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Linux Growth Doesn't Offset NetWare Decline 165

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slippery-stockholder-slope dept.
steveit_is writes to tell us CommentWire is reporting that the decline in NetWare and Open Enterprise sales is plummeting at a much faster rate than their SUSE Linux sales are growing. It seems that the transition is proving to be every bit as difficult as Novell execs originally suspected. From the article: "When Novell last week announced its financial results for the fiscal first quarter ended January 31, the said that growth in its SUSE Linux and related products was decent, but that sales of its NetWare and Open Enterprise Server--a variant of NetWare that uses Linux as the operating system kernel that was announced last year--declined by 11%."
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Linux Growth Doesn't Offset NetWare Decline

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  • Netcraft (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Netcraft confirms Novell is dying. It's been slowly dying for years, and I don't think there's anything to save it. Dunno what will happen of suse afterwards.
    • Troll? WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Some mods are on crack... If anything this is insighful!

      Novell was extremely popular at some point (the netware v3 days, mid 90s), then hordes of people started migrating to NT4 to never come back. v4 installs never were as common, and I've only seen a handful of v5 installs. The Netware days are over, big time. Just like OS/2 (which wasn't a bad OS at all at the time). Every freakin' thing Novell bought or touched since then somehow ended up being a failure in a way or another (if you think Sun missed the
  • by Penguinoflight (517245) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @12:40AM (#14872780) Homepage Journal
    Someone has to state the obvious. Past users of Novell aren't going to just switch directly to another Novell product that is completely unlike the other one. Whatever growth of SuSE will be because of the sucess of SuSE to provide a good linux distribution, and not because of Novell's name. We saw this before with Corel; They made a unique linux distribution, and some liked it. Nobody decided to move their department to Corel Linux just because they had been using WP.
    • by unladen swallow (844965) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:17AM (#14872913)
      I have to agree.

      I got started with networks with Novell Netware 2.12.

      From there I moved to 3.12, 4.11.

      3.12 was rock solid, the only problem was that it was not an application server, it only did file and print (and did it very well). Having PC's/Solaris/MAC/OS2/Mainframes able to access the same files/print jobs was huge.

      During the 2.12 and 3.12 days Microsoft (Win 3.11) was making major inroads with applications which IMO killed Novell. Since Novell did not have a App server to counter it (no one was supporting apps at least on Novell). Novell was left with file and print jobs.

      Installing shared apps on a Novell server could be a major nightmare.

      When NDS came out it was too little too late.

      I see no real reason to migrate to SUSE/Novell at this time

      I have bought the 9.2/9.3 version of SUSE (need to buy 10) just to help support Novell.

      • *NDS* is too little to late.

        THE BEST directory server out there is too little?
        • Apparently, "too late" means eight years before the competition....

          More on topic, I admin a server farm of about 40 Netware 6.5 servers. Unless Novell stops supporting Netware, I really don't expect to migrate to Suse. What I would like to be able to do is migrate some of the Windows app servers to Suse (or Netware, whatever). Unfortunately, the apps are only supported on Windows, so that's what we have to run.

          No

      • by T-Ranger (10520) <jeffw@chebucto.nGAUSSs.ca minus math_god> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:47AM (#14874081) Homepage
        Novell did have an app server, it was called "Netware". Oracle ran on Netware. Pegasus mail did too. It was a lack of third party support, not a lack of a valid platform.

        NDS, if anything, was too much too early.

        While I can see advantages to directory services for a 1 person network, DS is very much influenced by the "network effect". The more you use it, the more valuable it is. The more objects it has, the more usefull it is. Its most usefull for large networks. WfW and later NT workstation and 95, with their built in p2p networking, was, in many cases "good enough". Even for networks that used, and liked, NW 3.11, but translated to "good enough" WfW/95, when they grew, grew into other MS products. Netware 4.x, with NDS, was a race to the top, with the bottom falling out compleatly.
      • What are you talking about? I admin'd a 3.1x site in the early 90's that had Applications running in Netware - MSoft apps, Groupwise (Novell's groupware), and a Dbase database.

        They were crushed by Microsoft. End of story. They should of ditched their proprietary Netware long ago - they even resisted supporting TCP/IP for the longest time! How forward thinking was that??
      • By the way, 10.1 is coming out in a month (if they're according to schedule) so just hold off. :)

        (I've bought 9.2 and 10.0 retail.)


        • Good. Maybe you guys can tell me why 9.2 seems to only work on my notebook?

          After a long install on a PC it seemed to be working. Hit the net and got some sound. Shut down to attach a CD cable and that was it. Now it boots to the console and tells me to

          "umount -n -r readwrite,rw /" or something like that.

          I login root and do it and ^D. Restart. Same. Try with safe boot menu option. Safe boot does an fsck and chkdsk or something. The same problem. Try a few more variations.
          Pls don't tell me I have to reinstall
          • Well, I'm still a newbie. I've only been using it for about two years, so I can't help much with the details. However, you should be able to get support without an issue. There are a number of resources at your disposal.

            Ask the same question at linuxquestions.org or on suseforums.net or on one of the mailing lists: http://en.opensuse.org/Communicate#Mailing_Lists

            Also, I would highly recommend against using 9.2 these days. 10.0 has been out for awhile and is worlds better than 9.x in terms of speed, usage,
    • by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:13AM (#14873069)
      If Novell would open up technologies like ZENWorks, they might get some real interest. An enterprise-wide administration solution (along the lines of active directory) is available in purely Free Software, and it's eventually going to be simplified and packaged for everyone. But Novell have a head start in this stuff: they could make a significant contribution to Linux, and make their own distros famous for enterprise use, if they want to. It NEEDS to be open though, or it's useless to those of us who want to build add-on admin tools and who want to install it across a heterogeneous network.

      Instead, they horde their tech, and don't even bother to advertise it much. I'm not really surprised they're failing with that strategy; it has Commodore written all over it.
      • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:41AM (#14873299)
        If Novell would open up technologies like ZENWorks, they might get some real interest.

        This is a great observation. We're migrating off of NetWare because of the hassle of maintaining two directories(We also have ADS), amoung other reasons. We'd love to keep ZENWorks, but guess what? You still have to maintain two directories.

        My converstations with supporters of this are almost commical.

        ZENWorks Supporter (SUP): ZEN supports ADS!
        ZENWorks Skeptic (Skep): Great! I don't have to support multiple directories!
        SUP: Well, actually you do, but they sync, so you don't have extra maintenance!
        Skep: Ok, so I get to do all my administration in ADS, right?
        SUP: Well, no, you have to use Console One, but they're syncing so you don't have to worry about maintaining seperate user accounts!
        Skep: So I don't have to worry about eDir logons, right?
        SUP: well, you actually have to logon to eDir.
        Skep: But it's clientless, right?
        SUP: Absolutely! No netware client, you just have to logon to eDir through the ZENWorks client.
        Skep: How is that clientless?
        SUP: There's no NetWare client, so it's clientless.
        Skep: Um.
        Skep: I've had problems with maintaining two seperate accounts in the past. For example, password complexity, expiration, etc are all handled differently in the two directories and this has led to inconsistant password policy.
        SUP: ZENworks has some great policy options!
        Skep: Yes, I understand this, but how do I reconcile eDir's grace logons with ADSs warnings before expiration? This kind of seems like a hassle to me.
        SUP: You don't need to worry, the directories are synced! The syncing is so good, you won't have any problems.
        Skep: But I am having problems.
        SUP: Those aren't really problems. You just don't understand.
        Skep: I do understand, and I also don't want a client that replaces my Windows logon GINA.
        SUP: The client is not a problem. You'll like it.
        Skep: um.

        If ZENWorks was fully integrated into ADS and had no seperate logon, we'd use it. ZEN is awesome. But as long as Novell and its supporters fail to see issues with the things that we think are issues, we're going to seek other options.

        TW
        • by whereareweheadedto (959728) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:46AM (#14873471)
          I have been working with Novell for almost four years and have run into many similar arguments. But there are some facts that Slashdoters and others often ignore. And that's a relationship between Novell's products. You can't run ZENworks Desktop management with directories other than eDIrectory. Certain applications work only with other Novell applications, while Novell still gives out as much as they can without geopardizing market shares of their flagship products. Regarding my customer base, it always comes down to sensible advice. Some need MS, others don't. Maybe you needed Novell better than MS? Just an example from one of my clients: three years ago they had some 10 MS servers, 10 Netware, 5 linux servers. They decided to ditch Netware and move to MS. Their current situation: some 40 MS servers, 10 or less linux servers and 7 Netware servers. They still employ eDirectory as their primary directory (they have three), ZENworks. I actually installed a new OES Netware server last week to host their DNS and DHCP services. Will probably be doing 3-node cluster later this year... They took two years of planning the ditch and in the end they have 2 times the servers they did in the beginning. They found no viable option to Novell's services...
    • Or it could be that their customers are sick of paying for service and maintenance contracts, ARE using SuSE, but have just downloaded it and wandered off giving Novell the finger. Before, you HAD to purchase licenses, maintenance or not. Now, you only have to purchase if you want service and support and I gather that the big players who are required to purchase those contracts aren't using SuSE and the others just see little benefit, so they just take the free stuff and leave.
  • by penguin-collective (932038) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @12:42AM (#14872789)
    That story is phrased so that it might suggest like Linux isn't being a big success for Novell, but that's bullshit. Novell had a cash cow with a proprietary enterprise product. That's history. It's history because the market has changed. There is no reason at all to expect that they will ever do as well with any other product.

    The fact that they have been able to turn Linux into a business for them at all is a good thing.
    • The fact that they have been able to turn Linux into a business for them at all is a good thing.

      And where's the evidence of that? You're being a little premature, don't you think? No offense to Novell, but last I heard they bought somebody else's Linux business. Since acquiring Suse, they've seen its share of the Linux market shrink compared to Red Hat's. Meanwhile, their transitional product for past (and future) Netware customers, Open Enterprise Server, is critical to their success and yet is included

      • Since acquiring Suse, they've seen its share of the Linux market shrink compared to Red Hat's.

