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Novell Still Runs Windows

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the slow-going dept.


daria42 writes "Despite Novell's internal migration to Suse and, the company admitted today that up to 3000 of its 5000 workers still had dual-boot installations with Microsoft Windows. These users are likely to be migrated to pure Linux boot systems in the next year or so." From the article: "Hovsepian's remarks indicate Novell will have at most a few months' experience as a complete Linux and open source desktop shop behind it when, according to the vendor's predictions, the software starts taking off in the mainstream." Update: 04/11 13:25 GMT by J : At the closing OSCON session, August 5, 2005, Miguel de Icaza talked about Novell's progress. My notes read: "novell's moving 5500 employees from windows to linux. first stage, office->openoffice, is complete. second stage, windows->linux, is 50% complete, proj. 80% by Nov."

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fisrt prost (-1, Offtopic)

bmgz (849666) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104866)

fisrt prost!!!!!!!!!

Re:fisrt prost (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104868)

and still not laid...

Re:fisrt prost (0, Offtopic)

bmgz (849666) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104950)

you jus jealous cos I got fist ports!

Re:fisrt prost (-1, Offtopic)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104999)

And YOU are just jealous because I got to fist Proust.

(there's nothing like a night of absinthe decades and decades ago with a crazy Frenchman)

I'll tell you why: The high cost of training (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104869)

Linux is *not* user friendly, and until it is linux will stay with >1% marketshare.

Take installation. Linux zealots are now saying "oh installing is so easy, just do apt-get install package or emerge package": Yes, because typing in "apt-get" or "emerge" makes so much more sense to new users than double-clicking an icon that says "setup".

Linux zealots are far too forgiving when judging the difficultly of Linux configuration issues and far too harsh when judging the difficulty of Windows configuration issues. Example comments:

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Linux?"
Zealot: "Oh that's easy! If you have Redhat, you have to download quake_3_rh_8_i686_010203_glibc.bin, then do chmod +x on the file. Then you have to su to root, make sure you type export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 but ONLY if you have that latest libc6 installed. If you don't, don't set that environment variable or the installer will dump core. Before you run the installer, make sure you have the GL drivers for X installed. Get them at [some obscure web address], chmod +x the binary, then run it, but make sure you have at least 10MB free in /tmp or the installer will dump core. After the installer is done, edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and add a section called "GL" and put "driver nv" in it. Make sure you have the latest version of X and Linux kernel 2.6 or else X will segfault when you start. OK, run the Quake 3 installer and make sure you set the proper group and setuid permissions on quake3.bin. If you want sound, look here [link to another obscure web site], which is a short HOWTO on how to get sound in Quake 3. That's all there is to it!"

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Windows?"
Zealot: "Oh God, I had to install Quake 3 in Windoze for some lamer friend of mine! God, what a fucking mess! I put in the CD and it took about 3 minutes to copy everything, and then I had to reboot the fucking computer! Jesus Christ! What a retarded operating system!"

So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that what seems easy and natural to Linux geeks is definitely not what regular people consider easy and natural. Hence, the preference towards Windows.

Re:I'll tell you why: The high cost of training (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104908)

I agree. It's why I gave up on linux.

The high cost of continous stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104917)

as a windows user, you sure make the right choice of linux. redhat.
so, I did redhat once. Never again. I did windows long time ago. Not going back.
my personal opinion, redhat is as retarded as windows. when you have hundreds of linuxes to choose from not to mention all nice *BSD's...

Re:I'll tell you why: The high cost of training (1, Interesting)

wurd (767411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104935)

i'd generally agree, but this should be less relevant in a business setting (it's a safe bet that those 3000 people are sticking with windows for quake 3). like they said in the article, things like porting macros from MS office probably aren't worth the immediate effort. along with that, any office i've worked in would be stuck with a bunch of legacy MS Access databases that would have to be converted too, and as far as I know there wouldn't be any easy way to handle reports or forms from Access using open source tools.

The training myth (2, Insightful)

meosborne (8640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105135)

The oft-hyped training issue is a complete myth in my experience.

My parents (age 70+) are happily running Fedora Core 5. training was neglible. They e-mail, surf, and play games with no problems at all.

My present company is completely linux-based using thin-clients. Training issues? None, nada. Complaints? None, nada. No issues teaching people to use Linux, no issues teaching people to use, or Gaim, or Evolution, or any of the other applications we use.

We are a medical facility. Our staff are trained to treat patients and are by no means computer people. They just want the computer to work so that they can get their jobs done. And you know what? That's exactly what it does.

Linux is not perfect, but neither is Windows. Each is better at some things than the other. Your comments are simply ignorant.

Re:I'll tell you why: The high cost of training (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105307)

I dunno. 'URPMI' seems far easier to me than finding, downloading, executing and specifying paramaters, which is easier again than convincing myself to part with the money for the latest MS Office.

When i made the move over to Linux i wasn't at all a 'Linux Geek' (i still don't think i really am, aside from liking the CL), but maybe that's why i don't see these 'obvious' pitfalls. I switched because my Windows CD was scratched, and it occurred to me that it would be easier to download a Linux one than a new Windows one.
Since then, i've used my PC for exactly what i used it for when i had windows, and i've had no problems installing anything. 'course, i don't try to upgrade the kernel, port software or hack software. I do web-browsing, instant messaging, e-mails and word processing.
I also write HTML and Fortran, which, with Kate and GCC, is far easier and cheaper than anything i found in Windows, but i didn't look too hard in windows (they came bundled with Linux).

