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Sun Pondering Buying Novell 400

Krafty Koder writes "ZDNet are reporting that Sun are considering purchasing Novell and thus gain SUSE Linux. 'With our balance sheet, we're considering all our options,' Sun chief operating officer Jonathan Schwartz said in an interview on Sunday regarding the possibility of acquiring Novell. 'What would owning the operating system on which IBM is dependent be worth? History would suggest we look to Microsoft for comparisons,' he said."
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Sun Pondering Buying Novell

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  • Oh No.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:04AM (#9862589)
    Good-bye Mono.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...when one dying company buys another dying company...
  • by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:05AM (#9862607)
    if they think this purchase will let them "own" linux
    • by OverwhelmingAmoeba ( 612180 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:24AM (#9862739)
      They have to buy SCO in order to do that!
    • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:25AM (#9862760) Journal
      No, but Novell most likely does have the copyrights/patents that are involved with Linux. It is possible that Sun would give them to SCO since it is almost certain that SCO has no real case at this point.
      • Novell most likely does have the copyrights/patents that are involved with Linux.

        I think you mean "involved with Unix".

        It is possible that Sun would give them to SCO since it is almost certain that SCO has no real case at this point.

        It wouldn't help much. Nothing has been shown to be copied from Unix, except some rather trivial stuff (I forget what) that had been released in various forms many times before, and a rather large chunk of old Unix was released by Caldera under Ransom Love with a BSD-like l

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:29AM (#9862796)
      IBM has made a consious desision not to have a distro of their own. They depend on commercial distros to provide the platform that runs their hardware and software.

      IBM is deeply in bed with both RedHat and SUSE. As with any multi-vendor deal, IBM plays them off each other to make sure neither demand too much.

      A hostile SUSE wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would cost IBM significant money and (more importantly) time.

      OTOH. Jonathan Schwartz's comment compareing the situation to Microsoft explains a lot about why Sun has pissed away its market position. Their officers are obviously delusional.
    • no but that would let them own SuSE, and as far as i know suse is the only distro that runs on IBM big iron (z60) and is about the only distro that is certified on all of IBM their machines
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:06AM (#9862610)
    "What would owning the operating system on which IBM is dependent be worth? History would suggest we look to Microsoft for comparisons," he said.

    In other news, Sun still doesn't get it.

    • This is just more FUD. Almost every week it seems.
    • by deego ( 587575 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:22AM (#9862725)
      > In other news, Sun still doesn't get it.

      Yep, remember these are the same guys that helped fund SCO's FUD... and "saw problems" with "IP" aspects of Linux...

    • by Shisha ( 145964 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:23AM (#9862732) Homepage
      Indeed I can't believe that they still haven't figured out that since GNU/Linux is GPL based, owning SuSe does not mean that IBM can't start supporting other Linux distributor and give it enterprise level abilities. Heck, even YaST is now GPL, which means that Sun would essentially only get the SuSe brand, nothing else.
    • Just exactly how stupid do you have to be to become a CEO these days anyway. More importantly how come somebody who is that stupid, that clueless gets paid tens of millions dollars per year.

      Can I become a CEO if I take a lot of acid and forget everything I know or do you just have to do a lot of coke?
      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:37AM (#9862887)

        Can I become a CEO if I take a lot of acid and forget everything I know or do you just have to do a lot of coke?

        I think coke and booze are the CEO drugs. Booze for ineptness and embarassment, coke for energy, irrationality and serotonin deficient tyranny.

        If they took acid, they'd look around the office and go "What does it all mean? How can we come here day to day if it doesn't mean anything?" Meaning and philosophical harmony are the enemies of CEOs.

        Let's hope they don't get into meth.
    • by Cajal ( 154122 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:24AM (#9862746)
      Not really. This isn't about owning Linux, per se. It's about owning the distro IBM is using. There are only a handful of viable commercial Linux distros out there, essentially RedHat and SuSE. Those are two most popular, and commercial apps are almost exclusively certified for those two. If IBM is moving away from RedHat (due to their licensing and pricing games), and Sun owns SuSE, then that leaves Sun in a pretty good position.

      Yeah, you could just say "just use Debian/Gentoo/whatever," but if Oracle & co. only run (certified) on RH and SuSE, you're out of luck.
      • by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:39AM (#9862910) Journal
        Except IBM could take all of the SuSE sources and make "IBM Linux" that was nothing more than a rebranded SuSE in a heartbeat. This is how Mandrake started -- as an enhanced Red Hat.

        IBM could get the major vendors like BEA, SAP, Oracle and the like to certify on "IBM Linux" pretty darn quick.

        Sun *still* doesn't get it.
      • Microsoft managed to leverage a fortune out of the IBM deal, because Microsoft OWNED the OS. If Sun bought Novell, that would cause maybe a year of disruption before IBM pushed another company into the Novell position, or took over that position themselves. With Linux under the GPL, there is no way to lock others out of the OS market space, so there is no way to leverage the OS market space to be able to control the technology.
      • It's not only about owning the Linux that IBM is using. When Novell bought SuSE, with the help of IBM, Sun's JDS didn't seem to get the SuSE support that they used to. Novell is in IBM's pocket. Sun is working on doing some neat things with JDS and is doing a good job of selling it to corporate clients. IBM isn't too happy about that and I'm sure that 50 million dollars they gave to Novell will help them keep their lap dogs in line.
  • So much for all of the advancements Novell was starting to make with Linux. Sun will probably bury it.
  • by pyros ( 61399 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:07AM (#9862623) Journal
    Schwartz is retarded. I doubt IBM would let themselves be dependent on Sun in the same way they were dependent on Microsoft in the 80s. If Sun bought Novell to get Suse to have leverage on IBM, IBM could just switch to another distro, or roll their own, or whatever. That's the whole freaking point behind IBM moving from proprietary Unix to Linux on the server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:07AM (#9862626)
    ... against the continual chorus of /.-ers who say that sun is dead. If they own a major linux distro, then surely slashdot posters cannot be all doom and gloom about this company that (a) commercialized bsd linux (b) lead innovation in all areas of computing: clustering, high availability, chip fab, OS, compilers, etc., (c) fscking invented one of the most popular computer languages ever, (d) is known for considerable charitable works, the community-oriented nature of its work force, and for being a responsible corporate citizen. Maybe, just maybe, owning a linux distro would stop the slashdot "sun is dead/dying" festival.

    What the hell was I thinking? Of course /. will continue to wallow in 14-year-old flame fests.
    • by tm2b ( 42473 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:26AM (#9862764) Journal
      You know, you could say all of the same sorts of things about DEC before their self-destruction.

      Sun's toast. Somebody will eventually acquire their dried husk, but as an industry leader it's passed its prime and hasn't done anything revolutionary in years.
      • by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:57AM (#9863029)
        Sun's toast. Somebody will eventually acquire their dried husk, but as an industry leader it's passed its prime and hasn't done anything revolutionary in years.

        This is some new definition of 'toast' that describes a company back in profit, with billions of financial assets and billions of intellectual assets? They have been in difficulty for a while, and have taken a long time to come out of it, but by no standards are they 'toast' or a 'husk'.

        and hasn't done anything revolutionary in years.

        Java, which is now the most widely requested used development language may not be what you call 'revolutionary', but then what is these days? For example, Linux is a superb system, and deservedly successful, but its hardly revolutionary.... just a damn good implementation of Unix.
    • by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:55PM (#9863746) Homepage

      I agree with you that this chorus is often childish. Like some funny posters like to put it : "All this is confusing! So, is [company] now evil or not?"

      But the truth of the matter is: companies, like people, and societies, go thru phases and stages.

      Look at IBM for example. If Microsoft is today's evil incarnate of the tech world, IBM was exactly that for decades (1970s, and 80s in particular). They bullied competition, and bankrupted them. They invented FUD, and practiced it widely. They were arrogant to customers. They were expensive, ..etc. ...etc. ad nauseum. Until a new comer underdog called Microsoft caused the PC revolution, and Client / Server architecture was in vogue (this was pre-web days remember). They almost died. But they emerged from the experience humbled, and became a gentler giant.

      They even embraced Open Source of late, and are loved by the geek community, if only for not being the monopolistic bully they used to be.

      Meanwhile, Microsoft transmogrified from a geek new comer to an evil giant. Perhaps Linux and Open Source will transform them in the future, and a humbled gentle giant will emerge in the future. But who will be the next evil empire? Google perhaps? The darling of geeks now? Who knows ...

      Anyway, I digressed a bit. My main point is that companies change over time. Being indebted to a company because it invented this or innovated that in the past is blind loyalty. That a company did good (or bad) in one phase, does not mean that they will contine to be so forever, nor that we should pledge eternal allegiance (or eternal revulsion) to it forever.

