Novell Hails Linux Growth

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-03-28 Print this article Print

In a wide-ranging state-of-the-company update, Novell Inc. executives this week detailed the vendor's embrace of Linux across its product lines, saying that good progress has been made but that much more remains to be done.

In a wide-ranging state-of-the-company update, Novell Inc. executives this week detailed the vendors embrace of Linux across its product lines, saying that good progress has been made but that much more remains to be done.

Novell CEO Jack Messman told several thousand attendees at the BrainShare show here that while the company had fulfilled its promises to deliver products and services on Linux over the past year, the work was far from over.

The enthusiasm for Linux and for Novells play in that area were underscored by the fact that more than 6,000 people from some 50 countries had signed up to attend this weeks BrainShare, with more than 1,200 of them first-time attendees, Messman said.

Over the past year, Novells strategic focus has been on expanding Linux in the enterprise, and the release in November of the Waltham, Mass., companys Open Enterprise Server underscored that move. "OES allows you to migrate your NetWare applications to Linux without doing a rewrite, Messman said. "We have also expanded our ecosystem of partners in our Linux PartnerNet system from 42 this time last year to some 560 now—a tenfold increase."

Among enterprises deploying OES is regional airline Comair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines Inc., in Cincinnati. Roger Fenner, Comairs infrastructure servicing manager, said proprietary systems do not give the flexibility and choice provided by open systems.

"Open systems were the way to go," Fenner said. "OES allows us to leverage the knowledge we have inside the company and allows us to provide the services available on traditional NetWare on Linux. OES running on Linux and NetWare looks the same and has the same services. We also get all the support we need from Novell."

Messman said Novell is hearing from CIOs that they believe Linux is enterprise-ready and holds several key benefits for them: It helps simplify and streamline IT—especially since it has a common code base from the desktop to the server to the data center—and enables staffs to be more productive and efficient.

In addition, Novell is focusing on improving the Linux desktop experience; the company released its Novell Linux Desktop in November. The release includes the desktop productivity suite and the Firefox browser at an attractive price. While that desktop product is not meant for all users at this point, "as its functionality increases, it will become far more attractive to most users," Messman said.

Addressing application support for Novells Linux platform, Messman said there are now 1,400 certified products on SuSE Linux. "Linux is expanding its reach into the enterprise, and we will continue to support and fuel this growth," he said. "But we need to do more than that. We are already down the road on better Linux management with tools like YaST and Novell ZENworks."

As for security, Messman said, it remains the most important issue for CIOs—and it is becoming more complex. Managing identity is about more than managing people and passwords; it involves Web services, devices and resources, he said.

"Identity is the first step in security and needs to manage the what, how and who of information," Messman said. "We at Novell have an identity-driven product strategy and solution. Identity has become as ubiquitous as Linux."

Nebraskas Information Management Services department is one enterprise customer using Novells eDirectory to create a single-user identity for each state resident.

Novell also has plans to expand its ecosystem of services over the coming months, with the goal of providing support for all user Linux needs under a single support agreement that meets individual company requirements, Messman said.

In a call to action, Messman said partners and customers should take advantage of OES, simplify their IT by using Linux and start implementing an identity-driven enterprise.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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