Zenworks or what? (0, Troll)

mrak_attack (928476) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104873)

I always wonder how you should manage the office of Linux computers without AD and policies.

Re:Zenworks or what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104898)

Just use LDAP, or even NIS.

Re:Zenworks or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105117)

I fucking hate that response whenever anyone mentions AD. Just use LDAP for what exactly? It's just a directory service. You don't get any managment tools[1], no centralised management, replication is a bitch to set up properly[2], you get very few objects that are useful (No "Computer" object exists in the standard LDAP schema, for example), no pre-configured OU, and last but not least, you get no integration. The best you can do is to maintain all of the information manually and configure PAM to authenticate against your LDAP server. Big whoop; you're still only about 50% of the way to doing what AD can do. If you begin to try and add things like single sign on with Kerberos and then get it to work seamlessly with it all..good luck.

[1]: I am aware of things like Fedora Directory Server and the tools that come with it. It's about the most basic managment interface possible.
[2]: It might always be easy with ADS either, mind you.

Re:Zenworks or what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104972)

When I was in High School, we just used NIS (and NFS-mounted home directories). When the school decided to "upgrade" (after receiving a contract with Dell) to new WinXP/AD boxes, we actually had an easier time "breaking the rules." The complex system of policies was easily circumvented, although this was all moot since a virus (which, as of my graduation, was still not completely resolved) knocked it all down anyway.

Re:Zenworks or what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104975)

*nix has been managable across a network longer than Windows has even known what a network is. *nix was designed with the network in mind...

Re:Zenworks or what? (1)

Black Copter Control (464012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105679)

MS weenies complaining about Unix/Linux not having network admin support are kinda like the way that they 'complained' back in the '80s that Unix didn't have an IDE.

Unix geeks would cross their eyes, scratch their head and wander away mumbling about "what do you need that Windows crap for anyways?" I mean, Unix is an IDE. Most of the Windows IDEs back then were little more than a limited-environment port of some subset of the standard UNIX development tools.

I've had 'login anywhere' Unix experience since the '80s and cross-platform login support in the early '90's (IBM's AIX was the worst back then for cross-platform admin work).

Re:Zenworks or what? (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105108)

What are you talking about? You can do the same things with LDAP and/or Kerberos. For
you old-schoolers out there, NIS and a carefully structured environment will give you most
of the same advantages.

If you serve all your binaries over the network (nfs, snfs, sshfs, afs, etc) and do the same
with home directories and shared data directories, then managing an office of Linux machines
is an absolute breeze. All you've got to do is make sure each machine boots and knows where to
get authentication information (LDAP, NIS, Kerberos). Add netbooting, and you only have to
worry about having a boot image for each hardware set.

Now, if you're talking about an office of Linux computers where each user has root access to
his machine and is allowed to do whatever, well, then it's pretty much like running an
office of Windows machines with no AD and policies in place.

Re:Zenworks or what? (1)

Glamdrlng (654792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105218)

Zenworks for desktop management + red carpet for patch management.

Re:Zenworks or what? (1)

Kennon (683628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105501)

Zen 7 does a fine job of managing Linux desktops and Servers.

Re:Zenworks or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105714)

For windows, Zenworks Sucks -

Re:Zenworks or what? (2, Informative)

ezs (444264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105597)

AD and policies - hahaha.

Novell uses Novell ZENworks Linux Management internally to provide updates and patches to servers and desktops running Linux. ement [] for details.

Not to be dense or anything (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104875)

Re:Not to be dense or anything (3, Insightful)

metricmusic (766303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104907)

Novell's shift from Windows and Office to open source software was first begun in March 2004, while microsoft's honey pot was only released on the 3rd of this year?

die already (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104881)

can't Novell die yet?

Obvious? (4, Informative)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104887)

Since a fair wodge of Novell's money comes from selling Windows software, I comfortably predict that this won't happen any time soon.

Re:Obvious? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105107)

Evidence, please? As an investor in their stock I've looked at their financial statements and I have their annual report on my desk here. Yet I only see them lowering sales of software for Windows.

Also, why are a few thousand desktops needed to develop and test Windows software for a primarily Linux company? They would only need a small subset of that.

Re:Obvious? (1)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105414)

...a fair wodge of Novell's money comes from selling Windows software... ...I only see them lowering sales of software for Windows...

These two statements are not incompatible. The fact that Novell is suffering a death of a thousand cuts at the hands of Active Directory doesn't make it any less true that Novell makes not insignificant sums from an albeit-dwindling Windowsish installed base.

Re:Obvious? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105528)

Dying because of Active Directory? What is this, 1992? You need to read their business plans and marketing strategies. Directory services are only one drop in a big bucket.

Re:Obvious? (3, Insightful)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105191)

Since a fair wodge of Novell's money comes from selling Windows software, I comfortably predict that this won't happen any time soon.

Since Novell has a fair wodge of business savvy, I agree. The Windows licenses are sunk costs and removing Windows completely would only add more cost to that, with no measurable benefit. So long as the Windows partitions don't get in the way of doing work, it would be a bad business decision to get rid of them.

TFA is pure FUD. It might be useful to know how many Novell employees still mostly use Windows, but there is no value in knowing how many have dual boot capability.

Oh wait... a lot of businesses making the switch to Linux will be dual booting for some time. Looks like Novell is well positioned to provide them with experienced technical support. I wonder if that is accidental or deliberate <sg>?

Still develops products for windows (1, Insightful)

DataPath (1111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104891)

Windows will probably never completely go away, or at least not for a very long time, since they do still develop products for windows.

Re:Still develops products for windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105711)

That, plus the simple fact is they have already paid for these Windows licenses. I do not think Microsoft is going to refund their money. So, there is not any real big reason to remove the extra capability unless the workstation user wants the extra disk space or to remove the stability/security risk posed by Windows. If I were an enduser at Novell, I would probably keep the extra Windows partition until I got my next hardware/machine upgrade. Even then, they should probably have some machines they can VNC into for testing purposes.

Jokes (-1, Offtopic)

Ramble (940291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104896)

Just you wait until people are changing permissions and emerge -u world'ing their collegues computers.

Windows? Duh! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104897)

I work for Novell, and of course I have a windows machine. I develop software that has to run on Linux, OS X and Windows. All of our developers are in the same boat. If they don't have Windows code, they have NetWare code that needs to be built on Windows. Very few developers don't have code that needs a Win32 box either for development or for testing.

But ask me what machine I use to read my email, surf the web, write code, etc. It's my Linux box. And most of the developers on my team are the same way. And Novell as a company has been WAY better than anywhere else I have worked about having every business app I need on Linux supported by the IT department, and I even used to work for a company whose main business was their Linux distro (no, it wasn't SuSE).


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104936)

No kidding. People at Redhat dual boot too for this reason. Development/testing.

Re:Windows? Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104995)

Please tell me that's not true... please tell me you don't develop anything for OSX, really. It's one thing to be moving away from crud like Windows, but moving towards something equally as bad & oppressive in OSX is like jumping out of the frypan into a freezing lake.

Re:Windows? Duh! (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105159)

I as going to say that Novell should keep some Windows systems no matter what. Think about things like Samba or if they want to contribute to OpenOffice they might want a few Windows systems running Office to check compatibility.
Frankly I would love to hear that Novell has a few Solaris systems, a few BSD systems, and maybe even a VMS system or two.
I am all for open standards and supporting as many different OSs and ISAs as is practical.
BTW was the other company you worked for the one that is now unspeakable?

Re:Windows? Duh! (1)

BoaZaur (451593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105313)

But why Double booting? It is such a wast of time and space.
Use crossover for MS-Office, IE and what have you, at the same speed or better than Windows. Use VMWare for anything else that does not run on Wine. But spending a full partition on Windows, and completely booting into Windows?? why?

Re:Windows? Duh! (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105473)

IANAD (I Am Not A Developer) but I have some experience with testing software for desktop use.

To have a truly fair test you need to replicate the exact (or as close as you can get) environment the end user will deal with, so it does little good to test in WINE or VMWare (less so but still) because you can't say conclusively "X will run on a windows box" because you have never done it, even if you are 99.9% sure it will.

And anyway at $.50 a gig or less and drives up to 500GB in size... what is the big deal with 40 or so gigs of windows siting there minding it's own business?

Re:Windows? Duh! (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105678)

Actually, VMWare is nearly ideal for testing because it is trivial to maintain multiple configurations and reset them back to "pristine" or not so pristine (depending on what kind of system you're trying to test) state to test again. Also, it seems to me that a company the size of Novell would have labs for testing. I doubt that the developers' desktops are the final stage of software testing.


Windows - Necessary Evil? (0, Troll)

AMindLost (967567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104900)

Is this proof that regardless how evangelic you are about linux, Windows is still a necessary evil in a commercial desktop environment? Switching to Open Office only gets you so far. After that your choices for replacement software become more and more limited. I think this is fairly obvious and although I'm a huge fan of Linux on servers, I still don't think it's ready for the mainstream desktop market regardless of the never-ending promises that "this is the year". My companies systems are all run on Linux (Debian) but I don't have ONE desktop which I could fully kick windows off.

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104974)

The only reason that Linux isn't viable on the desktop is because Microsoft locks people into their proprietary standards. If you have a bunch of documents in MS Office, or you exchange documents with those who use MS Office, then you can't really get rid of it. You can't expect OO.o to be 100% compatible because they had to reverse engineer the file format, and there's no way to get it right. Microsoft can't even stay compatible with itself across versions, how is OO.o supposed to get it right? Same thing goes for many other things locking people in, like Exchange to name one. The software on Linux is great, and would be a lot better if we didn't have to spend half our time reverse engineering Microsoft's file formats, and implementing proprietary extentsions that Microsoft has wedged into the few standards it chooses to even recognize.

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (1)

vcv (526771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105510)

What the hell does Office "lock-in" have to do with the desktop?

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (4, Insightful)

plazman30 (531348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105020)

Novell is a company that develops Windows products, as well as Linux and Netware. They are ALWAYS going to have Windows workstations there. We have a number of Novell DSEs at our company and they ALL run NLD or Suse 10 on their work laptops, and use Vmware to run Windows as needed.

Other Novell support staff needs Windows boxes around to support customers.

I don't think it's possible for them to be 100% Windows free. Their business demands that they run some Windows boxes.

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (1, Insightful)

Zphbeeblbrox (816582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105090)

Exactly which piece of software can't you live without? You said after OpenOffice the choices were limited but for the life of me I just can't think of a single business app without a linux runnable replacement. Perhaps you work in an unusual environment but I'm just a little curious what these mysterios apps are.

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (4, Insightful)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105246)

Er... mysterious apps? Just because you don't know of any doesn't mean they don't exist. For example:

AutoCAD - yup, very mysterious this...

StruCAD / XSteel - not quite so well known pretty much the only choices for 3D detailing in this industry.

On top of that we've got our CAD/CAM control software, can't see us moving to a Linux version of that. You need dedicated software to run well over £600,000 worth of machinery, taking data from the above packages. Can't see that running on anything but Windows for the forseeable future.

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (0, Flamebait)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105416)

You don't see very far into the future, do you? ;-)

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (1)

AMindLost (967567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105297)

Our accounts runs on Sage Line 50. Our business banking has windows only clients (2 seperate programs). We have an old bespoke export documentation package which uses Lotus approach of all things. Of course we could re-write it in something else but where's the benefit? There are numerous small programs and utilities which, although users could do without them, why should they? For new businesses, Linux on most of the desktops is possibility. For existing businesses, the hassles and costs far out-weigh the benefits.

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105211)


For any mainstream application there are 5 applications of the same type to chose from in any given Linux distro. Most of the software available for Windows are "crap" utilities or program that don't live up to the hype printed on their boxes. If there is an application problem in Linux it is that their are too many applications to chose from...

I'm not knocking Windows though....i'm a Windows Developer. I'm also a avid and experienced Linux user...who always has his FUD radar on...

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (2, Insightful)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105243)

This is only another proof that successful companies don't waste money on removing facilities that are no longer useful but don't get in the way.

An emerging migration strategy from Windows to Linux is

  1. Dual boot
  2. Mothball Windows partitions
  3. Replace desktop hardware with Linux only boxen at end of service life
  4. Maximize profits all the way along

Oh wait... you know that. You're only trolling, right?

[too early-- need more coffee...]

Re:Windows - Necessary Evil? (1)

imikem (767509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105400)

I've just one small suggestion for an edit: Leave out the "Necessary" from the subject line.

Come to think of it, that leaves you with a redundancy: Windows/Evil.

I call bull (-1, Flamebait)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104905)

They aren't migrating anytime soon.

Face facts folks, Linux still isn't ready for the desktop, and Novell, despite their loads of marketing, knows it.

Re:I call bull (2, Insightful)

Rekolitus (899752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104941)

However, Linux is closer to desktop readiness this year than ever before.

Re:I call bull (1)

Jahz (831343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105065)


I call meta (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104993)

Face facts folks, Linux still isn't ready for the desktop, and Novell, despite their loads of marketing, knows it.

If Linux isn't ready for the desktop, there's no such thing as "ready for the desktop". I see absolutely NO criteria of "desktop readiness" that (a)applies to Windows, (b) doesn't apply to Linux and (c) is an attribute solely of the operating system.

Where Linux adopters run into trouble is C. The problem is what economists call "network effects": if you need software X, and provider of X only targets Windows, then you need Windows.

The point of a company like Novell migrating to Linux is to help create a Linux market for X, or its competitor X'. But until X or X' is available on Linux, then you're stuck with dual boot.

What is "desktop ready"? (5, Insightful)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105038)

I find it quite ambiguous when people debate whether Linux is "desktop ready" or not. What does that mean? I have the notion that it means something different to everyone. I've been exclusively running Linux on my desktop for over 3 years, and exclusively on my laptop for over one year. I have a Linux system at my workplace, and so does almost everyone else on my floor. Are there occasionally problems with running Linux on my desktop (including problems related to the fact that I'm not running Windows)? Yes, of course there are. The amount of problems may decrease, but will never be fully eliminated (IMHO). I can usually find a detour or alternative to the problems that I face now though, so its not a huge deal. And I can state for a fact that the amount of time I spend fixing problems with my Linux desktop is much less than the amount of time I used to spend solving similar problems on my former Windows machine.

So I consider Linux is already "desktop ready" for me. I think that for the most part, regular people can do just fine if Ubuntu or another user-friendly distro is completely setup for them and they are given maybe a 30-minute tutorial on how to access the web, e-mail, etc. So who are we talking about here? Who does Linux have to be "ready" for to be called desktop ready? Those idiots that call in to tech support asking which key is the any key? The elderly who don't even know what a mouse is? Or just your normal, average computer user? And if so, who is a normal, aveage computer user anyway?

Sorry for the early morning rant, but this term has been bothering me for quite some time. :p

Re:What is "desktop ready"? (1)

clydemaxwell (935315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105106)

mod parent up
I am also sick of hearing this term when it took me, my mom, my sisters, and so on practically no time getting used to linux. Windows isn't too terribly useful to computer illiterates either!

Re:What is "desktop ready"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105110)

Why, why, why is it still not possible for laptop makers to open up on ACPI drivers so that linux power management can be made to work properly? Yes, Toshiba, I mean you... and probably all the others too.
If I were a little more cynical, I would start imagining that Microsoft were having little conversations with laptop makers, suggesting that keeping ACPI closed (and thereby giving Windows a bit advantage for no good technical reason) is a Good Idea... just another way to slow the advance of a competing ecosystem in the fastest-growing part of the market.

Anyone care to name a maker that has completely open ACPI specs and therefore perfect linux power management? I'd buy one. Or dual-boot a mac :-)

Re:What is "desktop ready"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105497)

While one may like to blame Microsoft for the ACPI fiasco, it's mostly the fault of the manufacturer of the notebook or mainboard, who chose the shortcut to implement just enough to make windows work, and maybe use the Microsoft acpi compiler which is rather sloppy. However, I'd say most of the blame should be laid on Intel for developing a huge, overly compilcated specification which tries to be everything for everyone and making everything optional in the way for those who don't want to implement it, it's not surprising that essentially the only people producing ACPI code for linux are intel engineers.

Re:What is "desktop ready"? (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105347)

I find it quite ambiguous when people debate whether Linux is "desktop ready" or not. What does that mean?

It means that too many people have figured out that "Total Cost of Ownership" is a pile of bullFUD, and it is time for the astroturfers and 'Doze fanbois to move on to some other grand sound bite.

On almost any other topic, this here post would be flamebait. But the topic is Windows vs Linux, so the only thing that this post will generate is maybe some heat and smoke (no bright light of actual flame, no not any more)

Re:What is "desktop ready"? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105493)

I gave up on desktops a couple of years ago, but I am interested in a laptop ready OS. To be 'laptop ready,' it must meet the following requirements:
  1. It must suspend to ram as soon as the lid is closed. (OS X does this, Windows sometimes kind-of does this, although it has a habit of not returning from sleep. Linux has problems power saving the GPU)
  2. It must suspend to disk when the battery has It must have a consistent UI. (OS X more-or-less does this. A couple of GNUstep environments more-or-less do this but have a limited range of apps.)
  3. It must support encrypted swap and an encrypted home directory, since laptops are likely to be stolen. (OS X and OpenBSD both do this. OS X has a nicer UI for setting it up)
  4. It must fully support 3D acceleration, and wireless networking (both WiFi and Bluetooth via a mobile 'phone). (This varies depending on the hardware).
  5. It must have software that replaces all of my existing tools. (Nothing too strenuous, text editing, email/web, diagram drawing).
At the moment, OS X comes closer to being laptop ready (for me) than anything else.

Re:I call bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105346)

What a load of crap! They won't ever be completely Windows free. They develop Windows software. Just because they still have machines configured to dual boot Windows doesn't mean that Linux isn't ready for the desktop it simply mean that they need to compile their Windows applications natively under windows. Once they migrate their Windows code base to a .Net language such as VB.Net/C#.Net this will no longer be an issue either. Since you can compile both using mono under Linux.

Whine, whine, whine (4, Funny)

justindz (253847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104931)

They make Windows sound like a controlled substance. "Oh man, we're working night and day to get these employees off such a nasty habit. Please don't let this affect your opinion of Novell as a Windows-free workplace."

Windows is a million times less addictive than nicotine. I kicked the habit on my personal computers in junior high while my peers were just *starting* to smoke.

Re:Whine, whine, whine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104963)

It is a nasty habit, costing the company thousands of dollars while they have the cure in house.

They sell Windows software, duh (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105120)

We have tens of thousands of dollars (US) of Novell software that runs on Windows.

If Novell didn't run Windows, how could they support us and their products?

eDirectory for NT.
Middle Tier.
Netware Client for Windows.
Zenworks Imaging

OMG - a company that sells both Windows and Linux software has machines that dual boot to both Windows and Linux. Who would have thought such a thing?

No way (5, Funny)

JonJ (907502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104934)

You're trying to tell me that a large corporation with 5000 desktops, who develops Windows software might run Windows on a lot of them? I'm shocked I say, shocked.

Games... (-1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104939)

Of course they're dual-booting windows - how else are employees supposed to play the latest games?

Re:Games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105036)

Of course they're dual-booting windows - how else are employees supposed to play the latest games?

WINE [] ? Cedega [] ? Or how about na [] -tive [] ?

Re:Games... (0, Redundant)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105059)

Of course they're dual-booting windows - how else are employees supposed to play the latest games?
How about using Cedega [] or WINE [] to play their latest games in Linux?

Inspector Clouseau strikes again (-1, Troll)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104976)

Sometimes I wish someone would put this strange, tortured company out of its agony. Just when so many folks had agreed never again to join "year of" and "the Linux desktop" up jumps this fellow to let the whole side down. If you ever crossed Inspector Clouseau with the Terminator, Novell is what you could easily get. Maybe tomorrow he'll be back, saying that 2007 will be the year of Mono which will see "explosive" growth from its present user base of three men and a lost dog.

Re:Inspector Clouseau strikes again (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105156)

I know you're trolling but you're obviously not very knowledgeable in business. It doesn't have to be the year of Linux for Novell to make millions. And guess what? We still haven't had "the year of Linux" and Novell is making millions! In the last year they've signed with a few governments. That alone is enough to drive the company for years. They have plenty of customers. In the last years they've had bigger problems with management than linux, IMO.

Worth checking out (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104983)


We've just had a vendor pitchfest for a replacement OS for an elderly unsupported RH release in use on about 4000 servers (my employer's a dotcom with piles of machines in many remote datacentres round the world.) We've had Sun pitching Solaris, Red Hat on RHEL and Novell/SuSE. I must say the Novell/SuSE pitch was the most unexpectedly impressive; Crispin Cowan's AppArmor is really, really good (I'm biased: I'm a security geek) and seems to be much more usable than SELinux. Xen also seems to be happier on SuSE than RH.

Sun had a good story now they can say Solaris is really Free, but they seemed very defensive (spent 30 mins showing us balance sheets marked "Sun confidential, internal use only" emphasising they make lots of money and aren't about to go bust. But we would definitely be a relatively small customer for Sun, whereas I'm more convinced that Novell would be prepared to go the extra mile to keep us happy.

Personally I'm going to be trying SLES out on at least one machine at home, alongside OpenBSD and Mandriva, regardless which OS our beancounters plump for.

Re:Worth checking out (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105500)

AppArmor is interesting. Having played with both, I'd say that for the case of locking down a server running a few must-protect apps, AppArmor is probably a lot easier.

AppArmor has another advantage over SELinux at least for desktop machines: SELinux requires an incredible slow "relabel" process every so often, as Red Hat push out updates to the policy. It takes places at bootup and you may as well go get lunch whilst it occurs. The idea is that every system object that may be confined has a unique label and then the centralized policy defines how objects with those labels interact. One of the top SELinux NSA guys has said "pathname based security considered harmful", though I forget exactly which list he said this on ...

Anyway I think it's a good idea in principle but in practice real world SELinux implementations like in Fedora (and I guess RHEL as well) actually are pathname based .... they have a massive list of regular expressions that match pathnames to allocate labels to things. AppArmor uses paths directly. So it boils down to something similar.

That said, SELinux is theoretically more powerful and I think it'd be easier to use it to implement some interesting security scenarios - for instance you could use it to totally eliminate prompting for root passwords whilst still having a more secure system at the end. SELinux has been integrated with other services like DBUS and X11 so you can restrict what programs can access each other via X and so on .... so it's kind of more "solid" in that sense. But that stuff doesn't matter much if all you want to do is restrain apache.

Re:Worth checking out (1)

G Money (12364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105511)

I couldn't agree more. For anyone who hasn't tried out AppArmor [] I highly recommend giving it a try with the distro of your choice or trying OpenSUSE [] as all of the newer SUSE products (SLES/NLD 9 sp3+, OpenSUSE 10+, OES sp2+) have it integrated with a stupid simple YAST interface for using it. I'm definitely biased as I've been friends with the Immunix crew for quite some time and work closely with Novell but having used a variety of MAC products (Argus Pitbull, SELinux, and AppArmor) I can say that AppArmor is the only tool that doesn't require weeks to configure. People who say MAC is difficult just haven't tried AppArmor yet. It's really quite easy to get a very high level of security by profiling the few applications of concern (anything running as root, anything that talks on the network, user apps like Firefox, Evolution, Kmail, Konqueror, GAIM, etc....).

Some of the migration problems are subtle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105016)

Some software functions are hard to duplicate. For instance, many law firms still use WordPerfect. It differs from Office in many small ways that result in a huge saving in time in a law office. One example is the way that WP does a word count. It meets the requirements for legal documents. Office does its word count differently so if you're using it you actually have to do a manual word count. Getting the word count wrong could get you in trouble so, yes it matters.

Another issue is Excel macros. Lots of accountants rely on macros that are hard to port over.

I'm sure there are lots of similar examples that keep people on Windows. Of course for a substantial number of companies, the version might be 3.1. The same things that keep people from going to Linux also make them unwilling to upgrade their Windows.

If upgrading to Vista is a huge pain, people will stick with XP. We may find many companies going to Linux (single or dual boot with XP) for their new computers because it will be less painful than upgrading to Vista. It should also expand the market for VM.

Who cares? (1)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105017)

I get it - they aren't fully converted. But then - they do DEVELOP software that runs on Windows. And their tools will only succeed if they can integrate into a Windows environment.

The accomplishment is that they are all dual boot and they use Period.

Re:Who cares? (2)

winse (39597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105513)

when I worked there 2 years ago, I wasn't dual boot. I just had 4-7 machines all the time with a kvm. I always had at least one windows machine depending on what I was doing, but the good hardware was always running linux. The culture there seemed to be: "MS took our lunch money years ago, and now we're going to face them armed with very little, but at least we're going down swinging." Of course some of the most accomplished technical people that made Netware what it was are long gone, but there are competent people still there.

guinea pig farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105044)

lol ... novell's own guinea pig farm.

Their upper management has really high expectations for NDL and SuSE and I really hope they succeed. Unfortunately, unless Novell has an ace up their sleeve, I really don't see how they can succeed. They did bring a SuSE SDK ( something that no other Linux company has ever done) and they have really revamped SuSE and NDL, even if beauty is only skin deep ( XGL excluded ).

Well like I said I wish Novell the best of luck and maybe in an year or 2 rather than migrating to Vista I will finally become a fulltime Linux user. ( tried that in the past and it was a serious pain with tons of time spent maintaining the system )

No obstacles, only opportunities. (5, Insightful)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105063)

I can see why they haven't migrated yet. There are a few business apps, mostly vertical applications for ticketing, billing and invoice, that need to be run on Windows. For instance, where I work, we use a proprietary ticketing system that is unlikely to be ported to anything that isn't Windows. It enters problems on a customer's account, and assigns the problem to the appropriate technician, who then updates the ticket as needed.

But here's the deal... for all of its slowness, awkward GUI implementation, dubious reliability and stratospheric license and support contracts, all it really does is read and update database records. It's a LAMP application with out the L, A or P.

Here's a bigger deal... almost all vertical client/server apps can be replaced by a web-based application. Almost all of them do nothing but update and display database records.

Why not just hire a full-time RoR geek or two to crank out LAMP applications that will be robust, secure, customizeable to meet coprorate standards, easy to deploy and dirt cheap compared to a multi-zillion dollar per-seat license?

Why not indeed.

This is where the new growth in the IT industry is headed. Already, most of the tools I need to interact with the vast and varied store of corporate data are web-based utilities. Admittedly, I work on the technical side of a major ISP, and we tend to be more elightened about such things, but really... Linux on the desktop will be a reality sooner rather than later.

The trick isn't porting applications to the Linux desktop, but to the Linux server.