      Take that one level further and think of your high school friends (and bullies), and how they turned out to be.

      Take that one level more and think about societies, and how Britain used to be an empire, and now just a progressive democracy. Or how America used to be perceived as a beacon of freedom and opportunity, and how many perceive it now as an evil empire bent on domination, and receding into oppression externally and internally, ...etc.

      Back to Sun now. Yes, they did all what you say, and perhaps more. However, what is important is not to use the present to foreshadow the past, nor vice versa. Our view has to be balanced, and see past, present and future.

      The same applies to ESR (Eric S. Raymond), Red Hat, Google, IBM, SCO, ...etc. People, societies and companies come into vogue then fall from grace. Such is life my friend...

      • Yes, MS today is very much like IBM used to be. Except for one major difference: IBM stuff works, and did work back then. Why do you think we have the phrase "Mainframe level stability/uptime/reliability"?
  • Bad bad bad idea.
    I will be very sad if all the linux technology that Novell has bought and organized ends up being just part of SUN's protfolio.

    I just see sun as trying to use linux in selfish kind of way, not help or foster it. They're still to much of an old-school-IBM type corportation to me I guess.
    • Re:NOooooooo (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LnxAddct ( 679316 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:55AM (#9863014)
      Yea, thats right... The only reason the Linux desktop even has an office suite that is business ready is because of Sun. Open Office is a key to linux being on the desktop and yet people always seem to forget who gave it to us. Not to mention they also came out with that wonderful little language known as java and fully support it on Linux. Java is going to be a key in the desktop migration, well java and .net. But being able to develop on one platform and know it will run on another without modification is an amazing thing when developing. Sun has been very nice to the OSS community and often donates large sums of money to various projects. Not to mention the whole Project Looking Glass thing. When Looking Glass is released, it will show some real competition with Longhorn and Mac on the desktop.
  • Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peterprior ( 319967 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:08AM (#9862632)
    I find it ironic that IBM invested $50 million in Novell so they could outbid Sun, and now Sun are looking to buy Novell..

    Also, I'm worried about the rate at which tech corporations are swallowing up other companies... We seem to have lost many medium sized companies (suse, ximian, etc) as well as some huge ones (compaq).
  • Groklaw analysis (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Carl ( 12719 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:08AM (#9862633) Homepage
    On Groklaw PJ already has an analysis of the "news" []:
    I have it figured out, I think. Sun's Jonathan Schwartz is jealous of Darl McBride. *He* yearns to be the most hated man in tech. But no matter how many awful things he says, he's still just the runner up. Actually, no one bothers to hate either of them, but it'd be easy, if we weren't so nice here on the good guy side.
  • by sir lox elroy ( 735636 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:08AM (#9862638) Homepage
    mind enough about Linux, now they want to own a company devoted to Linux, then tommorrow they will probably want to sell it. The other funny part is they very rarely mention that the Java desktop or their new desktop runs on Linux.
  • by bman08 ( 239376 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:09AM (#9862645)
    What are they going to do, put the sqeeze on IBM by owning SUSE? With YAST GPL'd now, exactly how far would that get them? It doesn't seem to me that suse really has any commodity components left that are all that worth controlling. The actual novell stuff might be better, but suse doesn't seem worth it.
    • How about SUSE Enterprise Linux? That seems to be what Sun cares about-- and is SUSE's moneymaker. It is probably why Novell bought SUSE, and IBM has an interest in propping up SUSE against RedHat Enterprise Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:11AM (#9862654)
    Sun has 2 billion in cash and Novell is priced at 3 billion. Looks risky burning your cash reserves. I'm not sure Novell provides the "synergy" that could sparc a Sun revival.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:13AM (#9862671)
    'What would owning the operating system on which IBM is dependent be worth? History would suggest we look to Microsoft for comparisons,'