        You have data to back that up? Everything I've seen in the mid to large corp field defies that, with a few SuSE rollouts I know of, at least in Europe and North America, and no new RH rollouts. The reason seems to be that the Novell brand is an easier sale for IT project managers, it's always Novell SuSE, never SuSE alone, and possibly cheaper support contracts? Don't get me wrong, RH still has more boxes out th
  • by swalker42 (944794) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @12:43AM (#14872796)
    Novell has declared it's cash cow dead (Netware) long before the new cash cow (Linux) has replaced it. Now Novell has never explicitly said Netware is dead, just that the direction it will be taking is Linux. That's a lesson it learned from WordPerfect. Announce the end of the only product making money long before the new product has replaced the revenue. Ah well, at least Novell was able to use something from one of the many companies it bought. Too bad it was rotten business sense.
    • by Urusai (865560) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:01AM (#14872856)
      I thought NetWare was dead sometime in the mid 90s when it was replaced by either NetBEUI, ArcNet, or sneakernet, I can't remember.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @12:51AM (#14872831) Journal
    They were originally a mainframe company in the 70's. in fact, they were good size being tied to the IBM mainframe. Afterall, back then nobody got fired for picking IBM mainframes. But by mid-late 80's, they were drying up. IBM was killing off its prodigal children that made it money. Basically, IBM would either buy the companies or would put it out of business in many illegal fashions. But Novell did not move. So they brought in a CEO to take them into the ground and get what they could out of it. And that would be Ray Norda.

    Of course, Ray found that a small group was working on some interesting items and focused the company on it. Of course, they did lay off a large number of their staff. IIRC, they got down to something like 100 employees. But they came back in flying colors.

    Novell will go through some leans times, but they learned to jump ship BEFORE it sank completely. It would have been better had they jumped earlier, but ....

    Novell will be around in 10 years. I doubt that companies like symantic, nortin, intuit, and AOL will.
    • Novell will be around in 10 years. I doubt that companies like symantic, nortin, intuit, and AOL will. Yeah, people will eventually stop buying Symantic's Nortin AntaVirus.
      • Yeah, people will eventually stop buying Symantic's Nortin AntaVirus.

        We did a couple years ago due to stability & compatibility issues and the fact that they were starting to miss things! Unfortunately with Microsoft coming out with their own AV product Norton is square in their sights so it's only going to get worse. For a product as tightly integrated with the MS API as Norton is, that's the kiss of death.

        (Thank goodness for AVG and Trend Micro! :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:08AM (#14872880)
      Wrong.

      Novell was not involved in mainframes.

      It started out at the dawn of the 80s making microcomputer trinkets, and eventually became successful selling Netware - which it survives on to this day.
    • I hear that Novell was pushing really hard for IPX/SPX to be the protocol for the internet, which was silly and impossible because it's a broadcast protocol. Then they put off implementing TCP/IP for a million years, while the internet (and networks connected to it) were taking off on TCP/IP.

      I also hear that Novell put a lot of work into Directory Access Protocol (DAP) for network management databases. DAP grew and grew and was too bulky to be popularly used. Somebody made up Lightweight Directory Access
      • Not quite. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:37AM (#14873644)
        I hear that Novell was pushing really hard for IPX/SPX to be the protocol for the internet, which was silly and impossible because it's a broadcast protocol.
        No. They were pushing for IPX to IP gateways/proxy servers so that a local network could run IPX (far less configuration than TCP/IP back then) and still access Internet services, securely. Don't forget that back then people were still selling 3rd party TCP/IP stacks.
        Then they put off implementing TCP/IP for a million years, while the internet (and networks connected to it) were taking off on TCP/IP.
        On the client, it wasn't very difficult to run IPX and TCP/IP. What they did not do was offer their NetWare file system access via TCP/IP until the 5.x series.
        I also hear that Novell put a lot of work into Directory Access Protocol (DAP) for network management databases.
        In a way. They focused on using the X.500 standard for their NDS product.
        DAP grew and grew and was too bulky to be popularly used.
        No. X.500 was designed to handle just about everything in the world. Novell implemented a sub-set of it.

        The problem was that Novell did that back when most people were still on NetWare 3.12 or using a Windows domain model.

        Admin'ing an NDS tree is more work and takes more expertise. Novell failed to sell people on the benefits of a directory service.
        Somebody made up Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), which is now used by Microsoft for Active Directory.
        LDAP is also a sub-set of the X.500 standard.

        Active Directory can talk to LDAP, but it is not LDAP.

        NDS can talk to LDAP, but it is not LDAP. Novell even has NLDAP (Novell LDAP) implemented as a server process.

        The problems Novell had were:

        #1. They made very solid products. There wasn't any reason for small shops to dump NetWare 3.12 and upgrade to 4.x or 5.x or 6.x now.

