Warning: If you're a Novell Zealot, you might not want to read what I have to say...
I read a story from Infoworld about how Novell is spouting off about their passion for Linux. It was November 2003 when the company known for Netware took over the popular German Linux distro with the chippy lil' chameleon for a mascot. Everyone was SURE that Linux would be busting at the seams of popularity. Everyone KNEW that Linux was about to go mainstream.
Soon after the purchase of SuSE, Novell took over Ximian (Miguel di Icaza's brainchild and company behind the Linux mail/calendar/todo/contact/kitchensink application Evolution.) Again everyone thought Novell had all the makings of a sure thing.
Soon thereafter Novell pretty much squealched Evolution. The development process crawled to a near stop. Not only that but they pigeonholed the developers such that the releases were no longer readily available to every distribution (I've had a 2-year old out-of-date release of Evolution on my desktop that I stopped using because the update process became so too much for this Linux veteran.)
And did Novell deliver on their promise to integrate Linux with their Netware servers? Hardly. Most of the Linux community had thought Novell was about to deliver the Active Directory killer LDAP wanted to be. Nope. Lost out on that one too.
And now, three years after the fact, Novell is claiming they have Passion For Linux? Come now. Novell has nearly killed the SuSE operating system by making it just another Red Hat corporate take-over distribution. Heck they even created OpenSuSE to compete with Fedora Core. Couldn't they see where Fedora Core was going?
Now you all know I'm a Linux zealot. I love the OS and will always use it. But for a company to claim what Novell has continued to claim irks me simply because it seems nothing more than shallow promises or dangled carrots. And I really think the Linux community gave up on Novell's promises long ago.
I wish someone from Novell would read this blog and explain to me, and everyone reading, just what they planned to do. Why have they dragged their feet on this only to lose more ground than they'll probably be able to make up.
And in the meantime - Ubuntu continues to grow stronger and stronger.
UPDATE: It does seem that 22,000 Indiana students will now be switching over to the Linux desktop. No one specific distribution has been chosen to lead the program (each school is allowed to choose which distro it wants to put roll out) SLED 10 is of course one of the distributions being implemented. Maybe there is hope for SuSE and Novell's attempts at Linux after all.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.