    Translation: "Look Wall Street and market analysts, we're going to soon own something of value, as far as you know! Please change your rating of us from "Wipe your ass with the stock certificates" to "Eh, keep em around, you never know"!
  • The Sun is Setting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix ( 84795 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:17AM (#9862688) Homepage
    If Sun makes this move, it could be the worst mistake they've ever made. First off, they do not seem to grasp the nature of the Linux desktop, or any desktop for that matter. Second off, they seem to have this idea that IBM *needs* Novell, when in fact it is the other way around. If Sun comes in, and tries to pull a Microsoft-like bullying technique, I have a strong feeling that IBM will be pulling the plug and switching to another distribution, such as Red Hat, Mandrake, or even developing its own distribution. Sun has not woken up to the new marget reality, and their revenue shortfalls show that. Sun, don't make a billion dollar mistake, just say "no" to aquiring Novell.
    • by X_Bones ( 93097 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:43AM (#9862948) Homepage Journal
      You bring up an interesting, if tangential, point. Why doesn't IBM just roll its own Linux distribution? They've already spent a fortune marketing Linux to anyone who'll listen, so they can build off of that. In addition, they have the name recognition necessary to sway PHBs switching to Linux; these same folks will be the ones paying for fat support and maintenance contracts. What would the downside be?
      • An IBM Linux .. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Macka ( 9388 )

        The world doesn't need yet another commercial linux distro. Unix is not Unix is not Unix. There are big differences between them, and God knows we've enough work on our plate having to learn at least a couple of commercial unix platforms as well as the two main Linux offerings to be marketable to employers today. One more would be a royal pain in the ass.

        The only way is could work for IBM would be if they rolled out a version of Linux that shared the same sysadmin tools and philosophy as AIX. That way
      • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:33PM (#9865007) Homepage
        IBM is in the business of selling computer hardware, and service contracts. They do not consider themselves to be in the business of selling software.

        IBM has no wish to try to compete with Red Hat or SuSE, especially given how much revenue those companies are making right now (i.e. not very much, by IBM standards).

        IBM does have software projects -- for example, AIX. And if you look at what IBM has been doing with AIX, you see that they have been taking every cool feature of AIX and porting it to Linux. Once Linux can replace AIX, IBM will wind down the AIX project, and move the AIX staff to work on other projects.

        IBM must view software as just overhead -- something they need to pay for, that enables them to sell more compters and service contracts, but not itself a profit center. If they can transition from in-house (high-overhead) software, to externally developed software, and still make as much money from hardware sales and service contracts -- that's a very easy business decision to make! All the more so when the free nature of Linux means they have no risk of becoming overly dependent on any one company.

  • by parryFromIndia ( 687708 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:18AM (#9862696)
    .... Microsoft's hand in this? (Remember the $2b?) Probably MS has confidence - that Sun will not fall short of burying itself along with Novell, Linux and Ximian. That gets rid of the competition to Windows on the Server and desktop both. Much like what happened with Crapaq buying DEC and then HP buying both to kill the Alpha and use it's bones for Itanium - Thus paving the way for Intel to succeed in 64 bit market?! It's another story that AMD hit the right chord as far as 64bit market goes, and that too without any of this politics.
  • speaking of big news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I guess the honeymoon between M$ and Unisys is over... 08028430.htm []
  • of several distros that IBM uses. If he really believes that buying Novel would make IBM dependant on SUN, then there is a lot more wrong at Sun than first glance would suggest.
  • Missing part - Mono (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:21AM (#9862716)
    Umm.. Why nobody does not talk about Mono. Sun's biggest strenght is Java. And right now it is being under thread by Mono. So they wan't to buy Novell to get rid of Mono. If so, let's hope Mono community is as strong as Mozilla community.
  • I wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:22AM (#9862724)
    I wonder if this will happen. I can't help thinking it would be an interesting move for Sun. Mono represents at least a moderate threat to Java/J2EE on non-windows platforms and is sponsored by Novell so Sun could be thinking of trying to bury that and would acquire a good corporate Linux distro in the process rather than trying to build up their own (which is not all that easy). I suspect, though, that they're trying to hold MONO back with a nice bit of FUD of their own.

    Despite the regular bashing that Sun gets on /. I'm a moderate fan of the company. They've been pretty generous in terms of open source donations (Tomcat, which rocks, and Open Office, which is kind of dull but works spring to mind). I also admire them for trying to do something different where they don't feel (rightly or wrongly) that open source is an option. In the case of Java the source code is available for download, the bug parade is available for public review, and the JCP allows individuals as well as corporates to have an influence on the direction Java/J2EE heads in (and its perfectly possible to fix bugs in the Java source code and have them rolled in to the release - I know because I've done it), I find it hard to imagine IBM or Microsoft or many other proprietary vendors, being so open with their code. (ducks for cover)
  • Sun and M$ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:22AM (#9862727)
    Wasn't too long ago I heard of some green handshake between two companies.