        #2. They VIGOROUSLY defended their licensing revenue. A NetWare server would broadcast it's serial number and if it saw another server using it, it would kick all the users off of it. Meanwhile, anyone could install 1,000 NT servers with a single license number.

        #3. Their servers sucked as application servers. But they rocked as file and print servers. But more and more apps were moving to the server.

        #4. Novell tried to buy their way into a fight with Microsoft on the desktop with WordPerfect and such.

        #5. Today, they are still back in the early 1990's.
        5a. Patching GroupWise is more difficult than patching Win2K or
          Debian.
        5b. Patching NetWare 6.5 is more difficult ... come on! Debian's solved that problem years ago! Learn from them.
        5c. Novell's sales force sucks ass at the small company level. They simply refuse to tell you how to buy their products and even what their products are.
        5d. NWAdmin is needed for some admin tasks. Console1 is needed for others. NoRM is needed for yet others.
        5e. In order to run some of the BASIC admin utilities, you have to correctly configure NetWare + Apache + Tomcat + Java + LDAP/NLDAP + their stupid Tomcat app + SSL (and I may have left out a sub-system or two). What fucking moron thought that THAT would be a good idea? And the fucking app doesn't even uninstall cleanly so if you do make a mistake, you have to look up how to remove all the little bits so you can re-install it.
        5f. Great. You like webservers and such. But why the fuck does EVERY app have to be run via the web with its own fucking ports?

        I can go on and on and on about this. Really. Novell has, today, managed to incorporate EVERY bad idea for the last 20 years from every vendor out there.

        Seriously. Grab the latest service pack for NetWare 6.5 and make sure you read the install text. You'll have to dig down to a sub-directory to make sure you install 2 sub-items that are NOT automatically installed when you install the service pack but which are required.

        Learn from Debian, Novell. Patching your system should be even EASIER than Windows Update.
        • Active Directory can talk to LDAP, but it is not LDAP.

          Very common misconception! LDAP is a protocol. LDAP says nothing of the backend storage mechanism. AD is an LDAP server. Anyone that tells you otherwise is sadly misinfomred. Anything that serves data via the LDAP protocol is a LDAP server.
        • Re:Not quite. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hasai (131313)
          Much as I hate to, I have to agree with just-about everything the parent states, particularly regarding Novell's Marketing department. Nowhere have I seen such incompetence last so long (except perhaps in the White House).

          Patching a Novell server is not trivial, topped only by GroupWise patching, which I look upon with dread. And God help you if you left out a package on install and now want to add it to a patched server.

          Novell used to have an excellent administration model, where you went to a single progr
  • by Anonymous Coward
    the decline in NetWare and Open Enterprise sales is plummeting at a much faster rate than their SUSE Linux sales are growing. It seems that the transition is proving to be every bit as difficult as Novell execs originally suspected.

    At $DAYJOB, We've had all kinds of trouble since 5.1. The problems are so signifigant that we've gladly paid Novell to send an engineer to look over the problem at $2,000 per day. To date, the suggestions have been... less than hoped for.

    The main problem seems to be memory m

    • That's what happens when you do not have the foresight or skill to upgrade from
      an older version of Netware. I've run large scale Netware 5.5 and 6.0 operations
      with 30k+ workstations without needing help from Novel or having "memory
      management" issues.

      NetAdmin has always made MS AD look like the short bus stepson of the networking
      industry. I just can't take anyone serious that says they are looking at MS
      products after taking the time to work with and *learn* any of the Unix platforms.

      I am actively moving to
    • just tell management that a particular flavor of unix (the one you are using now) is the future and is based on the foundations of the old unix.... while not actually changing anything.

      oh yea and if they mention switching to windows stab them in the throat with a rusty spoon
    • 5.1 was probably where novell peaked for me. 4.x was pretty good, and 3.x was so stable that apart from NDS most file servers didn't need an upgrade, but for me 5.1 was where it was at. When it came to file/print servers in any small to huge multi site setups 5.1 was stable, damn easy to administer and it just worked (apart from the initial implimentation of the java based management console, but the less said about that beast the better)

      IMO the thing that killed Novell was a combination of two things. F
      • There was no inbuild obselecence to the systems and no 2 year enforced upgrade
        This is one of the sadest commentaries on what makes a succesful software company I have seen in a long time...
  • Why choose SuSE? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drgonzo59 (747139) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:17AM (#14872912)
    It is not that they have to compete with major OS systems, but there are also a bunch of competing Linux distributions, some of which are completely free and will even offer many goodies for the enterprise customers (the new Ubuntu Dapper for ex.). It is really hard for a linux distribution to stand out. They better have stellar customer support and hope to land some huge contracts with that. They can and will milk the name "Novel" that many recognize from the early 90's but that will only take them so far...

    I have tried SuSE, it was nice, polished interface but it just didn't stand out. Now I am addicted to Ubuntu, it is simple, it does what I want and nothing more, kind of like crack cocaine...