Re:No obstacles, only opportunities. (1)

acid_zebra (552109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105290)

"we use a proprietary ticketing system that is unlikely to be ported to anything that isn't Windows. It enters problems on a customer's account, and assigns the problem to the appropriate technician, who then updates the ticket as needed."

This exists in the open source world (and its LAMP, too :P) []

We've been using it for 6 months and it rawks. As much as trouble ticket systems can rawk anyway. AND there are a zillion programs like it on in varying states of readiness.

Makes sense. (3, Interesting)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105082)

There are likely some departments within Novell that still are dependent on Windows for third party apps. Like an accounting or payroll department perhaps. Are there enterprise level Linux apps that would support them? Not trying to flame. Just a question.

Re:Makes sense. (3, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105732)

Well yeah like Peoplesoft, Oracle financials, JD Edwards.... The problem for those guys is Excel Macros not their core apps.

It's not like they haven't already paid for it... (4, Insightful)

ViX44 (893232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105143)

Just because Novell is offering Linux doesn't make it heresy that they have boxes with Windows dual-booted. If they've already bought their licences for Windows, MS is already paid. Not exercising the licences they own out of protest isn't going to make a dent. Meanwhile, their devs need to be able to run stuff on Windows, so it kinda makes sense that they have Windows at their disposal.

Speaking as someone who lost a number of potentially productive days trying to get Windows 2000 SP4-slipstreamed to install on a 250G harddrive without crapping out at boot-time when it saw a partition beyond the 128GB barrier, Linux is looking better every day. In fact, after spending five minutes in Fedora, Ubuntu, and SuSE, the chameleon won and is now installed on my hda4. But I still need Windows to run a few things...yes, mostly games, and a few college websites that just have to have IE6. But I already own Win2K, and I'd be silly not to use it just because MS is an idiot sometimes.

Keeping Windows around for the things Windows is good at makes my computer more powerful. I don't support MS, but I'm not going to rend my nose to spite Bill's face.

Windows, or at least, the Microsoft Operating System, is never going to go away. If Linux seriously erodes Microsoft's position, they'll sink their pentillions of dollars into making a solid, quality, viable OS product. So don't mind Novell, or myself, for installing SuSE and Windows next to each other. You need not be a zealot or a martyr to be a soldier.

The Bright Side... (-1, Troll)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105171)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Novell's still got Windows - big deal!
The good news is that the users in the company that sells Linux who are running Linux will be confronted with the #1 issue that most Linux users face: hardware driver hell.

I've installed all sorts of different distros on servers, desktops and laptops. The install is always the same: easy, fast and I'm up and running in no time. Except... In virtually every machine I've installed into, there's been one hardware hassle after another. Be it multi-function printers, USB Ethernet cards, winmodems, graphics cards, sound cards and camera docking stations just to mention a few. Don't even get me started on games. Oh, and what about built-in WiFi on laptops? - ARRRRGGG!!

The most important thing here is that Novell employees will be confronted with these self-same issues. The good thing about this is that Something Will Get Done. That is the wonderful thing about Linux. If you can think it, people are working on a solution.

The world isn't perfect, but it IS getting better. So, stop your mealy-mouthed belly-aching about how Novell is not 'pure' and just be glad that they're giving it a shot.

Now, if I could just get HP's new 2600N networked colour laser to work with FedoraCore5.... (Thanks, HP, for the Linux driver (NOT!!!) that you said you would provide for most of your hardware, you assholes!!)

Re:The Bright Side... (1)

ianmassey (743270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105383)

Maybe HP figured since you cheaped out on your OS you'd have a few spare bucks to spend on a printer other than their absolute bottom-of-the-line color laserjet, which isn't "new" by any stretch of the imagination.

HP offers linux drivers for every color laserjet they make starting with the 3600 series and going up. So apparently the only asshole around here is the one who spends $250 bucks on a color laser and expects it to have features no other printer in its class has; and then shits on the company for his own cheap ways.


[OT] HP LJ2600"N" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105545)

Now, if I could just get HP's new 2600N networked colour laser to work with FedoraCore5....

Great, how can HP call this an "N" model when it doesn't support LPR protocol or Postscript? From the specs, it looks like a nearly hopeless WinPrinter. The only hope is that there are OS X drivers, so it can't be 100% Win dependent. But it is clearly "host based".

I suspect you got sucked in by the "N" tag, and didn't research this. But thanks for warning the rest of us that a Laserjet "N" is no longer a safe bet for *nix users.

Novell's growing at amazing rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105205)

Did you see the 500 employees they added between the first sentence and the last?

Did you know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105234)

A third of Novell's servers run Windows because those applications only run on a windows server...So much for removing windows from the desktop since they still need a device\user cal for anyone connecting to their windows servers.

Developers + PSE's (1)

Glamdrlng (654792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105260)

Since Novell actively supports and develops Client32 for Windows, Groupwise for Windows, Zen for Windows, etc I hope they'll keep[ some Windows boxen around for developing and testing purposes. And since their PSE's support accounts that run Windows, those cats need to be using dual boot and/or virtualization setups as well. I say don't focus on how many desktops they didn't migrate to 100% Linux, focus instead on how many they did. I'm also willing to bet that if Novell weren't an IT company that had to develop and support software on Windows, they'd have migrated a much greater percentage of their desktops.

Wine (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15105270)

Until wine is in decent shape, it is pointless to approach general public to switch. While it will never run 100% of the applications,
it is not necessary. It just a larger fraction of the applications than it currently does.

Having said I was surprised to see how far it has come. I tested several niche applications used in the insurance industry with codeweavers. None of them had a problem. While I am not ready to recommend wine as an option in our company, I have a hope that
in future it can become a reasonable recommendation.

