Summary: With Novell’s big decision perhaps just days away, questions remain about the immediate ramifications (affecting this month)
Novell was founded in Provo, Utah as Novell Data Systems Inc way back in 1979, by George Canova, Darin Field, and Jack Davis. Canova’s wife came up with the name Novell, mistakenly believing that it meant ‘new’ in French. It started life making disk operating systems, but was reincorporated as Novell Inc in 1983 after a venture capital injection, and turned its attention to designing network hardware. In May of that year Ray Noorda became president and CEO, and it introduced NetWare that same year.
In 1997 Noorda was succeeded by Eric Schmidt, who is CEO of Google today. Schmidt accelerated efforts to leverage Novell’s core networking strengths in the Internet arena, soon launching NetWare 5 and Novell Directory Services (NDS), with native support for the Internet communications protocol (IP).
The firm bought services firm Cambridge Technology Partners in 2001 as it diversified yet further, and the former CEO of Cambridge, Jack Messman, took over the reins at Novell.
The SCO Group is to receive 2 million dollars from a group of investors headed by majority shareholder Ralph Yarro. Following an oral hearing, the Delaware bankruptcy court dealing with SCO has approved the loan. This means that the company now has sufficient funds for the pending jury trial against Novell. The trial, which is to address rights to Unix and the legality of protective licences for Linux users, is set to start today and is expected to last three weeks.
This trial intersects with the bid for Novell and BrainShare too. The VAR Guy reckons that Novell must decide whether to accept this takeover offer very soon, or else it can spell a disaster for BrainShare.
During the conference, attendees and the press (and persistent anonymous bloggers) won’t be able to avoid the temptation to ask — over and over again — Novell’s ownership status, which ultimately influences the future of SUSE Linux and Novell’s other products.
At the least: Watch for Novell’s board to offer an update on the Elliott Associates bid within the next few days. The result could be a company sale or an outright rejection of Elliot Associates’ offer. Either way, Novell needs to provide an update before BrainShare starts. Without that update, Novell’s ownership status could become a distracting topic during the conference.