    • by Bill Hayden (649193) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:33AM (#14872962) Homepage
      ... there are also a bunch of competing Linux distributions, some of which are completely free and will even offer many goodies for the enterprise customers (the new Ubuntu Dapper for ex.).
      Sorry, but it is wishful thinking to say that even the most forward-thinking enterprise customers will have Ubuntu on their radar. You can't get the time of day in the enterprise without a well-known name and the ability to offer a support contract. Sorry to say, but Redhat and maybe SUSE are the only ones with a foot in the door.
      • Depends what enterprise... If Ubuntu is easy to use, and there will be ways to distribute updates automatically, there will be way to remotely administer machines and other goodies, so I don't see why a company "thinking about" linux/open source won't agree to give it a try. Two years ago nobody has heard of Ubuntu and today it is one of the most popular Linux distributions worldwide. Who knows what might happen in another 2-3 years... I have used all 3: Redhat, SuSE and Ubuntu and I find that Ubuntu works
        • I'd bite, but only if kubuntu were as polished as ubuntu. Sadly (I just tried this last week), it isn't.

          "Just use KDE." --Some famous geek-person.
        • The "Support" enterprises buy is largely the ability to blame somebody outside the enterprise.
          Ubuntu may be good and easy to maintain, but who can you blame if it blows up in your face.
          No manager will want to take that responsiblity.
    • We ended up choosing SUSE all across the board because we wanted a good, stable, KDE desktop, Our evolution was redhat (until version 9) -> Mandrake (until version 9.2) -> SUSE (from 9.1 onward). Mandrake seemed very buggy (in the 9.2 days) which is why we moved to SUSE.

    • In the commercial world, Linux distributions stand out by having applications (that businesses need to run) saying "will run on distribution X". Application vendors pick distributions with the largest market share (among their target market). Right now, these are versions of Redhat and Suse - so that's they say their products work on.
  • I've ran SuSE in the past, from the 5.x series and lately 9.3 prior to going with Kubuntu. (I'm a old debian user) The things that impressed me in SuSE is the fact that Yast was soooo much better in 9.3, on the other hand I was turned off by the DRM crap, which getting around it was easy enough, but still a PITA. Novell's web site is also a nightmare, still about as friendly as in the early 90's. (hint here Novell, fix it!)

    I also never see advertising for *anything* Novell anymore. Humm.
  • Ah, Netware... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:22AM (#14872930)
    I had plenty of experience with Netware up to 3.12 and in the 199?-1995 timeframe, it was, for a lot of people, the only place where they could store their stuff, the only option being a floppy. At my university, an IBM PS/2 Model 95 running NW with the Mac storage option (whatever it was called) with TCP/IP as well as IPX serviced a hundred and fifty machines, a mix of PCs and 80s and early 90s Macs. NW also handled all the printers (5 or so) and even a couple of early model plotters (if I recall, Lotus 123 1a would only print the graphs to plotters, but I may be wrong about that).

    Good times.

    It seems that, more than any other OS, Netware is something whose time has clearly passed; everything Netware provided is now available on the user's desktop, regardless of what it boots to. If I remember correctly, NW has been expanded to also be an application server platform for databases, web servers (I believe Apache can run on it), but it seems that it's a more radical configuration than the most offbeat Unix platform. A friend of mine described programming NLMs as nothing like he'd ever done, and nothing he'd ever like to do again.

  • by wysiwia (932559) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:40AM (#14872987) Homepage
    tackle the most important Linux problems. The OSDL Linux desktop survey (http://www.osdl.org/dtl/DTL_Survey_Report_Nov2005 .pdf [osdl.org]) clearly lists Application support as the first top inhibitor to Linux adoption and Novell's own Cool-Solutions web site (http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/16798 .html [novell.com]) shows that Quickbooks is the most wanted Linux application. So why doesn't Novell sponsor a real OpenSource alternative?

    No I don't mean to sponsor GnuCash, I mean to build up a cross-platform solution which is able to compete against Quickbooks on all platform (including Windows). I guess it doesn't need more that just a few developers to create an alternative within halve a year and within a year Quickbooks will notice its business diminish. Well lets see then how all the others Windows-Only vendors will react when they see what happened to Quickbooks.

    I'm quite sure these few developers have a much more important impact on the success of Linux that dropping another fifty developers into Suse. It will even be better for Suse if these few developers are taken temporarily away from it.

    The way to success is quite easy when you follow a few rules:

    - don't have unsolvable obstacles
    - don't have killer arguments against you
    - don't have inhibitors
    - do have something valuable the others don't have
    - look at our products with the eyes of your customers or users
    - ...

    O. Wyss
    • The solution to supporting Quickbooks is not an OSS alternative to it, at least today. Quickbooks has mostly evolved in to a subscription plan software, where you pay annual fees for new versions as the old versions go unsupported very quickly, payroll and tax information updates, support calls, etc. Companies invest a lot of time in to getting everything working in Quickbooks, purchasing or developing add-ons specific to their industry or company, and pouring sunk costs in to the subscription plan. The val
    • No I don't mean to sponsor GnuCash, I mean to build up a cross-platform solution which is able to compete against Quickbooks on all platform (including Windows)

      If Novell were to put significant development resources behind GnuCash, it certainly could be runnable and usable and competitive on Linux, OSX, and Windows. Why start from scratch?
  • Right now, Netware simply costs too freaking much IMO. Yes, other things are also spendy, but when I'm looking for directory services, which I currently am, here are the figures I'm faced with:
    1. Netware: About 40 bucks per user
    2. MS AD: About 10 bucks per user
    3. Fedora Directory Server: About zilch.

