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Novell Reportedly Taking Bids From Up To 20 Companies

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the showcase-showdown dept.

Businesses 124

Degrees writes "Although Novell rejected the bid from Elliott Associates earlier this year, reports now indicate Novell has decided to embrace the inevitable. According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. required): 'As many as 20 companies have expressed interest in Novell, according to people familiar with the matter. Most, if not all, of the companies expected to lodge serious bids are private equity firms. ... Novell has four separate businesses, each of which could be attractive to a rival technology company. However, it's unlikely that a tech company would bid for all of Novell, these people said. Private equity firms, however, could break up Novell and either sell off the pieces or run them as standalone businesses.' Are there any companies that don't have an enterprise grade Linux distribution, and ought to? Ditto workstation management, directory services, legacy email, and virtualization suite?"

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124 comments

I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro market (3, Interesting)

levell (538346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32313908)

As a developer who works on (closed-source) enterprise software [ibm.com] which runs on Linux (amongst other platforms) I'm nervous about Novell being sold. Though I develop on Fedora and primarily use RHEL for informal testing (we do formal testing on all the platforms we support) I'm glad that a solid, serious alternative to RHEL exists.

Obviously a sale of Novell doesn't necessarily imply any change for their Linux business (esp. as I understand it's one of their more profitable divisions) but it is likely (in the short term) to introduce some uncertainty.

The Linux market seems very healthy at the moment and I hope it continues to be at least a duopoly. Red Hat are a very cool company but I wouldn't like to see any company have a (virtual) monopoly in Enterprise Linux.

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32313962)

Obviously a sale of Novell doesn't necessarily imply any change for their Linux business

Actually, I expect one of their main partners to strongly encourage a litigious patent troll to buy them.

They would be in a very strong position to torpedo Linux adoption for years, if not decades.

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (2, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314400)

Sure, but where are SCO going to get the money?

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (1)

clt829 (820534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314594)

Microsoft?

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315022)

again?

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (1)

sparrowhead (1795632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315744)

They could sell the movie rights. John Travolta and Uwe Boll would be a great team for that story.

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314874)

They would be in a very strong position to torpedo Linux adoption for years, if not decades.

Pushing back the year of Linux on the desktop

Welcome to the modern Capitalism (FinCap) (5, Insightful)

boorack (1345877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314022)

Then i WOULD be nervous. If Novell accepts bid from private equity firm, then we can say goodbye to them. Typical scenario in company takeover by private equity firms is extracting whatever capital company has by any means. In such scenario you can safely assume that Novell will be stripped out of things having some value (that can be easily sold), saddled with huge debt and private equity fund will extract all this capital via some form of (huge) dividend. Remaining carcass is typically sold to some fool investor who then sees it bankrupting. While I don't like Novell too much (after that Microsoft debacle), I'm also worried. I suppose that some of their patents will be sold to whoever offers better price. If it will be some patent troll , then we may see problems ahead. Private equity fund (a.k.a financial vulture) managers won't give a crap about it.

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (1)

VTI9600 (1143169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316386)

The Linux market seems very healthy at the moment and I hope it continues to be at least a duopoly.

Wouldn't that be a tri-opoly considering Oracle's Unbreakable Linux? Or, a quad-opoly, also considering Canonical's Ubuntu server offerings. I'll admit that I don't know much about the difference between Unbreakable Linux and Suse, but it seems that having a company like Oracle behind it would make it a more appealing 2nd option, right?

On a side note, I find it a bit odd that TFA kind of backs up this Redhad/Suse duopoly concept, even though it was written by Matt Asay, COO of Canonical.

Re:I hope this doesn't harm the Linux distro marke (1)

kephunk (35920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32317216)

I don't think people really consider Oracle Unbreakable Linux when talking about the Linux Enterprise market since its mostly a respin of RHEL with Oracle logos and technical support. And while Ubuntu do have a server offering, and it could be considered enterprise, its not quite got the enterprise reputation that RHEL & SUSE have.

Karma (1, Redundant)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32313932)

The moment Novell moved to "legitimize" Microsoft's threats to the Linux/FOSS world, Novell went on my "will never touch with a 1,000 foot pole" list. What they did was a sure action of self-poisoning in the Linux/FOSS community. I wonder how many other people feel the same.

Re:Karma (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32313950)

Though they did come up with "Active Directory". If only they stuck with TCP/IP....

Re:Karma (2, Insightful)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32313990)

same here. I actually switched from Suse to Ubuntu before Novelle made the "Microsoft" move.

Re:Karma (3, Informative)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314028)

Bruce Perens had a petition running for a while that listed thousands of disgusted and angry linux advocates when novell signed the microsoft pact (see http://www.techp.org/ [techp.org] - note: offline at the moment).

As far as I'm concerned, Novell stabbed the community in the back. I don't use Novell products and neither should you.

Re:Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314100)

Not to troll (too much) but the fact that Novell has the "ximian" team (de Icasa et al.) tells a LOT about Novell ...

Re:Karma (4, Informative)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314212)

As far as I'm concerned, Novell stabbed the community in the back. I don't use Novell products and neither should you.

Funnily enough when Hovsepian [novell.com] took over as CEO in 2003 I remember him saying how much Novell would do for the Linux Community. Then a few years ago this Interview [linux-foundation.org] .

Lets look at what he did for the Linux Community and for the Developers he thinks are so great:

Novell Plans To Lay Off 20% Of Workforce [informationweek.com]

Novell offshores for cheap developement [techrights.org]

Novell cuts SuSe Develpers [itworldcanada.com]

Suse Developer Layoffs [linux-magazine.com]

Re:Karma (4, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314366)

But aren't they also contributing significantly to the Mono project?
(Before someone says "Mono is evil and helps MS" I'm not so sure. If it does Wine certainly does too, but no-one raises a fuss about Wine, and being able to run my .NET apps [kuliukas.com] on Linux definitely seems like a good thing for reducing ties to Windows to me.)

They did make a deal which, in part, involved patent disputes with Microsoft regarding Linux, but unless there's a way that it "legitimizes" those claims in a legally tangible way I don't see why that's a problem. (And I haven't seen any reason why Novell getting protection against patent suits from Microsoft would affect the legal status of code external to Novell. It seems like paranoia to me.)

Re:Karma (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314430)

Also re: Bruce's petition; it's easy to get people to sign an online petition that they are angry about anything. I bet the "thousands of disgusted linux advocates" are composed exclusively of people who read Bruce's blog post and agreed with his point of view, very possibly not including a single person who was previously considering buying anything from Novell.

Re:Karma (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315854)

Mono? Yes. They bought Ximian, and are also responsible for a lot of GNOME work. They are the second-largest contributor to OpenOffice.org, behind Sun. They've contributed to GNOME, to the Linux kernel, to Xen, and a number of other projects. But, because they signed a patent licensing deal with Microsoft they are evil and hate the community. Apparently.

Re:Karma (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316128)

That is the first .NETapp in 7 years that I have seen that actually compiles and runs on Linux. ... with the exception of the crappy Zenworks which shows me to trust Java for server cross platform development.

Re:Karma (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314622)

As far as I'm concerned, Novell stabbed the community in the back. I don't use Novell products and neither should you.

Ohh! Disgusted and angry Linux zealots. Who gives a fuck. The FOSS/Linux community full of assholes. I'll use Novell products just to spite you.

Re:Karma (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314042)

If you are using a Linux system, you are probably touching them with your kernel.

Re:Karma (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315864)

If you're not using a Linux system, but are reading Slashdot, you've probably used OpenOffice.org. Most of the work on making it less slow was done by Novell. Last time I checked, 80% of OO.o contributions came from Sun, 15% from Novell, and 5% from everyone else combined.

Re:Karma (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316012)

Those people are going to be somewhat less likely to be making pronouncements about Novell.

Market (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314050)

But most of the paying business customers out there don't care about that.. They want solid product for a good price, with decent support, from a stable company.

Few really care about the open source politics.

Re:Market (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314342)

Most of the paying customers out there are told what to buy by the IT department, that now a days likly has more than a few closet FOSS people.

Re:Market (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314410)

But most of the paying business customers out there don't care about that.. They want solid product for a good price, with decent support, from a stable company. Few really care about the open source politics.

This is both true and not true. When you are planning for your server infrastructure for years to come, you don't just look at the here and now and the offer on the table. You also tend to ask some of your tech gurus whether this company is reputable, if it has the right technologies, if this is a product they'd like to work with, if this is just some desperate money grab to stay afloat and so on. A lot of these are only educated guesses, but if the offerings seems otherwise fairly competitive and your techs go "Novell? Urghhhh they're doing stupid deals with Microsoft and heading into a blind alley, can't we please go with Red Hat?" then at least sometimes it gets listened to. Don't underestimate the power of reputation, it's what companies spend tons of money trying to improve through marketing.

Re:Market (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314540)

Considering most people are a Microsoft centric shop out in the 'real world', this political issue is a non issue. Sure, *I* prefer open solutions, but large corporations at a management level really don't care.

Smaller shops, perhaps it might make a difference, if they understand it.

Re:Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315572)

Novell as a enterprise vendor has much larger reputation issues than these silly GNU/Soap Opera politics.

Start Archiving Novell's Public Messages etc NOW (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314256)

If anything will be poison it will those who will try to attack GNU/Linux with the Novell's assets they acquire. Thus:

1) All press releases, public announcements, etc in which Novell discusses it's distributions should be archived now. SCO tried to claim it, as Caldara, never released it's products under a GPL license. Power points and press releases found, and lucky they were, afterward rebutted this.
2) One or more people should save the headers in the source of SUSE where it indicates the copyright owners as Novell and that it's GPL. Download a copy of SUSE etc right from Novell, or better - buy a copy right from Novell. Keep the receipt as evidence too.
3) Coordinate with PJ and Groklaw with this, coordating the archiving of Novell's public documentation, as they had done for SCO.
4) Other?

Re:Karma (1)

harlequinade (1122273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314370)

With you 110%. When you underwrite an OS that is faster, lighter and more user-friendly than its monolithic competitor, the one thing you do -not- do is form or allow a clearly self-serving alliance with said monolith, whose sole motivating desire is to see you and your product implode and present no further threat. Novell is doomed, and perhaps so is Linux. All Suse users should start checking the alternatives.

Re:Karma (1)

krray (605395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315020)

I agree w/ you 100% Regardless of positions the moment Novell agreed to get in bed w/ Microsoft was the day I 1) shutdown and remaining Novell servers and 2) sold my stock in their company.

Re:Karma (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316084)

I feel the same. I don't care how slick SuSE is; I'll never recommend it.
Novell showed its true colors when it sucked up to MSFT.
After all, Novell was all about services for Windows clients for most of its profitable lifetime.

Microsoft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32313948)

Microsoft Linux, here we come!

Re:Microsoft (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314040)

If Microsoft wanted a Linux distro, they could've had one a long, long time ago. At this late date, I don't think Novell has much to offer Microsoft. Every market where Novell competes with Microsoft, Microsoft is kicking their asses.

Interesting idea, but I'm not seeing a business argument for it.

Re:Microsoft (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314072)

nteresting idea, but I'm not seeing a business argument for it.

Patents! Patents! Patents!

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314082)

By the way, fuck you and your racist American Third Position [american3p.org] .

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314450)

(Score:-1, Jew)

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315756)

+1 Insightful

Re:Microsoft (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314170)

If Microsoft wanted a Linux distro, they could've had one a long, long time ago.

Microsoft doesn't want *a* Linux distro. However, they may want *this* Linux distro. Red Hat/Fedora is the distro that is central to commercial Linux. Most professionally written commercial Linux software is written to this distro, and will only be supported by the company making it if you install it in this distro. The possibilities for Microsoft if they could gain control of it are obvious.

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315674)

Microsoft really doesn't want -a- Linux distro, they want -all- Linux distros, or at least a piece of them so as to collect exorbitant royalties courtesy of the patent trolls.

Re:Microsoft (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314322)

After IBM [slashdot.org] , Microsoft seems like the logical purchaser, except that they've always been careful to keep an intermediary. HP might be a good candidate; they historically have had their own Unix in-house and they currently sell RedHat. RedHat might or might not like to have Novell's customers, but probably couldn't come up with enough help to buy it. Trying to merge RedHat and SuSe Linux would be like several nightmares all merged into one. Oracle is another possibility; currently they sell RedHat.

Re:Microsoft (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315568)

Clearly owning the Unix copyrights has to be worth something.

Re:Microsoft (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315880)

Perhaps if they had stayed out of the SCO and IBM case, they wouldn't have had to take this step.

Re:Microsoft (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316918)

Why? That case was peanuts in terms of cost to Novell. If anything, it would have increased the good will in the FOSS world and thus their distro would become more viable. But it wouldn't have decreased it.

This happened middle of last week. Seriously? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32313952)

Wow, Slashdot used to be on top of news like this.

They should have embraced Ninnle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32313960)

If they had, they would be back to being a world leader. Instead, we have this.

Embrace Ninnle today!

Novell, didn't it used to do DOS networking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32313984)

What's it been doing since?

Wonder if SCO makes a bid (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314004)

I mean then they would own the UNIX IP and the Linux IP! And since that'd mean Micro$oft paying Micro$oft it'd be a really smooth deal...

Canopy Group? (3, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314008)

Is it the Canopy Group or Microsoft? Hopefully they aren't selling the Unix copyrights or other things that will just start another lawsuit attacking Linux.

Re:Canopy Group? (2, Interesting)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314218)

Caldera/TheSCOGroup has already proven that copyrights are not necessary to spread fud via the court system for many years. They are still doing that today. So if others wished to do so, I am sure that they could with little effort. As far as Unix copyrights existing, ATT and Berkeley had settled their suit long ago and I believe that ATT did not really own much in the way of copyrights. I believe that most was created/owned by Berkeley. So I think it matters not if they sell the Unix copyrights that they own.

Re:Canopy Group? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314490)

This would be a waste of money for the plaintive as practically all the data that the defense needs is archived over at Groklaw and available at no charge. And they would still loose.

Re:Canopy Group? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316930)

Canopy doesn't have enough money. What would Microsoft get? Just about anyone who values Linux would run to Red Hat. Patents? I suppose they'd get a few, but probably not covering much since they already have a patent deal with Novell. Unix copyrights? What would they do with them?

oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314076)

I hope they exclude from consideration private equity firms that are headquartered within an hour's drive time from a certain court in East Texas.

Yet Another Stock-manipulation Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314078)

You see, I threw out SuSE when I discovered that they were attempting to re-invent the "one tool does all configurations and gets most of them wrong" championed by so many companies who are excited at being able to centralize things, but who then turn around and get them *wrong*. And don't get me started on SuSE source RPM's. Their kernel SRPM would not build without an RPM which they never published, unless you invented your own fake RPM to take its place. And their RPM's contained tarballs which would pull out individual files depending on shell scripts run at build time. That means you cannot deduce, from the .spec file, which patches were actually used in building your kernel, and modifying the patches for a special environment means modifying the tarballs. And you cannot compare the contents of the SRPM's side by side without a lot of extra steps which interfere with building the patch files.

And don't get me started on how YaST mixes RPM management with out-of-date, broken, and incompatible binary component installers for NVidia, and only allows you to have one kernel installed.

One Year from today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314092)

SCO Group (through funding by Microsoft) finalizes the purchase of Novell!

"Who owns Linux now, baby" - Darl McBride

I said it years ago ... (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314126)

that the partnership with Novel was nothing more than a move so Microsoft could eventually purchase the UNIX copyrights.

Why? (1)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314312)

Why would Microsoft need UNIX copyrights? They already sold the UNIX copyrights they had in XENIX to the old SCO years ago. And they purchased some rights to UNIX or UNIXWARE from the New SCO group/Caldera.

Novell does not really own UNIX copyrights (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314844)

As I understand it: what AT&T sold to novell is unknown. What copyrights AT&T owned was unknown, because the findings of the AT&T vs BSD lawsuit were sealed.

Furthermore, as I understand it, most modern UNIXes don't use a lot of the old copyrights. For example, there is practically no old UNIX copyrights in AIX, IBM re-wrote everything.

And even if Microsoft owned the copyrights, I think msft would still be bound by contracts.

Also, if msft tried to acquire all UNIX copyrights, I think a lot of companies might start complaining about anti-trust. Msft is already considered a monopoly.

I don't think Linux uses any old UNIX copyrights.

People seem confused (3, Interesting)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314134)

regarding what this actually means. This means that a lot of companies with deep pockets (private equity companies) think that in the long term, Novell has potential for a lot of growth, so they would get nice ROI (return on investment) from a Novell purchase made today. This does not mean that Novell is dead, dying or even on the decline. If this was the case, you would be seeing offers from competitors who would want to swallow a competitor awhole, taking their userbase along.

Re:People seem confused (2, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314226)

What it actually means depends on whether they are bought by an ethical private equity firm or the other kind. If its the other kind they will use Novell as a vehicle to borrow a couple billion dollars which they will use to create an instant and imaginary profit for themselves, then they will cut and run leaving Novell saddled with a crushing debt burden which will result in layoffs and eventual collapse.

Sad to say that is frequently how the magnates of our financial system work now. They aren't out to build successful companies that make things, employ people, and make money the old fashioned way, they are out to make the quickest buck they can with no regard for the wreckage they leave in the wake.

Re:People seem confused (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314276)

Well I can't speak for every private equity company, but most of them are in there for a time frame of no more than 2-4 years. The normal idea with such buyouts and restructuring is that Novell is like an odd piece of animal that is underpriced and the private equity firm thinks it can do better by selling a fillet mignon here, a rump steak there and maybe some parts just go into the grinder to become cat food. So it's not a train wreck but it's also not a particular sign of strength, the outcome largely depends on what part you're looking at. If it's a good part of the company being held back it can be a release from the chains and a chance to flourish, some parts are just chopped off and sold but if the business area you liked had its head on the block already, it's a sure sign the axe is about to fall. In short, YMMV.

Re:People seem confused (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314300)

No, it means that they think they can make a buck on Novell.

Now that may mean they believe Novell has potential for long term growth, but it more likely means they believe that if they sell off all the bits Novell bought up over the last 5 years(and never really absorbed properly) they can make more money than they paid for it, or that the Unix copyrights are worth it.

You might see a competitor like IBM try to swallow them up, but that hasn't been what most of the bids are interested in. Novell's market share and profits are shrinking, SuSe just about breaks even, but eDirectory and Groupwise are being replace by AD and Exchange pretty much everywhere you look.

I work for a company using their products, and they're not exactly great, even their new middle-ware products, the ones they bought(and which most likely are going to get sold off piece meal are only moderately successful. The only thing which has kept Novell going all these years is how badly the open source market misunderstands the enterprise so badly.

Re:People seem confused (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316952)

Name one promising product Novell has to flog in the marketplace? Linux is Free, and Red Hat is beating them. Novell's network OS is dying. They have nothing and should have given up the ghost long ago, they just didn't realize they were dead.

IBM (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314138)

> Are there any companies that don't have an enterprise grade Linux
> distribution, and ought to?

IBM, not that I know of any evidence that they are interested.

Re:IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314294)

Didn't IBM roll Linux functionality into its AIX OS?

Re:IBM (1)

majorpayne27 (1314825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314356)

No, AIX (Unix) and Linux are two separate installation options for most IBM hardware, meaning IBM doesn't care which Linux distribution you install (although I think they recommend RHEL). I don't think IBM has any interest in acquiring their own Linux distribution, especially when they already have AIX to fall back on.

Re:IBM (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314374)

IBM has no reason to pour more money into Novell's failed "big dreams", dreams that have been skewered by details Novell mishandled.

Netware worked quite well, for example, but was displaced by Microsoft's networking tools and their free inclusion in Windows, even though investing the money in Netware tools justified itself in a real IT environment very, very quickly. Novell wisely sold off AT&T based UNIX, but failed to nail down the sales contracts in clear enough language to prevent wasting millions of dollars in legal fees and real damage to their Linux business due to SCO's clearly fraudulent lawsuits against Linux users. And Novell at first _cooperated_ with the idea of corporate indemnification for "free software" by engaging in the Microsoft licensing deal with SuSE. Worse, there is no actual business or development reason to use other than the incomplete and mostly useless "indemnification".

Worse, they lost their Samba development leadership when Jeremy Allison left Novell in protest. That, alone, was worth the resources that Microsoft used for the Novell deal: they interfered with Samba development for years while Jeremy got his new job in line and lost the Samba-devoted resources at Novell that he used to have in hand to work with.

Re:IBM (1)

rathaven (1253420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314502)

I fail to see how the SAMBA issue impacted Novell. Novell already had a CIFS development that was as capable if not more capable than SAMBA (certainly in terms of concurrent connections, compatibility and throughput though management software was questionable...). It was a closed source product and part of an existing revenue stream. They effectively ditched SAMBA development to push their OES product (basically Netware migrated to Linux) with integrated CIFS. Unfortunately they hadn't got this product stable so many people who used Netware for years have finally left in droves to move to either all Microsoft systems or other Linux products (mostly the former) due to skill sets.

Re:IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32317058)

IBM has no reason to pour more money into Novell's failed "big dreams", dreams that have been skewered by details Novell mishandled.

IBM is Novell's largest customer, their global services op has the largest single number of enterprise Netware customers, SuSE is their distro of choice for z-series and Novell still hold some interesting patents relating to network and directory services (which was likely the reason MS entered into a two-way covenant that was a net gain for Novell, rather than just demanding a one-way royalty like they did with Xandros, HTC etc.)

An acquisition of Novell wouldn't be that big a stretch, especially since they are already a stakeholder through an investment they made in Novell a while back, if only to prevent anyone else from potentially acquiring them. They're already one of the world's largest software companies, what's another division?

Re:IBM (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314710)

IBM, not that I know of any evidence that they are interested.

Sam Palmisano, IBM's CEO, recently announced that IBM was planning a lot of acquisitions in the coming years.

However, although IBM "embraces" Linux, mainly to stick a weed up Microsoft's ass, I think that they carry too much baggage from the "IBM monopoly" days. In other words, would you buy the "IBM Linux", "Blue Hat" ?

Of course, I might be wrong . . . although if they do a "due diligence" on Novell, they might want to brief their executives to keep their mouths shut at cocktail parties. That cost the last potential CEO at IBM his job (Robert Moffat).

Re:IBM (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316968)

Palmisano sees IBM growing everywhere except in the U.S. They are not an American company any more and they do not want more U.S. properties.

Re:IBM (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314796)

CISCO. Give the software away and sell (crazy) expensive support plans. Sell the same Wireless/Phone/Networking management systems, but now they work seamlessly with the Desktop/LDAP/Email/etc... Free Software (as in beer) is the ideal opening for CISCO to broaden it's base into the small business.

Re:IBM (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315104)

Give the software away and sell (crazy) expensive support plans... Free Software (as in beer) is the ideal opening for CISCO to broaden it's base into the small business.

They don't need to purchase Novell to do that. It's pretty much what all enterprise-ready Linux vendors do now.

Re:IBM (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315436)

They don't need to purchase Novell to do that.

Nobody needs to purchase Novell to get the free software, they want buy Novell for everything else: existing customers and install base, development team, support and sales teams, IP, etc... Sure, they could do it all themselves, or they could buy a quick start.

Re:IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315000)

> Are there any companies that don't have an enterprise grade Linux
> distribution, and ought to?

IBM, not that I know of any evidence that they are interested.

I wonder if M$ would be interested in parts of the company. Microsoft makes a killing at supporting legacy products and they've already partnered with them on the Linux front. Given Microsoft's cash, I think it would be a pretty cheap buy.

Going Nowhere (2, Interesting)

wellcrafted83 (1817796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314162)

I have worked with Novell products for too long. I recently left my company after they decided to go with Novell over other technologies. Novell over the years have had some great ideas but they have been terribly executed. They squandered the opportunity they had with SUSE by weighing it down with their legacy product lines. Whoever buys it should spin off all the legacy baggage along with the Novell name. The company definitely needs to be rebranded because the Novell name has nothing positive going for it.

Re:Going Nowhere (1)

rathaven (1253420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314808)

As long time Novell user - I have, in general, to agree. I would state that "legacy product lines" isn't something I think should all be dumped into a bin, there are still some good things here. Specifically their ZCM Suite (now completely re-written so that no eDirectory is required but is now facing severe fire from Microsofts own management suites) and IDM products (excepting their use of eDirectory) aren't too bad. There are equally some aspects that should be dumped because of being obsolete but are relics of Netware being a market leader 15 years ago where Novell should have woken up and smelled the coffee.

The shame is that SUSE is still one of the best distros and deserves the recognition for it. Many capabilities released into the community would not have been where they are now if it hadn't been for the work put in on them both pre and post Novell.

Canonical & Red Hat bidding war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314164)

I'm expecting to see Red Hat and Canonical duke it out to buy Novell's Linux division.

Canonical could really benefit from Novell's enterprise customers and I'm sure Red Hat knows this.

Fat chance (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314296)

Canonical don't have that kind of spare cash, plus they're focused on improving Ubuntu's profitability and growing its customer base. Asking Novell customers to throw the baby out with the bath water and move from an rpm based system to one based on deb; totally different admin tools, etc and pretty much new 'everything' is a big ask.

Red Hat don't need to saddle themselves with a millstone like that either just to get a few extra enterprise customers that they'll have a good chance of winning anyway if Novell get broken up and sold. Hint: companies usually only merge or get swallowed if their product sets are complementary and don't overlap. There's way too much overlap between Red Hat and Novell's Linux division and very little extra value. Even worse, Red Hat could find they wouldn't be able to kill off SuSE right away due to contractual obligations that Novell have with their customers. So Red Hat would have to fund parallel development for a number of years until they converted ex-Novel customers (or frightened them off). That's expensive when the customer base is small.

Re:Canonical & Red Hat bidding war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315110)

Ubuntu, an Enterprise distro? Never in a million years. Mark my words.

Nope... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316116)

Canonical has nothing to really gain unless their leadership wants to ditch Ubuntu for SuSE/SLES, which I just don't see happening. I don't see Canonical benefiting from maintaining two very distinct distros. If thinking they'll buy the company and force migrate to Ubuntu, that has more potential to drive them away from Canonical than trying to displace that market without buying it. If they bought and 'forced' customers to change (Enterprise customers are very change-averse), the customers may comply and change to a vendor that didn't force the issue.

Similarly, I see RHAT in the same position.

I could in theory see Oracle, depending on if they want to be more 'differentiated' than Unbreakable lets them be today. I might even see Dell (the only major hardware player without any OS to call 'their own', Oracle has Solaris/Unbreakable, HP has HP-UX and WebOS, IBM has AIX...). IBM seems in theory a potential fit, but they seem to regard Linux cautiously and despite having the Linux investment and capability to deliver a standalone distro to date with instant credibility in the enterprise market, they haven't made any effort. HP could also be interested in an enterprise-credible distribution. Of course, among hardware vendors, putting themselves in competition with RHAT, a current partner would be tricky.

Generally though, I absolutely can't imagine a company already solidly in the linux distro business have anything to gain from acquiring SuSE product/responsibilities.

Canonical?! (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316462)

I think you need to leave the DistroWatch hype behind mate. Canonical have yet to make any money whatsoever yet, yet alone having enough to bid for a company several times its size and value.

tro7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314178)

oracle? (1)

brezel (890656) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314180)

what do you guys think?

Re:oracle? (1)

tignet (1303483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314394)

Oracle has very little interest in Linux, now that they have Solaris. Solaris has always been their bread-and-butter, with it accounting for most of their installations anyway. And now that they own Solaris, it makes no sense for them to own (and maintain) their own Linux distribution. The general consensus is that they're going to get rid of the free UNIX OS they have now (OpenSolaris). In addition, Oracle is not very open-source friendly, recently questioning why they should continue the open source model that Sun started.

Of course, anything can happen. Oracle could surprise everyone decide to embrace OpenSolaris and MySQL for strategic reasons. Personally, based on the tone that they have already set about Open Source and the fact that Oracle already has comparable products to Novell's--including an OS and directory services--Oracle has very little reason to buy Novell.

Re:oracle? (1)

sparrowhead (1795632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315918)

In my experience most Oracle installs run on HP/UX, but i admit it's TelCo-centric

Re:oracle? (1)

VTI9600 (1143169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32316548)

Interesting point. Do you have any links you can share that explain their position? I must admit that when Oracle bought Sun I thought of it more as an acquisition of MySql and Java than anything else.

Re:oracle? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32315214)

They now have Solaris. Which has been their preferred OS up until a few years ago when they tried pushing Oracle Linux. And Solaris has a few nice features for the enterprise customer which Linux still lacks.

Hey Google, you guys want to be the good guys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32314200)

Well here's your chance. Buy Novell.

LOL... (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314254)

...maybe SCO can scrape up the cash and buy them. /joke

Re:LOL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315186)

Don't laugh. That's a serious point. What stops the same idiots that funded Caldera/SCO from buying Novell and starting the Linux war all over again.

Re:LOL... Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32315660)

This is a serious problem. Novell was determined by the court to be the owner of the unix patents the SCO claimed to own. A large part of why SCO was tossed on its ass by the judge was due to Novell being the patent holder. If it is sold to the same or different patent trolls, the linux lawsuit can re-emerge.

What impact to novell shops? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314380)

I wonder what the potential impact is to novell shops. Working in one, and being a windows/linux administrator with a deep hatred for novell ( I am novell trained, for the record ), I can only hope this allows us to finally break the company's bias and get things somewhat modern.

Wish S.u.S.E could be spun off (3, Insightful)

dpolak (711584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314398)

I wish S.u.S.E. could go back to the way they were before Novell did the damage they did. I dealt with them when they were independent and they were fantastic. Maybe if I put on the ruby slippers and click the heels three times.....

Re:Wish S.u.S.E could be spun off (0, Troll)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314850)

You'd warp to Kansas. Ever been to Kansas? You might want to consider leaving those heels unclicked.

SuSE has a lot of mainframe SuSe users (1)

Stu101 (1031686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32314754)

From what I gather, one area suse/Novell excels at is Suse on mainframe. These are big big customers, who are very conservative and an area where RedHat don't seem to be able to conquer. That has got to be worth a lot of $$$ to someone.

Microsoft or its stooges will buy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32316040)

Novell is their best hope of undermining Linux. I doubt they'll just let the opportunity pass them by.

Smart move for SAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32316636)

SAP should buy Novell. They use mostly SUSE anyway. They have always been big supporters of SUSE. Why not?

Does Novell even matter anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32316890)

I haven't seen a Novell installation in years. I do mostly PBX work and work in the telephone room/closets of a lot of business. All I ever see is Microsoft anymore.

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