Bonum Certa Men Certa

One Year Later: ”Novell: From hero to zero in sixty seconds...”

Blasting insight from the past

In an attempt to find an old post about Novell (covering Novell's pulling of Windows-antagonising adverts from its Web site), the following old USENET post emerged. It was never filed here and perhaps it should. It was posted just 2 days after the Novell/Microsoft had been signed.




Message-ID: [pan.2006.11.04.19.28.22.579976@invalid.com] From: casual observer [no_one@invalid.com] Subject: Novell: From hero to zero in sixty seconds... Date: Sat, 04 Nov 2006 12:28:22 -0700

Novell as HERO: SCO vs. Novell



At the beginning of the week, Novell appeared to be a big hero in the GNU/Linux community. They have been a hero by standing up to the big bully, SCO Group. Their actions have been key factors and are now legend because these cases have dragged on for so long. Their request for summary judgment that will force SCO cough up Novell's 95% share of their Microsoft/Sun "license" fees. This ruling will most likely be ordered by the court shortly. This will effectively erase the very existece of SCO as a viable business entity. Novell's actions in this arena created a stock of community good will which soared to great heights. Here-to-fore Novell would not be bullied by their next door neighbor.

Novell as HERO: Owner of the respected Suse Linux distribution Also, at the beginning of the week, Novell was the respected owner of one of the leading GNU/Linux distributions. Novell obtained instant "street credibility" by acquiring Suse Linux. This showed that Novell thought GNU/Linux was now ready for "prime time" and could be used to replace their aging Netware offering. Suse Linux made Novell a player in the desktop software market as companies began looking for a more secure, virus and spyware free OS.

They also seemed to have a viable business strategy to make free software pay. Their business model which relies on a revenue stream from paid-only, end-user support contract is easily understood. No one expects free support, even when the GPL itself guarantees free software. The bonus is that this model gives a bottom line that Wall Street understands, too: more support contracts equals higher company profits. The model is not unique- RedHat, Oracle, IBM, and others all "get" that the biggest "value added" component is through the direct support they provide.

Novell as ZERO: Announces "collabrative" deal with Microsoft.



All of their positive actions are erased. They are taken off the board in one fell swoop. Ray Noorda must be rolling over in his grave. The deal with Bill "pearly" Gates and Steve "The Embalmer" Ballmer came close enough to Halloween that it should have evoked memories of Halloweens past, or possibly "Halloween Memos" past. It is a sure bet that something unholy is going down whenever you make a deal with the devil. Even their "corporate memory" seemed to be conveniently offline in the last week. They apparently forgot that NT supplanted Netware and MS Word supplanted WordPerfect, erasing vast sums from Novell's bottom line. They think they can trust MS this time. Lucy will let Charlie Brown kick the ball this time, too.

Novell as ZERO: Novell the new FUD puppet



Microsoft needed a new shill now, especially now that SCO is winding down, without the result that Microsoft intended. Oddly, Novell appears happy to replace SCO as Microsoft's new chief puppet. Hovespin shouldn't complain when Steve pulls the marionette strings.

”Microsoft needed a new shill now, especially now that SCO is winding down, without the result that Microsoft intended.“Ballmer's promise not to sue Suse users, smells of the vaporware MS is famous for. If patents are being infringed, then MS should state their case and objections with specificity. SCO has had years to do so, and has shown nothing. Clearly, all this is all vapor and the latest FUD offering from MS with no legal basis. You can bet that if there was any way to lock out Samba, it would have done been done long before now. It could be that some of restraints placed on convicted monopolists are partly effective in tying the offenders hands. It's too late now. The statute of limitation control, if nothing else. The large legal staff at MS has informed Steve that FUD is the only card that can be played. MS gets a bonus that they can use with the European commission,

Baller to EU: "Don't fine us. We're cooperating with Linux." [Holds up Novell contract.]

Novell as ZERO: Loss of community good will.



Hovespin should have sat down with the CEO of EV1servers.net if the GNU/Linux community is capable of generating a backlash. If you need paid support, and your internal support offerings are inadequate for your needs, then look at the offerings from RedHat! Personally, I wouldn't touch Novell's offerings with the proverbial ten foot pole. Wall Street eventually will notice there has been a significant loss of good will toward the company when their bottom line plummets.

Final Word: The GPL gives users freedoms which cannot be revoked, or traded away.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt




Not much has changed since then. It was also quite prophetic.

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