the posts have been "Imminent Death of SuSE predicted!" posts. I think it is very silly to suggest that they are going to go under or have to merge. I think they have a very strong user base and I bet they'll come out fine.

  • Actually it is impossible for a monopoly to control Linux or any other GPL software. The GPL is written in such a way to prevent this from ever happenning. In order for Linux to become a monopoly you would have to have every one of the 6 billion people on earth refuse to download source and compile and redistribute it. And all of those separate GPL projects to instantly halt their work and stop distributing binaries from places like sourceforge and freshmeat. For something like that to happen we would be talking about the destruction of the internet or Americanisation of every person on earth (making people stupid one commercial at a time). See linux is a truely free market. So do what you want, just remember to give back to the community, because that is what it is all really about. Money is worthless.

    Don't believe me? Look at what linux has accomplished in the last few years. Do you honestly think that has anything to do with money? It is the hard work of hundreds or thousands of developers, users, sys admins, and now finally the old school management and marketting types (because it is where the money will be). Unfortunately for the old school management and marketting types are finding it hard playing in a free market without walls of IP or legalese to protect them. But that's not my problem. I just hope one day these people will reallize that life is the only thing of value in our world.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Monday July 23, 2001 @06:59AM (#67658) Homepage
    Someone hasn't used Mandrake in a LONG time. Mandrake shifted all its admin tools (Which are far superior to any other distro's, in my opinion, especially when combined with Linuxconf) to GTK a LONG time ago, at least in 7.0.
  • FYI, Oracle's future (if not the current) appliances (9i database and app server) will run SuSE instead of the original Solaris x86 kernel.

    They are spending a lot of time and money on SuSE, and I tend to think that Oracle won't just throw that away.

    $0.02 (CND)

  • SuSE is great.

    At work the Linux boxes generally get Redhat, so I get an opportunity to experience RH's default Gnome install there.

    At home, my first RH 4.2 install has been giving way to several revisions of SuSE, lately 7.1 Professional.

    SuSE's default distro is nice since:

    1. I get to see how KDE feels.
    2. My wife the Windows user tolerates KDE fairly well.
    3. I love the heavy distribution with every application you can imagine on the 6 CD set.

    Finally, I actually buy real distros at full cost instead of iso image copies, since I like to support RH and SuSE, both of which have contributed significantly to the open software community in various ways. That RH employs Alan Cox and that SuSE writes paychecks for Andrea Arcangeli means I will continue to buy distros from both of those houses.

  • I'm also very curious about this. I saw the above rumor on slashdot a while ago. As someone pointed out, it's hard to believe for two reasons:
    1. Would Oracle really pitch an NT-based solution to a Unix vendor? I'd hope they have more sales savvy than that.
    2. Would Red Hat really jeopardize their strategic relations with Oracle over the mistake of a salesperson? No matter how Oracle behaves, they were providing Red Hat with badly needed credibility. I can't believe that Red Hat is at all happy about ceasing to be a supported platform.
  • Anybody know where I can get an ISO for SuSE 7.2?
  • They only have 7.1, not 7.2
  • ...that SuSE is already that weak. It's more or less the #1 distro here in Germany, and also in some of the eastern countries (Czech etc.). They teamed up with IBM to produce a SuSE distro for the 390 series, they've got SuSE for PowerPC, Sparc and Alpha. They are the european publisher for Loki Games. They provide excellent support for corporations. I don't know much about Mandrakesoft, but I guess they won't be able to buy out SuSE!
  • You are one of those persons who like to have playbuttons and stoplights on your servers, right?
  • Without harping on too much, these Linux distro companies rely on a market which is quite infantile. It is really up to the fritter brain nerds like ourselves to get out there and push linux into places it has never been before, no matter what distro you might advocate. More people appreciate linux for what it can do, the more there will be a market generating the revenue for our favorite distros.
  • All this stuff about linux distros has me on the mind about evolution. All these little critters running around trying to get a foot-hold. some of them are bound to not make the evolutionary steppes, or get squashed by something begger climbing them. We evolved from lizards ga-zillions of years ago, the SuSe lizard will have to do the same if it plans on surviving.

    My personal pull is with the same spiral motion that is the formative energy for most everything else. <insert Debian logo here>

    The Roaring Spring
  • Go try RedHat, Mandrake, Debian, Slackware, SuSE then come back and tell me with a straight face that they all provided the same bang for the buck to you, and were all of equal quality, etc.

