Yes, Novell has a ways to go to catch up with Red Hat, but with yet another strong quarter it's becoming increasingly clear that the enterprise Linux market is a two-horse race again. Importantly, Novell is competing much more strongly without backup from Microsoft.
Novell saw its Linux business top $29 million in its second fiscal quarter of 2008 ($30 million in total Open Platform Solutions revenue), up 31 percent over the same period a year ago, with other business units also seeing healthy growth. Only its Workgroup business unit continues to founder, down 1 percent in the period that ended April 30.
More importantly (to me), I asked Justin Steinman, Novell's director of Marketing for Linux and Open Platforms, how much of this is attributable to Novell's partnership with Microsoft. It turns out that Novell is starting to really grow its Linux business on its own, though it still looks to Microsoft as a strong partner to drive interoperability:
Novell's core Linux business is growing. By "core," I mean that our non-Microsoft- related Linux business is growing. These are Suse Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions sold directly by the Novell sales force or by our channel partners, without any Microsoft certificates or Microsoft salespeople involved.… Read more