Lead Machine Pink 160x1200

Lead Machine Pink 160x1200

iTWire TV 705x108notfunny

Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Sunday, 13 March 2016 10:42

Could Novell have become a Linux player? Featured

By

Would Novell, which is now referred to in the past tense by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, still be around as a company of substance if Chris Stone had not left when he did?

Today, Novell is just one division of the British mainframe company Micro Focus and is hardly heard of in the technology press.

It's interesting to look back to the early 2000s, the time when Novell was looking to right itself and regain at least some of its old glory, the halo that sat above it as the dominant player in the PC networking business. Towards this end, Novell decided to enter the Linux business, after revenues from its Netware product began to fall steeply.

The peculiar thing about Novell is that Netware, the product that gave it dominance in the PC industry in the 1980s and right up to the mid 1990s, was created by three people who were not employees: Drew Major, Dale Neibaur and Kyle Powell who hired themselves out as SuperSet Software.

But as networking software became part and parcel of every operating system, Novell found its main product less and less in demand. During this period Eric Schmidt was the chief executive and under his leadership Novell's decline and loss of marketshare accelerated.

Stone was part of the company from the late 1990s, and was driving the company's Linux strategy. To advance this endeavour, Novell bought the German firm SUSE Linux in November 2003, having earlier acquired Ximian, a company owned by GNOME desktop co-founder Miguel de Icaza and his sidekick Nat Friedman. Ximian had been trying to commercialise the GNOME desktop.

Stone, who was recently in Australia to push the wares of his new employer, Acquia, was happy to take a short walk down memory lane.

He said that apart from the SUSE and Ximian buys, Novell was also planning to buy MySQL and JBoss so that it had a complete enterprise stack to compete with other Linux companies. But before the process could get underway, Stone came up against opposition from his own boss, Novell chief executive Jack Messman.

Messman wanted to run the show. Stone, who until then had pursued a fairly aggressive strategy to put Novell on the front foot in its bid to gain a foothold in the Linux business, quit and it was all downhill from that point onwards.

In 2004, Novell had even produced its own Linux distribution under the name Novell Linux Desktop (I have a copy lying somewhere on my shelves). But when Stone quit later that same year, the wind seemed to go out of Novell's sails.

By August 2005 there were mass layoffs. Shortly after, Hubert Mantel, one of the founders of SUSE, left. And in 2006 Messman was asked to walk the plank.

Ron Hovsepian took over as chief and presided over the infamous patent-licensing deal with Microsoft in November 2006 that made Novell a pariah in the open source community. That was the beginning of the end.

In 2010, Novell was bought by the Attachmate Group who, showing some wisdom, relocated SUSE back to Nuremberg to be run as an independent unit. Micro Focus became the owner of the Attachmate Group in late 2014 and SUSE continued to stay in Nuremberg.

SUSE, on its own, has about a third of the revenue that Red Hat does but with a parent like Novell it could well have been much more. When it was run from within Novell, SUSE was just about breaking even.

Could there have been another big Linux competitor to Red Hat? It's a pity that personality conflicts got in the way of us never knowing for certain.

Read 6352 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here
BACK TO LATEST NEWS here

SONICWALL 2022 CYBER THREAT REPORT

The past year has seen a meteoric rise in ransomware incidents worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers have diligently tracked the meteoric rise in cyberattacks, as well as trends and activity across all threat vectors, including:

Ransomware
Cryptojacking
Encrypted threats
IoT malware
Zero-day attacks and more

These exclusive findings are now available via the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which ensures SMBs, government agencies, enterprises and other organizations have the actionable threat intelligence needed to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.

Click the button below to get the report.

GET REPORT!

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments