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Novell shoots blanks on Linux offer

Aug 23, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

A couple of months ago, Novell announced that anyone who wanted to try its new Linux offerings and utilities could sign up for what’s called the Novell Linux Technical Resource Kit. Well, if a company with real marketing had been behind it there would have been great fanfare and much hoopla. This announcement simply showed up on a Web page. This is Novell we’re talking about after all, and, as the old saying goes, its extremely difficult for the leopard to change its spots.

Still, stealth marketing did its job via word-of-mouth and the occasional mention in a column or news story. Many people did, in fact, sign up to receive the free CD containing:

•SuSE Linux Standard Server 8.0 (ISO installation images).

•SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional (bootable installation DVD).

• Ximian Desktop 2.0 Evaluation (ISO image).

• Ximian Red Carpet 2.0.2 Evaluation (ISO image).

• Novell Linux Services 1.0 (ISO image & NLS companion CD).

• Novell GroupWise for Linux 6.5.1 – Server, Client & Messenger (ISO images), and a lot more.

In mid-July, Novell announced a delay because of the “phenomenal response to this free offer,” according to a note sent to those who had registered for it, but it was still due to ship in late July. Two weeks ago, in mid-August, recipients were finally notified that the package had shipped (“please allow up to six weeks for delivery . . .”).

Turns out that, with the delay, the Standard Server 8 had turned into SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9. That’s certainly worth the wait, isn’t it? In fact, many more people now thought this was a good deal and flocked to the Novell registration page to sign up. What they found was a notice that says, in part: “We appreciate your interest in the Linux Technical Resource Kit, offered by the Novell Customer Communities. At this time we are not accepting any more orders . . .”

Did they run out of Linux?

Maybe it was all just a marketing scam to get you to give Novell your e-mail address so it could spam you with advertising. After all, most people still haven’t received the package that they’d expected in late July. Novell might be the bright new star in the open source firmament, but its marketing is just as tarnished as ever.

Tip of the week

With many people (IBM, me, etc.) warning that Windows XP Service Pack 2 might break more than it fixes, Microsoft has taken the strange step of creating what amounts to being a marketing site for the update in order to convince you that you really need it!