My previous post about Novell looking to make acquisitions got me thinking about what the company could do to become relevant again. The best I can come up with is that Novell should become the dominant force in the open source .NET universe.
The deal with Microsoft must have some level of joint engineering possibility that would help Mono mature and make .NET cross-platform. If Microsoft's goal really is to create the WAMP stack, it will still require a great deal of community development to get people to write and donate applications, something Novell is good at managing.
The .NET approach is a chance for Novell to take an entire development framework that Red Hat has shown no interest in and dominate it. For the majority of the linux world, .NET is irrelevant. The Java guys who think some of the aspects of .NET are cool have no interest in running only on Windows.
There are only a few notable exceptions of successful .NET open source companies (I can only come up with MindTouch at the moment, and maybe DotNetNuke.) Novell should take their cash, buy them all and become the leader of open source .NET. It would ease Microsoft's entrance into open source and theoretically help developers who want their .NET apps to run on Linux (assuming Mono gets some help.)
There is nothing else that is strategically interesting at this point that Novell is capable of pulling off. At least this would put a stake in the ground, and would make .NET accessible to a much broader audience.