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The Differences Between Red Hat and Novell

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the besides-the-fact-that-they're-two-companies dept.

Linux Business 134

Tiberius_Fel writes "A former Novell employee has done a comparison at InfoWorld, reflecting on the business practices of Red Hat and Novell. They focus on such areas as customers, culture, and partners." From the article: "Red Hat has a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners approach to the market. If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear ... This has led the growing open source ecosystem to Novell, which is partner-centric and easy-going almost to a fault. Ron Hovsepian is changing this, and Novell is starting to become much more choosy about opportunities (customer and partnering) that come its way."

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Not much of an article. (2, Interesting)

rizzo320 (911761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289481)

It must be a slow news day. It's a short article with not much analysis. It is good to see an article comparing the business practices of Linux Vendor vs Linux Vendor compared to the usual Linux Vendor vs Microsoft we usually get.

Wikipedia found to be a haven for paedophiles (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289558)

It's true.

http://wikipedophilia.com/ [wikipedophilia.com]

So many still not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289810)

Interesting that so many are still not sure what distro they want to use on a regular basis, it's understandable for someone that has recently switched or attempting to switch to linux; but for the experienced user or administrator it seems a bit odd that so many still are unsure. If a system meets your needs, why worry about changing unless there is a noticable benifit. In a business , having a good support team that is easy to work with makes problem solving much nicer than a confrontational approach of pointing fingers. In the end the support team that has the most friends will be the winner, as word will get out and most people would rather deal with individuals that are friendly and try to understand and help them with their technical problems.

Re:So many still not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290736)

Debian or Ubuntu of course. Stability and every bit of GNU/Linux software available under the sun. Why choose anything else? Please, don't yell 'Gentoo' at me--I want to spend my time USING my systems, not compiling software, thanks...

Re:Not much of an article. (3, Funny)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289850)

It must be a slow news day.

Manye that's why they're running "stories" about how big an actor's penis is. [slashdot.org] Could be worse, though I can't think how at the moment.

Could be worse (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290839)

Maybe if they were running a story comparing the penis sizes of various Linux vendors?

Re:Not much of an article. (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291668)

Manye that's why they're running "stories" about how big an actor's penis is. Could be worse, though I can't think how at the moment.
It could be worse, if they were running stories about how big an actress's penis is.

<Shudder>

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289484)

maybe

Because (3, Interesting)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289485)

This has led the growing open source ecosystem to Novell, which is partner-centric and easy-going almost to a fault. Ron Hovsepian is changing this, and Novell is starting to become much more choosy about opportunities (customer and partnering) that come its way.

Yes... that's because Novell has woken up and realised that just because a company is pro-OSS it doesn't make them good. Hopefully IBM will figure it out soon.

Re:Because (2, Interesting)

Tethys_was_taken (813654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289520)

Yes... that's because Novell has woken up and realised that just because a company is pro-OSS it doesn't make them good. Hopefully IBM will figure it out soon.
What does make a company good then? And, more importantly, why will what's good for one customer be good for another?

Re:Because (3, Interesting)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289549)

A good company is one that gets stuff done. Take Microsoft for example. You get a new version of Windows every 5 or so years, you get a new IDE every two, and a new version of Office every 3 or so.

And for what's good for one customer being good for another: market research, market research, market research.

Re:Because (4, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289568)

And for what's good for one customer being good for another: market research, market research, market research.

That's funny, my experience is that market research always ends up telling me to get fucking lost, because I'm interested in buying solid technology for a fair price, not chrome, tailfins or squids with tits on 'em at porno rates.

KFG

Re:Because (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289585)

Bill? Is that you?

Re:Because (2, Informative)

tob (7310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289613)

You get a new version of Windows every 5 or so years,

I count at least 10 in about 25 years (dos/win3/win95/win98/winMe/NT3/NT4/W2k/XP/2k3), leaving out many early and minor versions.

Regards,
Tob

Re:Because (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289636)

Bah. You're right. I was referring to major desktop releases from '95, so 95, 98 and XP. ME just cancels itself out.

Re:Because (1, Redundant)

_Ludwig (86077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289678)

DOS is a version of Windows?

Re:Because (3, Informative)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290180)

You actually make the Grandfather's point for him.

win3-win95-win98-winME was a separate product line to NT3-NT4-W2K-XP-2K3. Lumping them in together is like lumping MS Office and MS Works together.

I still don't buy the 5 years claim though,
Win 1.0 came out in 1985 (did anyone notice?)
Win 2.0 was in 1987 (ditto)
Win 3.0 1990
Win 3.1 in 1992
Win 3.11 in 1993
Win95, 98 and ME - well, guess.
I would *not* call 3.1 a minor release, and 3.11 was only minor if you did not need any form of networking.

NT3.1 was in 1993
NT3.5 in 94
NT4 in 96 (my work PC was upgraded away from this in February AT LAST :-( )
W2K in 2000 (doh)
XP in 2001
not sure I'd count Server 2003, but what the hell.

There are 5-year gaps there, but that is because the MS had noticed that business users are more than reluctant to upgrade. At my previous job, they upgraded from NT4 to W2K in 2002 for some arcane reason. At both places there was a complete hardware + software rollout involved.

PORN FIENDS READ THIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289642)

Learn the sordid story behind the porn that you so naively support. [nytimes.com]

IBM (2, Interesting)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289822)

IBM have a different motivation, because they are less interested in selling software than selling hardware and consultancy.

IBM aren't doing OSS just to get a lot of geeks to like them.

Re:Because (1)

DoktorFuture (466015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291142)

My experience with Novell is somewhat different than the news item suggests.

I tried, for six months, to license their ZenWorks software distribution system in an OEM capacity and embed it in software I was using. Here's what I discovered:

1) Mean time to return phone call: 12 days
2) Each time someone returned a call, I was forwarded to someone else
3) It took over two months just to get license prices
4) Never did manage to get anything than low level functionaries who enjoyed phone tag

The company needs, in my opinion, some BPR to streamline these sorts of things.

It has a lot of potential, but it is tripping over itself more than it ought to, which looses them revenue and opportunities. I agree RedHat is very $$ oriented, but that ain't a bad thing in running a business these days.

For profits are like that (2, Insightful)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289488)

> Red Hat has a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners approach to the
> market. If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear

Like every other company out there that is a for-profit. try getting freebies from anyone else or get them to do work for you that isnt going to earn them money. by by see the door.

Re:For profits are like that (4, Insightful)

Ithika (703697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289540)

I'm fed up and sick to the back teeth of reading the words "for-profit" and "company" in the same sentence, especially when they are used to (attempt to) justify antisocial business practices.

I can't find any definition of the word "company" which wouldn't imply that its aim is not profit; that would be a "charity". Thus, "for-profit company" is a tautology.

Why does being in business mean someone's ethics have to be flung out the window? My work does the occasional freebie for local community projects, we do discounts for charities and the like. Being in business does not imply being an arse.

Re:For profits are like that (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289581)

no, but you are still an arse.

Re:For profits are like that (4, Informative)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289633)

I can't find any definition of the word "company" which wouldn't imply that its aim is not profit;

Actually, no such aim is implied by "company" at all.

The general aims of a company are defined in its articles of incorporation and typically expanded on in its memorandum of association, including whether or not it intends to operate for profit (generally a company doesn't restrict itself from making a profit, unless explicitely noted). Companies whose aims do not include profits often can avail of tax relief, and possibly other forms of relief.

That companies typically exist to make profits does not mean all companies do, nor that the definition of company implies for-profit.

Re:For profits are like that (0, Flamebait)

dlippolt (100881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289650)

a friend of mine, whose COMPANY i enjoy, decided to create a COMPANY focused on delivering services to the theatre industry... basically if you have a COMPANY of thespians who need theraputic massage, she will ACCOMPANY them for an hour each.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289657)

Three of the four uses have not a fucking thing to do with business. Thank you, fuck off.

Re:For profits are like that (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289715)

Puck my rucking bic u framing qagat!

Re:For profits are like that (1)

dlippolt (100881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291624)

ha! nice broken tautology you and the parent have going.

parent: (paraphrase) all uses of the word 'company' deal with (for-profit) business

me: identify several uses that dont

you: (paraphrase) none of your identified uses of the word 'company' deal with business

anyway, if you are distracted by what the parent -meant-, to the exclusion of what was said, check this out:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=171571&cid=142 89633 [slashdot.org]

Re:For profits are like that (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289676)

If your company were a public corporation, you would be bound by law to seek profit to the exclusion of all else for the benefit of your shareholders (barring any shareholder resolutions demanding otherwise).

If you don't and take other considerations first (such as charity, not being "an arse", etc), you can be held civily or even criminally liable in the US.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

JonAnderson (786732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290468)

I would love to see a CEO indicted for 'not being an arse'

Re:For profits are like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14291086)

It's interesting to see what does bring shareholder value. Some analysts think you have to put shareholders above every one else but that can be a recipe for disaster. When you take care of your customers and your employees the by product will be added shareholder value.

Take a look at the difference between how Walmart and Costco operate. Costco pays it's employees fairly, gives them good benefits and provides a good customer experience. Their exec team's salaries aren't ridiculous. They have less turnover and more productive employees. Their shareholders aren't hurting because of it.

This whole notion of puttingn shareholders first doesn't make sense to me. Adding value to your shareholders at the expense of your customers and employees looks like an obvious downward spiral.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289724)

you are absolutely right. it doesn't mean u have to play dirty. however, if your competitors are, it makes it hard to stay clean if you want to remain in business.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289985)

My work does the occasional freebie for local community projects, we do discounts for charities and the like. Being in business does not imply being an arse.

Community projects and charities are public known works. That's marketing and goodwill. goodwill increases business and increased business is profit.

You wouldn't find your work doing anything 'charitable' if it were private and nobody knew about it.

All profit in the end.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

dalutong (260603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290019)

Wow... a company can not be non-profit? Tell that to the world. Google for "non-profit" and "company" and you'll find 57,000,000 hits. Non-profits exist all over the world. They are not charities.

Though there is also a concept of a "social entrepreneur" -- one who makes money but makes it helping people. They tend not to be _as profitable as regular businesses because they tend to act more ethically.

Re:For profits are like that (2, Interesting)

benzapp (464105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290803)

I think this post speaks marvelously of how legalism is such a profound social disease. The term non-profit doesn't mean the organization doesn't make money. It means that for tax purposes, the corporation doesn't pay corporate income taxes.

Sure most people who work for non-profits make less than other companies, but the people at the top often do very well. They of course have an interest in perpetuating that. Further, this is a huge scandal these days as people at the top of these organizations are often making $1MM a year or more.

Re:For profits are like that (1, Informative)

pD-brane (302604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290037)

"for-profit company" is a tautology.

Even though your point is clear, this is a pleonasm, not a tautology.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290081)

I'm fed up and sick to the back teeth of reading the words "for-profit" and "company" in the same sentence, especially when they are used to (attempt to) justify antisocial business practices.

Dude, thats the historical definition OF a corporation. Corporations can, as an "entity", protect the individual owners from legal liability yet still take profit from the company. Want to pollute? Go for it, and heck, if you break the law by only this much the fine is less than the savings so go for it! Get the picture?

Re:For profits are like that (1)

jschrod (172610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290335)

There are a lot of companies out there who's aim is just to cover their costs and not to make any money. They were usually founded for legal reasons, e.g., to get the protection of limited liability for non-criminal behaviour, or to represent the stakes of their owners in decisions formally. E.g., it is good practice to found a company for management of property (e.g., a house) that one shares with a partner when no marriage is involved. (I speak from practice. :-)

Sometimes a company is even founded to loose money, for tax reasons. If you earn enough money, go to an accountant and get yourself some tips.

To get back to /. topics: Many data center operation companies are spin-offs that follow that pattern, too. (Cost centers as outsourced companies.)

There is more to a company than profits. A company is, first of all, a legal entity and has lots of advantages for that reason alone.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

platos_beard (213740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290518)

Think "ballet company"

Now there's a money-making proposition!

Re:For profits are like that (5, Informative)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290530)

The Gentoo Foundation is a not-for-profit company. We are not a charity. Donations to Gentoo cannot be written off. Our goals have nothing to do with making money and everything to do with making software.

Re:For profits are like that (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290638)

I can't find any definition of the word "company" which wouldn't imply that its aim is not profit

No? I can't find any definition that implies a company's aim must be profit. For example, the business-related definitions from Merriam-Webster [m-w.com] are:

3 a : a chartered commercial organization or medieval trade guild b : an association of persons for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise

Both definitions mention "commercial". Does that imply a profit motive? The definition of "commerce" specifies that it's an activity that involves buying and selling. Does buying and selling necessarily imply a profit motive? Have you never bought or sold something without an intention to profit?

Further, there is a specific reason that "for-profit" is often prepended to "company"... because there are *lots* of non-profit companies!

Of course, there's nothing wrong with seeking profit, and there's nothing so inherently worthy about profits that they justify anti-social behavior, but those are separate issues. Companies exist for all kinds of purposes. Most are all about profits, some don't care about profits and lots fall in between. The goals of a particular corporation are found in its articles of incorporation, and those goals are what a company is held to. Even publicly-traded companies can have articles that prioritize other goals over profit-making. Though I don't know of such a case, theoretically officers of a publicly-traded company who ignored its other stated goals in order to increase profits could be prosecuted for misfeasance (I believe that's the correct term -- please correct me if it's not).

Re:For profits are like that (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291735)

Most are all about profits, some don't care about profits and lots fall in between.

To expand on that, most are out there to increase shareholder or owner value, whatever it may be.

In the case of Gentoo, the shareholder/owner value is to make a better Linux.

In the case of GE, it's to make money to pay out dividends to shareholders.

Re:For profits are like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289681)

And their product has stagnated for it. Fedora is a sad joke. The RHEL is a standard sell because it's the easiest to sell. Rh doesn't make my life easier, it just gets less questions asked at the sale. They do innovate at the business level, but nothing that I care about has come out of them in years.

Ubuntu is the only thing I see around with the clout and a clue.

Re:For profits are like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289893)

You belong to (at least) one of the following categories: 1] You are Ubuntu convert of a Debian zealot 2] You are interested in desktop computing only 3] You haven't seen or tried Fedora in last two years 4] You haven't seen or tried Red Hat Enterprise ever 5] You are pathetic wannabe troll 6] You are so consumed by your miniscule self that you just can't handle someone else's success 7] Your purpose in life is to just bitch 8] You have no clue, whatsoever For you and all the others who take every single opportunity to say something bad about Red Hat, I've got a message: Fuck off.

well (5, Insightful)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289489)

"If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear"
they make that sound like a bad thing, there aren't many for profit organisations that are any different i would imagine.

Re:well (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289742)

The line should likely be "If you're not making them money today...." See, its not all about making money on this one sale. Its about them coming back next year, and them telling their friends about you. Its about breaking even to pay for developers. Its about laying the foundation for making money tomorrow.

The second comment in the blog has it right (5, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289499)

Redhat is where it is because it is the company that employs the people who write Linux, most notably Alan Cox. There is a lot of code in the Linux kernel and periphery that simply wouldn't be there if Redhat wasn't around to pay these programmers to put it in there.

So if we consider the authors of the source as the ultimate support channel, then Redhat will always filter its way to the top. Throw in the existing momentum behind the platform, both on the "child" distros side and the business side, and you've got an unstoppable (for now) juggernaut. Want embedded Linux? Montavista's got a custom RedHat Linux for you. Want some esoteric hardware supported? Redhat's gone through the trouble to port a driver for you.

It's so far ahead of every other commercial distribution that it's not even funny.

Is it ahead/better than non-commercial distros like Debian? No, probably not. But they aren't really competing against each other.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (2, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289611)

Good point. The only way to compete in the linux market these days is to code the bulk of the source code. Companies that can lay claim to having the technical capacity to understand and implement vast tracts of Linux and other GNU, OSS source code are going to be the most trusted when it comes time to support all that free code.

It should come as no surprise then that RedHat is a leader in this industry. Companies that don't contribute source aren't going to be half as trusted as the industry leaders.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289614)

First SuSE labs (Novell) employees some Linux kernel developers.
Even IBM does.

Second all three employees GCC developers though they are not all equal.
RedHat has more global write maintainers than any other company but that is because they started working on GCC before any of them. RedHat's GCC developers are leaving Redhat and are going either to Apple (at least three examples) or Codesourcery (a couple) or AMD (one example though he was at metrowerks for a while). These are main developers of GCC and not just some unkown developers. Novell is gaining more and more mainainership of GCC in general, and already employees the maintainer of the x86_64 port which is one of the major ports for the comming year or two for servers (even though I don't really want to say it is as I am more of a powerpc person).

Any other point is Novell is getting more and more into free software they have to go slowly and choose and pick their partners otherwise they will find themselves in a way of the internet bobble.

-- a semi unknown GCC developer.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (4, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289975)

RedHat has more global write maintainers than any other company but that is because they started working on GCC before any of them.

I'd say it is because they bought Cygnus, a company which had entirely specialized on gcc support.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (0, Troll)

EmoryBrighton (934326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289669)

Novell sucks, only kids use Novell. Use Red Hat Instead!

+1 Linus Tovalds
+5 Flamebait

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (5, Insightful)

PimpBot (32046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289842)

Is it ahead/better than non-commercial distros like Debian? No, probably not.

This line rubs me the wrong way. The reason why folks choose commercial distros like RedHat or Suse is because they are better for what people need -- they provide a supported, easier to configure setup which allows them to solve whatever problem they or their organization have with a minimum of fuss. Distriubtions like Debian/Ubuntu/Gentoo/etc. are useful for the tweakers of the world (and yes, given enough gumption could be used to replace RHEL/SES), but they're not ready out of the proverbial box.

Am I missing something here? Is there some other reason why Debian et al is better?

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290083)

Am I missing something here? Is there some other reason why Debian et al is better?

I read that line as an attempt to avoid being flamed, as opposed to an actual opinion of the author.

That said, I think "better" depends a lot on the context. At my last job, we got RHEL bundled on a Dell workstation. In that context, it was great because much of the work was already done for me, and there was support when I ran into a glitch.

At home, "better" is gentoo, because I've been amazed at its speed and configurability. I also really dig the different init scripts.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291532)

I read that line as an attempt to avoid being flamed, as opposed to an actual opinion of the author.

Too bad it didn't work! Is it even possible to write a flame-proof sentence on Slashdot? Let's find out. Here's a very innocent statement that surely no one could flame me on:

Two plus two equals four.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290194)

I wouldn't lump Ubuntu in with Debian or Gentoo. Ubuntu looks like it is aiming to be a for profit distro. I think they are planing on making money on support contracts sort of like Red Hat.

As to why Debian is better? Well some people feel that Debian isn't tainted by the need for profit so it is pure. Frankly Debian is a good distro, stable and has a good package system, I love apt and think it is a good server distro.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (1)

JonAnderson (786732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290509)

...The reason why folks choose commercial distros like RedHat or Suse is because they are better for what people need -- they provide a supported, easier to configure setup which allows them to solve whatever problem they or their organization have with a minimum of fuss...
I would further clarify this by saying most commercial entities want to run apps - this restricts the choice of OS to what those apps are qualified to run on.