    I'd be happy to, but I'm not going to spend over a hundred bucks ($30-$40 per distro) for boxed sets of each one. Hence, I download and burn RH, Mandrake and Debian, to try them out. I liked Mandrake the best (Debian wouldn't support booting past the 1024th cylinder, and Red Hat has no journaling filesystem) so I donated $30.

    If SuSE would likewise let me try their distro free, maybe I'd like it, but I'm not going to go out and waste money when Mandrake's working just fine. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that their FTP version supports PPPoE.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • Specifically, their YaST installer is NOT GPLed, it is under a proprietary license, making it illegal to copy cds. I've never used the distro because of this, so I don't know if any of their other software is non-GPLed. It's quite possible that it would be illegal for Mandrake to do what you describe.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @09:30AM (#67670)
    The one fundamental problem that I've always had with SuSE is their non-Free installer. I wholeheartedly sympathize with their desire to make money, but what's the point in using Linux if you go out and choose the one distribution that's not GPLed?

    Red Hat always takes a lot of crap for being "sell outs," but SuSE is the only distro company that has ever restricted redistribution. I don't understand why they don't take more crap for that. I, for one, will not be sad if SuSE goes under.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • actualy i called oracle about one month ago and they told me they dont support RH only suse
    So maybe you should check [] before you flame
  • What blows me away about Germany is the Kirchen Steuer (church tax). When I was over there, I couldn't believe the gov't collected taxes for the Lutheran and Catholic churches.
    It's a historical issue. During secularization the state(s) confiscated huge amounts of church property. Among other things the post-napoleonic peace order of the Vienna Congress was essentially financed by confiscated or not restituted church property (mostly monastery properties) that were distributed among the nobles and states that felt not 'getting enough' in this landgrab.

    So they had somehow to compensate the churches. They did that by making treaties guaranteeing certain rights and privileges. One of these is the collection of church taxes.

    This of course goes both ways. No catholic bishop, for instance, can be instituted without the blessing of the governor/governing mayor of the respective state.

    So, just get used to it. It's not bad, it's just ... different.

  • every single termination ... has to be agreed by the employee's council.

    Ugh. Don't europeans understand that this is a huge disincentive to hiring aditional workers?
    To some degree it is. OTOH, in a stock based corporation (AG), the employees get to elect 50%-1 board members anyway. And the employee's council has far more rights than just discussing terminations. Working conditions, hiring, promoting, you name it - to most things they have at least right to be heard; often they must agree.
    So, running a medium or large company gets you to cultivate a cooperative culture with the employees anyway. That contributes muich to the often quoted "social peace" which is actually an advantage of many Geman companies.

  • I'm by no means an expert on this but if you need additional workers for a short term then wouldn't the logical thing to do, be to offer them a short-term contract? Working with an interim and renewing the contracts on a weekly basis would seem like the way to go.
    Hey, these laws may lok a little socialist, but the people who made them weren't utterly brainless. Renewing term conbtracts a cetrtain number of times is legally considered permanent employment - employees can sue for permanent contracts. Moreover it can be illegal in some situations (essentially if the authorities have the impression you are doing it just to circumvent laws you can get hefty fines). And if that's not enough, the employee's council is to some degree invloved in temp hiring as well.

    The key word, of course, is cooperation. Companies that are constantly in fights with their employees create themselves a living hell short time, and tend to fail in the long run.

  • he real trouble (in Germany) is [...]People don't want to get their hands dirty [ Yadda ... Yadda ... Yadda ... ]
    Yeah. You essentially describe social security. That's close to what those ultrra right wingers always tend to say (and, no, I'm not claiming you are one). The just love to point out the example of a turk with eight children getting as much from social security as from (cheap) labor. So What ? Go to our jails. Count inmates. Thanks, case closed.

    For what? Being registered as unemployed in Germany
    (it actually is much higher for some time after you loose your old job).
    Now it gets funny. Good morning, people paid for that. It's called unemployment insurance, it's mandatory, and you paid it, too. Go have a look at your salary statement. Now they are unemployed they collect their insurance. There's reason behind that - landlords don't give discounts once you are unemployed...

  • by frost22 ( 115958 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:17AM (#67676) Homepage
    I'd like to add a few remarks on this.

    First, have a look at their web site. They announce to reduce headcounts in a socially acceptable way and in close cooperation with the empolyee's council (which for all practical means can here be compared to a union).

    Announcing this now means that - if they are really fast in the HR department - they get contract terminations out this month. More likely it will be next month, since every single termination (or the whole package with all details) has to be agreed by the employee's council.

