Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Craig Burton weblog: Novell to Acquire SUSE LINUX

Craig Burton weblog: Novell to Acquire SUSE LINUX "Novell is finally attempting to move to the Linux kernal away from the NetWare kernal. Moving to Linux is the only choice Novell has to make. From that perspective, the SUSE LINUX acquisition is a good thing.
Here's the challenge. Novell has never been a good "operating system" company. It doesn't have the mindset or the infrastructure required to support developers. Brainshare, while under the guise of a developer's conference, is really a NetWare system administrator's conference. There is no developer community for NetWare. Novell had fifteen years to create a developer community for NetWare and failed to do so.
To succeed in changing platform kernals, Novell must also succeed in changing its cultural kernal. This is the hardest thing for any company to accomplish. As my good friend Doc Searls says, "A company is where it comes from." Novell "comes from" being a special purpose OS company that doesn't support a developer community. Witness the billion dollar acquistion of Bell Labs. Oil and water mix better than Novell and Unix.
While moving to Linux is the right thing to do, it will be a tough transition both technologically and culturally. Novell now has strategic leadership pockets in Provo, Boston, and Germany. I hope--for the benefit of the Industry--that Novell is successful in finding a new technology kernal in Linux and a new cultural kernal with its acquistion of SUSE Linux and Ximian. No small task. If it succeeds, it may be more like SUSE and Ximian bought Novell rather than the other way around."
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