Novell Purchases SuSE Linux

Networking giant Novell entered the Linux world with a bang in late 2003, purchasing German Linux distributor SuSE Linux AG for $210 million in cash. The move increases Novell's long term viability, as its networking software has steadily lost market share to Microsoft's marketing machine and the rise of Unix-based Internet servers. In fact Novell now has the opportunity to replace Red Hat as the leading Linux based developer in the United States, since SuSE's product is already well-regarded.

Novell's immediate plan is to add its own enterprise networking services such as file and printer sharing and Nterprise to SuSE's Linux distribution. Novell says NetWare 7 will work on both the NetWare and Linux kernels, giving customers a choice of server platforms. Left unclear is the longer term plan for NetWare as its own operating system. Some predict that Novell will eventually convert entirely to Linux to gain the additional server and client-side development already being done for the Linux and Unix platforms by thousands of programmers worldwide, much like Apple has done with MacOS X.

Novell's move follows their purchase of open-source developer Ximian in August. Ximian is a leading Linux desktop solutions company, whose leading products include the Gnome graphical desktop environment and Mono, a platform designed to allow programs written for Microsoft's .NET platform to run on Linux, Unix, and other systems. Other applications include software to connect to Microsoft Exchange and GroupWise.

The combination of SuSE Linux and Ximian's software gives Novell a complete solution to compete with Microsoft's Windows platform.

January 2004

Send this article to a friend!
Subscribe to The ITS Connection

Related articles