    No matter which way you cut it, I'm going to have to put in a boatload of time refactoring a painted-in-the-corner directory model with about 1400 users and 500 devices in this K12 school district. Add to that t

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The leadership of Ximian that seems to have taken over the Linux direction is an incredible liability for Novell and SuSE. Ximian was a company and a group that could never deliver a polished product that people would actually use. They really saw Novell as a platform for their own egos, and not really a platform actually to serve people, customers, and community.

    SuSE was an amazing product and one of the best examples of a fully integrated GUI experience for Linux, where you didn't have to use the command
    • I agree. Buy betting on Ximian and Mono, Novell essentially decided Gnome would be the platform. Whether your Gnome or KDE inclined, you have to admit dumping KDE when that's SuSE's base was a bad idea. "Hey! I have a great idea! Let's move to another GUI platform and alienate the one set of users that bring the most to the table on SuSE!?" As for Ximian and Mono, Novell was betting on enterprise apps there. Ximian was to provide a polished look and feel and Mono would bring .Net to Linux. They forgot one k
  • by soren42 (700305) * <jNO@SPAMson-kay.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:15AM (#14873071) Homepage Journal
    Novell is no doubt more than aware that comparing NetWare to Linux is an unfair comparison, just as comparing earnings from this point last year is. Let's take a quick rundown of some differences:

    NetWare vs. Linux:
    • NetWare is typically licensed per-user, Linux per-server - this is a HUGE difference! For a large enterprise for, let's say 100,000 NetWare users, Novell was licensing annually on a per-user basis. This could come out to millions of dollars if they even charged $10-$20/user (approximately the list price based on 50-100 user bundles). SUSE Linux, on the other hand, is no doubt licensed per-server. That same enterprise can probably support those same users with far fewer servers - let's use an estimate of 2000. Even at the list price of $899 for up to 16 CPUs, that is still a huge shortfall. So, it a significantly different pricing model.
    • NetWare was entirely developed in-house - alright, so it was based on DOS, but for all intensive purposes, Novell had a captive developer community, entirely controlled product direction, cost, support, and other factors. With Linux, Novell has managed to trade some of the cost of development for total control of the product - but they still must support and maintain all those users still running NetWare 3(good heavens!), 4, 5, and 6. So, they need almost twice the support staff, and we already discussed the falling revenue. Plus, they still support and patch some versions of NetWare 6, so they are some developers still committed to NetWare.
    • The dynamics of their community has changed - in the 90's, the certification to have was the CNE. It meant something. Novell had a huge community of resellers, developers, support engineers, and other partners - essentially under their thumb. Now, they have to compete as just another Linux vendor. Why be just a Novell partner when I can partner with Red Hat, IBM, HP, and everyone else? Why get a Novell CLP9 or CLE9 certification, when I can get the more recognized LPI certification - or (worse, from their perspective) an RHCE certification?
    • Their customers' path away has not been Linux - it's been Windows - Novell has been steadily losing file and print customers for years to Microsoft. No offense, people, but face it: most former NetWare admins moved on to WinNT and Win2K years ago. Very few moved on to UNIX or Linux - there are certainly some, but most people that identified themselves as CNE's moved on to be MSCE's, not RHCE's. The problem is, customers are still moving en masse to Windows, and the Linux strategy from Novell has not prevented that.

    Okay - I've beat up the Linux/NetWare differences enough, but what about the business differences, and their impact on earnings?

    • One year ago, the Microsoft settlement boosted earnings - if you don't get this one, RTFA. The MS settlement was a nice temporary earnings boost, but Novell knew that. Why the market glossed over it still amazes me, but then, it's the sort of thing tech investors tend to do.
    • Novell has matured in the past year - I know there's been a lot of negative press about the leadership changes and departures at Novell - especially here at Slashdot, but let me tell you - this is what a company undergoing a major merger integration needs. Especially one changing it's fundamental vision and product focus. Some of the losses were unfortunate - Chris Stone, for example. Some just underscored the growing pains of a company merging several cultures at once - open source and proprietary, US and Germany, GNOME and KDE - too many for all the chiefs to stay and agree. However, IMHO, the current leadership and vision at Novell is remarkable. Novell has done a superb job of selecting the best and brightest from their talent pool to lead the company, and their corporate vision and strategy demonstrate that.
    • Novell has strived to maintain product continuity - even at the expense of earnings. Doesn'
    • NetWare was *the* file and print server for a very long time, however I think they have made a few dodgy technical decisions in recent years - We currently use no less than *three* different administration programs - but the killer is patch management. So man patches break underlying functionality that finding a stable patchlevel is so difficult that any kind of upgrade is done with only the upmost trepidation.
      Believe me I'm talking from painful experience here....
    • Their customers' path away has not been Linux - it's been Windows

      Right. And that's exactly why I think Novells path with Linux is the right one -- because meddling with Microsoft will kill you, and it nearly killed Novell.

