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Novell Not Pushing Ximian Onto SuSE 230

dhunley writes "According to TechCentral, a recent story on Novell's plans following the acquisition of both SuSE and Ximian comments that 'SuSE will continue (to operate) as a business unit of its own', according to John Phillips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region. 'We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux'."
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Novell Not Pushing Ximian Onto SuSE

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:08PM (#7954708)
    No point trying to merge by force. Novell understands you can't take two things, and make them come together by force. I figure that eventually Novell will have SUSE using Ximian, but it won't be immediate. They may have made some bad decisions in the past, but Novell has learned.
    • by VP ( 32928 )
      Especially with the recent announcements [slashdot.org] of improved integration between KDE and Gnome, they may be able to do this in the future with little or no effort.
      • by Rich ( 9681 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:29PM (#7954939) Homepage
        You've misunderstood the integration work. The effect is in fact the total opposite. The work means they can use KDE for most things and cherry pick any apps they want from Ximian and they will integrate nicely into the desktop. That said, we (KDE) aren't standing still, so the number of apps they choose to do this for is likely to me small.
        • Well, this phrase on their PR story: "Novell Ximian Desktop 2 is the complete enterprise Linux desktop" kind of suggests that they'll do the most likely thing and release a new distro, based on SuSE but using Ximian desktop and integrating nicely with NDS and Red Carpet (as management/integration tools are their business plan) while leaving the standard home user SuSE Linux alone.

          Seems smart to me...

    • by aml666 ( 708712 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:21PM (#7954863) Homepage
      Just like AOL incorporated Netscape into it's... no wait aminute.
    • by codejester ( 589238 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:24PM (#7954892)

      Agreed. It is interesting (to me anyway) to note this [novell.com] bit of news of Novells front page.
    • If Novell forces SuSE to use Gnome and therefore become yet another "like Redhat" distribution, it will die.
      • If Novell forces SuSE to use Gnome and therefore become yet another "like Redhat" distribution, it will die.

        Well, if practically all other *commercial* distros are KDE-centric and Red Hat has also decided to stay away from desktop-user market, wouldn't supporting Gnome alongside KDE provide SuSe an additional good sales argument? Also, for some reason the large corporate Linux "supporters" seem to prefer Gnome so why should supporting it result in a painful death? Wouldn't any distro company with serious

      • If Novell forces SuSE to use Gnome and therefore become yet another "like Redhat" distribution, it will die.

        er. are you implying that people choose red hat because of gnome and that red hat owns the gnome market? i think not!

        red hat has had a lot of success because they:

        • were first to market as a stable, all-purpose, free distro (slackware? well, okay. but most folks in management regarded slack as a "hobby" os)
        • were first with an easy installer
        • offered free iso's to plunder the "cheapskate" market


  • Ximian... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unnngh! ( 731758 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:08PM (#7954712)
    Once they merge, we can finally see S-imian, the new user-friendly desktop monkey butler!
    • Once they merge, we can finally see S-imian, the new user-friendly desktop monkey butler!

      ...MS Bob. Wonder if they can hire Melinda Gates as a consultant?

    • If the will merge Ximian with Suse into Simian, then they'll have a problem to name their own company: should they call it Knovell or Gnovell after that? Well, as for the new user-friendly desktop, I am sure they'll call it Knome :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:10PM (#7954744)
    Well what do you expect? You really think Novell is ready to actually do anything? They are probably currently revamping the whole company, working hard on getting thier services completly linux integrated, and figuring out what the hell they still want and need to do.

