I’ve been using
Novell products for almost 20 years now since I got the chance to play with
NetWare in college. There, in the Business Computing Lab at the University of
South Florida, we had a small network of 30 IBM PC XTs networked to one XT
running NetWare 2.15. From there I’ve both worked with and written about
NetWare and Novell through all of it’s various stages and changes.
During the late 80’s
and into the 90’s, Novell ruled the networking landscape through the power of
NetWare. But then Novell stumbled in a misguided effort to take on Microsoft in
it’s own backyard the desktop with the purchase of DR-DOS and WordPerfect.
The combined steamroller of Windows 9x, Office, and Windows NT on the network
(along with some questionable business tactics on Microsoft’s part) quickly
wrote the history we’ve come to learn.
Even though Novell
included innovations in NetWare years ago that Microsoft is only now starting
to put into Windows such as federated directory services, Novell struggles to
maintain viability. The NetWare kernel is stalled with version 6.5 and doesn’t
seem to have a future. Novell is quickly moving NetWare services to Linux with
Open Enterprise Server, and is again trying to challenge Microsoft on the
desktop with SuSe 10.
The problem is Novell
can’t seem to get a break. RedHat has an estimated 70% of the Linux market and
the bet on Linux as a savior for Novell is looking dubious. Pundits ridicule
Novell’s vision of Linux challenging Microsoft on the desktop. And now
News.com points out that most of Novell’s own employees havent
made the switch from Microsoft products to open source ones.
Yeesh. Novell has a great history. And for
companies considering making the migration to Linux, it would seem to be the
best bet because it understands how business works through years of selling
several months now, I’ve been pointing out how SuSe Professional 10 makes a
great desktop environment. But does
that matter anymore? Is Novell still