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Novell News Summary – Part II: GeekoBuilder and Novell’s Imaginary Open-Source Apps Store

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, SLES/SLED at 1:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chameleon on branch

Summary: News about SUSE

There is nothing significant to see here this time around, but SUSE was mentioned in some places, mostly indirectly. Heise, for example, mentioned SUSE/Novell in this short roundup

Support for Moblin, the Linux distribution designed for mobile devices originally based on the Intel Atom processor, is growing. At Computex this week both Xandros and Novell announced they plan to support the mobile operating system. Canonical have also confirmed plans for an Ubuntu / Moblin remix.

A little more about Novell and sub-notebooks (even if it refers to OpenSUSE):

Intel has enjoyed recent success with the Atom chip, which helped products like the Netbook. The company has partnered with Novell on mobile operating systems, hoping to break into smartphones. Intel microprocessors are not yet in the iPhone (AAPL) or Palm (PALM) Pre, but Intel hopes to win them over in time.


This was perhaps the more exceptional part. Novell seems to have decided that for fun and publicity it would be useful to promote the Geeko mascot.

Perhaps you have allergies or maybe you live in a small apartment, and so you’ve lived without the companionship of an animal friend. Well, no matter what your circumstances now you can have your own virtual pet Geeko.

Some OpenSUSE folks present what they got. Here is Gabriel Stein, Zonker and others. There is even a well-made video about this over at YouTube.

TuxMachines mentioned it and Heise did an entire article.

The Novell community has responded to the demand of its users for a personalised SUSE mascot builder by publishing GeekoBuilder.com.

It’s mostly a publicity tool/stunt and Novell is mentioned among companies in this page on unethical marketing training/gig. Its PR people are trying to harness social networks too.

That’s right, Novell has a presence on Facebook that gives friends and fans the latest information for SUSE Linux Enterprise, GroupWise and ZENworks as well as Novell in general.


The big news, aside from GeekoBuilder, is probably the rumour about a Novell-centered applications store. It all seems to have all begun here, along with a lift from Slashdot.

Novell plans to bring the wealth of open-source software to everyday users through an “open-source apps store”.

The vast amount of free software available to open-source users has long been one of the major benefits of switching to a Linux distro such as Ubuntu, or openSUSE. The problem has always been in explaining this to customers reared on a Windows diet.

This was also mentioned in The Register:

Novell is considering making a one-click “open-source app store” for its upcoming Moblin-based OS for netbooks. The scheme is intended as a selling point for average users largely unfamiliar with free software alternatives outside a Microsoft platform.

According to PC Pro, Novell believes baking an open-source software repository into the SUSE edition of Moblin will help sway more netbook users to uncheck the Windows option when buying their small, cheap computer.

Matt Asay rightly compares to this RHX.

In fact, we have several. Google Code, SourceForge, Code Haus, and other open-source code repositories already freely provide open-source applications. Beyond this, Red Hat tried to do a one-click installation experience with Red Hat Exchange (RHX) back in 2007. It didn’t work as planned.

Another skeptic is his colleague Dave Rosenberg, who writes:

Novell believes that an open-source apps store would make life easier for customers, specifically those interested in Netbooks. This certainly seems logical, but considering that open-source applications tend be licensed in a way that doesn’t require an upfront fee, it’s hard to see how this represents a business model.

Glyn Moody is also a skeptic because of Synaptic.

Er, haven’t we had an “apps store for GNU/Linux” for ages? Things like Synaptic and KPackage? Do we really need anything more?

Novell’s PR people tried to clarify the company’s intent because this story had spread to all sorts of publications even in Europe.

A reader wrote to us about this, claiming that “SourceForge might be under low-burn attack. Remember the acquisition of one company infested with Microsoft staff? Now Microsoft/Suse is doing a “me, too” on software. MS/Novell’s Saturate, diffuse and confuse can be countered with the real information.”

Out reader recommends the various Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora repositories as well as to SourceForge and Savannah:


Novell/SUSE Miscellany

Some other new articles that mentioned SUSE (or SUSE-based products) are:

i. Germans fire up 200 teraflop Juropa2 super

Another 14 Sun storage servers are running a Lustre clustered file system that currently has 500 TB of capacity. While Sun didn’t say this, it is inconceivable that the Juropa2 cluster does not run Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

ii. Motally to deliver reliable mobile analytics

Motally claims to have solved this problem and others like it by using its own servers to measure mobile traffic. And with talent drawn from Yahoo Mobile, IBM, Novell, Oracle and Helio, it seems to be on the right track.

iii. What’s the Future for OpenSolaris?

Having a development platform and a commercial product is in itself not unusual: In the Red Hat world there’s the commercially supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the unsupported, community developed Fedora, while Novell offers SuSe Linux Enterprise Edition as well as providing support for the OpenSUSE development project.

But these are commercially driven open source OS companies: RHEL and SLES are key parts of Red Hat’s and Novell’s businesses, respectively. Oracle isn’t and will not be a company driven solely by the need to make money from operating systems, so why should it follow the Red Hat/Novell model of using an open source project to feed in to its enterprise OS?

iv. Centralized monitoring of all Novell OES platforms

AdRem Software, Inc., a leading provider of network management and monitoring solutions, introduced a new version of AdRem Server Manager 7 for Novell OES server monitoring and maintenance, both OES Linux and NetWare platforms.

That’s about it for now. Not much of significance.

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  1. David Gerard said,

    June 14, 2009 at 8:15 am


    Synaptic or similar presenting an “app store” type interface might actually be a very nice way to introduce people to the notion they don’t have to download random Trojan-riddled rubbish to install software on a computer. That is, it’s an interface people will have heard of and is therefore close enough to familiar to be useful.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Package managers work like this and previews/screenshots are coming too, maybe with ratings.

    David Gerard Reply:

    Indeed. Something more live and interactive.

    Eruaran Reply:

    Yes, Mint already has this and though Ubuntu doesn’t automatically, you can click a button to get a screenshot of the app you’re looking at, it also has ratings.

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