Novell will push Red Hat out of its slot as the number one Linux distributor. It will eclipse IBM in the enterprise software arena. And it will help the Linux community to pull the GNU-Linux operating system installed-base ahead of the Microsoft operating system installed-base.
Novell was well into integrating its software portfolio with the GNU-Linux operating system before it acquired SUSE Linux. Moreover, SUSE already was a top-notch Linux distribution before Novell acquired it. But a SUSE-based Novell Linux is going to be tough to beat.
Novell CEO Jack Messman
In his LinuxWorld Keynote address, Novell CEO Jack Messman said:
Novell understands that, with its acquisitions of SUSE LINUX and Ximian, we have gained two of the gems of the open source community.
With that comes responsibility. And we take that responsibility very much to heart. We will contribute more to open source than we take away. (Emphasis added.)
Novell isn't going to simply port its existing network services to Linux and "we're done." We cannot and will not stop there.
Novell will continue to remain at the forefront in promoting Linux. We will fill the solution gaps on the Linux server with enterprise support, with management tools, with partnerships.
Novell will push the Linux desktop to new levels of usability, and we will rally and create a network of Linux desktop application ISVs. We will offer the world's most comprehensive and tightly integrated Linux desktop solution, at a competitive price. (Emphasis added.)
Novell will lead innovation in the open source space for solutions for collaboration with GroupWise; for document management with iFolder; and for resource management with Red Carpet, YAST and ZENworks.
Moreover, Novell will not become the dominant commercial player in the world of GNU-Linux and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) by trying to steal business from other software providers in the Linux and FOSS world as did Darl McBride and SCO tried to do in 2002 and 2003 -- or by attacking other Linux and FOSS companies and organizations. Rather Novell will grow its business, and is growing its business, by developing products, by contributing to the GNU-Linux and FOSS community, and by migrating corporate and individual users from the Microsoft Windows operating systems to the GNU-Linux OS.
Novell at LinuxWorld
The signs of that were there, at the January 2004 LinuxWorld Exposition in New York's Javits Center. Today, and over the next few days, let's look at those signs that lead to these observations, conclusions, and predictions. We already started doing that above by looking at the closing remarks of Jack Messman's Keynote address. But there is lots more at which to look.
I spent several hours at the LinuxWorld Expo last Wednesday morning listening to and talking to Novell CEO Jack Messman, Novell Vice-Chairman Chris Stone, and Novell-SUSE President Richard Seibt. It started with Jack Messman's Keynote address at 9:15 AM. He did all the talking there.
Then a little after 10:00 AM, Jack Messman, Chris Stone, and Richard Seibt held a press conference that lasted about an hour. After that, I conducted private, exclusive interviews and discussions with them -- more time and more in-depth with Jack Messman than with Chris Stone or Richard Seibt -- one-at-a-time and one-on-one.
During the some three hours including the Keynote address, the press conference, and the one-on-one discussion with Jack Messman I had a good glimpse at the mettle of the man and of the Novell environment. There was an impressive and uncommon openness, frankness, sincerity, and honesty in Jack Messman's Keynote presentation, his press conference Q&A, and in our private, one-on-one discussion.
Perhaps the statement in Jack Messman's Keynote address that most led to that impression was: We will contribute more to open source than we take away. (Emphasis added.)
All that considered, there is little doubt that Novell can and will do everything that Jack Messman says it will do.
And all that considered, Novell's immersion into the GNU-Linux operating system and Free/Open-Source Software (FOSS) landscape promises to benefit greatly the GNU-Linux/FOSS community. It also promises to benefit greatly corporate and individual Linux/FOSS consumers. And no doubt Novell's shareholders and employees will do well from Novell's immersion into the GNU-Linux operating system and Free/Open-Source Software (FOSS) landscape
In a pre-LinuxWorld Exposition discussion, we asked Novell's Director of Public Relations, Bruce Lowry, about Novell's presence at the then upcoming January 2004 LinuxWorld. He replied: We will bring pretty much everything we have that touches Linux. Which is most everything now! (Please see our Novell LinuxWorld Exhibits in the right-hand sidebar above for a list of that everything.)
He also noted that in addition to CEO Jack Messman's Keynote address, Jeff Hawkins, Vice-President of Novell Linux Business Office, was slated to participate in a Birds of a Feather panel discussion, Political Challenges to Open Source. Nat Friedman, Vice-President for Novell Product Development, was slated to participate in a panel discussion, The Future of Linux Audio/Video in the Enterprise. And Michael Meeks, Novel Desktop Engineer, was to be involved in a Linux Desktop session.
The really big grabber is Bruce Lowry's statement: pretty much everything we have that touches Linux. Which is most everything now! Novell is fully involved in Linux. (Emphasis added.)
In his 2004 LinuxWorld Expo Keynote address, Jack Messman underscored and amplified that statement from Bruce Lowry. GNU-Linux and Open Source and Free Software now are embedded into Novell, and vice verse -- Novell embraces Linux and Free and Open Source Software.
Our intention is to be a leader in the commercial Linux market. We will not seek to change the open source model, we will embrace it. Our understanding of the enterprise software market, and our marrying this understanding with Linux, makes Novell's arrival on the Linux scene a compelling story.
So, it's good for Novell that I'm here. But it's also good for the Linux and, I'd argue, for the Linux industry as a whole. Because it shows how significant the Linux transition has become and how big the critical mass behind Linux has grown.
Novell is a billion dollar company that's wagering its future on open source. That's new to the open source industry. (Emphasis added.)
And that sounds like a very good bet for both Novell and the FOSS community.
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