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Novell Serenades to Microsoft in Novell.com

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, UNIX at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian begs Ballmer

We have already shown that Novell supports ActiveX, Windows Vista, Internet Explorer, .NET, and even XAML. Earlier on we thought we had found Novell blocking Firefox as well, but it turned out that pop-ups, Flash-only content and JavaScript were to blame (i.e. poor design decisions). Details will appear in tomorrow’s IRC log.

Either way, later on today it turned out that Novell only advertises migrations from UNIX to Linux. As the site states: “Move it: the time to migrate is now [...] rock solid reliability at a lower TCO than UNIX.” Further it says: “Take the TCO Challenge: Learn how SUSE, Linux Enterprise Server delivers UNIX reliability for up to 75% less.”

“No TCO costs comparing SuSE to Vista,” says our reader Doug. It’s as true as it gets — going to Novell’s solutions page, one finds:

SUSE Linux Enterprise

* UNIX to Linux Migration
* Virtualization
* Desktop Linux
* Real Time Linux
* Linux for Mainframes
* Linux and Windows Interoperability

Novell harmonises with Windows rather than compete against it. This might also explain the GNU/Linux deemphasis, especially on the desktop. As we wrote last month, Novell must keep the Beast happy. Novell’s survival might depend on it.

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  1. Jose_X said,

    October 2, 2008 at 5:04 pm


    The Redmond Yellow team benefits if instead of fighting the blue, red, and brown teams, it can get the Novell Red team to leave it alone and turn around and help it fight the blue and brown.

    Result, yellow does better, blue and brown do worse, red does better if yellow is strongest, else red should have stayed with blue and brown.

    Red says they are part of the blue and brown and also says they are part of the yellow. How convenient.

    The red were helping themselves if they thought they would have been annihilated otherwise.

    I don’t think the blue and brown will forget, however. Or it might take a really big gift from red to make up. And personally, I would expect a trojan from red if ever that gift box shows up. Plus, red is considerably proprietary as is. And they continue fighting alongside yellow day after day, so the debt keeps growing.

    Certainly, today, helping red means with a high probability that you are hurting blue and brown (at least short term). And I don’t trust red to replace blue or brown and hope red changes later.

    For blue and brown, playing averages (a good idea when you have a solid game plan and quality depth) means that red should be forked. It’s not worth the risk. We have more to lose than to gain at this point. blue and brown do admirable jobs across the board, assuming red was tops here or there.

  2. Jose_X said,

    October 2, 2008 at 5:12 pm


    Remember that Microsoft could become the largest Linux vendor in the future. Would this help Linux and FOSS more than if Red Hat or someone not cooperating with Microsoft were the top vendor? I don’t think so.

    I think Novell gains from keeping Linux marginalized because of the money they make when Windows and Netware win [Novell likes the margins from Vista wins -- keeping Microsoft happy -- and from Netware wins rather than from SLEx wins]. Novell’s best defense against Linux then would be to drive other Linux vendors out of business so that they can pull as many strings and levers as possible.

    “Drivers for Linux? Why, bother? Netware and Vista offer better deals. That’s where the game is at. You won’t find much commercial support for Linux.” ..says Huckspian to the vendor.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 2, 2008 at 5:20 pm


    Neat analogies aside, I agree that Microsoft hopes to achieve what you’ve just described. For Novell to become dominant at the expense of other that might perish (no ‘privileged’ access to Microsoft elements like Moonlight and Hypercalls), well… that’s just one thing; let’s not forget that Microsoft can later just kill Novell. It doesn’t need to become the biggest distributor if there’s only one place (company, “centre of gravity”) that Microsoft will Slog like it’s used to.

    Don’t be fooled. Novell is a Microsoft subsidiary, at least in practice. Novell does a lot for Microsoft but Microsoft does nothing for Novell… other than cash infusions that help its survival… and survival of Microsoft’s long-term strategy.

    Nothing has changed. Microsoft is still smiling at Novell.

    Jim Allchin on Novell

  4. Jose_X said,

    October 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm


    >> Nothing has changed. Microsoft is still smiling at Novell.
    >> ["we need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger." -- J Allchin]

    Allchin was wrong at that point in time. Zombovell is much more useful since Linux needs to be embraced to be defeated, but it’s radioactive from the pov of Microsoft.

    Microsoft could also use the proxies for other gains as well (eg, antitrust dance).

    >> “Drivers for Linux? Why, bother? Netware and Vista offer better deals. That’s where the game is at. You won’t find much commercial support for Linux.” ..says Huckspian to the vendor.

    In other areas as well, I think Microvell would do its best to keep Linux as a “hobbyist” toy and free labor farm. [Just wait for mono to start getting used within a Novell fork of the Linux kernel.]

    They might destroy Novell at some point, but keeping Linux around crippled and under ownership as much as possible would be a good call for them consistent with their past. Look at the many companies Microsoft has bought or invested in. They keep those products around: Word Perfect, FoxPro, Borland tools.. all these still have their small communities I think.

    Like with investments in Apple, the slave might find a way to fight back to some degree, but it does sort of stay within the family. Apple is much more controllable and even helpful to Windows and to the proprietary mindset than is Linux, at least if Linux is allowed to roam freely and freely.

    And by killing off these products loved by a devout minority, Microsoft would risk retaliation and challenges that would take place further outside its control. Wouldn’t want the natives to get too restless and challenge Momma again. Better to let tomorrow’s “2 kids in a garage” have their toys and work in a playpen where they can be supervised and maybe even contribute to Momma in the future.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 3, 2008 at 2:15 am


    I probably out to have added that part of that sentence from Allchin was “we need to smile at them (Novell) while we pull the trigger.” (maybe I remembered inaccurately)

    That’s why Microsoft is “still smiling”. It pretends to be living “in peace” in order to get closer for a stab. Novell is being very naive, yet desperate. It repeats its own mistakes.

  6. Jose_X said,

    October 3, 2008 at 9:33 pm


    >> Novell is being very naive, yet desperate.

    I added this: http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-10-03-004-35-OP-BZ-RH-0001

    >> It pretends to be living “in peace” in order to get closer for a stab

    As you document very well here, Microsoft’s approach is the back door, indirection, and deception.

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