Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th Mar 2008 21:43 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE The next version of Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server will focus on migration technologies and virtualisation, in order to entice users from Unix and take market share from Red Hat, according to a roadmap announced at the company's BrainShare meeting in Salt Lake City. Version 11 of SLES is not due until the middle of 2009, but Novell has announced six main 'themes' for the release, including mission critical servers, virtualisation, interoperability, green IT, Unix migration and desktop Linux. Speaking of SUSE, openSUSE 11.0 alpha 3 has been released.
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Nothing of Consequence
by segedunum on Thu 20th Mar 2008 22:33 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

"It's not traditional for a manufacturer to announce themes like this," said Justin Steinman, director of Linux marketing at Novell, "but this is open source — we're aiming for a new level of transparency."


Rrrright.

Unix migration in particular is "huge growth opportunity," said Steinman, who expects Suse Linux to be adopted on many of the 700,000 servers currently running the Sun Solaris version of Unix. "That's a very rich environment for migration to Linux,"


The excitement over Unix migrations started and was over years ago, as that's how Red Hat came to worry Sun so much. However, all that could have been migrated has, all those who want to stay on Unix are staying on it for a particular reason, and Linux distributors can't continue to hope that they can avoid competing against Microsoft and Windows forever. Obviously, Novell was very late on to that train and aren't even aware that it has left the station.

I've got a suggestion for Novell. How about they start competing against their number one competitor, the number one threat to their business and the number one company taking people away from Netware and off Novell altogether? You know, Microsoft.

"We have several flagship customers with 20,000 to 30,000 desktops based on Linux," he said.


That's absolutely nothing. The only way you will circumvent the OEM channel that Microsoft controls is to create a freely available desktop distribution that will have a chance of creating a desktop market for you.

"The reality is that the majority of our customers have Windows... If they are making a Linux distribution choice, they will pick the one that has been optimised for Windows."


Optimised for Windows? What, you mean that operating system that a great deal of your Netware customers are migrating to? Wow. You guys should get yourself a 'Designed For Windows Vista' sticker from Microsoft. I'll say it again: Microsoft is your biggest competitor.

...expanded partnership between Novell and SAP, especially focussed around Intel-based systems for the SME market, said Steinman. "This announcement makes it clear that Suse is SAP's Linux platform," he said.


SAP are trying to sell to the SME market? Excuse me while I get back on my chair.

Reply Score: 12

RE: Nothing of Consequence
by SlackerJack on Thu 20th Mar 2008 22:58 UTC in reply to "Nothing of Consequence"
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

You get the impression Novell dont seem to know what they are doing(or think they do), just like when they brought SUSE.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nothing of Consequence
by h3rman on Thu 20th Mar 2008 23:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Nothing of Consequence"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

You get the impression Novell dont seem to know what they are doing(or think they do), just like when they brought SUSE.


Well, they did open up Suse development which was a Good Thing (tm), and although it's not my preferred distro, they could hardly have bought Debian or something. ;)

They are trying to catch the wrong fish, I agree with that. But that's also part of the 2006 deal, obviously.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nothing of Consequence
by sbergman27 on Thu 20th Mar 2008 23:43 UTC in reply to "Nothing of Consequence"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

AFAIK, RedHat runs Linux internally, almost exclusively, if not exclusively. Last I heard, which was admittedly a while back, the years long progress of Novell's own internal Linux conversion was... depressing. 60% of their *servers* were still Windows. The desktop situation was even worse. I think that about 40% of their users were moved over to OpenOffice under Windows.

Why should companies trust their IT to a service provider which tried, and apparently failed, to use its own products internally?

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Nothing of Consequence
by SlackerJack on Thu 20th Mar 2008 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Nothing of Consequence"
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

Thats not actually true, Novell canceled their Windows licenses a while back, I remember watching one of their videos conferences where they made the announcement.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Nothing of Consequence
by sbergman27 on Fri 21st Mar 2008 01:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nothing of Consequence"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Do you have a reference for that? I seem to recall an announcement a while back which, upon careful inspection, turned out to mean less than it first appeared. As I recall, it was more along the lines of their not upgrading or installing any new Windows servers. I can't remember for sure. I remember being disappointed.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Nothing of Consequence
by elsewhere on Fri 21st Mar 2008 06:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nothing of Consequence"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Do you have a reference for that?


