05.21.08

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Kicking Novell Out of the Mainframes

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Windows at 11:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free the mainframes from Steve’s Ballnux

The Microsoft/Novell deal was in many ways an anti-Red Hat deal [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but Red Hat was not the sole victim whom Microsoft’s top guns wanted to suppress.

It is interesting to see how market share differs for the top Linux vendors in different areas such as HPC, desktops, mainframes, Web servers, mail servers and so on. One area where Novell performs pretty well is the mainframe, where IBM still reigns (mind the possible mainframes proxy war from Microsoft because there might be others against IBM).

The following new article seems to suggest that Novell is putting the heat up on Red Hat. The goal? Prevent Red Hat entry into the mainframe. While it isn’t anything too malicious, it’s just something to bear in mind. It’s reminiscent of Microsoft’s dumping techniques, whose purpose is to ensure opposition cannot grow any roots. Antitrust concerns arise.

Over the past year or two, Red Hat has gotten serious about pursuing the mainframe market, said Joe Clabby, the principal of Yarmouth, Maine-based Clabby Analytics, based on his conversations with IBM sources. Clabby speculated that Novell’s price cut is an effort to keep Red Hat out of the mainframe game.

It is also unfortunate to find Novell’s presence in this area for a variety of other reasons, including:

  1. Microsoft tax. The convicted monopolist is being paid for deployments of software it never developed.
  2. Microsoft grip, by proxy. Remember that Novell is Microsoft-dependent. As such, Novell even offers Microsoft a ramp for Windows adoption in HPC where GNU/Linux is already dominant, leaving Microsoft grasping at straws.

For the good of the mainframe and the freedom — in terms of cost at the very least — of GNU/Linux on the mainframe, it’s worth getting Novell out of there, to the extent possible.

“I feel we are much too smug in dealing with Novell. Perhaps they didn’t hurt us in DOS yet — but it’s not because of product or their trying. It’s because we already had the OEMs wrapped up.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

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