    Dont expect anything revolutionary from Novell in the middle term. In the long term, expect suse to disappear into novell completly and have a really tightly integrated set of OS+Services+GUI.
  • Balance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shapiros ( 681380 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:11PM (#7954749)
    I think the biggest problem companies have in making linux profitable is how to mix free software with software you have to buy, and how to make the user comfortable with their choices. The problem is that it is hard for them to justify buying something when it is freely available.
    • Re:Balance (Score:4, Interesting)

      by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:38PM (#7955017) Journal
      Maybe that's why IBM Global Services [note emphasis] has already recouped IBM's initial (1 billion USD in Y2K) investment in Linux. And now they're gaining.
    • Re:Balance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pionar ( 620916 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:40PM (#7955035)
      The problem is that it is hard for them to justify buying something when it is freely available.

      I don't think that's necessarily true. I'm not saying it isn't true for most companies, I just think it's not true for all. Redhat has made a good run at it. The thing a purchaser has to look at is not the OS by itself, which one can get for free, but the features that the company adds on to it, such as Redhat's RPM service and the user-friendly Anaconda installation system, both of which are open, but are in limited use by other distros. (I believe Yellowdog, or whatever it's called, the Linux for Mac processors, is the only other distro to use Anaconda). That ease of installation alone made me pop out the $30 for the boxed version of RH 8.0 when I went hunting for my first Linux installation.

      Other companies that incorporate Linux into their service offerings, such as IBM, use Linux as a baseline for their services, so that you're not paying for Linux, you're paying for IBM's services.

      I would be led to think that Novell's main channel of pushing the SuSe product would be through Novell's own consulting business, where SuSe Linux would be a value-added service, not the main dish. So, in other words, you wouldn't be ordering Linux with a side of Novell, you'd be ordering Novell with a side of Linux.
  • by SirChris ( 676927 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:11PM (#7954756) Journal
    I have always loathed working with Novell, in a business environment just because it complicated most things. Everything works easily on Windows but on novell well there were all these extra steps or dead-ends. When I heard someone had novell I cringed. Now, however, it would seem I'm hoping people end up with novell linux so I can do the linux side of things I could never do before. So I really did used to hate it but now I'm wishing for it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:21PM (#7954866)
      Obviously, then, you and your business cared nothing for security, open standards, interoperability, stability, reliability, scalability, and high performance.

      None of these things come with the "Windows ease of use" that you so love.

      They all come standard with Novell products.
      • I realize that is the Slashdot Correct thing to say, but it still seemed a blantant MS Bash (and promoted to "informative" to boot, tsk tsk).

        I work and have worked in MS shops that were secure, stable, reliable, scalable and ran high performance/high demand database (SQL) and web (IIS) services to its financial customers.

        I don't fault your POV, but MS has improved its responsiveness and I almost seperate Windows 2003 Server from its previous offerings because its more Linux like - disabled by default approa

    • by deviator ( 92787 ) <bdp@am[ ]ia.org ['nes' in gap]> on Monday January 12, 2004 @04:18PM (#7955456) Homepage
      I'm sorry - I must take exception to these "hate" comments -

      People who are trained exclusively on Windows should not be *expected* to get Novell, just as people who are trained exclusively on Linux can't see the bright spots in Windows. Novell is a very top-down system--because of this, it takes more time, more thought & more design to really get the system built properly. But as in engineering, the harder it is to build a system the harder it is to tear it down. Contrasted with Windows which grew from a bottom-up approach--it has its strengths, but scalability & mission-critical reliability was never a design goal. Ease of use was.

      Windows has gotten a LOT better in the past few years--so much so that the differences between Netware & Windows have become, at least on the surface, negligible. We have many clients running pure Microsoft networks... but for me, I'm clinging to Netware & GroupWise for my own network as long as there's still some life left in those products--they give me tons of features and none of the headaches associated with supporting a pure-Microsoft environment. Their software is *still* better-engineered than most of what else is out there. It just takes time & effort to understand it--you really have to dig into it and get an idea of WHY they made certain design choices--once you do, you can set up a Novell-based system that runs rings around any Microsoft-based network. Compared to Windows, where things are just slapped together & pushed through until they work "well enough."

