Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Novell Software Linux

Novell's Race Against Time 381

DiamondGeezer writes "The Guardian newspaper in the UK reports in 'It's a race against time' that Novell is on a knife-edge financially and competitively, having placed a huge one-way bet in the success of its Linux strategy. But there's no guarantee of success: its revenue from Linux licensing is puny, and it faces a crowded market of Linux distros. Novell may be getting some positive press now that it's gone full tilt for Linux, but let's remember the reasons why: because of mis-steps of its previous management (especially the disastrous acquisition of WordPerfect in the mid 1990s) and its failure to grow its Netware business (with more than a little help from Microsoft), it's now having to re-engineer itself for Linux."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Novell's Race Against Time

Comments Filter:
  • by sanityspeech ( 823537 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:51AM (#12107538) Journal
    Is Novell deserving of the support that the Open Source Software (OSS) community can provide to increase the odds of success regarding its Linux push?

    If so, what can the average Linux user do to help (besides switching to Novell Linux Desktop (NLD) or becoming a shill?)

    If not, why not?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:16AM (#12107692)

      Also, is the best part of waking up really Folgers in your cup? Provide either a comprehensive proof of the above, or a definitive counter-example.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Is Novell deserving of the support that the Open Source Software (OSS) community can provide to increase the odds of success regarding its Linux push?

      This may be like the opposite of "guilt by association", but here goes:
      We fans of Linux like IBM these days because they support it extensively and have given it corporate legitimacy. IBM favors 2 distros in particular: Red Hat and SuSE. They both get pretty even support with IBM's servers and software (WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Lotus, etc).

      In addition, w
    • It's not J.O.S.S. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ImaLamer ( 260199 )
      It's not just open source stupid!

      And I say that with total humor.

      I prefer to see more Novell in the marketshare whether it's open or closed source. Hopefully Linux users support will push them to open more technology like some companies [] have done, but overall Novell products are a lot better than there rivals. The eDirectory [] platform is better than Active Directory in many respects, including but not limited to security, cross-platform support (duh) and reliability ... scalability, database size, license
    • what can the average Linux user do to help

      That is simpel. Buy the SUSE versions, instead of waiting for the free (as in beer) FTP version. Pre-order 9.3 [] Pro. It will be out mid april.
  • Sad but true. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caryw ( 131578 ) <> on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:52AM (#12107543) Homepage
    How does Novell expect to remain competitive in the world of free linux. Especially with RedHat dominating the paid business sector.
    They were one of the pioneers of many technologies available today. It will be sad to watch their slow painful death.
    NoVA Underground: Where Northern Virginia comes out to play []
    • If it's not free, it needs to offer something unique and spectacular to the community. There is nothing special about Novell Linux at the moment. It needs to find a niche. Maybe be the ultimate mailserver distro or something.

      • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @02:21AM (#12108048)
        Redhat is fine for servers (although I've had my share of problems with RHAS3, mainly NFS), but Novell offers something that RH has NEVER offered: out of the box Flash, Mpeg, Java, Real (yeah, I know - they're supposedly evil). These things are actually important for a desktop users. True, you could go out on your own and find all thiese things and install them yourself, but for a corporate "Give me a decent out-of-the-box desktop setup", Novell does nicely. And in my experience, Wireless as well as ACPI just work with MANY more laptops than RH.
        • Seconded... (Score:3, Insightful)

          ...if Novell is catering to destop users they have definetly found an untapped Linux market. My colleague is a Linux user/geek who gets a kick out of demonstrating to me (the only one of three OS.X users in the building who happens to have a desk near his) that his Linux laptop works just as well as my PowerBook. After trying a few distributions on three differnet laptops he finally settled on installing SUSE on an IBM box and then spent a week downloading software, tweaking the OS, flashing a whole range o
      • Re:Sad but true. (Score:5, Informative)

        by ip_fired ( 730445 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @04:42AM (#12108656) Homepage
        Funny you should mention this about being the ultimate mailserver distro.

        I just set up a mailserver for an ISP up in Idaho using SuSE 9.2. Spamassassin and Postfix installed without a problem, but when I went to install courier-imap and sasl2, I discovered that they didn't include mysql or postrgres support. Luckily it wasn't hard to download the SRPMS and compile them myslef, but it was still a bit annoying.

        I sent them an e-mail requesting that they build the rpms to support that, and we'll just have to wait to see if they do.

        That said, one of the things I love most about SuSE is yast, which has a wonderful n-curses based tool for when you are logged in via SSH. It really is spectacular. The best thing about it is that people who aren't all that linux savvy can still use yast to configure the box without too much difficulty.
        • Re:Sad but true. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rsax ( 603351 )
          That said, one of the things I love most about SuSE is yast, which has a wonderful n-curses based tool for when you are logged in via SSH. It really is spectacular.

          YAST is one of the things that I don't like about SUSE. I'm not a fan of SuSEConfig either. I don't know... but I just prefer the text config files rather than being confined to a UI that someone else designed for me.

    • Re:Sad but true. (Score:3, Informative)

      by AJWM ( 19027 )
      RedHat dominates (in North America) the server business sector. SUSE (Novell) is more popular in the desktop sector. Granted, the server sector is still bigger, but the desktop is growing.

      Outside North America, RedHat isn't nearly so dominant even in the server sector.
    • Re:Sad but true. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ploss ( 860589 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:39AM (#12107845)
      Not just sad - it will set a very dangerous precedent for all Linux corporate offerings in the future!
      Think - Novell, one of the largest networking software companies, having the final nail in the coffin being hammered in by choosing Linux.

      How would that statement sound in the mind of a PHB? "Linux = doomed software companies" is a particularly nasty association when making a platform decision (even though going with Linux was probably the right solution, rather than continuing with NetWare.)

      I don't know if they can pull out of the slump, but we should support Novell any way we can, as it stands as one of the largest allies Linux (and the OSS community) has today. To see Novell's downfall will definitely weaken Linux's corporate desktop offering.
      • Re:Sad but true. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SunFan ( 845761 )
        ...having the final nail in the coffin being hammered in by choosing Linux.

        GNOME/KDE desktops on Linux and Solaris are the future, I think. What if every company started selling nearly 100% compatible desktops for home users (GNOME,, etc.) plus what if the big guys (Sun/IBM) started selling over-broadband GNOME desktop subscriptions (e.g., Sun Ray)?

        All of it is cheaper than anything Microsoft can do. Sun/IBM can give the software away, because they will still sell you the server or the t
        • Re:Sad but true. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wwwillem ( 253720 )
          what if the big guys (Sun/IBM) started selling over-broadband GNOME desktop subscriptions (e.g., Sun Ray)

          Don't expect that from the vendors, but that will certainly come from your local ISP, cable company, etc. They are heavily searching for more services that utilizes the bandwidth and back-end infrastructure they have built over the last years. Therefore centrally managed thin client desktops in the homes is a natural next step. Of course not for the average /. reader, but think about your mums and grand

    • Re:Sad but true. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bald Wookie ( 18771 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:47AM (#12107887)
      Novell's added value is in the products that run on top of Linux. Few people realize how powerful Novell's suite is. When it comes to managing a large scale PC network, there are few tools finer than eDirectory and ZENWorks.

      A few years ago I worked on a worldwide directory services project, and the suits brought the notorious Microsoft shill Gartner onboard. Only one of the partner companies involved (out of almost 40) was a Novell shop. What platform did they suggest? eDirectory. After using AD, eDirectory and OpenLDAP in varying implementations I can vouch for the power and effectiveness of the Novell tools.

      ZENworks is a best of breed desktop management suite. Throw than on top of Novell's file and print tools. Add in the clustering support. The web based management tools. The handful of open source tools(Apache, PHP, MySQL, rsync) that now come with Netware. Taken together it's a very powerful, very valuable package. I can support more PC's using less staff with Netware than any other OS.

      Now what sucks about Netware? Lack of developers. Every time I sit in a meeting, some asshole wants me to add yet another W2K3/SQL box for their product. Given Netware's market share I can't blame them. No-one is ever going to write another NLM.

      OES on SuSE changes everything. You get all of the Novell tools, all of the open source tools, a worldwide developer base, plus the goodies from Ximian. It's a huge win. Not only do I get Linux, from the servers to the desktop, but I get the tools to manage every box.

      It's not too late. The better tools can still win, but only if people knee deep in Microsoft solutions will bother looking at them.
    • Re:Sad but true. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <> on Friday April 01, 2005 @02:21AM (#12108052) Homepage Journal
      There are really four or five major production linux distros out there: RedHat (and Fedora), SuSE (and Novell), Mandrake, Debian, and maybe either Slackware or Gentoo. Most other distros are fairly small, niche distros which lack general appeal outside their niche markets. When Novell bought SuSE they knew what they saw.

      But more than that, they have shown that they understand the industry. They have consistantly backed open source software, and even open sourced previously closed apps like OpenXchange, and the Exchange connector for evolution. They have shown commitment to the vision of a future dominated by Free/Open Source software, and they have consistantly been to bat for us. It may be some time before all proprietary apps are open sourced, including ZenWorks and eDirectory.

      Novell does not have an easy road ahead of them but it is far better than any other choice they have. I give them a 70% chance of staying profitable, and a 40% chance of actually taking on the market leadership role. This may seem like a long shot, but Novell is where they are is largely a result of fundamental economic shifts of the industry rather than a set of specific management mistakes-- i.e. if you are in the right economic position (Microsoft), you can survive many serious mistakes, but if you are not, these mistakes take a more serious toll.
    • One word (Score:3, Interesting)


      If Novell turns into a huge Linux tech-support company, I bet they'll earn MILLIONS. Or maybe not, but think about it. It can become the #1 company in helping companies migrate to Linux.

      Just think about it. With the increasing Linux market, they'll be VERY busy.

      Setting up Samba? No problem. Recompiling the kernel? Our staff will go to you. Considering options between software? There we are.

      "Novell. The Linux company."

      But now, if Novell wants to survive SELLING SOFTWARE, then they should just f
    • Re:Sad but true. (Score:3, Informative)

      by m50d ( 797211 )
      RedHat only dominates in the US. Novell is poised to become the redhat of Europe.
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:53AM (#12107549)
    What Novell really needs to do is merge unique features from Netware into Linux, and license much of Apple's proprietary code at any price. This will allow applications made for the Mac to compile and run pretty cleanly on Novell Linux, thereby differentiating Novell from the other distros.
    • Maybe Novell should also license from IBM all it can from Lotus SmartSuite, then merge the best of WP, Paradox, (if it still has any rights to WP & Pdx) into SmartSuite and then release the package to compete with

      I am STILL not pleased with the document insert "feature" which, when I insert a document, it goes into a "band", invisibly. When I link to another document and then want to edit from beginning to end, I damn well should be able to SEEEEEEE those linked documents.

      Lotus WordPr
    • by GeorgeMcBay ( 106610 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:11AM (#12107656)

      What Novell really needs to do is merge unique features from Netware into Linux, and license much of Apple's proprietary code at any price.

      Wow, sounds like a good idea. I'm sure Steve Jobs and Apple would jump at the chance to undercut their own market by allowing Novell to make a low cost Mac alternative!

    • I got a better idea! Novel should license Microsoft's tech at any price, so as to produce a Linux that runs Windows apps without a hitch (screw WINE). This will allow Novel to distinguish its Linux distro from the rest!!
    • license much of Apple's proprietary code at any price.

      I think that price would have to be enough money to buy a controlling interest in Apple, and Novell just doesn't have that kind of cash anymore. Novell's market cap is only about 2 and 1/4 billion dollars these days.


    • You're really Carly Fiorina...aren't you?
    • You mean on the desktop, but server side its done. Open Enterprise Server, baby!
  • by WhataFreak ( 827406 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:55AM (#12107558)
    Netware didn't just fail "with more than a little help from Microsoft". It failed because (and it kills me to say this), Windows NT was a better product than Netware in just about any way imaginable. I remember when I made the switch in my career from Netware to NT. I can't think of anything that Netware did better than Windows NT. Netware pretty much sucked ass...

    I must admit that it was very early in my IT career that I made this switch. Perhaps my inexperience in Netware had something to do with my opinion of it.
    • by DarkMantle ( 784415 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:10AM (#12107649) Homepage
      Actually, it had very little to offer compared to NT. (Pun Intended) It ran with fewer requirements, and also it was their networking technologies that was the foundation for NT Networking. The Client for MS Windows was based on Netware's client technology.

      Odd how quickly people forget these facts. Best part is, Microsoft technically still owes them royalties on every XP disk sold, but Novell isn't forcing it anymore.
    • by NeuralAbyss ( 12335 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:12AM (#12107660) Homepage
      NDS kicked the shit out of NT3/4's old domain user management.
      • NDS kicks the stuffing out of Active Directory Services also.

        It's not obvious on small projects, but as you scale up you can see some pretty nice things on NDS.

    • by Oliver Defacszio ( 550941 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:21AM (#12107723)
      You've forgotten, young man. Netware 4.11 was what MANY techs fondly remember as being the most stable file-server OS on Earth. I have personally seen dozens of Novell machines with multiple-year uptimes, rebooting only for major upgrades or hardware failures. The Linux zealots can say what they want, but that just doesn't happen with any other OS on white-box hardware.

      Novell, in my opinion, started to fall apart once it got all crazy with Bordermanager, Groupwise and the other "add-ons" that worked against this legendary stability (Apache for Netware? Ugh). I haven't spent much time using Bordermanager myself, but I can't recall ever seeing an install that was stable in the truest sense of the word.

      I know, I know, this isn't a file server world anymore, but it's kind of sad to see what happened to an OS that used to just sit there and run indefinitely while hundreds of users hammered away at it. There is a good reason why the old IT urban legend of the server being drywalled in for years before anyone noticed was running Netware.

      • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:39AM (#12107841)
        but that just doesn't happen with any other OS on white-box hardware.

        My FreeBSD 4.x boxes are over 1000+ days of uptime now with real load with real business logic running on them.

      • by ninejaguar ( 517729 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @08:32AM (#12109313)
        There is a good reason why the old IT urban legend of the server being drywalled in for years before anyone noticed was running Netware.

        Not an urban legend. We (IT) lost track of a NetWare 3.x server used by a small (less than 100) department in a large (more than 20,000) entertainment company.

        When it was time to upgrade the department's LAN from TokenRing to Ethernet, we couldn't locate this server. The clients had no idea where it was. They only knew that the all-important J: drive on their PC was there before they were.

        It turns out that there used to be a janitor's closet behind shelves, and a large desk pushed up against the shelves, that no one in that department had ever remembered being opened. Certainly no one had the key for it. When it was finally opened, there was the 3.x, chugging away without a care in the world. I don't remember what the box was, but I doubt it held more than 16 megs of RAM.

        By that time, the company had pretty gone the Microsoft route, and we were all weary of dealing with the christmas lights like nature of a WindowsNT based network. Needless to say, we were amused and more than a little impressed by this little-engine-that-could.

        = 9J =

    • Troll here often? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Arker ( 91948 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:41AM (#12107854) Homepage

      Netware didn't just fail "with more than a little help from Microsoft". It failed because (and it kills me to say this), Windows NT was a better product than Netware in just about any way imaginable

      ROFL. Yeah, right, sure. And rocks fall upward, and the moon is made of green cheese...

      I administered Novell and NT both back in the days you're talking about. Netware 3.x beat NT 3.x so badly, on every possible applicable point, not even the most incompetent admin would have ever made the claim you just did with a straight face.

      Microsoft PAYED my employer a huge sum to partially replace our Netware server with an NT 3.5 server. That little netware server was keeping the office served so far as email, web gateway, and file and print serving without a problem. NT on a slightly faster machine proved itself incapable of handling the EMAIL ALONE for the same office, and this AFTER having guys from MS fly down to work on it every couple of weeks for six months.

      On top of lack of functionality and lack of stability, it was also impossible to properly admin. It was a total POS and everyone knew it. Even the PHBs were totally upfront about it - they knew it was trash. But whenever we had a problem, MS cut a check (or something to the same end effect) to more than cover the losses.

      That's how they won. Novel certainly made mistakes, but that doesn't change the fact that their product was vastly superior and defeated on grounds other than technical.

  • Last post!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by isny ( 681711 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:55AM (#12107561) Homepage
    Last post before the dreaded Slashdot April Fools articles are submitted.
  • IBM buy-out? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:58AM (#12107578)
    I've been thinking for a while, from just before the start of the SCO vs IBM circus, that Novell is getting ripe for being bought out by IBM. Anyone else concurr?
  • The problem is Utah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wheelbarrow ( 811145 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @12:59AM (#12107583)
    The biggest problem Novell has is attracting the best and brightest software engineers. This is because a lot of Novell engineering is done in Provo Utah. Life in Provo is not for everyone. It is beautiful but it is one of those one company towns. If your job there does not work out then you'll have to relocate for your next job. The cost of living in Silicon Valley is high but a great engineer can find a new high paying job within a matter of days. Provo does not offer that.
  • While I can't argue much against that statement, I really wish it hadn't been disastrous. WordPerfect has always been my favorite word processing suite, and I wish Novell still owned it, and would give better Linux support than the wishy-washy stuff Corel's been doing.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @02:07AM (#12107977) Homepage
      When I think of Disaster, Linux, and WordPerfect, I think of their attempt to port the entire suite to Java []. Attempting to capitalize on "write once, run anywhere," and wholeheartedly ignoring the reality of such systems, it ran in a JVM in a browser window. Unfortunately, the computers trying to run the thing couldn't ignore reality, and as such loading a heavily stripped down version of WP took several minutes. It also couldn't take advatage of OS API's, and had to reinvent the wheel many times. I've spoken to a coder from that project, who says it was basically a hell that they knew management wasn't going to let them out of until one or both of them were dead. As Corel laid the lot of them off, it would appear it was both.

      You can still try out their beta [] if you would like, though ironically for a "write once run anywhere" suite you'll be hard pressed to find a browser old enough to run it.

      The subsequent version of WP was recoded in C and C++.

  • by miyako ( 632510 ) <> on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:02AM (#12107600) Homepage Journal
    Novell may be facing competition with a lot of other distributions, but I have to say that I don't see Suse fading anytime soon. In fact, in my experience, Suse has been getting more popular as of late. It certainly seems like the most well refined distribution I've used lately. Redhat seems to have left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of Linux users, and I've never heard of anyone using Mandrake on a server, which really leaves Suse as the last of the major distributions with commercial backing (I know there are other commercial Linux distributions, but when I think of commercial Linux distributions, I always think of the big 3 as Suse, Redhat and Mandrake).
    YaST is probably one of the best system tools I've used on any Linux distribution, and hopefully we will see some really great things once we see some (forgive the buzz word) synergy between Suse and Ximian.
    • SuSE grew on me as a distro while I was at Novell, but it still lags Red Hat, Debian, and Cobalt in the netcraft ratings, and Fedora will overtake it very, very soon if current growth patterns hold up. [] Worse, netcraft shows Fedora, Debian, Mandrake, and Gentoo all growing faster than SuSE. Is netcraft perfect? No. But it certainly suggests that SuSE is, at best, keeping up, and not pulling ahead. SuSE needs to work harder on innovating (both technologically, procedurally, and to a lesser extent, in marketin
  • Still miss NDS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:03AM (#12107601) Homepage Journal
    Is it sad that I miss my old, university ginormous NDS tree? Everywhere I do, it's Active Directory, which appears to have almost caught up to where Novell was in 1994.

    This crazy world makes no sense.
    • Active directory is nothing like NDS. NDS is a real, hierarchical, partionable directory services system. It was powerful, extensible, and scalable long before any of those words became empty buzzwords. Active directory is and has always been a train wreck compared to NDS. It is all smoke and mirrors. The only resemblance AD has to a hierarchical system is when the management tool applies an "inherited" permission to each and every object in the directory below the level you want to change. There is n
      • When I try to explain to youngster network admins the wonders of NDS, their eyes just gloss over.

        "Look," I tell them, "imagine one logical grouping for the History department. They can have History file server volumes scattered across multiple file servers, priters assigned to History, and users assigned to History who each can have his own personal drive mappings, History department drive mappings, and drive mappings inherited from Humanities, one level higher in the tree. Users or user groups from some
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:06AM (#12107622)
    I don't recall hearing that Novell ever intended to make a lot of money by selling a Linux distro. On the other hand, converting their existing products to Linux will save them a bundle compared to developing a completely independent solution. Most of what their stuff does is the same as what Linux does. They can concentrate on the things that make them different to add value.
  • I bought Novell shares around the time they announced their acquisition of SuSE. At that time, Novell was shifting its strategy into aggressively supporting opensource projects (SuSE, Mono, KDE, etc). Ever since then, their stock has been going in a downward spiral []. I guess this is what happens when you support a company based on what you believe in rathar than what actually sells. Sad.
    • If you are going to buy stock in something you are emotionally attached to, and money is important to you, at least think of the following things:

      Can the company's benevolence lead to some source of income?

      Does what they are doing make some kind of big-picture opportunity?

      If this company is intent on competing with Microsoft,

      1. can they be successful with a small market share?
      2. can they gain whatever market share required with a minimum of cash?
      3. do they need to rely on Microsoft for success in any way,
  • I hope that Novell has success with it's SuSE / Novell Desktop 10 line. Already they've got a good foothold in Europe and the release of a distro with Beagle and F-Spot integrated in it should see them doing well. I hope they continue to make money and employ their great hackers.
  • Netware was very stable, and very easy to manage from a sysadmin perspective. Especially pre-Netware 5. In my experience, it was a robust networking and directory services package that enabled Windows to work (relatively) seamlessly better than Windows could do it. That's the caveat though, Microsoft's networking schema evolved and Windows NT 4 especially was the beginning of the end for Novell's flagship product. Once Windows could natively do what you previously needed a "Client" to do it was pretty much
  • by zap_branigan ( 691916 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:13AM (#12107665)
    We have a fairly sizeable eDirectory tree of about 100,000 users. We have hundreds of Netware servers. We use Identity Manager(dirxml) extensively. Our entire LDAP authentication runs on eDirectory. I know many other VERY large companies such as ours where Novell plays a very important role and where eDirectory is the central authentication/idenitity scheme. Sure we have some Windows application servers---who doesnt. But I always get amazed at those who predict the death of Novell---because usually those are the same people who have never used any Novell products in their life. Believe me Novell is dominate in every Fortune 100 company out there. They are going nowhere.
    • It's nice to have been the first Network OS for PC's. The first guys to implement networks were invariably the biggest companies since they had the most to gain and the most resources to invest in a computer network. By default, they installed Netware. Fast forward 15-20 years and the bulk of these guys are still on Novell for authentication/directory services and probably file and print. Plus, since NDS works with anything, on many different platforms, there has been little reason for big co's to drop
  • Beat RedHat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:13AM (#12107669)
    At the moment in my place of employment, we want to run Debian on some custom hardware (but alas, Debian won't work on it - despite many hack attempts), because we just find RPMs too hard to manage and apt-get + aptitude to ge great.

    Employing someone to waste time trying to install Debian on something which cannot guarantee a pay off is not fun, and is a waste of money as well for the customer.

    The thing is, the hardware vendor doesn't take Debian seriously (because it's not backed by a company with resources), so there is no driver disk or hardware support.

    What I am trying to say is this:- there is a niche here that needs to be filled. There is a need for companies with the ability to back Linux distros, even if just for customer peace of mind. They will pay money for it. So far, only RedHat is being taken seriously commercially IMHO.

    There is no "swamped" Linux market, or at least, not in my situation as far as I can tell. Only blimmin' RedHat Linux is supported and will install on our blade server.....
    • Good news for you, apt-get has been ported to an RPM-based system (eg. RedHat) so you can run it on Fedora. :)
  • Good for Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Maskirovka ( 255712 )
    So if Apple wants some more serious enterprise apps, all they have to do is aquire Novell in a year...
  • Novel Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by Exter-C ( 310390 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:18AM (#12107707) Homepage
    Novel vs Redhat. In a corporate environment with directory services novel wins hands down. Novel (suse) also has a much much better QA procedure on its Enterprise linux products. I have not seen to date one issue to date (yet) that has caused systems to go down after patches have been applied. However with redhat we see it all the time.

    For anyone serious about an enterprise level linux novel is the only real choice.
  • other options (Score:5, Interesting)

    by satsuke ( 263225 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:20AM (#12107720)
    While I don't doubt that Novell has taken a large risk with playing "the linux card", I don't see them in any immediate danger of financial difficulty. []

    While their installed base is certainly not what it once was, they have a solid reputation, still significant installed base, and from what I remember, a decent size pile of cash (771,844 at last quarterly report) to fall back on.

    In other words, exactly where SCO might have been if they had not made a different sort of bet. (i.e. running a business of making products, selling support and consulting services, etc. Not to start an SCO love fest, but once upon a time they were a well regarded company).

    • Re:other options (Score:3, Insightful)

      by killjoe ( 766577 )
      "While I don't doubt that Novell has taken a large risk with playing "the linux card", I don't see them in any immediate danger of financial difficulty."

      People keep saying this but I don't see where they took any risk at all. It wasn't like they had a thriving business and they decided to ditch it to pursue linux. They were desparate to have a product that people might be interested in and sad to say that wasn't netware.

      Novell probably saved themselves from an almost certain death by buying suse but it wa
  • Wordperfect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <> on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:23AM (#12107736) Homepage
    Was not about Wordperfect. It was about Groupwise. Novell still makes a huge amount of money on Groupwise, the WP deal was very much a win for them.
  • by maelstrom ( 638 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:24AM (#12107743) Homepage Journal
    Firstly, this fails to take into account the recent Microsoft settlement which brought $536 million into Novell, plus the additional cash they have on hand. They aren't suddenly going into bankruptcy.


    "it is getting excited about the version of KDE that will accompany SuSE Linux 10 next year. This is based on Mono, another Novell takeover, which aims to provide a development environment that will run Java and on Linux"

    KDE has nothing to do with Mono. The author probably meant Ximian Gnome, but that doesn't even make the statement true, and wtf does Mono have to do with Java?

    SuSE + Ximian + Mono + Novell = Good prospects in my book. Granted Novell management has a long history of screwing things up, but this product line looks pretty promising. In fact, full disclosure I put my money where my mouth is and purchased some amount of Novell stock.
    • by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @02:11AM (#12107994) Homepage
      wtf does Mono have to do with Java?

      From the Mono frontpage []:

      Mono is a platform for running and developing modern applications, based on the ECMA/ISO Standards. Mono can run existing programs targeting the .NET or Java frameworks.

      And also, from the Mono Java page []:

      Execution of Java code in Mono today is done with IKVM ( []) the Java virtual machine that runs on top of the Common Language Infrastructure.

      Today IKVM is fully supported by Mono and its part of the standard Mono package distribution. As it stands today, it is able to run popular applications like Eclipse and Derby.
  • Warning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 )
    I might be talking out of my @ss, but the last few days I've been thinking that innovation and customer service have taken a rather bad beating by IP and patent infringement litigation.

    If Novell really wants to do something besides take a dive in front of the world, they should take the talent that they do have, add a bit to it, and (as someone else almost stated) create a Linux distro that is not like the rest. A Linux that 'makes it easy' to put it anywhere in your network, run just about _anyone's_ appl
  • by Anonymous Coward
    $4.99 novell linux dvd at checkout counter :

    best buy ? nope.
    frys ? nope.
    barnes and noble ? nope.
    office depot ? nope.

    clearly I am of the opinion that linux can move forward best and fastest via low cost, impulse buy at major retailers.

    novell (or?) should attempt this.
  • FUD (Score:2, Interesting)

    The fact that Microsoft was peddling anti-Novell propaganda both at Salt Lake City airport as well as outside the Salt Palace indicates how concerned Microsoft has become about the rejuvenated Novell and how close Novell is to competing head-to-head with Windows product lines. As a BrainShare 2005 attendee, and having seen technologies (many F/OSS) Novell is integrating into its product lines, I would think that Microsoft should be quite concerned. Dollar for dollar, Novell products beat the living snot o
  • by aCapitalist ( 552761 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @01:37AM (#12107828)
    I was thinking about this the other day after watching the BrainShare video.

    All the stuff that will actually increase sales is based on Suse (clustering, Xen, etc...).

    Why didn't they try to buy Trolltech instead of Ximian.

    I just don't see how Mono is going to help the bottom line in the near term.

    Heck, I would've have bought Trolltech, and slapped some proprietary apps into Suse. There's got to be a competitive advantage somewhere, and I don't know how just services is going to give them that.

    Suse was already pretty much a KDE distro, and buying Trolltech would have given them two things.

    (1) The ability to change the Qt license to a more liberal one.

    (2) Bring in the talent of Trolltech that is already accustomed to working with Suse.

    KDE/QT still has a superior framework to Gnome/Gtk+, but frankly I see the Qt license being the one showstopper that will push Gnome/Gtk+ into the "standard" desktop category, once Linux on the desktop actually matters.
  • I had a lot of problems just getting it installed.

    perhaps its just because im not the type to use the 'gui' approach to things, not that its a bad thing.

    it either didnt have drivers for hardware that we needed to function, or had quirks with those drivers, or needed special treatment.

    HOWEVER, that being said i installed it on a plain machine... and the installation was flawless.

    I dont like yast, it was good for getting things to work, but I ended up in a console with a text editor editing configs anyhow.
    the cups and samba portions in yast are just completely barebones.
    the built-in kde conguration tool is far more powerful with regards to samba configuration than yast is.

    I dont hate suse, it just didnt fit our needs, and upgrades failed way too easily. these machines we need, they are critical. I could not have a machine fail after an upgrade. after several of these failed upgrades i said enough is enough and switched the suse machines out with gentoo machines.

    so, that why I switched it out.
    it needs some more polishing, but granted some of my own personal preferences were trampled by it and thats part of it, for sure.

    I will try it again in the future, I keep my eyes on most ditros, except for micro$oft linux. (redhat)
    but between debian and gentoo and upgrading, I think its a tie. both do it very well, and with very little pain.
    suse left me hanging more than once with a trashed system. either it didnt boot or it was really b0rked.

    I say, give it a shot. it works fine as long as you dont have like bleeding edge hardware.
    (like some sata controllers, ect)

  • by dmh20002 ( 637819 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @02:02AM (#12107947)
    All the comments on how Netware was so great make me laff. Read "In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters"
    by Merrill R. Chapman, to get a good feel for why Netware went by the wayside. Its wasn't the 'suits' that killed them, it was the engineers. They had a bunch of egotisical engineers who refused to build what the market wanted. Yes, it is/was a fast stable file server. But thats about it. You couldn't really run apps on it. And when the clients of the world are all running Windows, and Netware is expensive and difficult to use with Windows, there you go.
  • For Novell, I think the biggest challenge is to keep revenue stable while customers transition from NetWare to Linux, without losing too many customers to Windows in the process.

    NetWare is still pretty expensive on the server. A 50-user copy is about $150 a seat on CDW retail ($7,500), about $50 a seat under a licensing agreement ($2,500).

    SuSE is $999 per server with no client licenses fees.

    Figuring NetWare to be about 50% of Novell's one billion in revenue, that means Novell would stand to lose more that 25% of their total revenue assuming everyone switched to SuSE. Novell might make this up with SuSE/Ximian desktop revenue, but I see large amounts of revenue from Linux on the desktop as being a long time in the making.

    The estimates for SuSE revenue for 2003 were for about $40 million in revenue. As near as I can tell Ximan never really made any money to speak of.

    So, if I haven't bored anyone to death yet, Novell NetWare is a $500 million revenue stream, SuSE is a $40 million revenue stream. Novell needs to very carefully transition from NetWare to SuSE if they want to keep revenue even. They can also grow by taking customers from Microsoft or Red Hat. But, it appears to me that Novell will have to shrink about 25% in size in order to remain profitable in the short term. Red Hat, with a more mature Linux strategy, only made $100 million in the last four quarters.

    None of this is a bad thing, and I wish Novell the best of luck. I used to work there, and I still have friends there. Just doing the math though it seems like they will need to get smaller before they get bigger again.

  • Free Updates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by np_bernstein ( 453840 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @05:19AM (#12108781) Homepage
    I think that the strongest product that novel has is SuSE. SuSE, unlike redhat, offers *FREE* security and bug updates, and allows you to easily mirror their update server with wget/ncftpget or whatever, and point your servers at an internal update host, for FREE, unlike redhat, which charges for RHN. This, paired with the fact that SuSE has the benefit of numerous third party certifications, like IBM, oracle, and mysql - it's a no brainer. I'm really surprised that more businesses didn't move over to suse instead of red hat enterprise. Great on desktops, by the way.
  • RedHat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by C_Kode ( 102755 ) on Friday April 01, 2005 @09:42AM (#12109681) Journal
    SUSE just needs to get corporate buyers to buy them instead of RedHat. There are only (2) distros that I would implement on a mission critical machine. Novell SUSE, and RHEL. Currently I use only RHEL, but I would be willing to consider SUSE.

    Now for the zeolots, I'm not saying other distros can't be used on mission critical, I'm just saying without the corporate backing of a major player... (Oracle cert for RH, NetVault cert for RH, etc) Not on my database servers...

    btw, I run Fedora FC3 also, just not on mission critical. I could use anything on those machines, but I choose Fedora because it supports the latest and greatest awhile still being pretty stable on most hardware and software functions. (Dell PowerEdge servers, and postfix, mysql, apache, etc)

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken