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Linux Growth Doesn't Offset NetWare Decline

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the slippery-stockholder-slope dept.

165

steveit_is writes to tell us CommentWire is reporting that the decline in NetWare and Open Enterprise sales is plummeting at a much faster rate than their SUSE Linux sales are growing. It seems that the transition is proving to be every bit as difficult as Novell execs originally suspected. From the article: "When Novell last week announced its financial results for the fiscal first quarter ended January 31, the said that growth in its SUSE Linux and related products was decent, but that sales of its NetWare and Open Enterprise Server--a variant of NetWare that uses Linux as the operating system kernel that was announced last year--declined by 11%."

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lol who fucking cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872749)

not me. lol lol.

yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872756)

first post

gfdsty54 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872763)

If you are not willing to learn,then stay with the windows garbage.

Netcraft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872764)

Netcraft confirms Novell is dying. It's been slowly dying for years, and I don't think there's anything to save it. Dunno what will happen of suse afterwards.

Troll? WTF? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872991)

Some mods are on crack... If anything this is insighful!

Novell was extremely popular at some point (the netware v3 days, mid 90s), then hordes of people started migrating to NT4 to never come back. v4 installs never were as common, and I've only seen a handful of v5 installs. The Netware days are over, big time. Just like OS/2 (which wasn't a bad OS at all at the time). Every freakin' thing Novell bought or touched since then somehow ended up being a failure in a way or another (if you think Sun missed the boat a few times, these ppl are no better). Their only chance of staying in business is suse, and lately I'm seeing interest in that distro drop a lot (especially with v10). Unless they can manage to suck enough of RH's support business to fund themselves (not necessarily a good thing), I don't think they'll live much longer. Not a bad distro, but not good enough to be worth paying for it when you consider the alternatives, and unless loads of enterprises move to linux and pay mega $ for support, they're done. So essentially, they HAVE been dying slowly.

Whoever modded that troll, lay off the crack, really.

Why make the comparison (5, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872780)

Someone has to state the obvious. Past users of Novell aren't going to just switch directly to another Novell product that is completely unlike the other one. Whatever growth of SuSE will be because of the sucess of SuSE to provide a good linux distribution, and not because of Novell's name. We saw this before with Corel; They made a unique linux distribution, and some liked it. Nobody decided to move their department to Corel Linux just because they had been using WP.

Re:Why make the comparison (5, Interesting)

unladen swallow (844965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872913)

I have to agree.

I got started with networks with Novell Netware 2.12.

From there I moved to 3.12, 4.11.

3.12 was rock solid, the only problem was that it was not an application server, it only did file and print (and did it very well). Having PC's/Solaris/MAC/OS2/Mainframes able to access the same files/print jobs was huge.

During the 2.12 and 3.12 days Microsoft (Win 3.11) was making major inroads with applications which IMO killed Novell. Since Novell did not have a App server to counter it (no one was supporting apps at least on Novell). Novell was left with file and print jobs.

Installing shared apps on a Novell server could be a major nightmare.

When NDS came out it was too little too late.

I see no real reason to migrate to SUSE/Novell at this time

I have bought the 9.2/9.3 version of SUSE (need to buy 10) just to help support Novell.

Re:Why make the comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873464)

That 'not an app server' line is basically a naive twit in 1995 comment.

NetWare can be, and is, used for pretty much anything that your average company needs on a general purpose server, from F+P, to email server (alot better than Exchange I should add) to DBs from MySQL ot Postgrest, Sybase and Oracle. For years, in those old days, NetWare was the best non high end solution. When NDS came along, it was not 'too little, too late' but rather it was ahead of its time (like Vines) but made decent inroads anyway. Not the companies that adpted it have been reaping the benefits and continue to do so. Your big outfits aren't moving.

Re:Why make the comparison (1)

Shads (4567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874153)

Actually they are, I helped migrate the largest novell installation in the world to ads and microsoft.

The US Postal Service for reference.

Re:Why make the comparison (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874653)

Funny, I helped to *install* NetWare there in the early 90's and did a ton of the conversions to NDS. You have undone my work!

Re:Why make the comparison (2, Interesting)

laptop006 (37721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873707)

*NDS* is too little to late.

THE BEST directory server out there is too little?

Re:Why make the comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14874285)

yes it is too little too late, no point in being the best when everyone that has the market share is good enough.

Re:Why make the comparison (3, Interesting)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874081)

Novell did have an app server, it was called "Netware". Oracle ran on Netware. Pegasus mail did too. It was a lack of third party support, not a lack of a valid platform.

NDS, if anything, was too much too early.

While I can see advantages to directory services for a 1 person network, DS is very much influenced by the "network effect". The more you use it, the more valuable it is. The more objects it has, the more usefull it is. Its most usefull for large networks. WfW and later NT workstation and 95, with their built in p2p networking, was, in many cases "good enough". Even for networks that used, and liked, NW 3.11, but translated to "good enough" WfW/95, when they grew, grew into other MS products. Netware 4.x, with NDS, was a race to the top, with the bottom falling out compleatly.

Didn't Have An App Server?? (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874202)

What are you talking about? I admin'd a 3.1x site in the early 90's that had Applications running in Netware - MSoft apps, Groupwise (Novell's groupware), and a Dbase database.

They were crushed by Microsoft. End of story. They should of ditched their proprietary Netware long ago - they even resisted supporting TCP/IP for the longest time! How forward thinking was that??

Re:Didn't Have An App Server?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14874524)

No, you didn't. You had apps running in Windows, served by a Netware file server. This is completely different from running apps from an app server such as Lotus Domino 3.x on Netware, which was a nightmare, trust me. I am talking mandatory daily reboots.

The story out of Iris, the Lotus Notes dev shop, was that Netware was a major pain to code for.

As for TCP/IP, Novell's IPX was basically an improved version of TCP/IP, and yes, they did cling to that idea a bit too long.

As far as ditching Netware, their flagship product that built the business, what exactly were they supposed to replace it with?

If Novell would open their tech... (4, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873069)

If Novell would open up technologies like ZENWorks, they might get some real interest. An enterprise-wide administration solution (along the lines of active directory) is available in purely Free Software, and it's eventually going to be simplified and packaged for everyone. But Novell have a head start in this stuff: they could make a significant contribution to Linux, and make their own distros famous for enterprise use, if they want to. It NEEDS to be open though, or it's useless to those of us who want to build add-on admin tools and who want to install it across a heterogeneous network.

Instead, they horde their tech, and don't even bother to advertise it much. I'm not really surprised they're failing with that strategy; it has Commodore written all over it.

Re:If Novell would open their tech... (4, Interesting)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873299)

If Novell would open up technologies like ZENWorks, they might get some real interest.

This is a great observation. We're migrating off of NetWare because of the hassle of maintaining two directories(We also have ADS), amoung other reasons. We'd love to keep ZENWorks, but guess what? You still have to maintain two directories.

My converstations with supporters of this are almost commical.

ZENWorks Supporter (SUP): ZEN supports ADS!
ZENWorks Skeptic (Skep): Great! I don't have to support multiple directories!
SUP: Well, actually you do, but they sync, so you don't have extra maintenance!
Skep: Ok, so I get to do all my administration in ADS, right?
SUP: Well, no, you have to use Console One, but they're syncing so you don't have to worry about maintaining seperate user accounts!
Skep: So I don't have to worry about eDir logons, right?
SUP: well, you actually have to logon to eDir.
Skep: But it's clientless, right?
SUP: Absolutely! No netware client, you just have to logon to eDir through the ZENWorks client.
Skep: How is that clientless?
SUP: There's no NetWare client, so it's clientless.
Skep: Um.
Skep: I've had problems with maintaining two seperate accounts in the past. For example, password complexity, expiration, etc are all handled differently in the two directories and this has led to inconsistant password policy.
SUP: ZENworks has some great policy options!
Skep: Yes, I understand this, but how do I reconcile eDir's grace logons with ADSs warnings before expiration? This kind of seems like a hassle to me.
SUP: You don't need to worry, the directories are synced! The syncing is so good, you won't have any problems.
Skep: But I am having problems.
SUP: Those aren't really problems. You just don't understand.
Skep: I do understand, and I also don't want a client that replaces my Windows logon GINA.
SUP: The client is not a problem. You'll like it.
Skep: um.

If ZENWorks was fully integrated into ADS and had no seperate logon, we'd use it. ZEN is awesome. But as long as Novell and its supporters fail to see issues with the things that we think are issues, we're going to seek other options.

TW

Re:If Novell would open their tech... (4, Interesting)

whereareweheadedto (959728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873471)

I have been working with Novell for almost four years and have run into many similar arguments. But there are some facts that Slashdoters and others often ignore. And that's a relationship between Novell's products. You can't run ZENworks Desktop management with directories other than eDIrectory. Certain applications work only with other Novell applications, while Novell still gives out as much as they can without geopardizing market shares of their flagship products. Regarding my customer base, it always comes down to sensible advice. Some need MS, others don't. Maybe you needed Novell better than MS? Just an example from one of my clients: three years ago they had some 10 MS servers, 10 Netware, 5 linux servers. They decided to ditch Netware and move to MS. Their current situation: some 40 MS servers, 10 or less linux servers and 7 Netware servers. They still employ eDirectory as their primary directory (they have three), ZENworks. I actually installed a new OES Netware server last week to host their DNS and DHCP services. Will probably be doing 3-node cluster later this year... They took two years of planning the ditch and in the end they have 2 times the servers they did in the beginning. They found no viable option to Novell's services...

What were you expecting? (4, Insightful)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872789)

That story is phrased so that it might suggest like Linux isn't being a big success for Novell, but that's bullshit. Novell had a cash cow with a proprietary enterprise product. That's history. It's history because the market has changed. There is no reason at all to expect that they will ever do as well with any other product.

The fact that they have been able to turn Linux into a business for them at all is a good thing.

Re:What were you expecting? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873257)

The fact that they have been able to turn Linux into a business for them at all is a good thing.
And where's the evidence of that? You're being a little premature, don't you think? No offense to Novell, but last I heard they bought somebody else's Linux business. Since acquiring Suse, they've seen its share of the Linux market shrink compared to Red Hat's. Meanwhile, their transitional product for past (and future) Netware customers, Open Enterprise Server, is critical to their success and yet is included in that 11 percent decline in sales.

Novell has an existing customer base and a whole boatload of cash. Both are depletable resources.

Re:What were you expecting? (2, Interesting)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874472)

Since acquiring Suse, they've seen its share of the Linux market shrink compared to Red Hat's.

You have data to back that up? Everything I've seen in the mid to large corp field defies that, with a few SuSE rollouts I know of, at least in Europe and North America, and no new RH rollouts. The reason seems to be that the Novell brand is an easier sale for IT project managers, it's always Novell SuSE, never SuSE alone, and possibly cheaper support contracts? Don't get me wrong, RH still has more boxes out there, but I'm not getting wind of new RH deployments versus SuSE.

Re:What were you expecting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14874896)

Novell are dumb they had a good business model with the reseller model for netware - all those small, local IT shops pushing the product spring to mind.

They really need to

1. get their ass in gear and apply this model to suse.
2. create of the shelf solutions for common small to medium business configs

Don't kill the cow 'til the calf is grown (5, Interesting)

swalker42 (944794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872796)

Novell has declared it's cash cow dead (Netware) long before the new cash cow (Linux) has replaced it. Now Novell has never explicitly said Netware is dead, just that the direction it will be taking is Linux. That's a lesson it learned from WordPerfect. Announce the end of the only product making money long before the new product has replaced the revenue. Ah well, at least Novell was able to use something from one of the many companies it bought. Too bad it was rotten business sense.

Re:Don't kill the cow 'til the calf is grown (4, Funny)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872856)

I thought NetWare was dead sometime in the mid 90s when it was replaced by either NetBEUI, ArcNet, or sneakernet, I can't remember.

Re:Don't kill the cow 'til the calf is grown (0)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872998)

Yes, Netware had lost some of it's hold earlier in the '90s with the newer tecnologies and the lack of seemless integration with the windows desktops everybody was starting to run. But Netware really died Dec 31st, 1999. There was a (minor) Y2K bug in the version everybody was running (4.x I think was the culprit if memory serves). The only "solution" was to upgrade to 5.x. Of course Novell was greedy and told companies they had to pay (alot) for that upgrade and THAT was when everyone went scrambing to Microsoft and others. I actually did Novell networking support up till that date. By that date; every company, school, and even government client I worked with had either switched or was in the process of switching. I haven't logged even 1 hour of Novell support since 2000.

Just recently I worked with a new client (on a database project) who are still running it. They are having problems with the newer versions and have spent a fortune on it, but are locked into some custom software that will cost them a another fortune to re-build once they are finally forced to switch. The good news (for me) is that my company is now positioned to get at least some of the contracts for doing that work when the time comes *GRIN*

I find it interesting that Oracle followed a similar path of charging way too much for licensing and upgrades and are in the process of experiencing a similar fate.

No Y2K bug that I saw. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873534)

I just replaced two NetWare 4.11 servers in 2005. They were running just fine.

I was consulting back in 1999-2000 and I never saw any Y2K problems with NetWare.

Re:No Y2K bug that I saw. (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873811)

Officially, the first release of Novell Netware to be Y2k compliant was 3.12.

I remember because I had lots of jobs pre 2000 to patch a whole bunch of them for my customers.

Re:Don't kill the cow 'til the calf is grown (2, Interesting)

shippo (166521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873536)

It wasn't just Netware that died then, Banyan VINES (remember that) also suffered a similar fate, although that was due to Y2K issues with their Windows E-mail client.

I worked for a Banyan reseller back then. Most of our customer's had policies whereby everything needed to be compliant and in place by mid-1999, or even earlier. Banyan had got their OS up to date fairly quickly as they only had one point in the entire server OS that handled two digit years. However they also had a Windows E-mail client called Beyond Mail which was very problematic. As well as the conversion to 32-bit Windows resulting in a really buggy mess, the date for the release of a Y2K compliant version kept slipping further and further into 1999. Many of our customers just cut their losses, dumped the E-mail system and migrated to NT.

There was also another Banyan bug that raised it's head around the same time. Implementation of long filenames for Windows 95 and so on finally appeared, but it was implemented badly. Although it worked fine in the US which used one codepage, European support with other codepages was severely broken, and lead to damaged filesystems and data loss. As a European reseller we were stuck, and lost a couple of major sites over this.

Re:Don't kill the cow 'til the calf is grown (1)

SimonH_1978 (948155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873722)

I've been running a NetWare 4.11 server for years. It's solid as a rock, and doesn't have any Y2K issues as far as I'm aware. I can't remember when I last had some downtime with it.

Linux = failure (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872801)

It seems like it's open season on Linux by Solaris 10. Well, Linux 2.6 being on par with Windows NT 4.0 in terms of features and stability, we can say it's had a pretty good run. However, now it's time to move over for something better.

Re:Linux = failure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872838)

ignorance

Re:Linux = failure (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872923)

I think he was trying to be sarcastic. Nic

The real problem (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872829)

The biggest issue facing Novell right now is that existing NetWare customers find Linux a real step backwards - particularly in the area of Directory Servies. Open Enterprise server is currently a half-baked attempt to address these issues. Right now the existing NetWare base have been told they have to move so most of them are moving to Windows and Active Directory.

Re:The real problem (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872955)

*Troll snagged* I am an OES admin in a 1500+ user environment, and I can tell you that eDirectory on OES Linux is anything but half-baked. It is very, very feature rich and secure. We are having some great successes with the product. Myself (Linux admin background) and my partner in crime (Netware admin background) are very happy with the very low admin overhead we have in a pretty complex environment. Our favorite part about OES is all the services that come bundled with the OS that is included in our MLA. Half the time when we come up with a great idea or our users request some kind of feature we are finding that we already own the software that can make it happen. We are rolling out iFolder 3 and eGuide currently and they are working great. We have moved one of our Groupwise Post Offices to OES Linux and it is running rock solid. I will put my Netware/OES shop up against any M$ or Redhat shop any day of the week as far as labor costs and software costs and downtime. It kills me when I read comments like "Half-Baked" blah blah...But unfortunately as we all know, the better technology does not always win. I have told my PHB that when they are ready to pull the trigger on AD I will be happy to go get my MCSE...hey for me, M$ means double or triple our staff and job security...

Re:The real problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872990)

The Directory itself may be fine but the integration in OES is halfbaked compared to NetWare. Example, Linux User Management - when do you need it, when do you not? Notice that there is no corresponding complexity in NetWare - everything just works out of the box. Example 2 - root password is different on every box. Again on NetWare there is no concept of a box having its own administrator outside of the Directory. The post above is not claiming that these things are wrong, just that to an existing NetWare user they look like a significant step backwards and that Windows looks like a more attractive option.

Don't get me wrong - I would like to see Novell succeed but right now the reality is that previously loyal customers are leaving because Novell have forced them to chose between something they have some familiarity with (Windows) and something that one day might give them the same seamless admin experience as NetWare (OES).

Re:The real problem (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873967)

I have told my PHB that when they are ready to pull the trigger on AD I will be happy to go get my MCSE...hey for me, M$ means double or triple our staff and job security...

If you're in it for the money, you can probably better move elsewhere and get some Linux certification (maybe from Novell).

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873397)

I see no point in you saying that Linux is a real step backwards-in the area of dirctory services. eDirectory works on more platforms than just Netware, you know. Of course you have to buy it, but you have to buy every solid enterprise directory product. You should check out the Novell website or ask their partners/current customers about OES before you make educated guesses. It's still better than SLES9...

Novell History, for those that forgot. (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872831)

They were originally a mainframe company in the 70's. in fact, they were good size being tied to the IBM mainframe. Afterall, back then nobody got fired for picking IBM mainframes. But by mid-late 80's, they were drying up. IBM was killing off its prodigal children that made it money. Basically, IBM would either buy the companies or would put it out of business in many illegal fashions. But Novell did not move. So they brought in a CEO to take them into the ground and get what they could out of it. And that would be Ray Norda.

Of course, Ray found that a small group was working on some interesting items and focused the company on it. Of course, they did lay off a large number of their staff. IIRC, they got down to something like 100 employees. But they came back in flying colors.

Novell will go through some leans times, but they learned to jump ship BEFORE it sank completely. It would have been better had they jumped earlier, but ....

Novell will be around in 10 years. I doubt that companies like symantic, nortin, intuit, and AOL will.

Re:Novell History, for those that forgot. (3, Funny)

d.corri (952075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872875)

Novell will be around in 10 years. I doubt that companies like symantic, nortin, intuit, and AOL will. Yeah, people will eventually stop buying Symantic's Nortin AntaVirus.

Re:Novell History, for those that forgot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873791)

I stopped last Friday. I bought 710 seats of McAfee as a result of an abusive Symantec Australia sales person threatening me over renewal deadlines. (seriously..and, oh, and I bought their AntiSpyware and an i1400 IDS too for any Symantec Manager reading. Thats 55k for a staff member that needs to know when to back off.)

Re:Novell History, for those that forgot. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872880)

Wrong.

Novell was not involved in mainframes.

It started out at the dawn of the 80s making microcomputer trinkets, and eventually became successful selling Netware - which it survives on to this day.

Re:Novell History, for those that forgot. (0)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873113)

I hear that Novell was pushing really hard for IPX/SPX to be the protocol for the internet, which was silly and impossible because it's a broadcast protocol. Then they put off implementing TCP/IP for a million years, while the internet (and networks connected to it) were taking off on TCP/IP.

I also hear that Novell put a lot of work into Directory Access Protocol (DAP) for network management databases. DAP grew and grew and was too bulky to be popularly used. Somebody made up Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), which is now used by Microsoft for Active Directory.

Now I'm hearing that Novell is going toward Linux. Based on past history, that does not bode well for Linux.

Re:Novell History, for those that forgot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873618)

Clueless. Simply Clueless.

Novell had TCP/IP as it's default core protocol well before MS, and supported it as a free option from about 94. No downloading shity Trumpet Winsock. As for LDAP support, I can't even see the relevance. Novells directory supported it as soon as I went looking for it. Certinaly, I got my LDAP workng when my sister companies NT admins were trying to work out what they needed to install (and what a directory was) arond 97.

Not quite. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873644)

I hear that Novell was pushing really hard for IPX/SPX to be the protocol for the internet, which was silly and impossible because it's a broadcast protocol.
No. They were pushing for IPX to IP gateways/proxy servers so that a local network could run IPX (far less configuration than TCP/IP back then) and still access Internet services, securely. Don't forget that back then people were still selling 3rd party TCP/IP stacks.
Then they put off implementing TCP/IP for a million years, while the internet (and networks connected to it) were taking off on TCP/IP.
On the client, it wasn't very difficult to run IPX and TCP/IP. What they did not do was offer their NetWare file system access via TCP/IP until the 5.x series.
I also hear that Novell put a lot of work into Directory Access Protocol (DAP) for network management databases.
In a way. They focused on using the X.500 standard for their NDS product.
DAP grew and grew and was too bulky to be popularly used.
No. X.500 was designed to handle just about everything in the world. Novell implemented a sub-set of it.

The problem was that Novell did that back when most people were still on NetWare 3.12 or using a Windows domain model.

Admin'ing an NDS tree is more work and takes more expertise. Novell failed to sell people on the benefits of a directory service.
Somebody made up Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), which is now used by Microsoft for Active Directory.
LDAP is also a sub-set of the X.500 standard.

Active Directory can talk to LDAP, but it is not LDAP.

NDS can talk to LDAP, but it is not LDAP. Novell even has NLDAP (Novell LDAP) implemented as a server process.

The problems Novell had were:

#1. They made very solid products. There wasn't any reason for small shops to dump NetWare 3.12 and upgrade to 4.x or 5.x or 6.x now.

#2. They VIGOROUSLY defended their licensing revenue. A NetWare server would broadcast it's serial number and if it saw another server using it, it would kick all the users off of it. Meanwhile, anyone could install 1,000 NT servers with a single license number.

#3. Their servers sucked as application servers. But they rocked as file and print servers. But more and more apps were moving to the server.

#4. Novell tried to buy their way into a fight with Microsoft on the desktop with WordPerfect and such.

#5. Today, they are still back in the early 1990's.
5a. Patching GroupWise is more difficult than patching Win2K or
  Debian.
5b. Patching NetWare 6.5 is more difficult ... come on! Debian's solved that problem years ago! Learn from them.
5c. Novell's sales force sucks ass at the small company level. They simply refuse to tell you how to buy their products and even what their products are.
5d. NWAdmin is needed for some admin tasks. Console1 is needed for others. NoRM is needed for yet others.
5e. In order to run some of the BASIC admin utilities, you have to correctly configure NetWare + Apache + Tomcat + Java + LDAP/NLDAP + their stupid Tomcat app + SSL (and I may have left out a sub-system or two). What fucking moron thought that THAT would be a good idea? And the fucking app doesn't even uninstall cleanly so if you do make a mistake, you have to look up how to remove all the little bits so you can re-install it.
5f. Great. You like webservers and such. But why the fuck does EVERY app have to be run via the web with its own fucking ports?

I can go on and on and on about this. Really. Novell has, today, managed to incorporate EVERY bad idea for the last 20 years from every vendor out there.

Seriously. Grab the latest service pack for NetWare 6.5 and make sure you read the install text. You'll have to dig down to a sub-directory to make sure you install 2 sub-items that are NOT automatically installed when you install the service pack but which are required.

Learn from Debian, Novell. Patching your system should be even EASIER than Windows Update.

Re:Not quite. (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874430)

Active Directory can talk to LDAP, but it is not LDAP.

Very common misconception! LDAP is a protocol. LDAP says nothing of the backend storage mechanism. AD is an LDAP server. Anyone that tells you otherwise is sadly misinfomred. Anything that serves data via the LDAP protocol is a LDAP server.

Re:Not quite. (3, Insightful)

Hasai (131313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874704)

Much as I hate to, I have to agree with just-about everything the parent states, particularly regarding Novell's Marketing department. Nowhere have I seen such incompetence last so long (except perhaps in the White House).

Patching a Novell server is not trivial, topped only by GroupWise patching, which I look upon with dread. And God help you if you left out a package on install and now want to add it to a patched server.

Novell used to have an excellent administration model, where you went to a single program (NWAdmin) to do just about everything that needed to be done. Then Novell jumped onto the Java bandwagon and out stumbled ConsoleOne; the slowest, most bloated nightmare I've ever seen. Then even before all functionality could be ported to C1, here came the web interfaces; the most fragile, most confusing mess on the planet. AND THERE'S STILL STUFF STUCK ON NWADMIN!!! They've gone schizo at Novell, I swear it.

Now there's OES, a cross between NW6 and SLES9. If you've both Netware and Linux expertise in-house, it's a quite attractive server package, but if you've only Linux people, or you're pure Netware, or (most likely) neither, you're lost at sea. To top it off, I have been waiting since the release of OES to see a training package for it. I'm still waiting. I suspect I'll still be waiting for quite some time. Hey, Novell: do you really think I'm going to put a system into production that I have NO TRAINING FOR???

There are only two reasons that I haven't jumped-ship yet: the first is NDS (what those Marketing losers call 'eDirectory'), which makes AD look positively pathetic in comparison; the second is server stability. If those two points go the way of everything else, I'm outta here.

'Nuff said.

Re:Novell History, for those that forgot. (1)

jkuespert (959744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874050)

"I doubt that companies like symantic, nortin, intuit, and AOL will"
That is one of the most uncorroborated comments I have read to date. From where does this prediction come?

Stupid GNOME / Ximian crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872872)

IMHO they put too much stock in Ximian, which is doing almost nothing interesting. Can't even make a decent file selector after all this time. Not enough emphasis on making Linux work well for business. Everyone on the old platform is going to need to switch to something new at SOME point; they should be doing a lot of development in anticipation of the switchover.

Re:Stupid GNOME / Ximian crap (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873935)

You're wrong.

Novell got Evolution, the email and calendaring app, along with the other Ximian technologies. Now Evolution is compatible with Exchange servers, and almost as goog as Outlook... and there is a Win32 port on the go.

Exchange and Outlook are key components for Microsoft, there are lots of places were they're the only reason to keep Windows Servers. If Novell offer an equal, or better replacement, it will be a cash cow almost as goog as Netware was.

IMHO thats an important piece of software that OpenSource lacks... a complete, integrated Email-Calendaring server and clients... And I have tested most of them, including Kolab, OpenXChange, Horde, etc, etc... none is an Exchange killer.

Netware, support hell (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872899)

the decline in NetWare and Open Enterprise sales is plummeting at a much faster rate than their SUSE Linux sales are growing. It seems that the transition is proving to be every bit as difficult as Novell execs originally suspected.

At $DAYJOB, We've had all kinds of trouble since 5.1. The problems are so signifigant that we've gladly paid Novell to send an engineer to look over the problem at $2,000 per day. To date, the suggestions have been... less than hoped for.

The main problem seems to be memory management in versions after 5.1. The problems are so bad that we are actively looking at moving to Microsoft AD, because it's obvious that Novell can no longer support +15,000 users and +30,000 workstations. Indeed, anything over 100,000 objects in a single container are trouble.

Gee, I used to manage four times that with Kerbros, YP, and rsync. For free. With no trouble. But, hey, Unix is "old technology" and needs to be replaced. So says Management, anyway. I still haven't seen the convergent force field heating systems, so I guess I have to heat my dinner the old fashioned way: wood, coal, charcoal, stove or microwave. Fate forfend that I have to use dung chips. They leave such an after taste.

Re:Netware, support hell (2, Informative)

Bradac_55 (729235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872984)

That's what happens when you do not have the foresight or skill to upgrade from
an older version of Netware. I've run large scale Netware 5.5 and 6.0 operations
with 30k+ workstations without needing help from Novel or having "memory
management" issues.

NetAdmin has always made MS AD look like the short bus stepson of the networking
industry. I just can't take anyone serious that says they are looking at MS
products after taking the time to work with and *learn* any of the Unix platforms.

I am actively moving to the Suse platform but it's not because Netware sucks, it's
because it will no longer be supported.

Re:Netware, support hell (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873100)

just tell management that a particular flavor of unix (the one you are using now) is the future and is based on the foundations of the old unix.... while not actually changing anything.

oh yea and if they mention switching to windows stab them in the throat with a rusty spoon

Re:Netware, support hell (1)

Yaruar (125933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873539)

5.1 was probably where novell peaked for me. 4.x was pretty good, and 3.x was so stable that apart from NDS most file servers didn't need an upgrade, but for me 5.1 was where it was at. When it came to file/print servers in any small to huge multi site setups 5.1 was stable, damn easy to administer and it just worked (apart from the initial implimentation of the java based management console, but the less said about that beast the better)

IMO the thing that killed Novell was a combination of two things. Firstly Microsoft stole the march with AD, which was and is still a poor mans implimentation of NDS. And secondly most companies had no logical upgrade path. When you were running a 10,000 user company happily on 4.x or 5.1 with virtually no downtime there was no real need to upgrade. From what i saw 6 added virtually no obvious benefit to the average company which wanted file/print services. There was no inbuild obselecence to the systems and no 2 year enforced upgrade to a syatem that worked better ALA microsoft. I suspect that Netware still has a significent marketshare out there, but people aren't buying the new version every year because they don't have to, therefore novell don't get revenues.

Re:Netware, support hell (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874199)

There was no inbuild obselecence to the systems and no 2 year enforced upgrade
This is one of the sadest commentaries on what makes a succesful software company I have seen in a long time...

Novell Lost In The New Open Source World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872910)

The worthless effort Novell was putting in to dead projects like Mono was the final nail in the coffin. Novell clearly has no idea what their place in the new and booming open source market is.

Why choose SuSE? (3, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872912)

It is not that they have to compete with major OS systems, but there are also a bunch of competing Linux distributions, some of which are completely free and will even offer many goodies for the enterprise customers (the new Ubuntu Dapper for ex.). It is really hard for a linux distribution to stand out. They better have stellar customer support and hope to land some huge contracts with that. They can and will milk the name "Novel" that many recognize from the early 90's but that will only take them so far...

I have tried SuSE, it was nice, polished interface but it just didn't stand out. Now I am addicted to Ubuntu, it is simple, it does what I want and nothing more, kind of like crack cocaine...

Re:Why choose SuSE? (4, Insightful)

Bill Hayden (649193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872962)

... there are also a bunch of competing Linux distributions, some of which are completely free and will even offer many goodies for the enterprise customers (the new Ubuntu Dapper for ex.).
Sorry, but it is wishful thinking to say that even the most forward-thinking enterprise customers will have Ubuntu on their radar. You can't get the time of day in the enterprise without a well-known name and the ability to offer a support contract. Sorry to say, but Redhat and maybe SUSE are the only ones with a foot in the door.

Re:Why choose SuSE? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873220)

Depends what enterprise... If Ubuntu is easy to use, and there will be ways to distribute updates automatically, there will be way to remotely administer machines and other goodies, so I don't see why a company "thinking about" linux/open source won't agree to give it a try. Two years ago nobody has heard of Ubuntu and today it is one of the most popular Linux distributions worldwide. Who knows what might happen in another 2-3 years... I have used all 3: Redhat, SuSE and Ubuntu and I find that Ubuntu works best for me at home (scientific computing, some database manipulation + other regualar stuff like browsing and email stuff).

Re:Why choose SuSE? (1)

tulare (244053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873336)

I'd bite, but only if kubuntu were as polished as ubuntu. Sadly (I just tried this last week), it isn't.

"Just use KDE." --Some famous geek-person.

Re:Why choose SuSE? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873733)

The "Support" enterprises buy is largely the ability to blame somebody outside the enterprise.
Ubuntu may be good and easy to maintain, but who can you blame if it blows up in your face.
No manager will want to take that responsiblity.

Re:Why choose SuSE? (1)

anandrajan (86137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873986)

We ended up choosing SUSE all across the board because we wanted a good, stable, KDE desktop, Our evolution was redhat (until version 9) -> Mandrake (until version 9.2) -> SUSE (from 9.1 onward). Mandrake seemed very buggy (in the 9.2 days) which is why we moved to SUSE.

SuSE and Novell (1)

Vskye (9079) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872925)

I've ran SuSE in the past, from the 5.x series and lately 9.3 prior to going with Kubuntu. (I'm a old debian user) The things that impressed me in SuSE is the fact that Yast was soooo much better in 9.3, on the other hand I was turned off by the DRM crap, which getting around it was easy enough, but still a PITA. Novell's web site is also a nightmare, still about as friendly as in the early 90's. (hint here Novell, fix it!)

I also never see advertising for *anything* Novell anymore. Humm.

Re:SuSE and Novell (1)

God of Lemmings (455435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873807)

I concur, I haven't seen any form of advertising coming out of Novell in years....
Come on Novell! Learn how to advertise, You can't afford not to.

Re:SuSE and Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14874127)

YaST is precisely one of the reasons SuSE has not been more commercial. As pretty as it is, it's really an undocumented collection of insonsistently written interfaces under the hood, and it breaks things very badly. For example, its chroot handling for BIND and DHCP is a bad joke: you do not intermingle the contents of a chroot tree with the directory it's copying the files from, and you do not make the system files symlinks *out* of a chroot tree. You move the files and make the symlinks *into* the tree. The autoyast tool can't look at update locations and base repositories at the same time, so solving dependencies for new features can accidentally revert core packages and break your system.

The insistence on re-arraning configuration files in ways that software authors never dreamed of makes the systems unstable if you try to upgrade to a new version of the software, such as the insistence of filling the kernel SRPM's with tarballs of bundled patches instead and managing those with a shell script run by the .SPEC file, instead of actually putting them in the .SPEC file and as separate patches like any sane system. Their factoring of their packages is very bad, and the cutesy little tricks they play with their SRPM's making them rely on packages that are not part of the distribution but exist only in their build environment make development quite hard. Coupled with the fact that autoyast demands a user at the console to do updates, and you get the sorts of reasons I got a 500 machine site to throw it the heck out and switch directly to CentOS.

And don't get me started on the NVidia driver craziness: do *not* weld shell-script installed packages into an RPM manager, because they're distinct beasts and will step on each other.

YaST is where Linuxconf from RedHat was 4 years ago: you many notice that RedHat dumped it and now makes smaller, more modular, and consistently good configuration tools that are much smaller and easier to modify for new features. If you need to admin a SuSE box, install http://www.webmin.com/ [webmin.com] and http://fou4s.gaugusch.at/ [gaugusch.at] for package management and you'll have a much more usable system. If you want more up-to-date or non-DRM crippled tools, go to http://packman.links2linux.de/ [links2linux.de] .

Ah, Netware... (3, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872930)

I had plenty of experience with Netware up to 3.12 and in the 199?-1995 timeframe, it was, for a lot of people, the only place where they could store their stuff, the only option being a floppy. At my university, an IBM PS/2 Model 95 running NW with the Mac storage option (whatever it was called) with TCP/IP as well as IPX serviced a hundred and fifty machines, a mix of PCs and 80s and early 90s Macs. NW also handled all the printers (5 or so) and even a couple of early model plotters (if I recall, Lotus 123 1a would only print the graphs to plotters, but I may be wrong about that).

Good times.

It seems that, more than any other OS, Netware is something whose time has clearly passed; everything Netware provided is now available on the user's desktop, regardless of what it boots to. If I remember correctly, NW has been expanded to also be an application server platform for databases, web servers (I believe Apache can run on it), but it seems that it's a more radical configuration than the most offbeat Unix platform. A friend of mine described programming NLMs as nothing like he'd ever done, and nothing he'd ever like to do again.

Novell Should make his own PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872963)

They should start selling their own PC with Suse Novell Preinstalled like Apple does. It will be a good way to attract home users and make some money.

netware is no good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14872986)

netware is vastly inferior to Active Directory, people are realizing this and moving on en masse. It's about time if you ask me.

Re:netware is no good (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873697)

I disagree. AD is simply painted up better. AD is a direct rip-off of NDS and frankly NDS replicates better.

Re:netware is no good (1)

jkuespert (959744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874095)

Lets get our technical facts straight here. AD is not a "rip off" of NDS; both NDS and AD are proprietary implementations of the same open protocol. Along this line of reasoning, it follows that NDS is a "rip-off" of Vines ...

Active Directory kinda sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14874100)

Companies who have invested big in MS's domain model are spending millions of dollars and year to convert to AD. It is a huge money pit for almost no gain for MS users.

It essentially forces you to upgrade all your latest servers to Windows 2003 just for things to *work*.

No wonder when Novell doesn't ... (4, Interesting)

wysiwia (932559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14872987)

tackle the most important Linux problems. The OSDL Linux desktop survey (http://www.osdl.org/dtl/DTL_Survey_Report_Nov2005 .pdf [osdl.org] ) clearly lists Application support as the first top inhibitor to Linux adoption and Novell's own Cool-Solutions web site (http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/16798 .html [novell.com] ) shows that Quickbooks is the most wanted Linux application. So why doesn't Novell sponsor a real OpenSource alternative?

No I don't mean to sponsor GnuCash, I mean to build up a cross-platform solution which is able to compete against Quickbooks on all platform (including Windows). I guess it doesn't need more that just a few developers to create an alternative within halve a year and within a year Quickbooks will notice its business diminish. Well lets see then how all the others Windows-Only vendors will react when they see what happened to Quickbooks.

I'm quite sure these few developers have a much more important impact on the success of Linux that dropping another fifty developers into Suse. It will even be better for Suse if these few developers are taken temporarily away from it.

The way to success is quite easy when you follow a few rules:

- don't have unsolvable obstacles
- don't have killer arguments against you
- don't have inhibitors
- do have something valuable the others don't have
- look at our products with the eyes of your customers or users
- ...

O. Wyss

Re:No wonder when Novell doesn't ... (1)

John Hurliman (152784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873432)

The solution to supporting Quickbooks is not an OSS alternative to it, at least today. Quickbooks has mostly evolved in to a subscription plan software, where you pay annual fees for new versions as the old versions go unsupported very quickly, payroll and tax information updates, support calls, etc. Companies invest a lot of time in to getting everything working in Quickbooks, purchasing or developing add-ons specific to their industry or company, and pouring sunk costs in to the subscription plan. The value of software is not your userbase, but the cost to your userbase to switch to a competitor.

There are several competitors to Quickbooks out there, but due to successful advertising and fear of using a lesser known piece of software (will my accountant be familiar with it? will data entry clerks have more trouble using it?) has given Intuit a good chunk of the market, even though I wouldn't say it's technically superior to the competitors in any aspect.

Re:No wonder when Novell doesn't ... (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873719)

No I don't mean to sponsor GnuCash, I mean to build up a cross-platform solution which is able to compete against Quickbooks on all platform (including Windows)

If Novell were to put significant development resources behind GnuCash, it certainly could be runnable and usable and competitive on Linux, OSX, and Windows. Why start from scratch?

Occam's Razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873002)

Hey, if you are going to gut your network, you may as well just implement Active Directory.

Since the majority of organizations already have a Windows network going anyhow, they can just reap the numerous benefits AD gives them in terms of managing their desktops. It's Occam's Razor.

What does Netware do better? Umm... printing... and... um... it does... um... printing really good too. Oh, and did I say printing?

Pricing is everything (tech better be good, too) (1)

tulare (244053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873054)

Right now, Netware simply costs too freaking much IMO. Yes, other things are also spendy, but when I'm looking for directory services, which I currently am, here are the figures I'm faced with:
  1. Netware: About 40 bucks per user
  2. MS AD: About 10 bucks per user
  3. Fedora Directory Server: About zilch.
No matter which way you cut it, I'm going to have to put in a boatload of time refactoring a painted-in-the-corner directory model with about 1400 users and 500 devices in this K12 school district. Add to that the insanity of Netware requiring Windows volumes to be FAT32 formatted (this might be out of date - if so I expect the LARTs to rain down appropriately), I just don't see any chance of going with Netware. It's a real pity, too: I actually think SuSE is an excellent desktop distribution, and deploy it here for LTSP solutions and for my own personal desktop. I imagine SuSE would probably play pretty nicely in an OES environment. But it's too much coin, and the tech just sucks at this point as far as I can see, and we ain't got no money.

So I'm stuck trying to decide between Active Directory and FDS. Wait - no I'm not ;-)

Re:Pricing is everything (tech better be good, too (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873893)

Isn't there an additional cost per-seat for the MS Windows CAL?

We did a comparison about a year and a half ago, and the MS licenses (for comparable Novell services) were cheaper - but not by much. It was something like a nine year return on investment (which your finance person would tell you is not worth it).

Of course, what you really want is what the directory gets you: if all you need is login name + password, then it doesn't make sense to pay a lot per seat. If you need more, then it may be worth the money. For example, adding ZENworks gives you the ability to remote-control the desktop, and even re-image the desktop, all from eDirectory. Spending money on Ghost?, Hassling with getting your users to provide you with their IP address (which on a locked down machine means more work on your end) for remote control? It all costs money.

Rather like Metcalf's law, the value of a directory increases with the extended services it enables.

FWIW, eDirectory 8.8 on Windows does now requires NTFS. ... you can install eDirectory only on an NTFS partition. [novell.com] I don't know when that change was made.

Re:TCO is everything (tech's not important) (1, Funny)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874241)

Why do you people keep insisting on looking at license costs!?
Ten bucks, forty bucks who cares?... c'mon! Clearly you only want to look at TCO, and I have several reports handy here ...err, somewhere, I'll find them - - and they all show that Microsoft has the lowest TCO!

TCO!

TCO!

...now go buy some Windows servers! Quick!

Re:TCO is everything (tech's not important) (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874749)

I guess either me or the mods funny filter is off... maybe it was me.

Re:Pricing is everything (tech better be good, too (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874150)

You are comparing different products. eDirectory has a list price of $0.50 per user. Thats right, 50 cents. eDir will run on just about anything, and doesn't need Netware.

Re:Pricing is everything (tech better be good, too (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874580)

Fedora Directory Server: About zilch.

That's absolutely false! The quote my company recently received was around $10,000+ for starters. That's a far cry from "zilch"! Given the size of the company it was to support, that price will place it as the most expensive option, on a per user basis! Your definition of "zilch" must be different from everyone else's.