      You may offer (print- and fileserver) solutions for Windows-clients for years, but in the end, Microsoft will offer those itself, and then you've lost. The same applies just about to anything. Either your company gets killed, or bought by Microsoft. There is no future in the Microsoft-mark
    • alright, so it was based on DOS

      It wasn't based on DOS! It used DOS as a bootloader. There was a security option to unload DOS when you started netware.
    • > alright, so it was based on DOS, but for all intensive purposes,

      <sigh>

      NetWare uses DOS as a bootstrap. Period. The engineers at Novell who developed the loader mechanism back in the NetWare 3 days (NetWare 2.15 didn't use DOS as a bootstrap, though you could run non-dedicated mode and have a second "session" that ran DOS so the machine could be used as a workstation as well) decided that since DOS already gets a system started up, there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

      SERVER.EXE loads from DO
  • Novell seems to be making deals with SuSE.

    Swiss Government [eweek.com]
    Novell is leading linux in china [softpedia.com]

    I mean come on I don't think the Swiss Gov't is going to pick a company that doesn't know what they are doing.

    Redhat is a great example of how a linux company can be successful. Novell is backed by IBM, and has partnerships all over the place like Redhat. I think Novell is going to surprise a lot of people.

    Hey even their old CEO is now the CEO of Google. [google.com] They have too many ties to too many power players f
  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dtietze (708094)
    Say what? The decline is plummeting? If the decline is plummeting - does that mean that sales are increasing? Is this a posh double negative?

    Dan.
    Remember - Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

    • Literally interpreted, it would mean that they have a large second derivative. That means that the first derivative will become greater than zero on a long enough time frame and it will increase, but maybe not now.
  • IBM and Novell (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bubulubugoth (896803)
    Novell isnt alone with SuSe.

    IBM is buying a lot from Novell, and not from redhat.

    For example. Novell has this tiny distributions for Point Of Sale Hardware, called Novell SuSe Linux Point of Sal NSLPOS or NLSpos, it depends how you order the words.

    IBM has a HUGE hardware POS, and they build IRES, IBM Retail Enterprise Solution on TOP of Novell`s NLSPOS

    Also, Novell has support for the brand new OpenPower, Xseries and so on, also redhat, but the difference, is that, Redhat charges you by instance, and Novell
    • Re:IBM and Novell (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Erwos (553607) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:21AM (#14874216)
      "IBM is buying a lot from Novell, and not from redhat."

      You're joking, right? This statement alone disqualifies whatever else you have to say, because it's obvious YOU HAVE NO CLUE. Red Hat and IBM have a close partnership. IBM constantly plays it up whenever they come with the sales pitches. You can get RHEL on practically anything IBM sells. You're going to have to quantify your statement with hard facts before anyone believes it. You can do that, right?

      Note that I'm not arguing IBM doesn't have a close relationship with SuSE (Novell, now), too.

      "So I really think that Novell will survive and will have a huge market, more market than RedHat, they are not so cocky about them self as RedHat, Novell wants money, not fame..."

      That's a laughable assertion. You don't think there are huge egos at Novell? The reason you keep hearing about Red Hat on Slashdot is that they're continually giving to the community. Aiglx, GFS, scheduler enhancements, gcc development, etc. - if Red Hat gets fame and ego boosts like that, they're A-OK in my book. The folks at Novell are starting to realize this - which is why you're seeing them open-source more and more stuff, and backpedal somewhat on their "hybrid open-source proprietary" philosophy they were pitching shortly after the merger (it didn't win them many friends).[1]

      You obviously have some rather pre-conceived notions about Red Hat and Novell. Sorry if the facts get in the way.

      I think SuSE is a fine distro, but Novell is flailing about to a large extent with regards to how to evolve itself. They'll probably survive, but it's going to be painful.

      -Erwos

      [1] I received several sales pitches from them.
  • They lack vison (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alonso (63617)
    I think that they lack in house vision, and they have lost the Suse visionary.
    I was a big fun of suse, and I now use opensuse, but the messages that novell sends are confusing. Whitch is the main desktop platform kde, gnome or both?
    They have switched the engine of yast (dependencies resolver) to the engine of
    redcarpet in beta 5 of opensuse 10.1. I think that there are other examples....
    And they have problem in working with community see Xgl vs Xegl or AppArmor vs SeLinux, I haven't the technical skill to d
  • Give them Groupwise! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:02AM (#14874148)
    I have a co-worker who recently went to a Novell/Suse training class, and from what he tells me they were very good at drinking the Kool-Aid. Lots of talk in terms of not "if" but "when you switch your entire company to Suse Desktop", you should have all your servers upgraded within the year, that kind of stuff. Look, I know Novell has to be behind their stuff, but I doubt there are very many companies out there who can just have all their servers upgraded in that kind of time frame, let alone totally drop Windows on the desktop.

