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Novell gets religious about Linux

Mar 30, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* Linux-faithfuls gather at BrainShare

Bob Mims, business writer for the “Salt Lake Tribune,” called it “Brother Jack’s Operating System Salvation Show,” likening this year’s BrainShare to an old-time revival tent meeting with Jack Messman calling out the hallelujahs for the Linux operating system and open source software.

It’s good symbolism, but then BrainShare has always seemed more like a gathering of the faithful to reinforce their belief in the “religion” of their favorite operating system. The twist here is that “Brother Jack” now has to change the flavor from NetWare to Linux. That’s a tall order, akin to the Pope suddenly declaring that, while he wasn’t abandoning Christianity, still this new Islam had a lot to offer. Still, when you’ve made your place in the world by declaring yours was the one, true operating system it really does jar the troops to suddenly declare that, well, maybe this new upstart isn’t so bad after all.

Brother Jack also revealed that you’ll get a crack at the new “NetWare-on-Linux” a lot sooner than we were predicting. We thought mid-2005 might be the arrival date for NetWare 7 with its choice of kernels, but what’s being billed as “Open Enterprise Server” – NetWare features on a Linux body – should be available this fall, so you’d better get ready.

Maybe, on the other hand, the comparison should be to Judaism and Christianity with Messman being a messianic presence (or, if that seems blasphemous, a John the Baptist role) claiming that the old order must change and that Linux is the new message to be proclaimed.

But then Brother Jack had to once again demonstrate that he really doesn’t understand this techie stuff by offering the following example of what “Open Enterprise Server” could do. “For example, if you have NetWare servers delivering your print services and SuSE Linux servers running your file system, or vice versa, you can print between the two, independent of where the files reside.”

Well, you know, I’ve been able to do that since the first release of NetWare/NFS Services, a dozen years ago. Novell’s iPrint, released early in this century improved on NFS Services, so maybe Jack’s envisioning an even greater improvement.

Last week at BrainShare we heard a lot about Linux, but was it enough to convince you that Linux is the one true way? You need to make up your mind as quickly as possible because the change is on the way sooner than any of us thought.

In his article, Sims asks if Novell’s new “Linux on the desktop” push as a direct challenge to Microsoft is similar to “…a field mouse mooning a hungry owl.”