In 2011 Novell sold the SUSE franchise to Attachmate, who has run it since, and a portfolio of patents to a Microsoft consortium. But now Novell shareholders are alleging the deal was cooked, and Novell's board withheld information from another potential bidder to ensure Attachmate would win. From Groklaw: "Party C actually bid a bit higher than Attachmate. But the allegation is that Attachmate was favored with information that Party C was not given". The news doesn't affect Attachmate, who won the bid. But Novell's Board of Directors is going to have some explaining to do.
Novell and Ximian Archive
We were well aware that Novell had put itself on the market, coyly winking at passers-by, displaying its... Assets. VMware was a contender, but things have played out entirely different: Novell has been bought by Attachmate Corp., with a Microsoft-led consortium buying unspecified intellectual property from Novell.
Novell has been pretty much for sale for six months, and now The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Novell's Linux business may be bought by VMware. Novell's other assets, which includes Novell Netware, will then be bought by a private-equity backed software company called Attachmate Corp.
"Hedge fund Elliot Associates has made a bid to acquire software vendor Novell. In a public letter to the company's board of directors, the hedge fund offered $5.75 per share (a 49 percent premium), placing Novell's value at $2 billion dollars. Elliot Associates is already one of the largest institutional shareholders of Novell, with roughly 8.5 percent of the company's stock."
"Novell today is rolling out the newest edition of its flagship enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 11. The new releases are the first major updates since the SLES and SLED 10 releases in July of 2006. With SLES 11, Novell is also providing a baseline image so software vendors can easily build appliances. The concept is something know as a JeOS (Just enough Operating System) and has been trumpeted by Novell as the future of operating systems."
Obviously, Linux vendors will not remain untouched by the economic downturn. Novell has already announced a number of lay offs, and the openSUSE Linux division has not been spared. openSUSE board members Pascal Blesser and Bryen Yunashko announced the lay offs.
It kind of slipped underneath our radar last Friday, but Novell has released its financial earnings figures for the fourth quarter. While the company still shows a loss of 16 million USD (compared to 18 million during the same quarter last year), individual divisions of the company are doing quite well, with only two of them showing losses. Total revenue was 243 million USD. Interestingly enough, the company's Linux business is doing very, very well.
Two years ago, Microsoft and Novell inked a landmark deal on patents and Linux-to-Windows interoperability. According to Microsoft and Novell, it's a deal that has shown dramatic momentum in its second year, with a triple digit percentage increase in customers for a total tally of more than 200 customers. "I was surprised at the number of over 200 customers, so I actually went back and double checked it just to make sure," Susan Heystee, General Manager for Global Strategic Alliances at Novell told InternetNews.com. "That represents over 250 percent growth in terms of the number of customers that are part of the partnership which is really great. A real positive surprise has been the great customer momentum."
Novell's Nat Friedman told InternetNews.com: "The basic concept here is that the standalone operating system is dead." Friedman is Novell's Chief Technology Officer. He added: "The days in which people buy operating systems on their own and then build a stack from there will look like home-built automobiles in the future - people aren't going to do this anymore." This is not the first time some big company predicts the end of the traditional operating system.
Novell is quietly working on a stand-alone hypervisor product that will be based on the Xen hypervisor found in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. Novell executives demonstrated the product, which is currently under development, at its recent BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, said Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager for the Open Platform Solutions business unit at Novell.
Open-source pioneer and Novell Vice President Miguel de Icaza Thursday for the first time publicly slammed his company's cross-patent licensing agreement with Microsoft as he defended himself against lack of patent protection for third parties that distribute his company's Moonlight project, which ports Microsoft's Silverlight technology to Linux.
"Novell's long journey from NetWare to Linux is finally complete. On Oct. 8, Novell released Open Enterprise Server 2 to its customers worldwide. Shortly after acquiring SUSE and its enterprise-focused Linux distribution, Novell announced that its follow-on to NetWare 6.5 would ship as a set of network services that could run atop the NetWare and the Linux kernel, OES 1.0. OES, which began shipping in April 2005, was the first major step in Novell moving NetWare's services from its native operating system to Linux. Now, with OES 2.0, the NetWare operating system kernel, NetWare 6.5 SP7, is still there if you run it, but it runs on top of the Xen hypervisor. You can also run the NetWare services, or a para-virtualized instance of NetWare, on top of Xen with the SLES 10 SP 1 kernel. So, if you're wedded to NetWare and its way of doing things, you don't have to wave good-bye to it."
"Two months ago, the Brazilian Linux community gathered around BR-Linux invited Novell to answer 10 questions sent and selected by the users, about the company's stance on Linux, open source, licenses, document formats and other subjects." "Novell has been very consistent on this issue and we have publicly stated that we do not believe that Linux infringes on any Microsoft patents. That being said, our agreement with Microsoft takes the patent issue off the table for customers. We have simply made the patent issue a non-event as part of a customer buying decision."
Microsoft and Novell on Sept. 12 will open their 2500-square-foot interoperability lab in Cambridge, Mass., where technical experts from both companies will collaborate on technologies to help Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise work well together. The first priority for the team is to ensure interoperability between virtualization technologies.
In the wake of last week's ruling that Novell, and not SCO, controls the copyrights covering UNIX, Novell is reassuring Unix users that it has no plans to follow in SCO's footsteps. Given that the company is no longer in the business of selling UNIX, it has no reason to pursue any copyright claims.
Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian explained rather than defended his company's deal with Microsoft in his keynote address at the annual LinuxWorld Conference here Aug. 8. "I know our deal with Microsoft is controversial, but it is necessary for our customers who have to deal with both Linux and Windows in their data centers. Virtualization is also going to have to deal with both of those operating systems," he told attendees.
"Last month, Novell decided to push the limits of developer empowerment and perform an elaborate experiment in innovation by liberating the company's entire Linux engineering team for one full week of free hacking. During Novell Hack Week, hundreds of skilled developers employed by Novell at various facilities around the world worked together on open-source projects of their choice. Driven by creativity and passion instead of deadlines, instructions, and executive decisions, Novell's best and brightest created impressive new software and added innovative improvements to existing programs."
"The Free Software Foundation has published a third draft of the GPL3 license. The FSF had indicated leading up to this draft that it would be addressing some concerns it had with the Novell-Microsoft agreements in the draft. Here's Novell’s position on the new draft."
"Nat Friedman has been one of the driving forces behind the development of the Linux desktop for a few year now. First with his own company Ximian, founded together with Mono chief architect Miguel de Icaza, after its acquisition now inside Novell. A few months ago he has been named 'Technologist of the Year' by the VarBusiness magazine for his work around the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Since then he has been promoted to Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Open Source, besides the desktop he is also overseeing Novells server business now. During Novells Brainshare Andreas Proschofsky had the possibility to sit down with Friedman and talk about the Linux desktop, the consequences of the Microsoft agreement and the mistakes of the Hula project."
"Whatever the reasons behind the formation of the Microsoft-Novell technology partnership announced last year, it's helping Novell SuSE Linux gain at Red Hat's expense, according to a research study due out next month. The Yankee Group 2007 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Survey says that Novell's SuSE Linux is 'mounting a serious threat to Red Hat's heretofore unassailable dominance in the Linux market'."