Bonum Certa Men Certa

What Would Happen to “Boycott Novell” If Novell Was Sold in Pieces



Summary: A little interlude about where the site is going and why it needs help from readers

There is some discussion in the IRC channel about what may happen to Novell next. We are still producing almost 1 megabyte of IRC discussion per day (usually about 600 kilobytes on average), which makes up about 95% of feedback from readers (Boycott Novell is approaching an audience of 10,000 unique visitors per day, but commenting requires an account).

We thought it would be reasonable to say something about the future now that Novell is at a mortal crossroad because of a vulture fund that had a coup planned for 3-4 months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. We append some more references at the bottom.



“If Novell was bought and dismantled, this Web site's name would remain for all all sorts of practical/technical reasons and considerations.”Four GNU/Linux vendors (as opposed to users of it, mostly those who embed it in hardware) signed a Linux patent deal with Microsoft in 2006-2007. The GPLv3 may have stopped this flood of feeble vendors which ended up joining the racket. Linspire got picked up by Xandros, which appears to have almost quit the GNU/Linux market, Turbolinux sort of collapsed onto another firm in Asia, and Novell is now the last one standing. This is major as it means that almost all the companies we boycotted are dying, as opposed to those who kept it 'clean' (notably Mandriva, Canonical, and Red Hat). This just comes to show what happens to those who foolishly take Microsoft's side.

The main issues are still the digital hydras known as Apple and Microsoft, both of which are now legally attacking GNU/Linux with software patents (Apple versus HTC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], Microsoft versus TomTom, SCO versus IBM, et cetera).

If Novell was bought and dismantled, this Web site's name would remain for all all sorts of practical/technical reasons and considerations.

We will try to focus on delivering news summaries on a daily basis (these are the most popular items here) and also address threats to Free software. With a Ph.D. completed, I hope to write Boycott Novell full time (sacrificing an academic career to advance the freedom of software), but it would not be possible without help from readers. We estimate that there are many thousands of regular readers who have enjoyed this site for over 3 years (almost 10,000 blog posts were published here), so if each reader was willing to donate a few bucks/quid, that would enable us to carry on going. At the same time, we realise that such moves rarely work as they do not bring in funds, so we are left reluctant to ask for financial assistance (even though it's needed). Any advice would be appreciated. ____ [1] How Much Will Novell Go For? [The 451 Group reckons Novell's sale is inevitable]

As bargains go, Novell’s (NOVL) valuation in the recently floated bid from a hedge fund is a bit like a ‘crazy Eddie’ discount. Earlier this week, Elliott Associates offered $5.75 for each of the roughly 350,000 shares for Novell. Altogether, the equity value totals about $2bn.


[2] Will Novell Finally Be Acquired? [from the 'Microsoft press']

[3] Novell Gets $2 Billion Takeover Offer From Elliott

Whether they’re interested in breaking Novell into pieces or simply after Novell’s patent portfolio or intellectual property remains to be seen at this point. Either way I don’t see the acquisition being good for Novell or Open Source though. Which brings the next question. Is another suitor likely to jump in at this point. the Var Guy lists IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Computer Associates as potential options. I’d add Cisco as another potential Dark Horse candidate, but agree that IBM and HP are exceedingly unlikely. The realty is that Novell is going to be difficult to digest from a strategic standpoint. They have at least four divergent businesses and Linux only makes up about 20% of the company’s revenue. That means a private-equity firm taking the company private and restructuring may be the most viable option at this point.


[4] BBC America: Palast Hunts the Vultures [hedge funds are so unethical that some consider banning them]

Some vultures have feathers, but some have fancy offices and huge homes. Tonight, BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast follows the trail of one "vulture fund" chief, from a locked office door in New York to mud-brick houses in Africa.

How strange. When I arrive at the offices of Eric Hermann at hedge fund FH International, just outside New York City, the company's corporate sign is unbolted from the wall and the suite number removed from the door.

But wait ... I hear noises inside the office. Huh? I knock on the locked door and out steps the office building's security manager.


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