Ximian leadership a huge liability (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873061)

The leadership of Ximian that seems to have taken over the Linux direction is an incredible liability for Novell and SuSE. Ximian was a company and a group that could never deliver a polished product that people would actually use. They really saw Novell as a platform for their own egos, and not really a platform actually to serve people, customers, and community.

SuSE was an amazing product and one of the best examples of a fully integrated GUI experience for Linux, where you didn't have to use the command line to use the system. It had polish, and clarity in what it was trying to be.

Compare that to all this Novell Desktop, SuSE branding confusion, coupled with triple alpha software like Beagle, and horrendous monstrosities like .MONO, and you can see why people are not eager to jump on the Novell Linux bandwagon. What is their main leadership qualification?

Re:Ximian leadership a huge liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873088)

Agree.

Ximian and MONO clearly indicate something is terribly wrong with Novell's grasp of the Linux/opensource market.

Re:Ximian leadership a huge liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873673)

Which ever way you want to look at it, Mono is a pending disaster for somebody.

Re:Ximian leadership a huge liability (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873721)

I agree. Buy betting on Ximian and Mono, Novell essentially decided Gnome would be the platform. Whether your Gnome or KDE inclined, you have to admit dumping KDE when that's SuSE's base was a bad idea. "Hey! I have a great idea! Let's move to another GUI platform and alienate the one set of users that bring the most to the table on SuSE!?" As for Ximian and Mono, Novell was betting on enterprise apps there. Ximian was to provide a polished look and feel and Mono would bring .Net to Linux. They forgot one key factor, no one but Miguel loves Mono. (BTW, aren't we due for another Miguel interview to pop up somewhere?)

Apples and Oranges.... (5, Insightful)

soren42 (700305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873071)

Novell is no doubt more than aware that comparing NetWare to Linux is an unfair comparison, just as comparing earnings from this point last year is. Let's take a quick rundown of some differences:

NetWare vs. Linux:
  • NetWare is typically licensed per-user, Linux per-server - this is a HUGE difference! For a large enterprise for, let's say 100,000 NetWare users, Novell was licensing annually on a per-user basis. This could come out to millions of dollars if they even charged $10-$20/user (approximately the list price based on 50-100 user bundles). SUSE Linux, on the other hand, is no doubt licensed per-server. That same enterprise can probably support those same users with far fewer servers - let's use an estimate of 2000. Even at the list price of $899 for up to 16 CPUs, that is still a huge shortfall. So, it a significantly different pricing model.
  • NetWare was entirely developed in-house - alright, so it was based on DOS, but for all intensive purposes, Novell had a captive developer community, entirely controlled product direction, cost, support, and other factors. With Linux, Novell has managed to trade some of the cost of development for total control of the product - but they still must support and maintain all those users still running NetWare 3(good heavens!), 4, 5, and 6. So, they need almost twice the support staff, and we already discussed the falling revenue. Plus, they still support and patch some versions of NetWare 6, so they are some developers still committed to NetWare.
  • The dynamics of their community has changed - in the 90's, the certification to have was the CNE. It meant something. Novell had a huge community of resellers, developers, support engineers, and other partners - essentially under their thumb. Now, they have to compete as just another Linux vendor. Why be just a Novell partner when I can partner with Red Hat, IBM, HP, and everyone else? Why get a Novell CLP9 or CLE9 certification, when I can get the more recognized LPI certification - or (worse, from their perspective) an RHCE certification?
  • Their customers' path away has not been Linux - it's been Windows - Novell has been steadily losing file and print customers for years to Microsoft. No offense, people, but face it: most former NetWare admins moved on to WinNT and Win2K years ago. Very few moved on to UNIX or Linux - there are certainly some, but most people that identified themselves as CNE's moved on to be MSCE's, not RHCE's. The problem is, customers are still moving en masse to Windows, and the Linux strategy from Novell has not prevented that.

Okay - I've beat up the Linux/NetWare differences enough, but what about the business differences, and their impact on earnings?
  • One year ago, the Microsoft settlement boosted earnings - if you don't get this one, RTFA. The MS settlement was a nice temporary earnings boost, but Novell knew that. Why the market glossed over it still amazes me, but then, it's the sort of thing tech investors tend to do.
  • Novell has matured in the past year - I know there's been a lot of negative press about the leadership changes and departures at Novell - especially here at Slashdot, but let me tell you - this is what a company undergoing a major merger integration needs. Especially one changing it's fundamental vision and product focus. Some of the losses were unfortunate - Chris Stone, for example. Some just underscored the growing pains of a company merging several cultures at once - open source and proprietary, US and Germany, GNOME and KDE - too many for all the chiefs to stay and agree. However, IMHO, the current leadership and vision at Novell is remarkable. Novell has done a superb job of selecting the best and brightest from their talent pool to lead the company, and their corporate vision and strategy demonstrate that.
  • Novell has strived to maintain product continuity - even at the expense of earnings. Doesn't it seem obvious to everyone at Novell that NetWare customers are leaving in droves? Of course it does! And what have they done? Focused energy on creating a drop-in replacement solution for current NetWare customers, Open Enterprise Server. They could (and some would argue should) have left their current NetWare customers in the dust and re-purposed exclusively on Linux. Novell, however, has shown time and again that doing the right thing for the customer is more important than short-term gain. And, that is what will keep and earn Novell customers in the future. In fact, I've even heard rumors of an ingenious solution for current NetWare customers to maintain existing environments indefinitely - that's commitment to a product line!

So, someone posting before commented that Novell was naive to assume that current NetWare customers would be interested in Linux, as a quid pro quo. And they're right - I don't think Novell is making that assumption. I think Novell is making a damn fine effort of becoming a successful company selling open source and open standard-based software solutions. It is certainly not easy or smooth; it is certainly not without financial risk. However, I would argue that anyone looking at Novell today - a customer, partner, investor, or otherwise - would be foolish to view a short-term bump in the road as a long-term problem. Novell will pull through this lull with a steadfast focus on customer support and commitment to open technologies.

(Let me point out that I am certainly a Novell supporter, though only recently - since the Ximian/SUSE acquisition, in fact. I am not now, nor have I ever been a Novell, Ximian, or SUSE employee or shareholder.)

English Nazi Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14873177)

NetWare was entirely developed in-house - alright, so it was based on DOS, but for all intensive purposes, Novell had a captive developer community, entirely controlled product direction, cost, support, and other factors.

Ahem, do you mean intents and purposes? I grimace every time I see such bastardization of the English language.

Re:Apples and Oranges.... (1)

jadel (746203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873388)

NetWare was *the* file and print server for a very long time, however I think they have made a few dodgy technical decisions in recent years - We currently use no less than *three* different administration programs - but the killer is patch management. So man patches break underlying functionality that finding a stable patchlevel is so difficult that any kind of upgrade is done with only the upmost trepidation.
Believe me I'm talking from painful experience here....

Re:Apples and Oranges.... (1)

Kirth (183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873677)

Their customers' path away has not been Linux - it's been Windows

Right. And that's exactly why I think Novells path with Linux is the right one -- because meddling with Microsoft will kill you, and it nearly killed Novell.

You may offer (print- and fileserver) solutions for Windows-clients for years, but in the end, Microsoft will offer those itself, and then you've lost. The same applies just about to anything. Either your company gets killed, or bought by Microsoft. There is no future in the Microsoft-market.

Re:Apples and Oranges.... (1)

dan the person (93490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873715)

alright, so it was based on DOS

It wasn't based on DOS! It used DOS as a bootloader. There was a security option to unload DOS when you started netware.

I wouldn't count out Novell (2, Interesting)

JRGhaddar (448765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873209)

Novell seems to be making deals with SuSE.

Swiss Government [eweek.com]
Novell is leading linux in china [softpedia.com]

I mean come on I don't think the Swiss Gov't is going to pick a company that doesn't know what they are doing.

Redhat is a great example of how a linux company can be successful. Novell is backed by IBM, and has partnerships all over the place like Redhat. I think Novell is going to surprise a lot of people.

Hey even their old CEO is now the CEO of Google. [google.com] They have too many ties to too many power players for them not to be a success.

Huh? (2, Insightful)

dtietze (708094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873291)

Say what? The decline is plummeting? If the decline is plummeting - does that mean that sales are increasing? Is this a posh double negative?

Dan.
Remember - Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

Re:Huh? (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873597)

Literally interpreted, it would mean that they have a large second derivative. That means that the first derivative will become greater than zero on a long enough time frame and it will increase, but maybe not now.

IBM and Novell (2, Interesting)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873332)

Novell isnt alone with SuSe.

IBM is buying a lot from Novell, and not from redhat.

For example. Novell has this tiny distributions for Point Of Sale Hardware, called Novell SuSe Linux Point of Sal NSLPOS or NLSpos, it depends how you order the words.

IBM has a HUGE hardware POS, and they build IRES, IBM Retail Enterprise Solution on TOP of Novell`s NLSPOS

Also, Novell has support for the brand new OpenPower, Xseries and so on, also redhat, but the difference, is that, Redhat charges you by instance, and Novell charges you by hardware, and since IBM is preaching the "consolidate on big hardware using LPAR (hardware virtualization) on their machines, Novell offers a much more "from the book to the TCO financial benefits...

So I really think that Novell will survive and will have a huge market, more market than RedHat, they are not so cocky about them self as RedHat, Novell wants money, not fame...

Redhat, seems to seek for fame... and money...

Re:IBM and Novell (3, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874216)

"IBM is buying a lot from Novell, and not from redhat."

You're joking, right? This statement alone disqualifies whatever else you have to say, because it's obvious YOU HAVE NO CLUE. Red Hat and IBM have a close partnership. IBM constantly plays it up whenever they come with the sales pitches. You can get RHEL on practically anything IBM sells. You're going to have to quantify your statement with hard facts before anyone believes it. You can do that, right?

Note that I'm not arguing IBM doesn't have a close relationship with SuSE (Novell, now), too.

"So I really think that Novell will survive and will have a huge market, more market than RedHat, they are not so cocky about them self as RedHat, Novell wants money, not fame..."

That's a laughable assertion. You don't think there are huge egos at Novell? The reason you keep hearing about Red Hat on Slashdot is that they're continually giving to the community. Aiglx, GFS, scheduler enhancements, gcc development, etc. - if Red Hat gets fame and ego boosts like that, they're A-OK in my book. The folks at Novell are starting to realize this - which is why you're seeing them open-source more and more stuff, and backpedal somewhat on their "hybrid open-source proprietary" philosophy they were pitching shortly after the merger (it didn't win them many friends).[1]

You obviously have some rather pre-conceived notions about Red Hat and Novell. Sorry if the facts get in the way.

I think SuSE is a fine distro, but Novell is flailing about to a large extent with regards to how to evolve itself. They'll probably survive, but it's going to be painful.

-Erwos

[1] I received several sales pitches from them.

They lack vison (2, Insightful)

alonso (63617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14873498)

I think that they lack in house vision, and they have lost the Suse visionary.
I was a big fun of suse, and I now use opensuse, but the messages that novell sends are confusing. Whitch is the main desktop platform kde, gnome or both?
They have switched the engine of yast (dependencies resolver) to the engine of
redcarpet in beta 5 of opensuse 10.1. I think that there are other examples....
And they have problem in working with community see Xgl vs Xegl or AppArmor vs SeLinux, I haven't the technical skill to decide which solution is the best but these project have no community involvement, in contrary RedHat do everything with community in mind.... and Red Hat is very successful.

P.S.
I know my english is not percet :)

what do you expect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14874093)

What do you expect from a company which had to abandon their own technology (the netware kernel). I just hope they don't do to suse what they did to every other piece of technology they acquired (remenber wordperfect)...

Our novell infrastructure is no where near as stable as our redhat and Windows infrastructures which run comparable services.

Give them Groupwise! (3, Interesting)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874148)

I have a co-worker who recently went to a Novell/Suse training class, and from what he tells me they were very good at drinking the Kool-Aid. Lots of talk in terms of not "if" but "when you switch your entire company to Suse Desktop", you should have all your servers upgraded within the year, that kind of stuff. Look, I know Novell has to be behind their stuff, but I doubt there are very many companies out there who can just have all their servers upgraded in that kind of time frame, let alone totally drop Windows on the desktop.

Besides, Novell's immediate problem is not getting Suse out there to it's customers. It's coming, we know it, and even if we don't like it we're going to move there eventually. Novell's big problem is losing current Netware/GW customers, and attracting new ones.

Open source Groupwise. It seems so obvious to me I can't believe Novell isn't doing this, they're pretty much in the process of abandoning GW anyway. Linux is desperate for a full-featured, one-stop Groupware product. How many Suse servers would you sell if open source GW was out there? How many current Netware customers would you save from switching over to Exchange?

Re:Give them Groupwise! (1)

beep999 (229889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874775)

Open source Groupwise. It seems so obvious to me I can't believe Novell isn't doing this, they're pretty much in the process of abandoning GW anyway.

Are you crazy? What evidence do you have that Novell is actually abandoning Groupwise? Groupwise has over 35 million users, the vast majority running the latest 2 versions (6.5 and 7.0). Even Exchange's installed base consists of a lot unupgraded older versions.

Groupwise is currently the 3rd largest enterprise groupware system out there (Exchange=1, Lotus=2), but Lotus Notes is seeing very few new installs so it probably won't be long until Groupwise is solidly in the number 2 spot. I know first hand that Groupwise is one of the most heavily pushed Novell products by their sales force and they just came out with a greatly enhanced new version. That doesn't sound like a product being abandoned to me...

Frightening (2, Interesting)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14874654)

The financial figures are frightening. Novell booked $274.4 m in revenue, of which around $56 m was from open source products, of which around $13 m was pure Linux (the rest was Netware OES), of which only $10 m was from SuSE Linux ( a 22 per cent improvement). The article then quoted an analyst who said that Red Hat's Linux growth was twice as large and their revenue from Linux was five times larger.

Put it another way, a couple of years into their Linux story, Novell is turning over around $1 billion of which pure Linux contributes around $50 m, and much of the rest is declining legacy stuff. This is a drop in the ocean, and all the harder when Red Hat appear to be creaming Novell at the sharp end.

$50 m compared to $1 billion. I don't know how Novell is going to get out of this one, but talking about changes to SuSE or Ximian or yet more sugar-daddy spending on open source projects is like the Titanic and deckchairs. It's very hard to see Novell avoiding a break up.
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