February 15, 2007 6:05 AM PST

Novell vows to keep fighting Microsoft 'juggernaut'

SYDNEY, Australia--Novell will continue its march against Microsoft and the Vista operating system despite a recent alliance with the software giant.

"We're excited by the muted reaction to Vista," Ron Hovsepian, Novell's chief executive, told the media at a meeting here Thursday. " We're going to attack (Microsoft) vigorously and go after their footprint as much as we can."

Microsoft's Vista was five years in the making, so the code behind it is very complex, Hovsepian said, whereas open source is more nimble and flexible. "And we have got to take advantage of that."

Despite Novell's commitment to attack the market on its own terms, Hovsepian acknowledges that there are benefits to its alliance with the software giant. The two companies signed the pact in November and fleshed out details of it this week.

The reality is you can't escape the "Microsoft juggernaut" in the marketplace, so you have to work with them to get your foot in the door, Hovsepian said. When you talk to customers, he said, most will say "I hate Microsoft." Yet those same customers say 60 percent of their servers run on Windows--not Linux, which Novell backs.

Ron Hovsepian Ron Hovsepian

"The closer you get to the customer?you increase the chance of migrating footprints to Linux," Hovsepian said. "We want to compete with Microsoft?and then we'll work together once a customer decides which platform (to run)?It ensures longevity for Novell in the marketplace."

Linux is a $500 million market, he noted, and growing at the expense of Unix consolidation. "We have not taken enough from Microsoft," he said.

One significant customer that Novell has taken from Microsoft, however, is French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen. Novell is replacing Peugeot's Windows systems with 20,000 Suse Linux desktops and 2,500 servers.

The Peugeot win was considerable. Yet market share issues still played a role in Novell's decision to join hands with longtime bitter enemy Microsoft, despite Novell's claims that it was purely customer driven.

"It was not a deal that Novell had to make," Hovsepian said. However, it was definitely made to create more market momentum; and it was a deal that seemed to resonate with the customers, he added.

"We did not sign a patent cross-license agreement with Microsoft. That has been one of the confusion points out there. What we agreed to was you will not sue our customers and we will not sue your customers for any of our products," Hovsepian said.

"That is what we agreed to--a covenant not to sue our customers. That is where some of the confusion and rhetoric has been generated in the marketplace. So are we really clear? Microsoft can sue us, and we can sue Microsoft tomorrow."

The threat of legal action, real or otherwise, had hindered Linux deals in the marketplace, according to Hovsepian.

He said that Novell had lost Linux deals with four Fortune 500 customers to Microsoft over concerns about intellectual property. Looking at the losses beforehand, he said, the deal with Microsoft "makes sense."

The pact with Microsoft has certainly helped in the three months following the signing, Hovsepian said. The software maker has honored its contractual commitments by hiring sales staff and dedicating money to marketing. The companies are also working together on an interoperability lab.

More importantly for Novell, "big wins" have started to roll in, further justifying Novell's decision to enter into an agreement on "coopetition," or a blend of cooperation and competition, with its foe. Novell claims that about 35,000 Suse Linux support certificates have been sold since the deal was signed.

Yet Hovsepian remains wary. He marks the progress every day. "I have to, because it's a big deal for Novell," he said.

Chris Duckett and Scott Mckenzie of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

See more CNET content tagged:
Novell Inc., Peugeot, marketplace, alliance, SuSE Linux

36 comments

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muted reaction to Vista
???? Did I not just read here and cnet last week how Vista sales were hot and drove PC purchases up last week?

Lets get some numbers and Novell sales....does anyone still use Netware??
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
muted reaction is still correct
In terms of the public response to the release hoopla; muted raction.

The release did not have the same energy as previous OS releases by Microsoft. With Win95, they put a ton of money into the release and fanfare and the public went nuts. By contrast, they put a ton of money into the Vista release and the energy and fanfare from the public was much less.

That's not to say Vista isn't selling. Hardware sales are being driven by Vista's bloated power needs so of course there's a computer sales spike along with the software spike from OS sales.

They're not compairing Netware to Vista and saying Vista's not moving at all and Netware is beating it sensless. The reference to it is really irrelivent other than to insite an emotional response to your knee jerk reationary comment.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
Re: does anyone still use Netware
I know of several companies that still run Netware, but those servers have been installed for a long time. The majority of their new servers are Linux.

