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Dell Not Caught Between Canonical, Red Hat, and Microvell

Posted in Dell, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, Ubuntu at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Further to the previous post (you are advised to read it first if you haven’t, just for context), here is some more information and analysis.

It does not appear as though Dell is considering Novell’s Linux desktop, so Ubuntu is probably unaffected. On the server side, things become a little more interesting, even somewhat tricky. Novell does, after all, have some ‘intellectual property’ commitments to Microsoft. Hopefully, Dell does not inherit any of these.

Pamels Jones of Groklaw asks, “So, does this mean Dell now becomes a distributor of GPL software now? Will Microsoft still distribute those SUSE vouchers, or, to avoid GPLv3, is it going to get Mikey [Dell] to do it?”.

The Seattle press argues that Dell’s relationship with Red Hat may not be affected.

Dell blesses Microsoft, Novell pact, still wears Red Hat

Microsoft and Novell, seeking to build industry support for their unusual alliance, have signed up Dell as the first computer maker to formally back the deal.

Dell says it will market Novell’s Suse Enterprise Linux Server to business customers based on terms of the pact struck between Microsoft and Novell last year. Dell says it was won over by their plans to make Windows and Linux work more smoothly together, and by their promises not to pursue claims against each other’s users for patent infringement.

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  1. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 7, 2007 at 6:08 am


    > It does not appear as though Dell is considering Novell’s Linux desktop, so Ubuntu is probably unaffected.

    It doesn’t appear to imply that anywhere. It seems to just say that Dell is teaming up with Novell to offer SUSE Linux Enterprise Servers and Desktop for its _enterprise_ customers. What am I missing?

    Though, also in the previous announcement: Microsoft having sold over 40,000 Linux copies to date! That is freakin’ awesome news :). Really great stuff.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 7, 2007 at 7:37 am


    We all seem to be learning slowly as more articles and columns appear. There is no mentioning of SLED anywhere, but servers and server interoperability are everywhere to be seen. More daunting is the following analysis:

    Dell is set to reveal that it will distribute Novell’s SUSE Linux enterprise server along with Windows Server, the Boston Globe has reported.

  3. shane said,

    May 7, 2007 at 8:22 am


    Though, also in the previous announcement: Microsoft having sold over 40,000 Linux copies to date! That is freakin’ awesome news :) . Really great stuff.

    Yup, it means they are bound by the terms of GPLv2 as a GNU/Linux distributor.

  4. shane said,

    May 7, 2007 at 9:11 am


    Dell is being careful to say they are going after customers not already using Linux, since they don’t want to poach on their own Dell/Red Hat customers (and upset a pre-existing partner).

  5. Ian said,

    May 7, 2007 at 1:07 pm


    It’s monday and I’m fairly dense this far into the week, but I don’t get the point of this. I have SLES running on Dell servers right now. Other than helping Novell’s bottom line, and in turn helping me avoid Active Directory/Exchange/Server 2003, does this benefit me at all?

  6. Anonymous said,

    May 7, 2007 at 1:46 pm


    > they don’t want to poach on their own Dell/Red Hat customers (and upset a pre-existing partner).

    This makes it sound as only Red Hat is a “pre-existing partner”: Dell also had Poweredge server with SLES in the offer before and OptiPlex desktops and Latitude Notebooks were certified for SLED10.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 7, 2007 at 4:11 pm


    @Ian: my initial impression of this was probably wrong, but having read some articles, there seem to be some gotchas. Let’s also hope that Dell doe snot ‘inherit’ Novell’s commitments to Microsoft and admission that Linux is ‘unclean’.

  8. Larry said,

    May 7, 2007 at 4:56 pm


    Great… I was bummed when I heard that the OLPC project was going play nice with Microsoft… now, what seemed like a cool headline “Dell to ship with Linux”. I just a idealistic sucker but it really makes me cringe that MS is getting into the Linux game.. nothing like sabotage from within!!!! arGh!! Go Away Bill Gates!!!

  9. Netmonster said,

    May 7, 2007 at 5:02 pm


    90% of the world is not ready for linux.. Wait linux is not ready for 90% of the world. You all should thank Microsoft. Bill made it affordable for everyone to own a pc.. Stop always hating.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 7, 2007 at 5:13 pm


    @ Larry, re: OLPC:

    There has been a lot of disinformation in the media. To clarify:

    One laptop per child and open source

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | For once Microsoft is getting the reverse Linux laptop experience:
    | little support and little documentation for the hardware. The result
    | will be a platform that doesn’t include any of the really novel
    | features that we’re building in, bad power management, no systems
    | management via the firmware and apps that will randomly crash because
    | they can’t fix the virtual memory problem in the same way we’re
    | approaching it. A second class citizen, to be sure.


    OLPC project clarifies: no plans for Windows support

    ,—-[ Quote
    | According to Walter Bender, president of Software and Content at OLPC,
    | there is no agreement in place between OLPC and Microsoft to offer XO
    | laptops with any version of Windows. Bender also indicated that
    | Microsoft has not contacted OLPC regarding its $3 software bundling
    | program, nor have any governments requested that the XO be outfitted
    | with Windows. In short, there is no existing collaboration between
    | Microsoft and OLPC aimed at outfitting the XO laptop with Windows.


    One Laptop Per Child clarity

    ,—-[ Qote ]
    | The bulk of the confusion and conspiracy theorising which accompanied
    | the recent announcement seems to centre on this point.
    | The specs were not boosted to accommodate windows…


    OLPC Linux laptop could succeed in U.S.

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | The laptop features a string pulley to charge its battery, a keyboard
    | that switches between languages, a digital video camera, wireless
    | connectivity, and an open-source Linux operating system tailored for
    | remote regions.


    OLPC: Free Software Still Rules

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | Jepsen tells us, politely, to calm down. The plan is still for the
    | XO to ship with OLPC’s custom Linux-based Sugar operating system,
    | and she hasn’t seen demand for anything else on the XO. “The issuehasn’t
    | presented itself. Most people love Sugar.”


    One Laptop Per Child – Production Delays Caused By Microsoft, Intel?

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | I sincerely hope that no matter what the people who are running the
    | OLPC project decide, that their project will continue and not get
    | bogged down in a play of corporate greed and ambitions.


  11. Ian said,

    May 7, 2007 at 9:51 pm



    I wasn’t refuting anything you said. I was just saying, as far as the news goes, I don’t get the point! As far as I can tell, nothing new comes out of all of this outside of PR. Like I said, I already runs SLES on Dell boxes and if I’m not mistaken, it’s an distro you can get preinstalled on the power edge series.

  12. shane said,

    May 8, 2007 at 7:26 am


    Well, for the most part ALL of the Microvell announcements have been merely fluff – pre-exising Novell customers who are rarely (once) expanding their Novell installations, but rather just MS customers accepting free "stay-out-of-court" coupons for the SUSE they were already using.

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