    Since people here have usually 3 months notice on termination in their contracts (and, especially in the tech sector, 6 is not uncommon) thus the affected people will regularily have to leave earliest end of october of november.

    But that's not all - an employee's council worth its name will ususally get a substantial severance package for anybody terminated. I'd be surprised if they didn't get at least an additional 2 or 3 month's pay as compensation.

    Now, what does that all mean ?
    First, expect noone to fall harshly into poverty anytime soon.
    Second, Suse will probably not save a single dime this year by doing this. All they do is proactively reducing next year's cost (and, maybe, impress some analysts). So this is not, IMO a sudden panic measure but an act of careful planning for times getting harsher.

  • ...and what is wrong with YaST?

    Nothing besides the fact that it's not open-source. And I don't mean the "FSF definition of open-source", but the fact that you can't get the source for yast. Now, is it just me, or does someone else find it odd that open-source distribution would use a proprietary installer?

    I liked SuSE until I found out that 7.0 shipped with a broken software raid. Now that's just wrong.

  • See above post []... I totally agree with you! Long live SuSE!

    The /. authors use to be nobodys, who's voices went unheard by most, and it was fine that they could say irresponsible things. But now that many read their site, I think they have to grow up, and realize the impact their statements can make.

    Thank you also, for clearing things up. I love SuSE, and hope to find myself walking to the local store to pick up the latest copy of SuSE even 20 years from now.
  • The neat thing about Debian is that it can't go bust, since there's no company directly running things. Just a well-organized mob of volunteers :-)

    (Well, okay, there are many other neat things about Debian, but this is one of them)

    -- Agthorr

  • by mmkhd ( 142113 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @09:51AM (#67681)
    Only posts #35, #60, #80 #118 had anything useful to say that was really on topic.

    #35: Voice of moderation, mostly non technical staff gets layed off. (

    #60: Socially acceptable lay offs that don't save SuSE any money immedeately.

    #80: "Just restructuring a bit", "going strong" from an employee of SuSE Labs

    #118: SuSE is not publicly traded. Privately
    funded. Was profitable from the beginning
    and maybe grew a little too fastduring the
    tech bubble.

    The rest, were just doom'n'gloom sayers...

    Come on, people. Not everything is going down hill. Some companys have a sound structure.
    SuSE is not only in the distribution business, the do a lot of service to and have more products than "just" the distribution and stuffed animals.

  • I can't say that I'm not upset about this news. I personally have never run SuSE on any of my boxes but I know people who have, and I have SuSE to thank for making X Servers a few years back that supported my hardware before XFree really caught up.

    However, this news can't be all that shocking. Countless numbers of companies - small one-officed .com's to large scale corporations are announcing the same deal on a regular basis. The fact that SuSE is laying MORE people off is terrible, especially for the people being laid off. But what about the hundreds of thousands of people being laid off elsewhere? Cisco, Xerox, GM, to name a few. So I wouldn't take this news as earth-shaking, hailing the destruction of Linux (sorry, random Matrix plug), rather, I would view it as pretty sad to see some really great people getting laid off who helped make a really great product. Hopefully this whole economic mess will be over soon and we'll be seeing headlines that read "Hundreds Hired Into SuSE" or something.

    -Do or do not. There is no try.
  • by Pontiphex ( 146376 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:14AM (#67686) Homepage
    SuSE is the only distro that is certified for use with Oracle. I doubt that Oracle would let them die. I expect to see SuSE become part of Oracle.
  • Haven't they always been GTK+ based?
  • Whoever named the SuSE emblem "Geeko" should be caught and shot NOW. And I hate that fucking penguin too. It's far too smug-looking.

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • I currently use Linux from Scratch at home but always use and recommend Mandrake to people at work. Given as your comment above didn't come across as a troll I thought I'd have a look at Suse.

    I have to say as a KDE user, I'm shocked! Suse certainly packages KDE well and everything is intergraded in to the control panel perfectly, much impressed. I never knew there was a distro that pays even more attention to the desktop than Mandrake.

  • I wouldn't expect a merge between Suse and Mandrake.
    I don't know what the people at Suse think about that idea, but I do know that Mandrake consists of Free/GNU software. It's free to download. And they want to keep it that way. Over the last few years Suse has slowly been moving into proprietary software. Yast and Yast2 are under non-free licenses, or at least, you're not free to resell it, it's non-GNU.
    I don't know the license of their email-server, but i assume that's also non-GNU.
    MandrakeSoft is not interested in non-GNU software.
    I'm not planning on a flamewar between licenses, but it does matter under which license software is being shipped.
  • Although I enjoy Debian (an easy install using the install-from-internet option, BTW), I just installed SuSE 7.2 Personal Edition a few days ago. I have purchased about 4 SuSE distros over the years, and they have all been great.

    With 7.2, you get nice TrueType font support, autodetection of IDE CDR writers, good USB support, and a really simple install.

    Anyway, we all vote with our wallets, and as someone who used to spend a small fortune every year buying software at EggHead, CompUSA, etc., paying for a $30 distro evry 6-9 months, and the occasional small donations to FSF and Debian is way less expensive, and generally feels better.

    -- Mark Watson -- Open Source and Content at

  • Okay. Both Mandrake and SuSe use GPLed software, meaning that at anytime, Mandrake can take SuSE's work and integrate it into Mandrake. This leaves the question: What exactly is there for Mandrake to merge with or "buy"? Now I can understand someone like IBM buying a Linux company for the employees and experience, but in this case, Mandrake can merely hire more people and use SuSE's stuff.
  • by StarTux ( 230379 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:44AM (#67697) Journal
    Might be worth checking out, has alot of great articles on there.

    But no-one seems to mention it much, which is unfortunate.

    Check it out :-).

  • Nobody takes a lizard as a logo order to step it up and play with the big boys perhaps Suse should incoporate a common household object as it's logo like some other companies a flying door or something else (****window****)

    Drat-- now we will have to sack Tux.... If no one takes a Lizard seriously, what will they think of a Penguin??

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • SuSE 7.0 left much to be desired. SuSE 7.1 was really great and I am running it on one server. Of course, X 4.0 causes problems with an old Armarda, so I use RH7.1 on that system.

    I thoroughly enjoy both RH7.1 and SuSE 7.1. I don't expect them to go under (at this point).

    OTOH, Caldera.... (stock price went below $1 this last Fri. and they are being sued by stockholders...)

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • by tim_maroney ( 239442 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:00AM (#67701) Homepage
    Perhaps just as interesting is that, on the same day, the CEO left his position for a board seat, and turned the helm over to the CFO. []

    Presumably this means that SuSe will now concentrate on actually making money rather than just making a distro.


  • I keep looking at new RH releases, but the one thing I like SuSE for is -ironically- one aspect of YAST: the complete package integration. I have _one_ CD I insert, and I can choose from all the packages in the distro.

    Mandrake does this too: a question in the installer is: which of these CDs do you have? It then presents a package list based on your answer.

  • We now have FOUR browsers - Netscape, Mozilla, Galeon, and Konqueror...

    Not to mention the best of them all: Opera...

  • Mandrake, like Red Hat, sells boxes with non-free software. The download CDs, though, are all free.
  • by morcego ( 260031 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @07:04AM (#67708)
    Please, lets not assume that layoffs equals a company going downhill.
    As we well know, in todays competitive environment, a company has to adapt. I have seen in the past companies improving the quality of their products after a layoff. How can we outsiders tell what these layoffs represent ? We simply can't.
    We really don't know what kind of people are being kicked off. How can we be sure that they were not getting the the way ? Or maybe SuSe just plans to handle some positions to third party companies, which is not always a good thing, but is not always bad either.
    A think people that see these layoffs as a bad sign are a little ahead of themselves. We should wait and see what happens.

  • I don't want to see SuSE die anymore then the next man, but this condition in the Linux market is good I think. You put out 10 competing distros in the market. Consumers say what they like and don't like. Distributions react by modifying their product. Over time, consumers begin to get attached to a particular distribution. Other distributions suffer.

    So, what's left at the end of this? Less distributions. As less popular (or less well-funded) distributions go under or get bought out, the Linux distributions begin to look more alike. A standard emerges for the distributions. The superior product comes out on top. A product that the consumers have voted on (with dollars) as the product that has the features they want, the tools they want, the support they want, the
    resources they want, etc. The Linux market has behaved like every other free market.

    Us slashdotters seem to be the free market types. No interference, may the best distribution win. So SuSE is hurting right now. The market doesn't lie, so it seems to imply people are looking elsewhere. I believe this is good for Linux overall. Linux companies have to compete like real companies, develop a superior product, and offer their customers more. Maybe SuSE will come out on top in the end, or perhaps not. But if SuSE takes a buyout from another Linux manufacture and the result is one less distribution (which will hopefully combine the best aspects of both systems), I believe the Linux community is benefited. The end result of this will tend towards a Linux distribution for the masses, which is exactly what the open source advocacy really needs.

  • SuSE is probably the best distro. around! If you want to spend all year installing then debian is fine. It's hardly a viable distro for non-techies though. RedHat and Mandrake put out lame broken packages based on non-standard compilers. IMHO if everyone used SuSE the world would be a better place. The news about the layoffs really is sad.
  • by anno1602 ( 320047 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @09:50AM (#67713)


    the real trouble (in Germany) is, if I got the stories right, _not_ the fact that companies don't want to hire people. People don't want to get their hands dirty. Why? Consider you get about 500 DM cash on hand a month, housing support (up to paying your entire appartment w/heating and all the works), reduced telephone rates, reduced prices for a lot of stuff you buy, "Kleidergeld" (money to by clothes) every two months. For what? Being registered as unemployed in Germany (it actually is much higher for some time after you loose your old job). Plus, do some "unofficial" work here and there, if you do it well, add another 1000,- a month. As I said, no taxes. If you are married, and/or have children, of course you get more.

    Now do the math: How much would I have to earn pre-tax to sustain the same level of quality of life? Well, you'll easily come to figures around 2500-3000 DM, if it's enough. That means you're working full time and you, after all is deducted, don't have a penny more in your pocket than if you wouldn't work at all. Thank you.

    BTW: Im paying taxes here. Not nice. 50% goes off to the state.

  • When one says soda, he thinks Coca-Cola. When one says Fast Food, he thinks McDonalds.

    When one says Linux, he thinks RedHat.

    To be more than just an underground Distro, you've got to make money, have a company, like RedHat. They posted a Profit! Sure, I'm sure they'll do some layoffs, but they're doing pretty well.

    i've heard some call them the MS of Linux, they might be similar in some ways. But until Microsoft LinuXP comes out in a year or two, RedHat will be on top of the market.

    Don't believe me about Microsoft preparing it's own Linux? Why would it be 'porting' .NET to it? XP wouldn't be so horrible if all the great Win2000 programmers were working on LinuXP, and all the crapass VB and Windows 98 coders were making crapass Windows Millenium and Windows XP.


    Does TurboLinux still have that crap text based installer? That's what buried that thing, along with poor advertising.

    Suse? Green stinks, and it's too European, too German.

    IBM needs to make eLinux or something....they could take this thing, but they're scared it'll ruin their AS/400 and OS/390 business. They could bury MS for once and for all!

    Mandrake is nice, but it's really just RH with some glitter.

    Debian? Slack? Nerds only!

    We all seen what happened to Corel, no need for comment...

    Storm? Gone.

    Caldera was alright, but who knows what happened over there. They merged with SCO which was a laugh too.

  • by piyamaradus ( 447473 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @06:52AM (#67718)
    This is an amazing pity -- I recently moved from redhat on my laptop to SuSE, and I've been nothing but completely satisfied. 7.2 (the new SuSE release) went on amazingly cleanly, and this on a weird box that took me a few days with redhat to make work. Their updates are seamless, the DVD install was great (I did most of it in an airplane over greenland), and I've had absolutely no problems. It's got me about ready to ditch my Ultra 10 completely :)
  • by Genoaschild ( 452944 ) on Monday July 23, 2001 @06:59AM (#67726) Homepage
    Too many competitors in a market will result in low product prices and nobody making any money. When it is like this, it is really good for the consumer but does nothing for the companies. Once we get fewer companies, each with enough market share to maintain itself or actually make money, fewer companies will go out of business and more will actually try to enter the market(potential profit with growth.) This is also what is happening with dot-coms. Companies just can't exist in small markets with super-competition.
  • They announce to reduce headcounts in a socially acceptable way and in close cooperation with the empolyee's council

    This is of course a good thing, but seriously, what else would you expect them to announce? And don't forget that they're essentially still firing those people, most of the "playing nice" is required by German law anyway.

    So this is not, IMO a sudden panic measure but an act of careful planning for times getting harsher.

    Well, it's probably both. I think Suse is just another of the companies that wanted to grow too fast during the new economy and Linux hype, and now they are realizing it didn't work, and won't work anytime soon.

    My guess is that they are in financial trouble. Not bankrupt, but in trouble. They were planning an IPO, but they came too late and were smart enough to cancel it. But their long-term plans probably were done with that extra cash in mind. And, let's be realistic, their move to the US market wasn't exactly a success.

  • The original poster managed to turn this discussion into an impossible (at least for the near future) merger between SuSE and MandrakeSoft. It seems that most people forgot the headlines: SuSE Announces More Layoffs.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington