Page Two

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-01-21 Print this article Print

Touching briefly on SCO, Messman said just because "we question SCOs claims doesnt mean we cant dismiss them. CIOs will worry about their intellectual property risk. We, all Linux vendors, need to provide indemnification."

"[By taking] care of [issues], CIOs will place open source in the middle of their corporate IT infrastructure." After all, "the total cost of ownership for Linux numbers are good. You can do more with less cost with Linux. Studies that show otherwise have been sponsored by special interests," he said.

Messman spent the rest of his keynote speaking about how open source changes not only technology models but business models as well. You can make money with open source, but you need to forget about the license being a revenue source, he said. "This doesnt come easily, but its a lesson that companies need to learn. Its not easy for Novell as a company with 20 years of proprietary software, but its something we, and other companies, must do."

On the other hand, "although we acquired Ximian and SuSE, its their employees that have already had a great effect on our company, and its corporate development culture. Novell has had a bad case of not invented here syndrome. Weve had trouble overcoming our legacy, and we didnt have in-house expertise, but now with Ximian and SuSE, were learning. Ximians 70 employees have directly affected Novell developers with open-source mojo."

Novell will be starting a Novell Certified Linux Engineer program, according to Messman. Certifications, he noted, have gotten too easy and have lost their value in the marketplace. "Ours will require practical experience as well as passing hard tests."

Looking ahead, Messman sees Linux making great gains in data centers running mission-critical applications He also foresees "desktops gaining real traction" even though he feels the desktop still needs more work.

"With SuSE and Ximian, weve gained two open-source gems," he said. "We will give more than we take from open source. We will promote Linux development. Novell will push Linux desktops, create Linux ISVs. We will not mess this one up. Ximian and SuSE wont let us. We acquired them, but theyll be leading the way." When it comes to open source, "we will practice what we preach," Messman said.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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