Report (3, Interesting)

supra (888583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105276)

I wonder if they are generating a report of the migration (positives and negatives).
And if so, will they publish it?

Novell Still Doesn't get it (1, Insightful)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105358)

This is slightly offtopic....but

First to dispense with TFA: since they are developing stuff for Windows, they will never be rid of it, nor should they. So they will always run Windows in-house to some extent.

But why can't they sell their product to other people? They have all the right parts to replace a Windows/Active Directory infrustructure. They have a desktop (Suse), they have a respected directory server (eDirecotry/NDS), they have general purpose servers (Suse), Zenworks to mananage it all, and they have an entrenched legacy product (i.e. a foot in the door) for which they can provide an upgrade path. Most importantly, they have them integrated seemlessly in their Open Enterprise Server. But they still can't get the sale. Its because their pricing provides no advantage over Microsoft A Novell Open Enterprise Server per user license per year is $230 retail. A MS Win2K3 10 user CAL is $1199 retail (or $119.9 per user). That's retail. MS, being the bigger company, has the ability to come even lower in enterprise or site licensing. Sadly, Novell doesn't seem able to do the math.

They should take the chance that they could make up the difference in revenue by going with volume over price. More licneses for less each, instead of fewer licenses for more each. They have to realize that every Windows installation is going to lead to an Exchange installation instead of a Groupwise installation. If they could build the market share in the network products, the revenue in services and add-on products will follow.

Good Enough. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105547)

their pricing provides no advantage over Microsoft

If that's true, it's good enough. Something that works better but costs the same will take market share. TCO is probably better on the Novell side and your data and employee's time is way to expensive to leave to Microsoft. By now, you have to have a hole in your head to use Exchange or any other M$ server.

Dual-boot means nothing in and of itself (2, Insightful)

RetiredMidn (441788) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105409)

When I was working for Novell, I started my move to Linux by installing it on the second drive in my laptop and dual-booting; it was the easiest way to start with Linux and preserve the data on my Windows volume. I booted into WIndows very few times after that, and the last few times I realized that I really hadn't needed to. But my Windows volume remained intact (and unused) for months, until it was worth my time to re-format the volume and do a clean install of Linux. So I was officially in "dual boot" status for months, but using Linux 99% of the time.

Having said that, the transition at Novell had its high and low points. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the services on the company intranet shifted from supporting WIndows/IE only to generic browsers. I was disappointed in the quality of the GroupWise client on Linux (not that I was wild about the Windows version...), and the lukewarm support for the Evolution client on the GroupWise servers.

Oddly, the thing that made the Linux move easier for me than many of my co-workers was the fact that I am an OS X user by preference. Of course, the terminal was not a mystery, and I was more accustomed to accepting that similar things are sometimes managed very differently on different platforms.

One constructive criticism I would leave Novell with is that they could learn a lot from Apple about making *nix palatable to the desktop user (specific example: printing), but, from where I sat, it seemed as though Apple was completely invisible to Novell.

Non-story (1)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105431)

This has to be the biggest non-story I've ever seen on Slashdot.

Seriously, did ELSE anyone read that summary and just think, "Wow, who cares what Novell is doing OS-wise internally?".

Yes, I realize that this story is here for the purpose of reporting on another company converting to a pure-linux environment but the way the story reads, at least to me, is that Novell should be ashamed of itself for not doing it sooner or something.

Not trolling, just saying...

Re:Non-story (1)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105551)

Well, as Novell is supposed to be one of the biggest Linux vendors who publicly stated many many times that they are converting all of their internal systems to Linux and pronto this is certainly not only "another company converting to a pure-linux environment". Do as you say or "Eat your own dog food". Especially as I only yesterday read an interview with Mr Messman from Novell in some financial paper stating that Linux can do everything Windows can do and that there is no need for Windows any more (ok, he admitted that there will be a long time where Windows and Linux will have to live side-by-side, but still).

Dual boot? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105553)

I can't imagine why they would even want to dual boot if they could run something like VMWare and just virtualize Windows. Rebooting just to run a piece of software seems a little odd, unless it is a game that doesn't run well in VMWare. Something is fishy about this claim, methinks.


Novell internal use of Linux and Windows (4, Informative)

ezs (444264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105576)

Disclaimer - I work for Novell.

The migration away from Windows and Microsoft Office was always a phased approach.

Office --> Open Office first (Novell is now standardised across the company on OpenOffice 2.0)

Windows --> Linux workstations for those that can; based on business function, application needs and the 'savviness' of the user

Right now I'd say that a large proportion of development, test and technical people are using Novell Linux Desktop as their primary desktop. I can see this just by working with people in meetings.

I can't comment on the overall number of people using single boot Linux, dual boot or just Windows; all I can share is what I see - lots of people using Linux on a daily basis.

The next phase is 'filling the gaps' - seeing how knowledge workers and those with specific applications can move. The release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 in mid-year should help with a lot of these issues.

Remember - just like any project choose the visible, realistic goals - that's what Novell's IS&T team have done.

Management nightmare? (2)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105629)

But how are Novell's middle managers going to play with their Gantt charts from Microsoft Project?

No sh**, Sherlock (1)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105769)

No shit that they have to keep windows boxes around to develop with - for the developers. Maybe, just maybe, they are talking about all their NON-development activities like accounting, CRM, the receptionist, etc... converting to Linux. This is SO not worth the elevated BP to debate any further.
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