    (puts on tin foil hat)

    Will SuSE disappear like Corel Linux only to reappear as something new later on, or vanish completely?

    It seems like whenever a certain Linux distro becomes too "well known" something happens to it.

    I smell M$. Flame away, but this smells fishy.
    • I don't thin SuSE itself is what's at stake here. The money in linux seems to be intelligent people consulting to help companies deploy it.
  • Could this be a ploy for Sun to merge w/IBM? Although seemingly far-fetched, if Sun buys Novell to get SuSE (and the Ximian products) and IBM sees this as a threat to their Linux offerings, IBM could attempt a 'merger' (see Daimler-Chrysler). Then IBM would have a large portfolio of Linux products.
  • by nonmaskable ( 452595 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:27AM (#9862770)
    I sometimes think that the interaction of Linux and the GPL is lost on Sun.

    They persist in talking about RedHat as if they could execute predatory behavior like Microsoft does. RedHat can try, but at some point the market will kick in and limit what they can get away with because customers will always have a choice (White Box, SuSE, etc.) and thus always have some leverage with RedHat. It's just a question of at what pricing pain point it will happen.
  • Dear diary (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Dear diary,

    At the friday drink someone suggested buying into Linux in a big way so we can direct it down a path we want. It seemed very logical when we were drunk but now that I'm back at work trying to make a report of the pro's and con's, the bright possibilities seem rather blurry, if not illogical. But how to phrase it so that the rest of the corporation can see the pitfalls? Wait I'l just leak it to slashd....a forum and use their comments as arguments and counter arguments.

    -- Jonathan Schwartz
  • All I can say is that this will be horrible for SuSe linux. Sun has been mismanaged "everything" they touched for a while and I don't think they will improve linux in any manner.

    Sun is dying a slow death and this might be their last try, which might end up taking down SuSE linux with it...
  • This will never happen. Even if Novell didn't make it impossible for Sun, IBM could easily outbid Sun. I think they have learned their lesson from Microsoft and DOS, but obviously Sun hasn't. Just because Sun buys one distro doesn't mean that IBM coldn't roll their own.

    The whole idea of Sun buying Novell for their Linux distro is absurd. There are otehr, cheaper distros or Sun could roll their own much more cheaply and effectively for their own hardware.

    This is nothing more than business plan testin

  • Just like they did Cobalt. The business will go great for three or four years, and then they'll fold it into Solaris, or kill it or something.

    I just don't trust Sun to let well enough alone.
  • Isn't it time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    for vendors to start *officially* supporting Debian again. HP used to, until the Compaq merger and Bruce Perens left.

  • Sun scared by Mono (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NiceGuyUK ( 801305 )
    Could Sun's decision here be also partly based on the growing success of Novell's Mono project? Mono is an implementation of .Net, which is a threat to Java (from a developer mindshare point-of-view at least), and perhaps this would be a way for Sun to start containing that threat.

    Oh, and spare me the Java vs .Net flamewar, that's not the intention of this post.
  • I personally don't trust that Sun will do good things if they purchase Novell. Sun has more to gain from Linux market crashing and buring as it hurts them more than it hurts MS.

    It's laughable that Sun believes that it can compete with IBM in the Linux market by using Suse. IBM can always use another distro or make an IBM Linux since it has the resources to do so. Not to mention that your average PHB wouldn't know what a Suse Linux is while he/she will notice the branding on the IBM Linux.
  • Wrong OS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:32AM (#9862832)
    SUNW doesn't mean SuSE -- they know that IBM uses Red Hat as well. SUNW means System V Unix and AIX.

    SUNW just woke up to the fact that their deals with SCOX didn't mean anything because Novell still owns all of the collateral, including the right to tell SCOX to stifle itself.

    If SUNW were to buy Novell, the thinking must go, they could reverse Novell's order telling SCOX to leave IBM alone. Instead, they could harass IBM over AIX, which is a direct competitor to SUNW's server offerings.

    SUNW still doesn't see Linux as a strategic threat. Don't be fooled into thinking that our interests are what drive them.

  • by qweqazfoo ( 765286 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:32AM (#9862835)
    This is silly. First, IBM isn't dependent upon Novell. Second, if they were, they can outbid Sun for it. Third, Sun is just as likely to get bought out by IBM as Novell is likely to get bought out by Sun.

    Man, Sun is pissing me off. They have ZERO direction. One day everything is SunONE, then everything is Java desktop.

