Ted Schadler, principal analyst at Forrester Research, thinks Novell\u2019s acquisitions of SuSE and Ximian are \u201ca good deal for firms and governments that are looking for an open-source alternative to Unix and Windows.\u201dNot to put too fine a point on it, but Schadler declares these acquisitions to be major milestones which will be known as the turning point for Linux adoption in the enterprise.According to his report, Novell with SuSE provides better worldwide field support than Red Hat, while Novell with SuSE and Ximian provides a better desktop alternative to Windows than Sun\u2019s Java Desktop. It apparently goes without saying that Novell with SuSE provides a better datacenter alternative than Windows.Schadler and his group at Forrester spent time with Novell Chief Marketing Officer Debra Bergevine, CTO Alan Nugent, and General Manager for Novell Resource Management David Patrick, and seemed to really like what they heard.But even among all this good feeling, there was the appearance of at least one sour note. Not that Forrester suggested it was sour, but here\u2019s what the research firm said: \u201cRunning NetWare? Linux is ready to take over. During the next two years, Novell's gigantic and loyal NetWare installed base should move file and print workloads and most network-based applications to Windows or Linux.\u201dTwo years, of course, is the lead time until NetWare 7 ships.Meanwhile, NetWare Product Manager Rob Seely was saying, according to Computerworld Australia\u2019s Julian Bajkowski, that \u201ccontrary to rumours that Novell was planning to dump its proprietary NetWare kernel in favour of Linux, the networking heavyweight would allow customers to choose which\u00a0operating system\u00a0they preferred, ruling out any forced march to open source for existing customers.\u201dSo which is it? Should we all be deeply involved in planning our migration to Linux or can we count on our NetWare servers (and not some hybrid \u201cNetWare on Linux\u201d box) to run our networks for the foreseeable future? Novell still seems to be trying to straddle the fence on this question. The company tells NetWare loyalists (as Seely did) that \u201cNetWare will always be with you,\u201d implying NetWare as we\u2019ve always known it. At the same time, they\u2019re telling analysts like Forrester\u2019s Schadler that NetWare managers need to get moving on their conversion to Linux.I don\u2019t think most of us really mind which direction the company takes, just that we\u2019d like to know what that direction is so we can better plan the future for our networks and enterprises. If we\u2019re going to be moving to Linux, then we need to start preparing now. While I don\u2019t expect a definitive statement out of Provo or Waltham, the words CEO Jack Messman used in a recent New York Times interview could be a major clue. Said Messman, "Now that we've got the migration path lined up, we are going to have a much broader following."