Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell Rips Red Hat Off and Rips the Community Apart, Brings Microsoft and Patent Tax Into it

Summary: This belated post is a roundup of Novell news from the first week of March, ranging from its exploitation of Red Hat to the curse of Novell's Microsoft-esque program, Banshee

Novell and Microsoft behave alike. Even though some journalists paint Novell as a "Linux company", the platform which Novell promotes a lot is actually .NET and Novell also markets this stuff using the "open" banner which is not deserved. As revealed at the beginning of this month, Microsoft's proprietary stack is promoted with 'OSS' and it fools some people. It sure does.



Novell uses SUSE to pretend that its proprietary server products are somehow "open" and Microsoft uses Novell (or Mono) to pretend that the patent trap .NET is "open" and "cross-platform" (it's neither of those things). More recently we found Novell employees screaming at Ubuntu for falling into the Banshee trap [1, 2]. That's Mono. How about a Novell employee on PDF Mod Update this month? They are reaching out to PDF for their Mono kingdom. Microsoft has a ".NET everywhere" vision and Novell serves this fantasy with the aid of Mono while other Mono boosters cause problems and show their share of this damage.

Let's face it. Novell is far from being independent and as this promotional press release indicates, Novell keeps falling. Novell has a financial vulnerability and also has business vulnerabilities (which Microsoft exploited). With the AttachMSFT/CPTN deal on hold, Novell is bleeding. Sean Michael Kerner wrote about these latest results from Novell:

From a financial perspective, 2011 is not starting off particularly well for enterprise software vendor Novell. The company released its first quarter fiscal 2011 financial results this week, reporting a decline in revenues and a net loss for the quarter.


Novell mostly talks about proprietary software and a little bit of SLES, which is like a joint Microsoft venture now that Novell shares such 'Linux' revenue with Microsoft. Additionally, Novell's Mono software causes friction in the GNU/Linux world; the most recent example of this is Banshee. gnufreex asks, "Will Novell pay up to Spacewalk project http://ur1.ca/3dqdq cc: @jwildeboer @fontana @jonobacon [...] will novell share some of revenue with Red Hat? No, they will steal instead http://ur1.ca/3do2t #banshee #Hypocrites [...] Great chance to expose Novell's hypocrisy wrt Banshee"

Here is Novell's press release hailing its latest 'ripoff' of Red Hat. Timothy Prickett Morgan says that Novell paints Red Hat Linux manager green. "The quickest way to build a commercial Linux business is to clone whatever Red Hat does," he explains.

The quickest way to build a commercial Linux business is to clone whatever Red Hat does. That's what Oracle and CentOS do with their Enterprise Linux redistributions and accompanying paid-for support offerings, and it is now what Novell is doing with a "new" product called SUSE Manager.

With SUSE Manager, announced today, Novell is trying to not only provide a better tool for managing its SUSE Linux Enterprise server than its existing Yast and ZENworks products, but is also trying to branch out into managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well as its own distro for servers.


Sam Dean wonders, "Does Novell Still Have a Chance in the Enterprise Market?"

The long-standing deal between Novell and Microsoft surrounding Novell's Linux business led to many of Novell's previous contracts with enterprises. Under Attachmate, and with a Microsoft-led consortium inheriting many of Novell's key patents, that enterprise deal-making engine is undermined, and Red Hat just keeps marching on in the enterprise market.

SUSE Manager is based on an open source project called Spacewalk, and Novell is arguing that it can help "reduce the operational costs of [enterprise] Linux servers while improving compliance and service quality." In terms of its feature set, that may be true, but Novell has to craft a whole new approach to dealing with the enterprise market now that is not independent. Attachmate has to come up with some kind of corollary to the enterprise deal making that Microsoft did on Novell's behalf for years. It remains to be seen how well any of this will work.


Luc de Louw's blog notes that "SUSE Manager [is] based on Fedora Spacewalk":

SUSE announced the availability of SUSE manager. Having a closer look to it, one recognizes it is based on Fedora Spacewalk. It is a clone of the Red Hat Satellite.

A few weeks ago I was puzzled to see a post on the spacewalk-devel mailing list. SUSE was contributing some code. What the heck? Now it is clear, they are using Spacewalk as there source for its own product. Spacewalk is no longer just the upstream of RHN Satellite, but also a major tool for managing SLES systems.


gnufreex wrote a blog post about this at a later stage, relating it to Banshee:

So, they will surely now direct their PR machine against themselves and blast themselves as hard as they did to Canonical. Or maybe they will pay up? And oinking sounds will spread trough skies.


Sean Michael Kerner explains that "Novell Tries to Beat Red Hat with Red Hat's Own Tech":

Novell is using open source technology from the Spacewalk project that rival Linux vendor Red Hat started, in order to help Red Hat users migrate to SUSE Linux.

The new SUSE Manager is a Linux systems management solution that will enable administrators to manage and update SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) installations. SUSE Manager replaces the Zenworks Linux Management solution that Novell has had in the market since 2004, which evolved from the Ximian Red Carpet Linux management product suite.


Novell is trying to claim more ownership of LibreOffice [1, 2] even though it is no Go-OO and Novell is not really first to ship, as noted before. Novell is ignoring small distros in order to hype up OpenSUSE 11.4 RC2 being released (there is a whole series about it [1, 2, 3, 4] in addition to special GNOME coverage and KDE coverage to show off the themes). Someone wants Domino back:

The Domino KDE style was an emergent and versatile style theme. It had the ability to be customized much like what Qt Curve or Bespin does. However, Domino had the ability to be customized and be previewed instantly has you made the changes. The configuration widow had all sorts of simple modifiers that could truly give some personality to your KDE 3.


Anyway, Techrights is well behind in terms of OpenSUSE news and there is this previous summary from OpenSUSE for those who are interested. We must also catch up with SCO's case against Novell and find out the details about the Novell buyout getting delayed (BT says my wired connection will go up no sooner than next Tuesday).

Groklaw has some coverage from SCO's recent bankruptcy hearing (yes, finally it was not delayed!) and there are 5 updates:

I have our first report from the courtroom in today's SCO bankruptcy hearing in Delaware regarding whether or not SCO can sell essentially all its assets.

It sounds absolutely awful, frankly, but the judge has taken it under advisement, with Novell indicating it will appeal if it does not prevail. We'll be updating this article as more reports arrive. We had two reporters there today.


For the time being, that's about all from Novell. It's on the fringes of the Microsoft camp, still. It's a patent parasite, but at least it does not exploit the disaster in Japan for self-promotion (unlike you-know-who, as usual).

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