Re:The second comment in the blog has it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290500)

> most notably Alan Cox.

Anal Cox hasn't actually done much kernel work for the last 3 years or so.

Similarities (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289504)

Linux

And Linux sucks

If you're not making them money, you're not going (4, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289508)

>> If you're not making them money, you're not going to get their ear

Hmm, maybe it's time to invest in RHAT.

Re:If you're not making them money, you're not goi (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290005)

RHAT has been berry, berry goo' to me. Last time I checked (one day last week) my RHAT was up 59% since I bought it in July '04. I'm happy I put a few bucks behind these guys, and I can't say that hearing they run a tight ship makes me feel worse.

Re:If you're not making them money, you're not goi (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290662)

"Maybe it's time to invest in RHAT"

Given that their 52-week range is 10.37 - 26.32, and they're currently at 26.30, I'd say that you missed the best time to make that call. However, given that RHAT just entered the Nasdaq 100, and their earnings continue to grow at stupid rates, you might do well to invest in them.

I am not a stock broker or otherwise deeply knowledgeable when it comes to such matters. Do your own DD.

Re:If you're not making them money, you're not goi (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290787)

Hmm, maybe it's time to invest in RHAT.

If you were smart you'd invest in Microsoft. Whether or not you like them as a company, they are profitable and that's the only real goal of an investment... anything else is charity.

Re:If you're not making them money, you're not goi (1)

twocents (310492) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291445)

I would read up before investing in Microsoft. Some consider their stock a value right now, but it might be a while before the stock shows decent growth again. Red Hat is technically high right now, but a long term investor could probably garner some profits.

It's true that Microsoft is a company to check out, but money invested a year ago in Red Hat would have produced much larger profits than money invested in MS during the same period. Like you said, anything else is charity.

What needs to be done (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289511)

This is what needs to be done if Linux is ever going to take over as the "Main Stream" OS. Novell needs to leave the server stuff alone, RedHat has got linux on the server down to a science. What Novell needs to do, is take what it has in SUSE, and work on getting more linux on desktop users machines. If both companys would realise this, and work on it, it would pose a VERY big threat to Microsoft, and push Linux as the mainstream os.

~Alan

Re:What needs to be done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290365)

RHEL is really crappy. Personally I don't like to work with Linux at all, but at least SLES 9 is more enterprise-like than RHEL 4.

When customers ask what Linux they should get I say Debian or SuSE, though I really try to get them into understanding that in 99.9% of the cases there are much better alternatives for them.

Anyway, at least SLES is painless to administrate and configure compared to RHEL; hopefully NetBSD, FreeBSD and Solaris will get more attention in the future. Unfortanly, only the really big boys understand that *BSD/Solaris gets them more for less, though it is slowly begining to change for the better.

^andy

Re:What needs to be done (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290752)

This doesn't make any sense to me.

Novell has had decades of experience on servers. It has a brand that is respected. It can use that credibility on the server side to convince a small number of knowledge elite to buy their products instead of Unix or even Win32 servers, by showing them that the change will not only not be disruptive, but actually make their lives easier.

On the desktop side, even if you are total Novell fan-boy, you aren't going to switch your users over to SUSE from Windows. Desktop changes are inherently disruptive. The only way you can even start to go there has to leverge server technologies. When you host your application on web servers; when you use web services to distribute business logic instead of ugprades through MSIs. In other words when you've drained the functionality and value out of the desktop end of things, then the deskto becomes a viable target.

Re:What needs to be done (1)

benoe (892270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290814)

"...Linux is ever going to take over as the "Main Stream" OS."

According to my experiences Linux IS a mainstream OS. At the last 3 years I could not have been in any server room without at least 1 but rather more Linux boxes, cubes or wardrobes. It is especially true for SMB-s (headcount 5 - 100 enterprises).

What is a mainstream OS if Linux isn't?!

Re:What needs to be done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14291386)

You are out of your mind...you seem to be forgetting the biggest server client by far, it's a little something called the the US Govt. Try going into virtually any government shop and see what server OS they are using for file sharing (though I have no idea why).

The world changes (2, Interesting)

Cmdr_earthsnake (939669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289516)

Yes... that's because Novell has woken up and realised that just because a company is pro-OSS it doesn't make them good. Hopefully IBM will figure it out soon.

I agree, the thing is that if you factor in good buisness practices that actually work better all round for the customers and buisness. For instance if I was a Red hat customer and they chose to disgard me before I made any real money, then I went to another company who were more endearing and offered better customer support, who would be losing out? Red hat.

And as for changing over to the SuSe core, I would say Novell made a good choice, I like the direction Novell is going in, they are doing well.

To add to my last post... (1)

Cmdr_earthsnake (939669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289527)

What I meant moreover was that is the customer makes money in a different company after red hat disregard you, then red hat are losing out. And also, I meant "if you factor in good buisness practies that work overall better for the company and customers then it will benifit all, and make the company a better runner".

Re:The world changes (2, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289563)

I suppose it depends on the type of customer you are. If you are someone who wants to put RedHat on your company's servers, they'll be happy to set you up with a support contract. But if you are someone who wants RedHat to port a driver for some esoteric piece of hardware, you've got to have a long-term viability (Texas Instruments = Good, Joe's Silicon Shack = Bad). And of course, if you want them to port those drivers, they aren't going to do it for free.

It's not so much an anti-customer mindset than a focused business mindset. Work on partnerships that are meaningful, work with customers with a strong track record, and cash up front.

Re:The world changes (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289801)

But if you are someone who wants RedHat to port a driver for some esoteric piece of hardware, you've got to have a long-term viability

Well, I'm basically agreeing with you but I don't see it as a problem really. Obviously no company is going to be especially interested in putting in man-hours to do something they'll never get paid for. But the thing with Linux is that you have the option of paying a third party developer to write some code. (With Windows, third parties can write drivers but certainly not hack the core kernel to do what they want).

That said, I've done a fair amount of work with Red Hat on their free distributions and they have usually been very helpful even though I'm not paying them - because I'm helping them to fix bugs and those fixes will end up in both Fedora Core and RHEL (benefitting their paying customers). And when I'm actually _fixing_ bugs they certainly tend to be quite helpful since obviously I'm improving their product at almost no cost to them.

Re:The world changes (1)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289831)

I don't think it's a problem either. In fact, it's part of the ecosystem that many "bottom feeders" will exist to service the needs of Joe's Silicon Shack and the rest of the little hardware players. These are typically very small shops of a handful of engineers who know one part of the system very well and can provide the driver imlementation at a low enough cost.

As long as people are innovating new devices, or don't want to pay licensing fees for existing drivers, little shops that specialize in writing new drivers will always exist.

Because character matters (2, Insightful)

systems (764012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289552)

Many people have replied saying that it's okay or normal for a for profit organization to care about money the way Red-Hat is accused to be doing.

I have never dealt with Red-Hat in that way, so I won't judge Red-Hat.
But speaking in general, no it is not okay.
Organizations are members of our society, globla orgnizations are members of the global community.

The same way, its not okay for a person to only care about money, it's not okay for an organization to be all about money.
Being NICE, is a good reputation, treating your smallest client the same as the biggest, is NICE, and we should encourage all organizations to do it, because that way we will be living in a NICE society

I can elaborate on this for ever, but for most people I think the point is clear the worst thing that happens to some organization is when they become bigger than their clients, and start to treat them as inferior entities

Re:Because character matters (0, Offtopic)

Coutal (98822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289577)

what does being NICE [nice.com] have to do with it?
do they really have good reputation?
should all organizations develop audio and video recording solutions?
because i think there should be a place for a nice linux company here and there...

Re:Because character matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289851)

because that way we will be living in a NICE society

You obviously don't subscribe to the views of Margaret Thatcher (ex-British PM) who once said "There's so such thing as society... only individuals ..." [huppi.com]

Re:Because character matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290179)

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!

Re:Because character matters (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290234)

Indeed. Some people should maybe Google a bit for corporate responsibility [google.com] .

Put your money where your mouth is (1)

lasindi (770329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290235)

The same way, its not okay for a person to only care about money, it's not okay for an organization to be all about money.
Being NICE, is a good reputation, treating your smallest client the same as the biggest, is NICE, and we should encourage all organizations to do it, because that way we will be living in a NICE society


If the public cares about companies being "nice," then it won't spend its money on "mean" companies. (The definition of "nice" and "mean" is rather vague ...) What is the result? "Mean" companies won't make any money. But the "mean" companies want to make money, so they will become "nice" to appease consumers.

As long as companies don't do anything illegal or coercive, caring mostly about money is generally a *good* thing for society. In order to make money in a capitalist economy, you have to make or do something that makes someone happy enough that they'll pay you for it. If no one likes what you're doing, you definitely won't make any money. The more people that like what you do, the more money you make.

In other words, if a "nice" society is what the public wants, companies will be "nice" because they care about making money. If companies are being "mean," it's probably because the public doesn't care about being friendly. You should probably take your issue up with the general public, not the corporate world.

Re:Because character matters (2, Insightful)

scronline (829910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14291348)

Well said. I've recently done an accounting of my business and I've found that I've donated over $50k this year to non-profits and to small businesses that needed a hand. While it's true that a company's main goals is to make money, being a part of the community also creates longevity. I own a small company that's been around for 15 years in a small town. I wouldn't still be around if I didn't make our presence known and make absolutely sure that we were seen in a positive light. So while that $50k is a large sum to me it's also an investment in my community for them to continue to use us for their services and hardware.

Besides, one of my favorite sayings is "I'm in this to make a living, not make a killing".

"IBM in Linux distro love-in" (2, Insightful)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289562)

The Reg has a Dec 15th article [theregister.co.uk] commenting on IBM's... "elevating the pair to IBM's Strategic Alliance program, its highest tier partner status. The move is designed to make it easier for firms to acquire Linux-based systems by integrating and streamlined sales, distribution and service channels between the hardware vendor (IBM) and its two principal open source software partners, Red Hat and Novell."

The Red Hat/Novell heavyweight competition benefits everyone.

Ecosystem. (5, Insightful)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289576)

Partners are needed for having a good sustainable bussines ecosystem.

There is the need of a supply chain. And Novell has a much more longer experience than Redhat, it also has a long standing user base around the world, there still are a lot of novell 486/3.11/4.0 running, 5 to 10 users, and not wanting to go with Microsoft.

Novell and SuSe, also spend lots of money at developing OSS, ximian, mono, X, drivers, kernel patches, kde and gnome stuff, also redhat.

And even more... SuSe born in germany, and it has a huge user base at europe, Redhat has born at U.S.A. and there is a LOT of countries, that doesnt want to be working with U.S.A. enforsable companies... so there is the reason why, at Linux there will be very, very, very hard to have a "single vender Enterprise distribution"...

Enterprise environments (4, Interesting)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289645)

Nice article, but it doesn't say much about the importance of the two companies co-existing and creating a market for OSS. In the end, it comes down to who has the better product--so far Red Hat has the market since it was the first on the scene as a legit business. It is attacking the right industries (Financials and Gov't-i.e. DoD), and has a strong university presence. SuSE had a lot of respect before Novell and the acquisition was looked upon as promising with all the international support, but they were slow in getting 10.0 out the door. SuSE has hardly any university presense and Novell hasn't focused on any industries aside from what IBM or Sun had before the acquisition. Though you can't beat Novell's networking knowledge base. That's the diff.

As a developer & user, Red Hat needs to tighten up on their edge releases (FC4 and it's migration to EL for instance). FC4 maybe used by more folks out there, but it's too klunky for the application developer market and less stable that OpenSuSE. And app-development is where the real cash is made.

Novell, aside from focusing on a couple of markets only needs to increase [kernel] performance as SuSE (and openSuSE) are much more polished for a enterprise environment that RH. I find that application development is much easier on SuSE where kernel dev is easier on FC4. I picked out the F/OSS projects only because companies are moving to the model of developing against the 'F/OSS' version and then deploying on the paid 'OSS' version, hence delaying the licensing/service purchase. It makes sense since if forces the developer and vendor share the risks and have mutual interests to succeed.

Re:Enterprise environments (3, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289918)

but they were slow in getting 10.0 out the door.

Slow? They were on time as scheduled. http://www.opensuse.org/Roadmap [opensuse.org] will tell you the future dates. Oh and nowadays it is SUSE (and the comunity openSUSE) not SuSE anymore. It used to mean something and now it officially means nothing anymore.

Performance is something they are working very hard on and a noticable difference has been seen in 10.0 Also look at http://www.opensuse.org/SUPER [opensuse.org]

Re:Enterprise environments (3, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289994)

Indeed, originally it was S.u.S.E. (note the dots). It was an abbreviation for "Software- und System-Entwicklung" which is German for "software and system development".

Re:Enterprise environments (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290182)

Paid F/OSS is still F/OSS, not OSS. I know exactly the distinction you are making. But, I do not like dropping the word 'Free' as the whole reason it's there has nothing to do with whether you pay for it or not, or whether or not you can easily download it without paying anything.

Re:Enterprise environments (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290202)

When you say 10.0 I assume you're referring to base SuSE and not Enterprise Server; which is still at 9. (Minor nit: Novell's branding SuSE Linux v SuSE Enterprise Linux is not very clear.)

I'd say that Gov't acceptance of SuSE isn't bad, primarily because of EAL cert. and IBM's influence.

As for educational/University saturation: I think that Novell's sales force (University sales team in particular) is partially at fault. I'm an University customer and I needed to purchase 100+ SLES HPC licenses this summer and had to deal with four salespeople, none who knew anything about SuSE. I had to download Novell's inventory price sheet so I could quote the exact SKUs for them to have any idea what I was talking about. In the end, I purchased my licenses through my hardware vendor instead.

Shock! (0, Redundant)

delta_avi_delta (813412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289672)

Business Seek to Stay Solvent! The cheek!

I know we like our OSS community to be warm and fuzzy, but these guys need to make money. If they have to get a little less "easy-going" in the process, then so be it.

Matt Asay (article author) will speak at SCALE 4x (2, Informative)

irabinovitch (614425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289692)

Matt Asay [socallinuxexpo.org] the author of this article will speak at SCALE 4x [socallnuxexpo.org] this year. SCALE will be held in Los Angeles on Feb 11-12, 2006.

Sounds like a big loss of creativity to me (2, Insightful)

EMIce (30092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289722)

This is just a delicate way of saying that Novell has vested too much in R&D. So sacrifice R&D to follow technologies that are already showning wide adoption. Novell has taken the lead in introducing now popular technologies like directory services, but has had trouble keeping marketshare. Why is that? Did R&D prevent prevent Novell's customers from getting something their competitors had? What is that exactly?

