• United States

Novell begins its metamorphosis into an open source company

Dec 18, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOpen Source

* What Novell's membership to the Open Source Development Labs means

Last issue, I talked about Novell’s commitment to the open source movement. Further evidence of that commitment, if any were needed, was provided just last week when Novell joined the Open Source Development Labs, a consortium of companies (including Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, and Sun) that is accelerating Linux adoption.

OSDL is also Linus Torvalds employer, and has offered to pick up his legal expenses should the Linux creator become involved with litigation with the SCO Group.

Not only did Novell join OSDL, it also accepted a position on its board of directors. That’s not necessarily an honor as it comes with a hefty price tag – $1 million, to be precise. $1 million per year. Other million-dollar-members of the board are IBM, HP, Intel and NEC. In terms of revenue, Novell is definitely the “poor relation” in that group.

What this does do, though, is to give Novell instant credibility within the open source movement as well as firmly align it against the SCO-Microsoft combination that appears to be out to doom Linux. Novell spokesman Bruce Lowery was quoted in an online news story as saying that the deal to spend a million a year on OSDL was in no way contingent on the acquisition of SuSE Linux (expected to be finalized next month), but it probably was given some consideration.

Novell has supported open source software on NetWare (MySQL, Apache Web Server, etc.) for quite some time. It has committed to paying the salaries of engineers who are either porting code to NetWare or writing and maintaining new code. Still, that pales beside a commitment of $1 million per year.

All of the moves Novell has recently made regarding the open source movement as well as those surrounding its acquisition of SuSE could mean that the Novell we’re looking at a year from now is very different from the company today.

There won’t be a newsletter for the next two weeks as we break for the holidays, but right after the first of the year we’ll take a look back at Novell’s 2003 and look forward to what the new year might bring. Happy holidays!