FWIW, I had a buddy that worked in sales at Novell a while back, and they were equipped with dual-boot NLD9/XP laptops. They were using NLD, but had to resort to XP because some of the legacy business applications they used internally required Excel spreadsheets with heavily laden macros. It was basically required for some of the reporting they had to do, but at that time he said they were working on migrating that bit, which could also explain the development effort Novell put into macro-compatibility for OOo2.

At any rate, he indicated that the majority of employees were running linux, though that was desktop, I have no idea about their server mix.

I would expect they've made strides since then. But really, who cares? Linux is an alternative to Windows, not a replacement. It will work well in some scenarios, but not in all. Any business revolving around commercial linux needs to accept that if they have a hope of succeeding. Better that Novell should face the same issues their customers will face when trying to migrate, rather than pretending they don't exist.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Nothing of Consequence
by sbergman27 on Fri 21st Mar 2008 22:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nothing of Consequence"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

But really, who cares? Linux is an alternative to Windows, not a replacement.


I agree with respect to their customer conversions. I disagree with respect to their own internal use. I am a huge believer in eating one's own dog food. I don't put my clients on something unless I am willing to use it myself. I remain 100% Unix/Linux on my own machines, and those I control at our office. In that way, I give myself incentive to be the best implementor I can be. Hard problems, that would not be worth the consulting time to resolve on the spot, I already have an answer for because I've already dealt with it on my own time.

Microsoft goes to great lengths to make sure that their products are the easiest short-term solution, even if they aren't the best solution, overall. The only defense against that is to be willing to go the extra mile to be sure that the best solution is also the best short-term solution in the eyes of the client. Sometimes that task exceeds my ability and is not possible. And that is when I have to grin, bear it, and do the right thing, distasteful as it might be.

Novell owes as much to their clients.

That said, the latest hard figures that I have regarding Novell's migration are from 2004, and I found them disappointing at the time. But that was 3-4 years ago, and things may be better now.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nothing of Consequence
by elsewhere on Fri 21st Mar 2008 06:32 UTC in reply to "Nothing of Consequence"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

""We have several flagship customers with 20,000 to 30,000 desktops based on Linux," he said.


That's absolutely nothing. The only way you will circumvent the OEM channel that Microsoft controls is to create a freely available desktop distribution that will have a chance of creating a desktop market for you.
"

Don't confuse the consumer market with the commercial market. Enterprises don't care about OEM preloading. More often than not, they image systems themselves before deploying anyways. And if they've decided to deploy linux, they've done so after testing it against their hardware. They don't leave installation and configuration issues up to the users.

They also don't want freely available desktops. They're quite happy to pay a fee for them, because they want a number to call if something goes wrong, and they don't want to rely on everyone running apt-get update daily to make sure the systems are patched and stable.

What they care about is manageability, supportability, and the availability to minimize workflow disruption for things like application compatibility. The first two points are easily addressed, the third one is where linux still is weak. Not as weak as it once was, but I'll be the first to admit that linux still has challenges there.

Pre-loading is really irrelevant in this space, though. Having systems tested and certified for compatibility carries far more weight, and the tier-1s already do that.

"...expanded partnership between Novell and SAP, especially focussed around Intel-based systems for the SME market, said Steinman. "This announcement makes it clear that Suse is SAP's Linux platform," he said.


SAP are trying to sell to the SME market? Excuse me while I get back on my chair.
"

Everybody is targeting the SME market. Execution is a completely different argument, and many of the enterprise-class ISV's are failing miserably, but they're all still trying to get a piece of that pie.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Nothing of Consequence
by segedunum on Fri 21st Mar 2008 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Nothing of Consequence"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

They also don't want freely available desktops. They're quite happy to pay a fee for them, because they want a number to call if something goes wrong, and they don't want to rely on everyone running apt-get update daily to make sure the systems are patched and stable.


That's not really what I'm getting at. 'Enterprise' companies are the last to initiate any migration to anything new. Whatever it is already has to be used by many, many people and have a market of its own before they will do anything with it. Novell haven't created that market (and haven't done anything to attempt to create it) and so nothing will happen.

Edited 2008-03-21 21:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Short sharp reply
by kaiwai on Fri 21st Mar 2008 03:34 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

This is my short sharp reply to the 'taking over the UNIX market; they are deluding themselves if they think that taking over Solaris, given the current change in direction at Sun, will be cakewalk. Sun has changed its business model, Solaris is now opensource, from what I understand Solaris 11 will be based 100% on opensource components. The Solaris community is growing each month with new programmers coming on board.

SuSE might have had a case 5 years ago, but the market is a completely different place. Solaris x86 is a corner stone to Sun's business model rather than an annoying inconvenience. x86 machines are now seen as viable alternatives to their SPARC machines, and Sun see's x86 as an opportunity rather than a threat to their business.

Sorry to say this, but Novell/SuSE had the opportunity several years ago to do something. The simple fact is you have to make hay while the sun shines (or in this case, dims), and Red Hat was in the right place at the right time. They charged ahead, they had an aggressive sales campaign, listened to customers and now have a foot hold in the market - anyone wonder that you never hear Sun talk about competing with Novell; Novell is no longer relevant.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Short sharp reply
by alucinor on Fri 21st Mar 2008 06:31 UTC in reply to "Short sharp reply"
alucinor Member since:
2006-01-06

I agree, Sun has a chance to gain more share in servers and thin desktop clients with the Solaris kernel, especially if rumors are true they're working more with Nexenta and Canonical to create a Solaris *buntu derivative. Even if this isn't true, the open source world is mostly NOT the kernel, and Solaris can leverage the same code ecosystem as Linux. The only problem is that Solaris really only works best with Sun hardware, unless you do your homework and figure out the sparse driver support yourself, but it's doable. Only slightly worse than BSD, really.

The Solaris kernel is cleaner and easier to understand for newcomers, in my opinion. Linux kernel code is pretty hairy these days, as it supports more use cases, such as embedded, telecom, mobile. Solaris is primarily web server. But it's optimized for that case. Also, Solaris was designed in more of a clean-room architecture. Linux evolved organically and as a result there's many idioms and "vestigial" sections to navigate. And the hacker community isn't exactly forthcoming with getting you started -- Linus sets a pretty hardline "shut up or put up" attitude, but that's seeming to work for them!

Edited 2008-03-21 06:40 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Short sharp reply
by Don T. Bothers on Fri 21st Mar 2008 15:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Short sharp reply"
Don T. Bothers Member since:
2006-03-15

I agree, Sun has a chance to gain more share in servers and thin desktop clients with the Solaris kernel, especially if rumors are true they're working more with Nexenta and Canonical to create a Solaris *buntu derivative. Even if this isn't true, the open source world is mostly NOT the kernel, and Solaris can leverage the same code ecosystem as Linux. The only problem is that Solaris really only works best with Sun hardware, unless you do your homework and figure out the sparse driver support yourself, but it's doable. Only slightly worse than BSD, really.


Actually, for me drivers aren't even that big of an issue. The two things that keep me from using Solaris is the installer and the patch management. The current installer is just so non-intuitive and slow. Every time I need a Unix and get the urge to install Solaris, I start the install and thirty minutes later, I am cancelling it and going with CentOS, FreeBSD, or Debian. The patch management is also very miserable. SMPatch is a complete dog. I know the native patch tools are great, and pca is a godsend, but it bugs me that you have to go to a third party script to have proper automated patch management. But besides those problems, there is nothing really keeping me from using Solaris instead of the other "Enterprise Linux". In fact, I would say there are plenty of reason to use Solaris instead.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Short sharp reply
by flanque on Fri 21st Mar 2008 08:25 UTC in reply to "Short sharp reply"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I think what you're saying about Solaris and Sun are valid, but a lot of organisations choose Solaris for everything you've said and more, with particular consideration to the support services.

Sun can provide end-to-end solutions. Hardware, software, and most importantly support.

Sun's support services are in my experience, second to none which carries enormous influence when choosing a vendor.

Edited 2008-03-21 08:26 UTC

Reply Score: 3

haha
by spikeb on Fri 21st Mar 2008 08:35 UTC
spikeb
Member since:
2006-01-18

Novell aiming at redhat is like...novell aiming at anyone else, i guess - a joke

Reply Score: 3

v Novell is not Linux
by linuxdude on Sat 22nd Mar 2008 13:55 UTC