    Besides, Novell's immediate problem is not getting Suse out there to it's customers. It's coming, we know it, and even if we don't like it we're going to move there eventually. Novell's big problem is losing current Netware/GW customers, and attracting new ones.

    Open source Groupwise. It seems so obvious to me I can't believe Novell isn't doing this, they're pretty much in the process of abandoning GW anyway. Linux is desperate for a full-featured, one-stop Groupware product. How many Suse servers would you sell if open source GW was out there? How many current Netware customers would you save from switching over to Exchange?
    • You mean something like Hula [hula-project.org]?

      Hula's actually an Open Source Netmail, but they're going to be porting major new features from Groupwise to Hula.

  • Frightening (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:37AM (#14874654) Journal
    The financial figures are frightening. Novell booked $274.4 m in revenue, of which around $56 m was from open source products, of which around $13 m was pure Linux (the rest was Netware OES), of which only $10 m was from SuSE Linux ( a 22 per cent improvement). The article then quoted an analyst who said that Red Hat's Linux growth was twice as large and their revenue from Linux was five times larger.

    Put it another way, a couple of years into their Linux story, Novell is turning over around $1 billion of which pure Linux contributes around $50 m, and much of the rest is declining legacy stuff. This is a drop in the ocean, and all the harder when Red Hat appear to be creaming Novell at the sharp end.

    $50 m compared to $1 billion. I don't know how Novell is going to get out of this one, but talking about changes to SuSE or Ximian or yet more sugar-daddy spending on open source projects is like the Titanic and deckchairs. It's very hard to see Novell avoiding a break up.
  • My company has been a Novell shop for long time and is finally giving in to Active Directory. :(

    But here's my take on it. Maybe somebody at Novell will read this. The admins seem to be afraid to learn UNIX... So I am assuming that Novell charges for the training, the testing, etc. Now our admins, they get Winders but they really don't get Linux or UNIX. I think it would have been in Novell's best interest to eat the cost for training, especially to those who have already gotten their CNA or CNE in older N

  • by Glamdrlng (654792) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @12:24PM (#14876450)
    When Novell chose to throw all their eggs into the Linux basket, they took a huge risk. The problem is they didn't really throw all their eggs in it. Here, imho, is what Novell must do to succeed:

    1. Give away Zen, or at least parts of it.
    Many of the features in Zenworks come part and parcel with active directory. There could be a Zen-lite that does the same things that AD admins can do through group policy. Include the ability to do similar tasks on Linux machines and Novell can go back from "keeping up with Microsoft" to "staying a step ahead of Microsoft". While they're at it, Novell needs to work include support for every aspect of Firefox, including a list of supported plugins and extensions, to amke it manageable through Zen. AD admins can mange the IE settings across their network with GRoup Policy, Linux admins need to be able to do the same thing.

    2. Do the same thing with Red Carpet.
    Novell either needs to give Red Carpet away or have a limited version that operates the same way SUS does. They could have a professional version that will also use a push architecture in addition to a pull architecture. Personally, I loved Red Carpet when I first heard of it. Patch management for my windows machines and my Linux machines? Score. Here's the problem: I can get patch management on all my windows machines gratis with SUS / WSUS. I've got less than 20 Linux servers in my environment, about 200 windows servers, and around 3500 windows workstations. How could I possibly justify $18 per seat for Red Carpet when I can run SUS for free and just have our admins manually patch the Linux Servers? Yes I know Microsoft is the source of the vulnerabilities in the first place, yes I know Novell shouldn't have to give away a product that cleans up Microsoft's mess for free. Y'know what though, money talks. By having to pay extra cash for Linux patch management, that adds to the TCO of Linux while Windows' TCO stays the same, giving Microsoft marketing more ammo to work with.

    3. Improve the Yast firewall interface and add remote management via Zen.
    For that matter, everytinhg you can do in Yast needs to be accessible remotely via Zen. In an AD environment I can manage the Windows firewall on all the machines in my domain via Group Policy. I need to be able to do the same thing in a Linux environment. And the Yast firewall interface is the only one I've seen that actually sucks worse than the Windows firewall interface.

    4. Ratchet up support for Wine. Partner with Codeweavers, or acquire them.
    Novell's Linux support needs to embrace Wine or another emulator to assist with Linux migrations. Their current approach of "Run a Terminal Server that hosts the Windows-only application" isn't going to cut it. Users want icons on desktops that run their applications. Clicking an item on the linux desktop, then logging into a termserver, then clicking an icon on the termserver, then logging into an app, isn't going to fly. If Novell really wants to be successful in migrating companies to Linux, they should partner with or acquire one of the Windows emulation projects, and offer "take your POS custom app that you bought from a vendor or coded in house and make it work on Linux" as a service with a one time fee and optional support.

    I think what Novell's trying to do is great, but I see them hanging themselves with it if they don't stay a step ahead of their competition.

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough For Love"

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