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Novell's Race Against Time

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the in-the-backstretch dept.

Novell 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."

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But (0)

Vombatus (777631) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107534)

Is not every company on a similar race against time?

No (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107630)

Cashflow is often used as a weapon in inter-corporate wars. If Microsoft identifies Novell as a threat (I'm sure they have), they need only give away Microsoft products/service to their customers for a while - like they have already - until Novell runs out of money. They don't need to even do this for too long (though they have the money to) since once Novell gets past a certain debt level, the FUD of "Novell is dying... give us your biz" will kick in.

I, for one, hope Novell makes a go of it, but the world is unfortunately a harsh place.

Questions on viability of NLD (5, Interesting)

sanityspeech (823537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107538)

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?

Re:Questions on viability of NLD (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Questions on viability of NLD (4, Informative)

sanityspeech (823537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107751)

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.
Nice post! Actually made me laugh! :)

After doing some research, I discovered that there is some good news for Novell:

Europe's Largest Railway Selects Novell's SUSE LINUX for Large Scale Server Migration []

However, there is also some bad news:

Novell's Credibility 'Beginning To Wane' []

Re:Questions on viability of NLD (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107717)

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, when Novell acquired SuSE IBM invested $50 million in Novell as a show of good faith.

So I think the folks in Utah (not SCO! :) deserve our encouragement if we're in a position to recommend SuSE for various projects that require a well-supported enterprise-grade Linux distro.

Re:Questions on viability of NLD (1)

gui_tarzan2000 (625775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107789)

"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?)"

I installed the NLD recently on a laptop and it is very nice. I wouldn't hesitate to use it on my desktop if I didn't have to use several Windows only programs.

No thanks (-1, Troll)

jefedesign (869140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107541)

They won't get my help.. I'll stick with good old Slackware... Novell has had their time... get off the scene.

h4x (0, Offtopic)

floridagators1 (726469) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107542)

OMG 402 4 LIFE MAH NIGGAS Poos and turds, shit that splatters. m i rite guyz?

Sad but true. (3, Insightful)

caryw (131578) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107543)

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 []

Re:Sad but true. (1, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107588)

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.

OpenOffice (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107815)

They are doing tons of good work for OpenOffice and have a very nice corporate distribution. Not to mention they own Ximian, which made Ximian connector for Evolution. What's not to like?

Re:OpenOffice (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107863)

I would argue that Sun has done more work then any other organization with regards to OpenOffice, it doesn't seem to have translated into a large amount of cash. On the other hand, Novell does have a history of some great network management products, the Directory services spring to mind and I personally have never heard anything bad about ZenWorks. Red Hat would have nothing comparable if Novell were to whip them out and make them what I remember of them. I always liked the NDS.

Re:Sad but true. (2, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107724)

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. (4, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107820)

RedHat dominates (in North America) the server business sector. SUSE (Novell) is more popular in the desktop sector.

I don't think this is true at all and I am wondering how you arrived at this.

Re:Sad but true. (5, Insightful)

ploss (860589) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Is this the same company... (1, Flamebait)

tquinlan (868483) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107547)

...that made $60 million on their identity theft prevention products?

What Novell should do. (2, Interesting)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:What Novell should do. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107565)

wtf use would a few apple apps be to a linux user? christ, the only good things in Mac are open source apps anyway. You want Novell to PAY MORE for things like apache, postfix and samba?

Re:What Novell should do. and... (3, Insightful)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107641)

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 WordPro has done this RIGHT for years. 1.9.79 still makes me go, "sigh.... maybe NEXT version SO/OO.o will pull their heads out and actually BUY a copy of Lotus SmartSuite and start simplyfiying and mimicking stuff that works, instead of coming up with gee-whizz stuff that piles on to the list of features that have to be debugged, making it too resource intensive (on the devs AND the desktop) to be economical to go back and fix those useful features.

I also think Novell could pull a rabbit or two by adjusting the document interface so that a user in a spreadsheet can put the tabs wherever they want, not just get force-fed bottom tabs only or top tabs only. (Actually, I thought GroupWise offered that, or maybe it was QuattroPro...)

If IBM and Novell had some limited thing going on, Lotus SmartSuite could be diffused (not DEfused, mind you) across more Linux/Open Source environments.

I am not at all about "killing off" the various suites that OpenSource devs are making, but christ-o-matic, take a LOOK at what SmartSuite has, and gingerly, without ticking IBM off too terribly, clone some of those features, especially if IBM is not going to get its Lotus camp on the band wagon.

NOVELL, are you leesteneeng? Please, PLEASE, license from IBM/Lotus the Lotus and then uppgrade the Approach database interface, the Lotus WordPro document interface, and the Lotus 1-2-3 interface. They're crisp, tight, concise, colorful, not drab/gray.

At least Lotus isn't busy chomping away and cloning the heck out of ms' orifice. (Actually between Lotus and SourceNext ("Lotus SuperOffce developers/distributors in Japan/Asia...), I wonder what will be the next offerings to Lotus SmartSuite.)

David Syes

Re:What Novell should do. (4, Insightful)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 9 years ago | (#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!

Re:What Novell should do. (3, Funny)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107690)

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!!

Re:What Novell should do. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107699)

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.


Re:What Novell should do. (2, Funny)

superrcat (815508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107742)

You're really Carly Fiorina...aren't you?

Re:What Novell should do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107757)

No, No, No!
The dirty little secret is that NT won the NOS wars because it was CHEAPER. Why was it cheaper? The licenses in NT were on the honor system. The Novell licenses you had to have. I can't tell you how many times as a consultant I saw businesses with NT servers where people just went into license manager and jacked the user count up to 200 (in a 10 person office). You COULDN'T do that in Novell, you had to actually buy the licenses.

Re:What Novell should do. (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107783)

You mean on the desktop, but server side its done. Open Enterprise Server, baby!

Re:What Novell should do. (1)

MHoffSilver (804532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107865)

I do not know about licensing Apples code but I have a strong feeling that a lot of the Netware features are headed in the general direction of Linux. In a few days/weeks/months I think that we will see the file and print features as well as (and this I really look forward to) a feature complete Novell client.

Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (4, Interesting)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107607)

"I can't think of anything that Netware did better than Windows NT."

I can. It actually was pretty stable, and had smaller system requrements, Surely you weren't seduced by the Windows GUI?

Seduced by GUI (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107633)

Surely you weren't seduced by the Windows GUI?

You don't know the power of the dark side of the Windows GUI ... join me and we will rule the network as Icon and Mouse Pointer ...!


Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107650)

Where I was working, system requirements weren't really an issue. And I didn't find one to be more stable than the other, although that isn't saying much.

I wouldn't say it was the "GUI". But overall, yes, I found NT to be much better to manage a large network with than the tools in Netware. It isn't just the GUI tools. It was a lot of things about the product architecture itself.

Like I said, that was a long time ago (10 years; think of how much has changed in the IT world in the past 10 years). I had just gotten out of school, and was only on my 2nd IT job. I was just getting started. At the time, I DEFINATELY preferred working on an NT network over Netware.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (1)

rmallico (831443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107648)

novell just did not get the whole idea of running an application ON their server... i remember thinking this nlm crap is for the birds...

NT came in at the right time with just enough functionality... gawd, does anyone remember NT 3.5 or did everyone just forget it once 3.51 came out and finally 4 and .....

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (3, Informative)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107649)

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.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (3, Informative)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107660)

NDS kicked the shit out of NT3/4's old domain user management.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107671)

It could have also just been the versions of the products I was using. Who knows. It's been a LONG time now...

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (1)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107871)

As far as I remember, NDS came out with Novell 4.. I was running 4.11 at the time.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (3, Informative)

Oliver Defacszio (550941) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107759)

LOL! Yep, I have forgotten a lot, that's for sure! (In "old man" voice): I remember the good ole' days, of being the young whippersnapper at a big IT shop. Although, its been a while, and I hardly consider myself "young" anymore. (Cue dramatic violin music here...)

Bunk, my BSD boxes are 1000+ days NOW (4, Informative)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (1)

billh (85947) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107848)

This makes me feel old, but Netware 3.11 was the one that never died. Although 4.x was very stable, there were ways to make it crash.

I still have a client running 3.11, which I had to reinstall from floppies a couple of years ago.

Re:Novel's Netware failure is their own fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107788)

No, you're not alone in thinking this. This was my experience as well, and it was actually a case study in the (excellent) book "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum". In a nutshell:

Novell was never very good at design. They had marketshare because they were first, but as soon as competitors arrived, their customers left. They had no loyalty at all. People used Netware because it was there, not because they liked it.

On the other side of the fence, Apple. The Mac never had a very big marketshare, but they took design *very* seriously. Apple made strategic decisions that would have killed any other company, but their emphasis on design gave them incredible customer loyalty that has sustained them.

The book is 6 years old this month, predating even the early versions of Mac OS X. And yet Apple is doing quite well for themselves with good design, while Novell ... well, nobody is quite sure what they're going to do.

Troll here often? (4, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107854)

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.

I don't really consider it a troll. (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107878)

Geez, dude. Chill out! It's just SOFTWARE! :)

Seriously, like I said, it was a while back, and while I was using the latest version of NT, I might not have even been using the latest version of Netware. Don't really know. Don't really care all that much. :)

I don't actually get all bent out of shape over software-vs-software battles. :) Got better things to worry about.

Netcraft confirms it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107559)

Whoops, wrong story! /ducks

Last post!! (3, Insightful)

isny (681711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107561)

Last post before the dreaded Slashdot April Fools articles are submitted.

Re:Last post!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107670)

still got 3 hours by my clock (or are a few hours too late by my GMT clock)

Re:Last post!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107704)

I thought this was an April Fools Joke.. Novell still alive.. Isn't that the joke?

Novell Will be /Linux/ (1, Insightful)

schestowitz (843559) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107575)

Since their awful work of the past, novell have made a considerable step towards knocking some Microsoft users off. I am an avid SuSE user having tried many other distros.

Re:Novell Will be /Linux/ (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107701)

I agree with you there. I really like Suse, too. The software install/uninstall/update in YAST has a lot going for it.

Although...they do take a long time to get patches deployed via YAST. I did look at a list onetime of the average time-to-patch-release of different Linux distro's. Suse was pretty low (meaning, actually, that they were "high" on the list, in terms of the # of days to wait) on the list.

IBM buy-out? (5, Interesting)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 9 years ago | (#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?

Re:IBM buy-out? (1)

viniosity (592905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107618)

IBM already has an investment in Novell [] but don't expect to see IBM buy them unless they've got something compelling to offer.

Re:IBM buy-out? (2, Insightful)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107709)

...but don't expect to see IBM buy them unless they've got something compelling to offer.

Novell does have their own flavor of directory services, which is appealing to large organizations who need it to run on a heterogeneous mix of platforms.

Re:IBM buy-out? (1)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107621)

I see IBM as possibly planning to finally use a Linux distro on the desktop, and Novell/SUSE being it's choice.

Re:IBM buy-out? (1)

mlmitton (610008) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107663)

I hope so!! Sadly, sadly, sadly, I own Novell stock......

The problem is Utah (4, Interesting)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:The problem is Utah (2, Funny)

menace3society (768451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107611)

They can always look into working for SCO, it's in the same state.

Re:The problem is Utah (4, Informative)

Beolach (518512) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107616)

Actually, Novell has moved out of Utah. They do still maintain facilities in Utah, but their headquarters moved to Waltham, Mass., in January 2004. And there's more than one technology company in Utah; not as many as in Silicon Valley, but if you want to live & work in Utah, you shouldn't have too much trouble doing so.

Can I still have 18 wives? (0, Troll)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107826)

17 just isn't enough. :)

Re:The problem REALLY IS Utah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107678)

No joke. How conservative can one company be? Where did the conservatism come from? It came from Joseph Smith, folks. That's right, I'm saying Mormonism is Novell's biggest problem, and that won't go away until they get the hell out of Utah. The shortsightedness and lack of marketing come from one place and one place only. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They're really nice people, but when it comes to running a business, leave it to the cutthroats on the east coast.

Re:The problem REALLY IS Utah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107729)

Wait, didn't LDS sponsor Orgasmo [] ? If that's not business innovation, I don't know what is.

Disastrous acquisition of WordPerfect? (3, Interesting)

Beolach (518512) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107589)

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.

Re:Disastrous acquisition of WordPerfect? (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107793)

I wish that WordPerfect was still its own company. It went downhill after the Novell buy-out and hasn't recovered (well, they started going downhill with a sloppy transition from DOS to Win3.x, but the buy-out accelerated the fall).

Networking software (0)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107595)

If there's anything I can't stand more than a badly run network, it's "professional" networking software.

At a previous office, our vendor decided to put a throttle on network clients by sticking some kind of network management software on the main server which could only have clients added by certified technicians (namely, them). So what happens when someone decides to bring an 802.11 laptop to the office to do some work? Well, the server software barfs and starts spewing error messages all over the place until finally the server locks up because the disk is full.

I now loathe networking software that is not configurable or expandable without "specialists" to do it for a fee. I just want to plug in my new computer and have it work with the least amount of fuss.

Novell is dead, not because it's software sucks, but because it does what other (better) Free software does and charges outrageous sums. The user pays for the privilege of having Novell run roughshod over the internal network.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Re:Networking software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107655)

Whomever selected and/or configured the software is where your blame is properly placed.

There are Novell products that can do that job; and they have logging facilites with built-in rotation, etc.

Requisite Suse Rules post (4, Insightful)

miyako (632510) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107600)

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.

Re:Requisite Suse Rules post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107672)

Debian on the server.

Sounds good to me... (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107805)

Debian on the server, and Suse on the desktops/laptops. That'll work for me.

Or have I just had too much to drink tonight? (I have, BTW...) ;-)

Re:Requisite Suse Rules post (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107782)

Ummm...yeah...what he said!!! :) I do agree with you, 100%. Suse rocks. Very polished, refined distro. And YAST kicks ass.

Re:Requisite Suse Rules post (1)

billh (85947) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107800)

I've used Mandrake on a couple of servers, just because of the hardware support and speed of install. Of course, every service was shut off, and all services were recompiled from source, but they did start out as Mandrake.

Popularity (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107855)

Now, if only the number of users who downloaded and installed it made a commercial difference to the company, that'd matter.

What really matters from the point of view of these companies, though, is what distros people buy "enterprise" variants of, pay for the customisation and deployment of, and pay for support on. That's where these people make their money. I doubt that area has much correlation at all with what people are doing with small edge servers and their desktops.

Still miss NDS (2, Insightful)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107601)

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.

Correct me if I'm wrong but ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#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 hope they aren't tying to make money off of... (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107840)

selling a Linux distro. Novell has done some dumb things before, but saying "Hey, I've got an idea! Let's try to get rich SELLING a Linux distro!" would be the dumbest.

Supporrting Companies with OSS Strategies (2, Interesting)

mojo17 (607881) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107623)

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.

Re:Supporrting Companies with OSS Strategies (2, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107851)

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, including compatibility

Is there anything "cool" about what the company is trying to pull off... can it get beyond logic and actually make money?

Am I just in it for a quick press "bounce"?

Will the SlashdotEffect create enough interest to actually drive the price up? (It is possible... just look at Corel in the late 90's!)
There's nothing wrong with throwing money after a good idea... just try and grasp the big picture and see if things make sense. (Checking current fundementals doesn't hurt either, but that will lead to conservative selections.)

Yep, that's what happens... (1)

WhataFreak (827406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107861)

Try this approach instead...

1: Invest in companies that are doing very well, and have a stock with strong funamentals.
2: Do not care about whether or not you like the company.
4: Give some of that profit to charitable organizations that you DO believe in.

You won't accomplish much in the grand scheme of things by buying stock in a company you believe in. Unless it is an IPO, you aren't really providing them capital to grow and invest with. You are just buying shares that someone else had before you. Don't mix up business with personal feelings. Make money with business, and satisfy your personal feelings by giving away some of that money.

It may suck, but that's the way the world is...

IBM + Novell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107629)

just a thot :D


Although I'm happy with using Red Hat (1)

crush (19364) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107635)

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.

Why is Netware important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107644)

I'm not trying to troll. What are some key reasons to use Netware in a business instead of Windows Server 2003?

Novell had something good with Netware.... (3, Insightful)

shakezula (842399) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107658)

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 over. Microsoft's transition to TCP/IP was much smoother than Novell's away from IPX/SPX I miss Zenworks and the Novell Application Launcher that could be used as an explorer/program manager replacement, making deployment and managing a ton of computers easy. LANDesk is a lackluster replacement, IMO. Active Directory on the other hand is shaping up to be a very nice way to manage a bunch of computers, mix with Ghost and LANDesk, its almost the same as the old Netware suite. I think this is where Novell could make a real in-roads with Linux. If Novell is successful in combining Linux seamlessly (no "client" needed, automatic domain/tree login with user rights, shares, printers...etc) with the GUI administration tools of Netware, I think they'd have something marketable. Unfortuantely, RedHat's nearly beaten them to the punch. I think Novell is a lot like Netscape. Brand recognition is still there and Novell still has a decent reputation for solid products though the market share has decreased a thousand-fold. If they can bring something to the table that can be deployed easily, with out having to go through lengthy conversion and training processes for the people who have to deploy and manage it, Novell might just garner a bit more attention. Its not a last ditch effort, but its damn close.

Novell dead? Not by a longshot (5, Informative)

zap_branigan (691916) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Beat RedHat (3, Interesting)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.....

Re:Beat RedHat (1)

Snover (469130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107713)

Good news for you, apt-get has been ported to an RPM-based system (eg. RedHat) so you can run it on Fedora. :)

Doesn't Suse use RPMs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107880)

First, I am not sure what your hang-ups are about RPM...second, I believe Suse uses RPMs....

Good for Apple (1, Interesting)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107703)

So if Apple wants some more serious enterprise apps, all they have to do is aquire Novell in a year...

Novel Linux (4, Informative)

Exter-C (310390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107707)

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.

Novell wasn't always Netware (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107715)

Novell was successful before Netware, then nearly
died out. Netware saved them, and became a bit hit.

Then, with that dying, it's been directory
services. They can switch to Linux now.

April Fools? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107719)

That's not so funny.

other options (4, Interesting)

satsuke (263225) | more than 9 years ago | (#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).

All suits, no brains (1)

OblivionExpress (858883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107727)

Novell today is far removed from the high tech company that it was 20 years ago. Back then, a file server was considered high technology... and Novell set the standard that everyone else tried to reach. What killed Novel, the high technology company, was the loss of the original very smart designers and the onslaught of suit mentality that ensued. Windows became more popular because it's operating system went far beyond just basic file serving functionality. Novell had no new ideas to incorporate into it's file serving operating system because the smart people working there bailed and were never successfully replaced. This happens to a lot of good companies. They get a little fame under their belts for some successful innovation, the suits tighten the reigns and take over, the company then goes to hell in a hand basket.

Wordperfect (2, Interesting)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107736)

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.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong (5, Informative)

maelstrom (638) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107743)

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.

Warning (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107748)

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_ applications, and has simple to use but well behaved patch management and update services.

They could also ship low cost versions of their distro that are tailored for specific applications such DVR, home-based firewall/proxy/mail_filter/u-name-it, game machine, etc...

I kind of hate to say this, but if my aunt Julie got a Novell CD in the mail, and it installed perfectly for her, let her get all her normal home user applications running with ease, they would increase their customer base.

All of the home users that I know of don't want to mess around with the OS on their $500 'Dude, your getting a whaaaa?' machines. They just want to turn it on, get their email, be able to figure out how to easily use their digital cameras, and do cool stuff on the Internet that they hear about from friends and neighbors.

If Novell really wants to be a 'playa' they need to make a user experience that beats windoze and AOhelL for ease of use, ease of adding features, and ease of keeping it secure from spam, spim, virii, and other malicious forms of those 'I don't know what it was, but now my computer doesn't seem to work very good' problems.

IMHO any OS that can build a 'tune-up' kit that my aunt Julie can use will be a bear in the marketplace.

Its not good enough to have a good OS, your product has to be part of a service, and it *MUST* be innovative and include the kind of customer service that people *WANT* to pay money for.

Yeah, I hack together my own machines, and for the most part I enjoy it... but I'm rare... the majority of people just want a computer that works when they turn it on... like their stereo or microwave oven.

They also want to do 'cool' stuff without having to be an MIT graduate (not that being a MIT graduate guarantees that you know how to do _anything_).

Well, the reason that RedHat got its customer base is because they more-or-less did these things for the corporate environment. With what is happening on the home desktop, SPAM litigation, the UN wanting to control the Internet... its all too much, the aunt Julie's of the world just want it to work as reliable as their toaster, and without the need of knowing someone in the neighborhood who is a computer genius.

If Novell can do that, they *WILL* garner sizable market share.... IMO.

the winning paradigm has yet to appear. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107764)

$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 (2, Interesting)

leaveearthnow (849607) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107774)

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 out of Microsoft. I sincerely believe this article is Microsoft sponsored FUD (or the product of an addle-brained Microsoft fan). The depiction is quite different from what I experienced at BrainShare.

One more item for thought: IBM is heavily invested in Novell. I can guarantee you, Novell is going nowhere but forward until/unless IBM gives up on Linux and Open Source technology -- and there's no evidence of this even remotely happening.

Until Microsoft proves it can compete on price and quality, instead of paid "studies" and fabricated "exposes" of competitors, readers would be best advised to avoid their products like the plague.

Didn't MS screw Novell back in '95? (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12107803)

1. Innovate.

2. Other people copy your innovations.

3. Don't profit.

THIS JUST IN!!!! It's been discovered P=NP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107804)

Ok, that wasn't the best April Fool's Day joke. Mod me down if you wish.

I remember when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107809)

"and its failure to grow its Netware business (with more than a little help from Microsoft)"

Microsoft was being shown the door in many many shops because Novell was entrenched. To imply that Microsoft hurt Novell by anything other than building a better product is bullshit. It was hard work by sales reps to get Windows NT into Novell shops. And when they did it became obvious what was easier, faster, more dependable to setup and use.

I welcome Novell's attempt to try and do the same thing back at Microsoft - but their failure to do so is just that, their failure.

Was buying Ximian such a great idea? (3, Interesting)

aCapitalist (552761) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

N - Novell and Windows N = coincidence? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12107859)

I found it odd to hear about Windows "N" following reading a day before about Novell and its plans with SUSE/NLD/whatever and it taking on Microsoft Windows with said product(s). Gotta love this Windows N, eh? After all, who is the biggest challenger right now for Microsoft? N! N=Novell.

Nothing like clever naming so the mindless masses are blinded to N=Novell because of Windows N

^^^^ All of the text in this message is in MY opinion and for entertainment ONLY.
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