It sounds to me like Novell is going the way of HP, but I hope they continue to make R&D enough of a priority.

The best product is rarely the market leader. (2, Interesting)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290210)


This is just a delicate way of saying that Novell has vested too much in R&D. So sacrifice R&D to follow technologies that are already showning wide adoption. Novell has taken the lead in introducing now popular technologies like directory services, but has had trouble keeping marketshare. Why is that? Did R&D prevent prevent Novell's customers from getting something their competitors had? What is that exactly? It sounds to me like Novell is going the way of HP, but I hope they continue to make R&D enough of a priority.

It is a sad fact of life that possessing the best product in a marketplace is just a small fraction of the recipe for marketplace leadership.

So many other things are required for success: Marketing, execution [mind-numbing-ly boring stuff like making sure the trains run on time], the correctness of the underlying business model, plain old-fashioned good luck [like being in the right place at the right time]...

Very often, all you need is a minimally adequate product; after that, things like the business model, the execution of the business model, the marketing, and luck [good or bad] tend to prevail.

I ordered from Red Hat once (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289733)

I ordered from Red Hat once recently, and it was my worse
buying experience ever. I sincerely hope they go broke
so that I won't have to order from them again.

Everything was so Red Hat-centric... They started by
ignoring the order completely because there was no e-mail
address in it (instead of contacting the person who
originated the order by other means... they had a delivery
address, but they chose not to use it).

When someone from my company woke them up because they hadn't
sent a bill for the order, they asked me to call them.
I called them repetitively, and each time, "I would receive
my activation key by e-mail within two days".
Each time they either did nothing or contacted someone from my
company who had ordered from them before
as if he was their contact for my company (he wasn't. He had
just ordered a distribution before, just like I was trying
to do. He rightly ignored their e-mails).

They had a complicated system with logins, account
numbers, email addresses, each of which meant something
different. Sure, their system probably made a lot of sense
*for them*.

I just needed a cardboard box with some CDs
inside, it took six months to get it, and I didn't even
get that. I got a password to access the iso files and I
had to burn them myself to CDs. That's what you get
for USD 200...

I really hope they would disappear, then I wouldn't
have to get another distribution from them "because that's
what our customers use".

Re:I ordered from Red Hat once (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289957)

Why not order from one of their resellers instead, if you only want the cardboard box and the plastic discs?

Re:I ordered from Red Hat once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290936)

I would imagine this post has a lot more to say about your intelligence and capability than RedHat's customer service. Taking six months to order anything borders on mental retardation. I personally would have fired you.

the difference... (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289816)

...between RedHat and Novell is that they are two separate companies. That means they are not the same. They are two, not one. They are run by different people. With different views on lots of issues. With different products. Yes, they have something in common, they have linux-based OSes to sell. Apart from that, I can't see anything else they would have in common. What's such an article good for, then ? Well, in any case, it's better than another dupe, I guess.

Re:the difference... (1)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290514)

The biggest difference is that one begins with an "R" and the other an "N". Commercial Linux Companies offer less than totally free distros and its sad that everyone comparing GNU/Linux to other OS's use these commercial distros as comparison every time. Why is it everyone thinks the only thing worth having, costs more???? People amaze me. We are raised with the mindset that cheap things are well....crap. While this is sometimes the case, here it is definitely not. Sorry for the rant! Now everyone start flaming me for mentioning something about Linux in a Linux discussion, which seems to always happen for some strange reason.

Machiavelli explains Novell's quandry... (1)

CaptainFork (865941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14289859)

"COMMENCING then with the first of the above-named characteristics, I say that it would be well to be reputed liberal. Nevertheless, liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it, injures you; for if one exercises it honestly and as it should be exercised, it may not become known, and you will not avoid the reproach of its opposite. Therefore, any one wishing to maintain among men the name of liberal is obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence; so that a prince thus inclined will consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and tax them, and do everything he can to get money. This will soon make him odious to his subjects, and becoming poor he will be little valued by any one; thus, with his liberality, having offended many and rewarded few, he is affected by the very first trouble and imperilled by whatever may be the first danger; recognizing this himself, and wishing to draw back from it, he runs at once into the reproach of being miserly."

The man is no fool.

Ep?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14289907)

survivE at all morning. Now I have surprise to the

Novell's a lot more than just a distro though... (4, Insightful)

aapold (753705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14290177)

When all of their administration tools (Zenworks in particular), it makes for a fantastic management environment. Their linux stuff isn't quite up to par with their windows desktop integration yet, but it is getting there. These things are much more useful in a corporate environmnet.

mo3 3own (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14290827)

the public eye: DOG THAT IT IS. IT Discussion I'm You don't need to lube. This can lead the developer is dying.Things everydayV...We the project as a
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