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Novell’s definite plus

Apr 15, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* The good things that came out of BrainShare

The last few issues have tended to downplay the activities at this year’s BrainShare conference, but that’s not really the case. As a number of you have pointed out, there was a new feeling of accomplishment and a sense of expectancy that hasn’t been seen in such quantity for a dozen years or more. Novell is staking out a position unequivocally and most of the faithful are pleased.

But not only the Novell faithful are pleased. This year saw the influx of hundreds of Linux-lovers to Salt Lake City, a place that most might not have ever considered visiting before unless it was for the recent Olympic games – or as a staging ground to march on the headquarters of SCO in nearby Linden.

The Linux contingent was indeed happy that Novell was standing up to be counted in the SCO vs. Linux battle, and were especially glad at the lead position Novell is taking. The NetWare faithful were likewise glad at these moves since SCO is ably abetted by Microsoft (and Bill Gates’ money) in its fight against the open source operating system. Since the NetWare loyalists are almost all anti-Microsoft, the theory that any friend of my enemy is also my enemy, leads them to excoriate SCO alongside their Linux brethren.

But it isn’t just the fight against SCO that brought out the “friends of Linus.” Novell has made all the right moves, it seems, in its acquisitions of Ximian and SuSE. In this case “right moves” means, pretty much, leaving well enough alone but in today’s market (where each new acquisition seems to require re-branding and re-direction) that’s seen by users as a definite plus.

There were also the announcements that purport to improve relationships between Novell and IBM as well as between Novell and HP regarding the two hardware companies’ licensing deals to ship SuSE Linux on their hardware. While that’s not news that directly affects NetWare shops it does present a new revenue stream for Novell and anything that enhances the company’s revenue has got to be good for the flagship product.

In a previous issue I mentioned the company’s announcement that it would release an open source version of iFolder, quite possibly the best technology to emerge from NetWare 6.x. Unmentioned (until now) was the release of ZENworks 6.5 Public Beta, which includes both Linux management and Windows patch management – one of the few, if not the only, three-platform management tools. And certainly the best three-platform management package.

There was a lot to praise about this year’s BrainShare and I’m glad I got around to saying so. Otherwise, you might think I was just a nasty old curmudgeon.