    In four quarters, my Sun Reps when from pushing Solaris Sparc, to Solaris x86, to Linux x86-32, to Linux x86-64. They have no credability. I just can't wait for them to ditch Sparc and Solaris completely. But then they'd have to compete with IBM, Dell, Redhat, and HP. OUCH! So much for high profit margins.

  • Could it be that Sun is attempting to position themselves for a buyout? By acquiring Novell and SUSE, they could be forcing IBM to ask themselves the question "which would cost less: switching to another distribution, or buying Sun?" IBM is already likely to be interested in controling Java eliminating competition from sparcs. Regaining control of SUSE may be the additional push that IBM needs to make a Sun buyout a cost-effective move.
  • Key reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:34AM (#9862852) Journal
    is not Linux, per se, but Unix. Novell almost certainly owns all major rights to Unix. In fact, I do not think that SCO had the ability to take UNix away from IBM. But I am wondering if Novell does. And as I stated earlier, I wonder if SUN would simply turn these nice rights over to SCO. I think a lot depends on wether IBM bought the indefinite license to unix that Sun bought so many years ago.
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 )
    With their post-Java-quarrel handshakes, it may not be too much of a stretch for the conspiracy theorists to think these actions are somewhat Microsoft-related. With all that Munich stuff being covered here recently, and all.

    With Redhat sort of doing its own thing, SUSE places 2nd, if I recall correctly. I wonder if it's a way to pull a Tonya Harding on the other contender just to slow adoption down a little. You know, the way MS helped SCO out a bit to try and disrupt adoption that way too. Of course
  • With their own Linux distro
    With Java
    With a whack of cash and declining sales
    They want to buy more infrastructure to support, and kill market options rather than find a way for _their own_ solution to emerge. Just when Novell is doing some exciting things. WAY TO MANAGE SUN!

    Give Novell owners a whack of cash, see if they dont bank the money and buy back your company after you've deflated the value of both Novell & Sun.

    If this happens, I think it will finish both companies.

    In other news Microsoft doesn
  • by taybin ( 622573 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:37AM (#9862892) Homepage
    They would be buying Novell's UNIX copyrights.

    They would also get Ximian, which controls Mono and Evolution.

    Keep in mind that Sun are already big gnome contributors.

    And of course, Suse.
  • by chiph ( 523845 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:38AM (#9862900)
    Someone should call up Sun and let them know they can download the sourcecode for Linux --- For FREE!

    They probably have all that Microsoft money burning a hole in their pocket...

    Chip H.
  • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <[moc.dosbeht] [ta] [dairym]> on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:39AM (#9862919) Homepage
    Say what you will about .NET, like it or hate it. Either way I think the Mono Project [] is a Good Thing.

    Ideology aside .NET is likely here to stay simply because of MS's market penetration, never mind that is actually happens to be (IMHO) pretty good.

    Having a non-MS implementation that allows .NET applications to run on either MS or non-MS platforms is potentially the holy grail of Linux adoption. If more and more apps Just Worked on Windows or Linux, why keep paying the MS tax? (I'm talking average user here, not people who know enough to use things like WINE)

    But herein lies the problem. Platform independence was always the claim/goal of Java. One it has had mixed results in achieving. MS's dirty pool with the JRE is certainly a big reason for its less than stellar success on Windows.

    Sun hates .NET. .NET could become what they wanted Java to be... IF projects like Mono are successful. So, what would they likely do? Kill it in the name of Java.

    Granted Mono is GPL'd, so they couldn't kill it entirely. But taking funding away from Miguel de Icaza and his team would certainly slow its progress dramatically. I'd hate to see that.

    .NET already works on Windows (obviously), and with Mono it's starting to work pretty darn well elsewhere. It would be a shame to lose that.

    Blockwars []: free, realtime, multiplayer game similar to Tetris.

  • by nightsweat ( 604367 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:43AM (#9862946)
    To reapply an old saying about Xerox and IBM...

    If Novell bought KFC, they'd market the product as "Hot dead bird."

    If Sun bought KFC, they'd market the product as "Warm dead bird."
  • It makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Offwhite98 ( 101400 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:57PM (#9863433) Homepage
    You take two failing companies and put them under one incompetent and ego driven leader in Scott McNealy and it is a sure win-win! I am sure Microsoft would be happy to offer cash incentives to all parties. (feel the sarcasm)

    What I find interesting is that Sun would acquire access to the Mono implemention of the .NET 1.1 profile which would allow them to have a closer integration with MS technologies. As a part of their new "agreement" with MS to collaborate on their enterprise technologies (.NET and J2EE) this would seem like a logic acquisition.

    Now if they just had a talented CEO and CTO running the show it would be quite promising. Unfortunately I do expect McNealy to allow his ego to overcome any logical choices and botch the whole venture. But who could do this? How about Miguel de Icaza (Gnome/Mono creator) as CTO, someone who has proven work ethic and the ability to make wise choices?
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:20PM (#9863580) Homepage Journal
    IBM might decide that Novell/SuSE could be a good match for them. It could mean a bidding war for Novell.
    Or IBM could just head hunt the best of Novells people and pay them to do OSS work. I do not think Sun will buy them.
  • Bad move for Sun (Score:3, Informative)

    by grimover ( 212034 ) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:36PM (#9863922) Homepage

    In addition to slashdotters thinking its a bad idea, the Wall Street Journal Online has a follow-up report Novell Acquisition Would Be Bad Move for Sun, Analyst Says []

    Among the reasons the analyst lists (in case you don't want to subscribe to the WSJ Online):

    1. Sun buying Novell would eliminate Novell's (and SuSe's) hardware neutrality, upseting the interests of major Novell partners/shareholders IBM and HP/Compaq.
    2. A hostile takeover of Novell would seriously drain Sun's cash per share, removing a major price support for Sun's stock.
    3. After acquisition it is likely that Sun's hardware competitors (e.g. IBM, HP) would withdraw support for SuSe Linux. This would be bad for SuSe and bad for Linux in general, since part of IBM's and HP's investment and partnerships with SuSe are intended to prevent Red Hat from dominating Enterprise Linux.

      I would add:

    4. Spending a substantial portion of your company's cash reserves to buy a technology and intellectual property portfolio in order to suppress it (instead of exploiting it for profit) is a suicidal strategy. I don't think shareholders on either side would vote for that.
    5. If analyst consensus builds against this purchase, then its even more suicidal for Sun, since their stock would fall off a cliff (again) if they attempted it.

    I should also mention Novell recently raised $600 million in a corporate debt offering, about $125 million of which was for a stock buyback (not sure how that might affect their takeover prospects). The rest was for future acquisitions, the rumor on Wall Street is that the inside favorite for a future Novell acquisition is MySQL AB.

    That would be a great acquisition, adding MySQL to their software stack would complement both Novell's Mono and J2EE application server offerings. My personal favorite other acquisition would be Zend, giving Novell a LAMP application server software stack!

  • by Paul Jakma ( 2677 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:38PM (#9864250) Homepage Journal

    I'm reading the comments on this story and I'm just amazed at how many comments are so hostile to Sun - I just dont understand where this hostility comes from. Sure I can understand people being critical of Sun, and criticicism is good, but this outright hatred is just weird.

    Now, I'm a (recent) Sun employee[2], so maybe I'm blinded by my paycheck, but it seems to me that to consider a company that:

    • Paid for a lot of the HID and developer time that was put into GNOME, and continues to pay people to work on GNOME
    • Bought StarOffice, open-sourced it, continues to fund the development of OpenOffice
    • Have stated they are working out the details of open-sourcing its own Solaris Unix and will be doing so.
    • Is possibly the most active promoter of Linux on the corporate desktop by way of JDS. (remember, both IBM and RedHat execs last year made comments about Linux not being ready for desktop).
    • Is a long standing and ongoing developer of and contributor to Unix technologies and software (including Linux).
    • Walks the talk when it comes to pervasise deployment of Unix and Linux within corporate IT. The Sun corporate network is possibly one of the worlds largest cohesive Unix networks, and that includes Linux, not least by way of JDS.

    as being a reasonable pariah for the Linux community is just strange.

    So Sun still push Solaris over Linux, well why wouldnt Sun? Sun have spent a long time working on it, the people at Sun are proud of Solaris. Surely they have as much right to be proud of their (their, cause I havnt contributed to Solaris) work as the "Linux" developers[1] have to be of theirs? And even so, Sun still do spend money on technologies that are of benefit to Unix in general, be it Solaris, Linux, BSD, whatever.. and spend money marketing what is effectively Linux.

    So Sun bought out licence rights from SCO, how evil of them, but if you're responsible for Sun and you have a chance to fully secure your "IP" (yuk) rights wouldn't it be corporate irresponsibility to not do so? Remember, you can be sued by shareholders for your inactions as much as your actions.

    So Sun settled a long-running dispute with MS, how evil of them. But MS infringed on Suns' rights, is Sun not allowed to get a fat cheque from MS for MSs' wrongdoing, should Sun instead have continued litigating the matter at great expense and uncertainty? Would Sun maybe then later being awarded a fat cheque from MS by court order have then *not* been evil? The settlement recompenses Sun for wrong done to it and lets Sun get on with things, why is that evil?

    At the end of the day, Sun are a Unix company. Sun are not perfect, no entity is, and Sun will have to adapt to changing market conditions, as all companies do, but they're the only big company who are and have been 100% committed to Unix from day one of their existence. Sure, Sun would prefer to sell you Solaris, and why not, Solaris is still Unix, and work on any one Unix ultimately benefits all unixes, be it directly or by virtue of competition. Never mind that Sun also directly contribute to technologies/projects that are key to Linux, as well as many other cross-platform projects, and also market Linux in one segment of the market.

    The irony of course is that most of these /. weenies who like to spout this ill-informed "Sun is evil, they hate Linux!!!" clap-trap are likely doing so from the "comfort" of their Win32 PCs.

    Linux, Solaris, BSD, etc.. So what, they're all Unix. Unix in part draws it's strength and health from diversity, from not being a heterogenous meritocracy, not a homogenous monopoly. Sun has long been a valuable contributor to that meritocracy of ideas.

    Vive la difference!

    1. What is a Linux developer exactly, aside from Linux kernel developers? I work on stuff at Sun that runs on Linux and Solaris. It's all Unix to me..

    2. NB: I do not speak for Sun, opinions in this post are my own. Statemen

    • It's not just you. I've been a long term /. reader and long term Linux fan. The slashbot hatred of Sun and Java is well beyond unreasonable. Hating Microsoft I can understand, but hating a company that likes Unix, supports open source and has pledged to work towards Open Sourcing solaris and Java is just fucking bizarre.

  • by Tarantolato ( 760537 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @04:31PM (#9864553) Journal
    Okay, so the Register has already demolished any idea that this is real-world stuff rather than more empty talk from J. Schwartz. And it's clear that even if Sun were somehow to acquire Novell, the self-destructive corporate culture of the McNealy cultus would destroy any value toute suite.

    Nevertheless: this would be a good idea, if Sun had a proper management team.

    First, Sun's channel sucks, especially in the small-to-medium business range. Novell, despite its decline in recent years, has a quite good SMB channel and a decent consulting network. For a long time it owned the SMB (and much of the gov't) space, and it still has deep roots there.

    Second, with the Java Enterprise System, Sun is trying to break into the LAN administration, groupware, and identity management rackets. Novell knows these spaces better than almost everyone.

    Third, between Sun's HIG team and the Ximian monkeys, they'd have an unstoppable Gnome desktop squadron.

    Fourth, Novell's managers, in contrast to Sun's, seem to know what they're doing and how to keep their mouths shut. Shanghaing a few of them into the parent company would be nothing but helpful.

    Fifth, both companies have struggled to break into the J2EE game for a while; they could combine their heretofore ineffectual efforts and have a fighting chance at making it.

    A well-run Sun-Novell teamup would be a very good thing for both companies concerned. It would extend Novell's reach up-market and Sun's down-market; it would combine a rock-solid engineering backbone with an effective distribution channel. Of course, it wouldn't be well-run, and it won't happen.
  • this worries me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deviator ( 92787 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @06:29PM (#9865346) Homepage
    but not for the reasons everyone else is pointing out. I *like* Novell - and liked them before they dove into Linux. They've got some incredibly great technology for managing huge, unwieldy networks that no one else has.

    There were rumors a year ago or so before the SCO fiasco that IBM was looking to buy Novell - that would have been great--IBM would have kept Novell's good parts (ala Lotus) & dumped the rest. But I'm not so sure Sun would be as good as IBM--Sun, unlike IBM, is a company with a definite lack of consistent direction and has an uncertain future as Linux continues to encroach on it. Sun has had/has some really cool technologies, but I honestly don't think they'd really recognize the value of the stuff Novell would bring to the table and would probably screw it up because they'd be so focused on trying to leverage the Linux stuff. Which would be lame.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling