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Novell Lies About SUSE Appliances

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Novell's "Industry's First Solution" is a Microsoft-taxed GNU/Linux distribution



Summary: Novell claims "Industry's First Solution" for something it merely imitated, i.e. created based on the high shoulders of others

Novell has just made a couple of related announcements about SUSE appliances, but it is being dishonest about them. The press release from Novell states in the headline that this is an "Industry's First Solution", but just like with Astrum, this is a case of Novell imitating a partner. We shall come back to it in a moment.



In addition to the press release referenced above, there was another one here, which said:

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) are demonstrating tremendous support for the SUSE(R) Appliance Program from Novell, the industry's first, complete, end-to-end appliance solution that enables ISVs to rapidly build, update, configure and go to market with fully supported software and virtual appliances. These ISVs are taking advantage of the comprehensive go-to-market support for appliances offered by Novell, including distribution channel, joint marketing, pricing, and redistribution agreements that reduce the time to get an evaluation or production appliance ready for the market.


According to this listing, both press releases came out at the exact same time. One is an announcement of a product which is not truly new and the second is intended to just generate hype about it. Did the hype work? Well, it depends. Novell's Chief Marketing Officer used his blog to generate some buzz and Novell's PR people released episode 3 of a series -- one about SUSE Studio. From Dragoon:

Novell’s SUSE Appliance Program announcement today promises to deliver the same “set it and forget it” benefits.


There was also a new video.



SUSE member Ben Kevan added his voice and linked to this new review of SUSE Studio (not the same but related), which is summarised as follows:

Linux is well known for being very customizable, but with SUSE Studio, things are taken to an entirely new level. Imagine taking a base template, building on top of it with your personal software choices, then configuring countless other aspects (even a SQL database), and then building it as a bootable ISO or VM. That's exactly what makes SUSE Studio so great.


Then came a bunch of news sites which covered it.

ZDNet: Novell releases Suse appliance-building kit

Novell has launched a free group of technologies that will allow developers to create and deploy software appliances that can run in any virtual environment.


The Register: Novell punts tools to make software appliances

SUSE Studio went into alpha in February, when Novell announced a partnership to package up SUSE Linux appliances and distribute them inside virtual machines compatible with VMware's ESX Server hypervisor. SUSE Studio is a homegrown Linux and appliance software spinner that now has an improved user interface, according to Matt Richards, senior program manager for the appliance program at Novell.


Heise: Novell announces SUSE Appliance Program

Novell has announced the launch of the SUSE Appliance Program for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). With the Appliance Program, ISVs can can create software appliances, such as an email server for a small office, using SUSE Linux Enterprise or openSUSE and SUSE Studio, test their appliances and get them to the market.


OStatic: Novell's SUSE Appliance Program Enables Roll Your Own Linux

Today, Novell announced its SUSE Appliance Program, which encompasses Suse Studio Online, a customizable, lightweight version of Linux called SUSE Linux Enterprise JeOS (Just Enough Operating System), tie-ins with Amazon's cloud services, and full support for custom software.


Seemingly, all of the above coverage missed the simple fact that Novell stomped on rPath, which is in fact more or less the originator of the idea. rPath writes:

So, it was with both pride and dismay that I read today’s news from our friends at Novell:

“Novell Announces Industry’s First Solution for Creating and Deploying Fully Supported Software Appliances.”

[Cue record needle scratch].

Industry’s first? A stretch, to be sure, but never let the facts get in the way of a good story, I suppose.


rPath has some history with Novell [1, 2, 3], but eventually it moved on and considered a wider set of GNU/Linux distributions. Here we have Novell claiming credit for something they were not trailblazers in. Astrum and Novell are a similar story and there was also a lawsuit. The short story is that Novell allegedly copied the ideas of Astrum and then dumped them. Shades of Microsoft...

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