      What ever happened to the "geek" mentality for going out and finding this information on your own? I see lots of blanket statements about how "Novell sucks" or "Microsoft sucks" but usually not a lot of concrete evidence to back these claims up. Everything has its purpose--if you have a knee-jerk reaction to something maybe it's a sign that you need to go invest some time in learning about it before letting the rest of the world know you don't have all of the information?

      And yes - I think Novell, maybe, can do a bang-up job with these recent aquisitions. I just hope they don't screw up the marketing end of it like they have so many times in the past.
  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:12PM (#7954764) Homepage Journal
    As a loyal SuSE user, I'm happy because KDE default appeals to me (mostly cause its a more mature project). Sure, its a couple clicks during install to switch, but its good that Novell looks at the SuSE crowd and keeps SuSE like it always has been.

    Of course, YMMV.
    • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you read the article you would see that this isnt only about KDE. None of the products are being changed in the middle term.

      Novell just isnt ready yet to start doing major modifications till other parts of the company catch up.

      If after the big modifications KDE is still the default, then you could say that novell is doing this because of the Suse crowds etc... but till then, expect change...
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sure, its a couple clicks during install to switch,

      ...except that it does not work. Try installing any recent version of SuSE without KDE and without Qt, and it will have problems during the installation. Even if you select a GNOME system while installing SuSE, it will insist on installing some KDE libs, Qt, arts and many other things. While you can install a KDE system without GTK+, SuSE does not let you install a GNOME system without Qt. Why?

      • Re:Good (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        While you can install a KDE system without GTK+, SuSE does not let you install a GNOME system without Qt. Why?

        Because the graphical front-end for YaST, SuSE's multipurpose configuration tool, is based on Qt?

        I'd be surprised if SuSE were to drop KDE at any point in the near future, since a lot of their stuff is extremely well integrated. Have a look in KControl, and there's all the YaST modules there, correctly themed and everything. There's the SuSE HelpCentre, which is KDE's help system but for everythi
        • However, YaST modules in KControl don't work right if they need to run as root (read: all YaST modules). I've found that it won't accept keyboard input on YaST via KControl with YaST run as root. (8.2 FTP edition)
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

        by rsax ( 603351 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:48PM (#7955101)
        While you can install a KDE system without GTK+, SuSE does not let you install a GNOME system without Qt. Why?

        Because YaST requires KDE libs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:13PM (#7954773)

    I am sad to see that SuSE will not have to improve their support for GNOME. SuSE has great features in their distribution, but their support for GNOME has been constantly lagging behind others. I was hoping that by being encouraged to put Ximian as the default desktop, their support for GNOME would improve.

    I am trying to set up all my systems without Qt (I don't mind KDE, but I don't want Qt and for the moment this means no KDE either). Unfortunately, all basic GNOME libs in SuSE depend on Qt (same for the basic X11 setup). This problem has existed since 7.2, I think. Ignoring the dependencies gives me a working system anyway, but I hope that they will fix this soon. I had high hopes when I saw Novell acquiring both Ximian and SuSE, but it looks like I will still have to wait a bit...

    • Why no QT? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sflory ( 2747 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:20PM (#7954857)
      QT is open source and a good library. The only major issue is that it's GPL instead of LGPL like GTK. Depending on your view not being able to link comerial apps for free may be a good thing.
      • QT is open source and a good library.

        Sure, but why should you be forced to install a library if none of the apps you're installing actually use it? I can't speak for the original poster, but that's certainly why I don't have Qt installed (although I have had in the past, and may again in the future). It does seem a bit odd to have SuSE's Gnome depend on Qt, if that's what's actually going on.
        • SuSE's base system depends on Qt. All the graphical stuff is done on Qt. YaST, in particular, uses Qt. So there are apps that you use that depend on Qt, you are just not aware of it.
      • Personally, I think this is why GNOME is destined to win over KDE. Its just a license issue. If the buisness world standarizes on GNOME, Propriatry Software can be created and distributed. To buisness, this is the advantage of the LGPL. I don't believe you will ever see photoshop ported or anything else similar untill this is resolved.
        • Photoshop Albums, or whatever it's called, was ported to Linux. They used a toolkit based on C++ made by a company from Norway, because the $1000 spent was immediately given back to Adobe in the form of faster development. Therefore they could sell their product earlier, and save a lot of money on salary.

          As a person with high knowledge in OOAD, C++ and UI design, Qt is way beyond Gtk-- which actually looks and feels like a wrapper around a C library. Like the absurdly worthless MFC, actually.
        • You can make proprietory software with Qt. Lots of companies make proprietory software with Qt. Even medium-sized software companies don't care about the $1500 license fee, because they spend twice or thrice that for Rational Rose licenses!

          Now, you can say that it puts a strain on the shareware industry, is shareware really viable in these days of open source?
        • I am sorry. I was basing my comments on assuming the poster above me was 100% correct. QT does have a comercial license availible to it. I was not aware that people were able to release their products under numerous licenses. Since it has a comercial licnses with it, my above assumtions were wrong.
        • I don't believe you will ever see photoshop ported or anything else similar untill this is resolved.

          I don't know whether we will se Photoshop ported to Linux soon (Imaybe not), but the QT licence (or rather the commercial license of Qt which you can use under Windows as well as Linux) is surely not holding back Adobe [trolltech.com]...
    • I don't believe that if GNOME support would really "improve" if SuSE switches to GNOME as a default. In fact, that would only make me worry for the health of KDE. GNOME is already the default on RedHat/Fedora, so it has a major player backing it. And with the decision of Perens to use GNOME with the upcoming UserLinux, GNOME will probably pick up a good amount of additional development, especially if UserLinux succeeds where its meant to: the corporate environment.
    • SuSE isn't for Qt-haters, it's for people who want to get work done. It's one of the finest distributions out there and because most users want KDE and not Gnome, Novell would be stupid to create yet-another-mediocre-Gnome-distribution.
  • by PhilippeT ( 697931 ) <philippet.gmail@com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:13PM (#7954774)
    now that's something I want to see soon. That way those moronic teachers at my college will have to learn Linux or stop telling the world that Netware is the safest and most used Network platform.
    • This was just a rumor from my Netware guru friends, but I believe when version 7.0 of Netware comes out they will have an option of using a Netware or Linux Kernel. Then after 7.0 will be linux only. Novell just released there Nterprise Linux Services, which gives a lot of the current functionality of Netware on Linux
    • Novell knows (just as IBM knows, etc.) that their old proprietary stuff is out. They've ported all or at least most of their applications stack over to Linux, so netware isn't needed. Hence, they can remain a viable company, since their stuff once again works with real-life networks.
  • This is a good thing (Score:3, Informative)

    by GeckoFood ( 585211 ) <geckofood.gmail@com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:14PM (#7954784) Journal

    'SuSE will continue (to operate) as a business unit of its own'

    I hope so. I have seen Novell buy and ruin several software packages. Probably the most notable (in my memory) was WordPerfect. WP was not as good as it should have been to start with, but it was awful after Novell got done with it.

    Another was DR-DOS. DR-DOS never really recovered from Novell's influence (which was before Windows 95 came out, so there was time to undo the damage).

    The idea of Novell owning SuSE makes me uneasy. Right now, I like SuSE - been my distro for a while. Might have to change distros, however, if Novell starts playing with it.

  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:17PM (#7954823)
    I understand that it is probably good for Novell to not rock the boat too much rught away. But, can someone with a little more market savvy explain what is in Novell's best interest in the long run? Give the users lots of choices with loose integration? or eliminate some of those choices and work on more tightly integrated line?
    • But, can someone with a little more market savvy explain what is in Novell's best interest in the long run?

