Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 23rd Oct 2005 03:27 UTC
Novell and Ximian Novell is expected to initiate a major round of layoffs that could cut 1000 or more jobs in an attempt to restore the server software company's financial strength, according to employees familiar with the plan.
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I agree Novell has problems, but I don't agree with a lot of your reasoning.

1. they are not tied to a legacy product and market the way novell is with its old product line.

Unavoidable. This isn't a problem, it's an opportunity, one that Novell is actually taking advantage of. Unlike Red Hat, Novell has a fairly substantial legacy customer base, and over time they will try to move these people over to newer (read: Linux) offerings. It's happening already. Whether they will be able to hold on financially is another matter.

2. they offer one core product - RHEL, and the support issues are where they go into fine-tuning per customer needs. novell has suse and its own branded linux. this confuses customers. don't try providing your own rationales in replies, just face it, it is confusing for one company to offer two parallel competing products.

Novell is in a unique situation - SUSE has its own brand awareness, and to simply ditch it would confuse existing customers. Thus the blend we have at present - Novell Linux "powered by SUSE LINUX". Not great, but a pretty good attempt - IMHO - to differentiate.

Red Hat's problem with Fedora is that it isn't really capable of being a stable OS for SOHO users; it lacks commercial software out of the box and can be rather unstable; in addition, there are no official support resources. SUSE has better features - commercial plugins, NTFS support, a knowledgebase - and can continue to stand on its own.

Over time, Novell should consider dumping its "powered by SUSE LINUX" tag for its enterprise line, especially as OpenSUSE becomes more bleeding edge.

3. redhat made the move to differentiate fedora before opensuse. with ubuntu coming on strong, who is left to bother with opensuse?

Ubuntu doesn't have YaST, doesn't have a graphical installer, and doesn't have any commercial drivers out of the box. SUSE doesn't have the plethora of Debian software to call on, doesn't have a proper dependency management system (although Smart is coming), and doesn't have a particularly strong community. There's a place for both.

4. redhat is making better decisions about what communities to support. this is a trivial issue of course, but i just don't see evolution paying off for novell, nor is mono. i think the ximian products have hit with a thud no matter how much hype nat and miguel throw behind them. sorry miguel, no one really cares about .net compatibility, because the next great platform was the web itself (see:google, flickr, delicious, etc etc), not a runtime/api.

The web is great for thin client stuff, but as the recent Google rebuttal of the StarOffice rumours shows, there will be a place for desktop applications for some time to come. .NET adoption is growing rapidly, not so much in the SOHO world as in the enterprise - Novell's primary focus, remember - and thus Mono is very important. I do agree that Ximian desktop was not all it could have been; however, Red Carpet (now ZENworks for Linux) is quite nice.

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