Netware was the original "energizer bunny". One company has servers that haven't been rebooted in over 5 years.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
That's not correct
I don't know that Vista sales drove PC sales up last week. It's more likely that people held off buying new PCs immediately before the release of Vista, so there was some pent-up demand.

Here's the CNet article on sales of boxed Vista:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/Sales+of+boxed+Vista+copies+down+over+XP/2100-1016_3-6159700.html?tag=nefd.top" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/Sales+of+boxed+Vista+copies+down+over+XP/2100-1016_3-6159700.html?tag=nefd.top</a>
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Link Flag
Netware? Prolly not...
...but year-on-year growth of SuSE has been rather explosive.
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
samba and gcc under gpl 3 will hurt
The GPL 3 is getting language to specifically prohibit deals like the one Novell made with Microsoft. Both Samba and Gnu have said that they will move to the GPL version 3 when it comes out. So, even though Novell won't be banned from distributing linux, not being able to distribute with Samba and the gcc, among other Gnu software is pretty painful. I can't imagine them forking the gcc.
Posted by jeromatron (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Minor correction:
GPLv3 will prevent code licensed under it from becoming encumbered by patents, which is another method of making code proprietary.

Novell voluntarily got in bed with the devil, so Novell can lie there, take it, and stop whining to the rest of us about what they willingly bought into.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
The linux kernel is staying with GPL2
SO are you implying that no linux distro can use Samba or gcc? Not likely.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
the winner is : www.permaID.com
next generation of email system, priority email system
Microsoft or Linux can do whatever they wish to do,but the future of internet is mine.
dr noh
inventor of the future generation of email system
patent pending, uspto

san francisco,usa
Posted by yamio (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Code-Base OS/2 + Part Code-Base OS/2....
... = More OS/2. Don't let us ever forget that Windows XX... morphed out of the Microsoft's half of the OS/2 Code-Base that they were developing for IBM and the fact that IBM moved parts (larger or small amounts - does it really matter) of its own developed OS/2 into the development of the Linux Operating System; then what does this tell us about the quantity of OS/2 Code-Base that is represented by the Microsoft-Novell deal. Quoted in part from the article; "We did not sign a patent cross-license agreement with Microsoft. That has been one of the confusion points out there. What we agreed to was you will not sue our customers and we will not sue your customers for any of our products," Hovsepian said." No wonder there is now signs of hysteria stepping in on the Redmond Campus since the "OpenDocument Format (ODF), a format that has been standardized at the ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) a direct attack on the Redmond Campus "cash-cow" Office Suite!

"OS/2" Genealogical Linkages You Say!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whooaahhh...
... "is" instead of "are" oops, sorry; and, didn't Dat Rasta Man sing bout some being "hypocrites" and some being "parasites (Dr. Lock-Ins)"! Did I do/say that - Ha, Ha... He, He....
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Where Linux must go
While I won't dismiss the seriousness of the pressure that legal issues with Microsoft may have put on Novell specifically, in general Linux developers must put their products out into the market place AND PROMOTE THEM if they hope to capture market share and really compete with Microsoft. While Novell's products may be intended for institutional users, somebody must offer an easy-to use distribution that installs well and plays nice with Windows and Tiger on home user installations. The home user today is the business user tomorrow; a critical mass of users must arise in order for there to be enough interest in the system. When enough people, at home or school or work, are using Linux with Open Office components, then compatibilities with Windows file types will be less of an issue since Microsoft will be under pressure from its customer base to accept interoperability...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right, That Puts Linux at Least Five Years Behind Windows
Just because an operating is complex doesn't make it any slower. Windows is modular in design and loads DLL modules as needed. Moreover, Linux is now light years behind Vista in sophistication and all the more reason to abandon it as desktop OS. Next comes the Server version which will kill off Linux once and for all.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"VOYAGER" and "CASINNI" The Way To Go!...
... since VISTA = Code-Base OS/2. Don't ya all see how the "ELEPHANT" is already stepping on the "Cash-Cow" OFFICE! and there are screams coming from the Campus! It is like the song says "The closer I get to you and giving you all the (elephant squeeze) I can". Wow!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
The 5 years is the other way around
Linux is way ahead of Windows as an OS. What keeps people from moving to Linux in hordes are the lack of apps that only run in Windows.
Posted by ckcforeman (2 comments )
Link Flag
That is a complete load.
1) "Just because an operating is complex doesn't make it any slower. Windows is modular in design and loads DLL modules as needed."

So why is Vista slower than XP?

2) "Moreover, Linux is now light years behind Vista in sophistication and all the more reason to abandon it as desktop OS."

Wrong. Vista is a legacy operating system, primarily designed to support the vast numbers of Win32 applications in existence. Vista is a patch to XP, which is a patch to 2000, which is a patch to NT. Linux is a clean operating system without any such baggage.

3) "Next comes the Server version which will kill off Linux once and for all."

How long will it take for you to issue a retraction to this statement? 12 months? 24 months?
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Link Flag
I beg to differ
Review this google video of Ubuntu and tell me who is behind.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpOz8duTh-4" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpOz8duTh-4</a>

If you don't follow it, and don't use it, you wouldn't understand

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4508336341884243249&#38;q=mad+about+vista" target="_newWindow">http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4508336341884243249&#38;q=mad+about+vista</a>
Posted by bradyme (43 comments )
Link Flag
You misspelled "Ahead" up there, sport ;)
Let me give two small examples:

* Linux had 64 bit architecture support long before MSFT even thought up the idea.

* Linux had full IPv6 support SIX years ago, while Vista finally came out with it.

As for the rest of your post? Well, here's a quarter, so go buy yourself a clue: .DLL's (the rest of us calll 'em "dynamic libraries") have been part and parcel of Linux and most other OS kernels for well over a decade now. And /etc/modules.conf has been around for a long, long time, Genius.

In Windows' case, yes, sophistication == BLOAT, and slowness. Otherwise, do tell us why Vista has such ungodly high hardware requirements?

"the Server version"? ROTFL! Umm, okay... MSFT has been trying to take on the server market ever since Windows NT 3.5 (possibly earlier). Once Linux gained wide acceptance in the server room, Windows began losing ground. It is still dying as we speak in the server space, and will likely continue to do so. I give it five - seven years before Windows dips below 5% of the aggregate server market.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
If Windows is so advanced
Then why are AV and AS software required?

Why is Windows the only OS that degrades over time?

Why can't the Windows files systems self-defrag? Why is MS taking over 10 years on a file system that was available elsewhere before they even started on it?

Why are all the bells and whistles in Vista something that Linux users have had access to for years, in some cases?

Oh that is right, because Windows is so advanced.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Moving to Linux
I have finally had it with Windows. I have installed Suse linux and Ubuntu linux on a few older PC's at my house and they are both great. Linux is clearly superior to Windows. The only drawback is apps like Quicken that don't run natively in Linux. But if all you do is surf the web and do email, Linux is by far the better choice.
Posted by ckcforeman (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
selling my PC
I'll do one better - I'm selling my PC and going back to calculators and clock radios. I'm tired of all the hassle and confusion the internet and email are cauing me.

Seriously, though - you just said you've decided to do less stuff and Linux is better at that. At some point this year I'll build a MCE system running Ultimate or maybe Q and toss my other PVR's. I'll also put my photos and music on my home network so I can access them from any Extender. Finally, I'll digital all my documents and store them w/bitlocker to ensure they're safe and secure.

Point is people are using their computers for more, not less. XP changed the way people use their PC's, and Vista will do so again. Linux just commodotizes the familiar scenarios.
Posted by Nizzuts (35 comments )
Link Flag
It's behind the times?!
Review this google video of Ubuntu and tell me who is behind.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpOz8duTh-4" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpOz8duTh-4</a>

If you don't follow it, and don't use it, you wouldn't understand

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4508336341884243249&#38;q=mad+about+vista" target="_newWindow">http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4508336341884243249&#38;q=mad+about+vista</a>
Posted by bradyme (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
well which is it?
ubuntu video is cool, though I can't help wondering how much work it took to get Beryl running (which kernel, which drivers, which Beryl revision), and what compatibility is like.

The Vista video is silly. HP can support whatever they want, but this thing's several years old - how long should they support it? That said, I bet there's a workaround someplace (e.g. 1600 LJ driver just works, generic in-box driver, etc). Software compatibility seems like a reasonable argument except when it's made by a linux user, and Windows probably has the best backward compatibility story of any OS ever. Also, not sure who is trying to get away w/a $600 low-end eMachines PC for gaming, but complaining that you can't run games on the cheapest machine you can find is also a bit silly. In the end, Vista's hardware requirements are basically the same as OSX and it's a lot easier to use / maintain than *nix.
Posted by Nizzuts (35 comments )
Link Flag
 

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