      In the long run they should use [favored desktop] and ONLY [favored desktop]. The [other dekstop] is light years behind technologically and is only supported by trolls and zealots. [Favored dekstop] is so fast now it's amazing, I installed the latest beta the other day and I was amazed how fast it ran. It's also so stable now. And the default theme is just beautiful. Not like [other desktop] which is
  • by osewa77 ( 603622 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `smsajian'> on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:18PM (#7954828) Homepage
    Paraphrasing Some Quotes:
    'We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux.'
    In other words, on the long term KDE will not remain the default GUI.
    "Ximian, SuSE and Novell will continue to deliver projects to the community where it makes sense,"
    In some cases where it is deemed not to make sense, Ximian, SuSE and Novell will no longer deliver such projects to the community.
    • I think you are reading into it a bit too much. I would interpret that statement as saying the they might switch away from KDE in the long term, but that it is not set in stone.
    • 'We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux.'

      In other words, on the long term KDE will not remain the default GUI.

      Correction: In the long term KDE may not remain the default GUI. This just isn't planned out yet and they'll see how the market and their products develop.
    • by Tack ( 4642 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:34PM (#7954982) Homepage
      'We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux.' In other words, on the long term KDE will not remain the default GUI.

      This is so frustrating. People do this all the time. Please, for the love of god people, take a course on critical thinking, or a discrete math course where boolean logic is taught.

      Your words are not equivalent to what Novell has said. At best, you are making assumptions. Novell has not said what their long term plans are. They may set Ximian's desktop to be the default, or they may not. But you are simply plain wrong by saying "in other words ..."


      • It's not logically necessary what the parent poster said. But taking a realistic, cynical, read-between-the-lines view of Novell's announcement, it's a good bet that this is what it will mean.

        If you know how to read corporate press releases, you know that what is unsaid is often as important as what is said, if not more so. While you can't say for 100% certainty what Novell has planned, it's a good bet that this is the direction they will take. Their statements left the door open for it, and it would be
    • by niom ( 638987 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:40PM (#7955037)

      'We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux.'

      In other words, on the long term KDE will not remain the default GUI.

      This reminds me of the recent article on deconstruction where the author analyzed the affirmation "JFK was not a homosexual" to be a proof of the inherent homophobia in our society. But he was being absurd on purpose.

    • In other words, on the long term KDE will not remain the default GUI.

      In the long term, they haven't figured it out yet. They've got two GUIs, and duplication of effort is usually a bad thing. For now they'll keep going with both and see how it turns out, without making any long-term commitments. See the recent "IBM on desktop" and Linux for a similar example.

      In some cases where it is deemed not to make sense, Ximian, SuSE and Novell will no longer deliver such projects to the community.

      Huh? The origin
    • KDE constantly wins all DE-awards, is being used by the majority of Linux-users and is generally more advanced and more rapidly evolving than Gnome (all this despite huge amounts of money dumped into Gnome.)

      It would be pretty stupid for Novell to lose SuSE's most important selling point.

    • We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface


    • Business as usual?

      Or do we think they learned anything from buying GNU/Linux companies?

      Only time will tell.
  • Sigh of Relief (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Czernobog ( 588687 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:19PM (#7954849) Journal
    considering the support and work SuSE put in KDE in the past, it'd be a shame to become Ximian-centric.
    Now, all that's left is for SuSE to integrate with Ximian as well as it does with KDE. And then, well frankly, there will be no opponent to SuSE domination on desktops.

    Now if only SuSE were to have a ports-like package management tool and taking NDS from Novell for granted, there will be no competition, from the Linux world or otherwise...

