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Novell’s Hallmark of a Company That’s Already Dead

Posted in GNU/Linux at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novhell

Summary: Novell is a company where people come to end their career and we show this by going through two weeks of Novell news and demonstrating relative idleness

IT is quite shocking how little news there has been from/about Novell in recent weeks (and there was lots more four years ago, not just months ago). It’s like the company died and therefore it’s hard to find anything clueful to write about it. It has been about a fortnight since our last post about Novell’s progress, so here is yet another which is very concise unless and except in places where there is something worth adding.

SCO

Groklaw has kept track of SCO vs Novell and at the end of last month it posted an update:

Here it is, Novell’s appeal brief in SCO v. Novell. It’s responsive to SCO’s earlier filing, which you can find in our permanent Novell Appeals page.

Stock

Novell mostly appears in some news in the context of finance. Here are the headlines we have found of articles that mention NOVL (about 50% of all the items Google News has picked for “novell”):

In the links above, that last one is a reminder that the quarterly results come out next month.

GroupWise

GroupWise no longer appears in the news all that much. But Novell’s PR people try to change that and there are still some mentionings of the product (GroupWise is entirely proprietary), sometimes in the context of GWAVA and GWAVACon. That latter one is about Colleen O’Keefe and she is also mentioned here.

From IDG (also in this domain) we learn that: “Unfortunately, BES Express is still unavailable for Novell (NOVL) GroupWise and other corporate mail servers.”

This new item says: “These and other enterprises are benefiting from Cloud Sherpas expertise migrating users from on-premise platforms-like Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise-to the cloud with Google.”

GroupWise is mentioned in relation to Adium 1.4 and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro:

The fact that M+Archive was designed to seamlessly integrate with the municipality’s Novell GroupWise system was also essential.

GroupWise is additionally mentioned in yet another one of Messaging Architects’ new press releases (also here) and TechRepublic has published “Five tips for successfully migrating from GroupWise to Exchange 2010″ (TechRepublic is quite a Microsoft booster in general).

GroupWise made it into this article on mobile phone platforms and New Zealand’s Prime Minister office:

Our servers are a range of Microsoft and Novell. The reasoning behind the Novell environment is that Government has predominately been a Novell client and DPMC has for that reason retained its Groupwise email system. DPMC is extremely reliant on its use of email, so having Groupwise gives us the resilience and availability we require, and its support requirements are considerably lower than [Microsoft] Exchange. There is also the aspect of security of emails that has kept us with Groupwise.

GroupWise is supposed to add some Pulse functionality (the plan is not yet entirely known, especially after Google dumped Wave) and TechWeb, which Novell is paying (Novell is a sponsor), has just published not one but two articles that mention Novell’s Pulse (David Berlind’s article calls Pulse “island of technology” though):

i. Enterprise 2.0 Preview: Collaboration’s Next ‘Wave’

Novell is forging ahead with the development of Pulse, a real-time enterprise communication and collaboration platform that relies on Wave’s federation protocol. Announced a year ago, Pulse was made available to a limited number of users as a preview starting in March. The company won’t say exactly what it plans to announce at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, but chances are it will have something to do with wider availability.

ii. Twitter-Like Activity Streams: The New Center Of Gravity For The Social Enterprise

Philosophically, Novell is the closest to having the right vision. It’s just that it may have placed its bet on the wrong horse. At the last E2, Novell demonstrated how, using Google’s open Wave Federation Protocol (WFP), the same activity stream could be hosted in both Novell’s Pulse and Google’s Wave. The idea being that if you picked Google’s Wave as your company’s activity stream host of choice and your ad agency picked Novell’s Pulse as its activity stream host of choice, neither of you would have to compromise. Both of you could have visibility into the same events. But despite its open source nature, WFP is by no means a standard. Not only don’t any other activity stream hosts or “event providers” support it, Google discontinued development on Google Wave itself earlier this year. Theoretically, work on WFP can carry on. But so far, there’s been no rallying cry from the industry to get behind it. For all its good intentions, even Novell’s Pulse is an island of technology.

Here is another news article which mentions Novell’s Pulse:

But “people are going to use social tools for business whether the tools are provided by IT or not,” warned Wendy Steinle, marketing director for Novell Pulse. Yes, for business and for pleasure, the Twitter tweets and Facebook posts still fly from phones and computers all the day long, no matter what an employer has to say about the matter. Sure, a company can give an offending tweeter the boot but that’s a bit like locking the house after the burglar leaves with all your stuff. Sadder still if the offending post breaks compliance and the lawman locks you up for the burglary.

People

“If you’re the coach, you must know all the players” is a post on a subject we mentioned about two weeks ago and Novell’s PR does too. It’s an advertisement, but the statement in the headline goes a long way. In order to understand Novell’s impact one must also see where its former managers go.

Patrick from Novell becomes CEO of Apperian:

Prior to xkoto, which was acquired by Teradata, Patrick was vice president and general manager at Novell Inc., where he managed the SUSE Linux and Netware operating system lines. He joined Novell in 2003, as part of the acquisition of Ximian, where he was president and CEO. He also served in senior roles with The Learning Company, Mattel, WordStar, Sun Microsystems, Ashton-Tate and Lotus.

Yves Michali is another former Noveller who entered a new company:

Additionally, the company also announced its board of directors, which includes Yves Michali (formerly of Novell, Microsoft, Mobiclick, and Groove Network), Yvan Morel de Westgaver (formerly an executive at EDS), and Bart Luyten, general partner at BAMS Angel Fund.

