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Larry Ellison and that story about buying Novell

Ellison tells reporter that he considered buying Novell

By Dave Kearns, Network World
April 27, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Novell and acquisitions were all the rage in the press last week. Larry Ellison gave an interview to London's Financial Times about Linux and said that he had considered buying Novell. All the subsequent press reports showed that most media don't read before spouting off. But before going into that, Novell last week announced its own acquisition of e-Security.

Virginia-based e-Security is self-described as a "global provider of security information management and compliance monitoring solutions." That is, the company and its flagship product, Sentinel 5, doesn't provide the actual security but collects, aggregates, correlates and displays event data while enabling the customer to make appropriate responses to incidents by automating and enforcing incident identification and resolution processes.

E-Security watches what's going on and can take appropriate, rules-based actions. While Novell's own Novell Audit product does something similar, it's primarily concerned with users while Sentinel 5 encompasses the entire network and all of its devices. Whether or not the two products will make a good fit is still open to question.

Now as regards all of the ink (both real and virtual) used to discuss whether or not Oracle would acquire Novell, I'd first like to say - I told you so! Last October, in talking about possible purchasers of Novell, I said that I would put my money on Silicon Valley pirate Larry Ellison and Oracle. Evidently, Larry was listening, because that was the time frame in which he considered buying Novell. And I do say "considered." Past tense. Because that's the word Ellison used with the Financial Times interviewer ("Mr. Ellison said that Oracle had considered buying Novell..."). Yet most of the media, both the business press as well as the tech press, were filled with stories about how Oracle "is considering" acquiring Novell! Typical was a story in the Salt Lake Tribune entitled "Will Novell be acquired by Oracle?"

It's my belief that, after careful consideration, Ellison has decided that it makes little sense to acquire Novell. Oracle could use an in-house Linux operating system, it's true. But Novell would come with lots of unnecessary baggage (GroupWise, ZENworks, eDirectory, etc.) making any deal either too expensive or too unwieldy. It would be much easier to buy out another distribution (Debian or Mandriva for example) or for Oracle to simply develop its own. Why buy an ocean liner when all you need is a fishing boat?

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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