  • The article says that things are still going as planned with UnitedLinux, mentioning the groups involved, including SCO. Not too long ago I switched from RedHat to SUSE 9 and (still) am all set to recommend the switch on our cluster at work from RH 7.3 to SUSE. I would hate to do that, only to find out that SCO will have something to say WRT any UnitedLinux installation.
  • by digitect ( 217483 ) <digitect@NospAM.dancingpaper.com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:31PM (#7954957)

    Given the general efforts by freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org] and the like to improve interoperability between the two largest free desktops, isn't the so-called desktop war is really a mute point? Sure there are two complete systems, but even as a die-hard GNOME user myself, I still want all the KDE desktop available even if only to occasionally try out some KDE app or feature.

    I think keeping both desktops as strong and competitive as possible is the best for all of us. In fact, my concern down the road is that through general merging of functionalities and core libraries (even allowing for C v. C++ differences), the whole thing may become one big homogenous effort prone to stagnation. (The wheel gets so big, it gets harder and harder for the community as a whole to re-work efficiencies or pursue dreams beyond current capabilities.)

    Perhaps the (justified) business concern of trying to do too much without focus applies here, but why can't the KDE effort simply fork and find supporting funding if abandoned? If the demand is there, no one business can ever kill off Free Software. Maybe how Novell decides to treat KDE (or Ximian) really doesn't have as big an impact as we think. Does corporate funding really prove to be the most significant factor in a desktop's success or effectiveness?

    • Don't forget smaller window managers like XFce, IceWM, and even FVWM. If KDE or GNOME start to bloat or stagnate or become unsuitable, then I'm sure the three window managers I just mentioned might just see an increase in users.

      And that doesn't count all the other window managers out there as well.
      • If KDE or GNOME start to bloat or stagnate or become unsuitable, then I'm sure the three window managers I just mentioned might just see an increase in users.

        Not going to happen. Old style window managers only attracts geeks and nerds, not regular users. On the end user desktop the traditional window manager is dead and buried.

        But just FYI: the upcoming KDE 3.2 is WAY faster than KDE 3.1.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I saw Novell's CTO speak at a conference after this announcement and he specifically pointed out that Novell wanted Mono and RedCarpet when they bought Ximian. Sure, there are tons of other reasons why you would want to own and work with Ximian, but those two seemed to be the main point.

    The SuSE acquisition was slightly different. They want to port the Netware server functionality to Linux in the short term and possibly replace Netware in the long term. However, they are not creating a Redhat clone comp
  • Honestly. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gregarican ( 694358 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:42PM (#7955051) Homepage
    This isn't a troll attempt, but other than Directory Services, what has Novell introduced or enhanced that was so revolutionary?

    I recall working on native Novell products about 10 years ago don't relish back in the day of creating and managing Netware 2.x or 3.x user accounts on each server (with each server requiring its own login authentication). When Micro$loth introduced the NT domain model that raised the bar significantly for NOS'es. Following that Novell came out with Directory Services. That was the first and seemingly last great advance that they made.

    As is echoed in other posts on this topic, most of Novell's headlines have involved mismanaging acquisitions. WordPerfect, UNIXWare, ad nauseum. I am almost afraid to see what becomes of the Linux companies they will be absorbing into their quagmire.

    Look at how they could take a stable, logical product like NetWare and fail to market it effectively enough to grab what it deserved. They finally moved beyond unstable NLM's crashing and core dumping but what new customers noticed?

    • Re:Honestly. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:50PM (#7955114) Journal
      The nature of OSS and the GPL mean that if SuSE start to go downhill or include crapware and bloat and other junk that no one wants, then the community will take the SuSE source code and start a new distro - the name "NeuSE" comes to mind for such a project.

      But I doubt that will happen - corporate memory can last a long time, and hopefully Novell has learned from their mistakes in the past and will try their best to keep SuSE as autonomous as possible. I'm sure the art and branding of SuSE will change, but if the execs at Novell have learned any lesson, let's hope they learned not to mess with a good thing.
    • Re:Honestly. (Score:4, Informative)

      by rfinnvik ( 16122 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @04:03PM (#7955274)
      NDS was launched in '93 with Netware 4.0
      NT3.51 was launched in '95.

      Even though NDS was fairly unstable until 4.1x, they still were doing stuff with NDS that we had to wait until Win 2000 for Microsoft to do with AD.

      I think Novell became a victim of its own success - they were used to admins queing up to get their CNA/CNEs and basically, they got lazy. Their marketing has always been... pretty bad.

      As to other stuff Novell has made... Well, ZenWorks was pretty revolutionary when it came out. A lot of their other products are also pretty damn good, like iChain/BorderManager, iFolder, iPrint...
  • by 23skiddoo ( 31460 ) * <worthog.edwardsbrewing@com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:53PM (#7955141)
    My worry is that SuSE will be stong-armed into dropping OpeneXchange Server in favor of Novell's own groupware suite....
    • Actually, I'm hoping Novell might decide to open source OpeneXchange Server in the hope that this will establish a much larger user base. That could let Novell sell other products or services into a space that's a Microsoft stronghold at the moment. Alternately, they could provide free licences for e.g. 10 users and achieve mind share that way.

      MS Exchange is one of the few pieces of back-office software that doesn't have a full-featured FOSS alternative; it'd be nice if that situation changed.
      • Novell owns, sells, and basically earns a large chunk of its bread from GroupWise.

        Why would they opensource something that will instantly become competition for their own product???
  • I've said it before (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsax ( 603351 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @04:01PM (#7955241)

    And I'll say it again,

    "Ximian, SuSE and Novell will continue to deliver projects to the community where it makes sense," he said.

    The first sign that I see of Novell trying to pull a Redhat Fedora on us SuSE users I'm going to switch to Debian for good. I know I'm probably reading too much into this but I can't help it, I'm cynical by nature and when I first read about SuSE being acquired by Novell that was the first thing that crossed my mind. And still does. I should probably look into what kind of effort would be required to maintain a some what custom Debian release of my own based on stable but with newer packages from testing or unstable. That was the main reason why I originally went with SuSE, stable releases with more recent packages. Otherwise it would be Debian all the way.

  • Personally, I'd switch away from SuSE the moment they stopped using KDE as their default desktop - I've never liked or been able to work effectively with any Gnome version, wether from Ximian or not. Of course, I don't use SuSE anymore, anyway, so that probably doesn't mean too much, but I do think that using Gnome instead of KDE in the future would only hurt SuSE (and thus Novell).
  • Since SuSE is controlled by Novell, it is highly likely that SuSE will drop KDE at some point in the future. Novell might already be on the path to phasing KDE out. Novell may deny any such plans, but name one corporation that has publically admitted something that may be criticized by users.

    It makes no sense from a business point of view to support two desktops. CEOs will certainly notice the extra costs of supporting two. Chopping one desktop may be the fastest way to generate extra profits. Of course, it will happen over a long period of time (say 2 years).

    I predict that KDE will be dropped from SuSE (and other commercial linux distributions) by 2006--you heard it here first (ok maybe not ;) ). If you don't think so, come back in 2006 and we'll see who is right (I'll be around)...

    What's MY opinion on this? Well, there are advantages and disadvantages--like all things in life. KDE is the better desktop on linux. It is more polished, has more features, easier to use, similar to Windows, etc. Dumping KDE will mean the loss of those advantages (although Gnome would catch up in 2 years once Novell pumps resources into it). I personally like KDE better than Gnome (it is also the default in Mandrake Linux).

    The upside is that linux will have ONE solid desktop (other window managers don't count). Some may dislike the lack of choice but splitting resources across multiple projects is a complete waste. Instead of having applications for one or the other, future developers will be able to write applications tailored for Gnome. This should significantly improve the quality of desktop applications. Right now, one pretty much has to use both KDE and Gnome applications. I use KDE (Mandrake 9.1) and probably 20% of hte applications are Gnome, 50% KDE, rest are neither*. This creates inconsistencies, poorer quality, more documentation, and so forth. If everyone used one desktop, it would eliminate this**.

    * When I say neither, I'm basically counting applications that don't have a Gnome or KDE "look". Some of these applications actually use the libraries for Gnome and KDE (so technically it belongs to KDE or Gnome).
    ** Of course, there is a potential that having one desktop could result in stagnation and reduction in innovation. I personally don't think that will be a major problem at this point in time. If linux is successful, that problem wil only be faced 10 years from now, when some developer will be cursing at the desktop and its SDK because the desktop has become a monopoly.

    Sivaram Velauthapillai
  • by i_r_sensitive ( 697893 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @05:47PM (#7956262)
    Novell has a chance here to fundamentally break the typical distro paradigm. If they insist on continuing the typical distro tactic of selecting defaults and including everything else than they will be missing a unique opportunity not available to other distro maintainers.

    Namely, to capitalize off Novell's good name. If Novell just intends to push another distro, let it be an unchanged SuSe. If however they want to make inroads on the corporate desktop, first the product should market under the Novell name. Second that product should be break the traditional distro paradigm of overwhelming choice. Overwhelming choice is not a selling point if you are pitching the corporate desktop. Far far better to narrow the range of applications available when going after this market. Not only is the support load easier for yourself and your clients, it is satisfying the market's (albeit wrong) perception that there is an unnecesary amount of choice in Linux distros.

    Fighting this resistance with the oft repeated mantra that choice is good has not led to a sweeping corporate dekstop penguination, I suggest perhaps it is time to give consideration to an alternate paradigm. Remove the choice. Hell, even if I don't agree with package x over package y, I don't need to make those selections, nor do I need to worry about custom install scripts, etc. etc. When was the last time Windows was left out of consideration for a desktop OS because of the lack of choices, or even the lack of intelligent defaults?

    This notional distro needs to throw out most of the preconceptions distro maintainers have to live with. First, you aren't building a distro for generic_linux_zealot. You're building a distro for generic_company_desktop. The assumptions should be different. GLZ wants his favorite #EDITOR, but since $EDITOR is potentially different for each and every GLZ, you include every editor. Not so for GCD, for this user the text editor isn't nearly as critical, they'll rarely use it. So, the criteria is mutated, rather than trying to meet a given users preference, which led to the proliferation of editor packages in a standard distro, you select a single text editor. I would further suggest that the editor you select be very easy to learn (for the average corporate user, remember, so emacs is out.) and for bonus points, you hack it to honor all the standard windoze keyboard shortcuts, as a tool to ease experienced windoze users into the transition. In point of fact, your biggest detractors among your user base in a windoze shop are the 3% of people who know how to use the keyboard shortcuts within windoze. The rest of the complaints, by and large are fluff. But this compaint isn't, it drastically affects the productivity of users who make use of such "power user" techniques. LISTEN TO THEM, they make a valid point.

    Lastly, narrowing the application selection allows tighter integration of the selected applications. This provides another value add to your application selections. Further, it makes feasible development of a comprehensive in-line help program (available through F1, natch) which would give the central help access to all the standard applications on the machine through one unified interface.

    The biggest part of the problem is that to the typical linux zealot the requirements are anethma. No, actually the biggest part of the problem is that linux zealots lack an appreciation for the other viewpoint. Your average Linux zealot will tell you (and I'm sure someone will reply to this) that eliminating choices is wrong. Well, if you tell that to the corporate world, all you are doing is telling them that Linux isn't going to work for them. If, however we give them what they think they want, and make sure it operates as we know it should, isn't everyone a winner?

    There is a smug superiority in the Linux world about these issues. I'm not saying that those attitudes aren't necessarily correct, once all is said and done. I am saying that those attitudes will keep us from

    • Let me see if I understand what you say:

      The ones who write most of the software should do what the guys who make most of the money (and keep it) say, and then everyone is a winner?

      How exactly are the developers winning anything there?

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972