Gordon Jones, Novell’s former CIO, becomes CTO of Infogroup:

He has also worked as CIO for Novell (1990 – 1995), Franklin Templeton (1995 – 1999), Beyond.com (1999 – 2000), ToysRUs.com (2000 – 2001), eBay and formerly Wells Fargo subsidiary, BillPoint (2001 – 2003).

Campus

The Provo-based Novell campus is mentioned for the following reason:

The Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum (UVEF) will induct Hal Wing of Wing Enterprises into its UVEF Hall of Fame tonight at the Provo Novell Campus. Inductees represent individuals and organizations with an enduring legacy of entrepreneurial excellence.

A scrap yard is also coming nearer to Novell, just not to shred the company.

Now, through a series of agreements with Provo city, UTA and others, this 2 1/2-acre scrap metal yard will be moving to a 53-acre property at 1776 S. Colorado Ave. (East of Novell) and into a new state-of-the-art recycling center.

Novell could use some recycling. The company itself needs to be recycled.

Identity Manager 4

The news about Identity Manager 4 is no longer news (it’s about a month old), but some sites were spreading the news late and covered IDM at Novell (it’s a proprietary software business).

In addition to minor mentions Novell got this belated coverage from Adrian Bridgwater:

The company specifies that its new product will simplify the identity management provisioning process and deliver a consistent framework for managing identities across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

Self Praise

In a self-promotional press release, Novell mentioned that so-called ‘magic’ quadrant from Gartner, which is a corruptible analyst that one needs to pay to receive some good words. From the opening paragraph:

Novell today announced it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for User Provisioning.* Covering vendors and solutions that manage identities across systems and applications, the Gartner report cites compliance as the main driver for uptake of products.

The thing about those ‘prizes’ though, is that they’re open to abuse and this one too is potentially a new example:

Trend Micro swept the Product Innovation category of Network Security Software, beating out nearest competitors Novell and Websense.

Who judges this and how?

Intelligent Workload and Other Marketing Fluff

Novell has made almost nothing out of PlateSpin, which it spent hundreds of millions of dollars on. PlateSpin’s sale to Novell is mentioned in the Canadian press again;

This fund, which is closed to new investors, has outperformed its peers largely because of a fortuitous investment in software maker PlateSpin Ltd., which was bought in 2008 by Novell Inc. “That is the fundamental holding which drove the returns,” said Scott Clark, managing director of Covington Capital Corp.

A lot of PlateSpin’s main people have left Novell since then and Novell’s Intelligent Workload Management or more of a rebrand. It managed to get some press, especially from Vodacom at the moment. The latter article says: “By using Novell’s WorkloadIQ solutions, Vodacom Business services can support a customer’s IT environment through workload migration, virtual and physical data replication and protection to achieve a scalable cloud.”

It is the same here. Proprietary software from Novell finds some way to have itself promoted. Usually Novell is just mentioned in a long list of vendors with an offer in virtualisation (some additional examples omitted from this post) and here is an example of how these things go:

CED Solutions is a Microsoft CPLS, Certified Partner for Learning Solutions; Cisco Learning Partner Associate; EC Council, Novell, SCA, and training partner with many other vendors.

Another new example:

Storage software provider Novell had also launched Novell Cloud Manager, an umbrella operating system that controls virtualized operating systems working on multiple hypervisors. It currently supports hypervisors including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and open source Xen operating systems, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Microsoft Windows server and Red Hat Enterpries.

It’s common to find Novell listed like this. Not many articles are written just about Novell anymore. Here is IDG giving away exam details for “Novell Certified Linux Administrator”. It is more of a content dump from IDG, it’s not journalism at all.

Marketing fluff (e.g. “Clouds over Manhattan”) is the main thing that keeps Novell in some news while the management arranges the sale of their company. Over in YouTube there are over a dozen videos like [1, 2] from account Novell ChalkTalks, which we never saw before by the way. It’s probably another account held by Novell.

Another new video from novacoast on Novell File Management Suite has been uploaded, as well as a couple from account Novell Labs, which speaks about Fog Computing in a box. They call it “Microburst” [1, 2].

There is another upload of Novell’s Justin Steinman sucking up to IBM and a video with the new Teaming 3.0 UI

Here is a post about IBM adopting SUSE Linux Enterprise for WebSphere Appliances. Only Novell’s PR people seem to be covering this:

In the next installment of our Novell partner podcast series, Liz Padula, senior marketing manager at Novell, talks with Marc Haberkorn, product manager in the WebSphere team at IBM, about how IBM is working with Novell to deliver a portfolio of software appliances across many of its brands, including WebSphere, powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Novell has also just put out this press release to tell people that SLE* is not dead. It’s just probably on its way to VMware, along with OpenSUSE which has new/interim leaders interviewed. Novell is not a good place to be right now, definitely not when it comes to job security. GNU/Linux and SUSE are not going away because they are GPL-licensed, but what will keep SUSE safe from competition? Here is one new article about Teradata:

The cluster runs Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, the Teradata 13.10 database, and has a management console that runs on Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003. This DMA 560 machine is being positioned not only as an entry data mart box, but also as a BI application test and development machine.

It’s important to remember that the future of Novell is quite orthogonal to the future of GNU/Linux because the code will live on and companies like Teradata do not rely on SLE* as they can use RHEL too. To say negative things about Novell is by all means not to harm GNU/Linux; Rather, it’s to defend GNU/Linux from Microsoft patent tax.

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