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Novell Feedback and the BSA

Let me try to link previous criticism of Novell to our current investigation of the BSA (Bully Software Alliance). Think I can do it?

Reader Milan from New Zealand wrote me a nice note and his take on Novell's psychology of failure. Let me quote: "Add me to the list of pessimists. This is for all the reasons you have mentioned, and also the fact that Novell Inc. is fudging its problems. Specific technology was never the problem, and never the solution. Linux is the latest in a long line of "saviour technologies" which hasn't changed Novell's market situation at all. The real problems are marketing and business strategy. It's as if the directors always think there's something wrong with the product, that more people aren't buying it, so go back to the engineers and tell them to change it (or buy some other company's product, e.g. WordPerfect). Rather, they should look at themselves for the failure."

The classic creator versus salesperson conflict in 113 words. When you can't sell something, blame the product. Ignore the fact the product (in this case NetWare) constantly won rave reviews and awards. Yes, saviour is spelled that way in Milan's neighborhood. Thanks, Milan.

So how can Novell make headway with companies today? Here's my segue to the BSA and their bullying and extortion tactics.

Let's say you're a small business that gets a letter from the BSA accusing you of "pirating" software, such as personal computer operating systems and office productivity suites. You scramble around and find dated invoices for half your purchases, but those for OSs and office suites shipped with new computers don't mention the software. Two invoices have the name of your office manager rather than your company, meaning the BSA will call you a pirate for not forcing the sales clerk to put the right name on the paperwork. The fines and legal fees could bankrupt you.

What if Novell immediately offered you desktop and server operating systems with a huge Anti-BSA discount? Their SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 has won raves from those who've seen the upcoming version. The software will include dozens of business applications, including an office suite equal to the market leader. Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 will host applications just like other server operating systems.

Of course, other Linux companies could jump into this BSA Deflection strategy. Xandros also offers a full set of Linux desktop and server products, and I've tested the desktop myself and been quite impressed. Linspire doesn't have a server, but they have extremely friendly personal computer operating systems and easy migration from what your computers came with when new.

Imagine the commercial this could make. You get the Bully Letter from the Bully Software Alliance. You reach for the red Hot Line phone. Linux-carrying troops parachute in, convert your systems, and build your defense perimeter. Bully Software Alliance lawyers carrying pounds of lawsuit threats bounce off your defenses. Good guys cheer, and fairness reigns.

It could happen.

Back to Small Business Tech Notes

Comments

Great points, and ones that I've been making for years.

See how others are giving it to Novell at http://www.novell.com/prblogs

Please encourage others to sign the online Save NetWare Petition at www.iwantnetware.com.

If Novell is truly listening to their customers . . .

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