Mixed Environment

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-05-17 Print this article Print

The fifth differentiator is the fact that Novell knows interoperability and Windows well. The company is also implementing the Open Desktop Initiative, under which it is aggressively migrating all internal Novell clients—about 6,000—to the new Novell Linux Desktop under development. "The coordination between our engineering team and the team doing that rollout is very good, and we are getting incredible feedback," Friedman said. "This is the best set of beta testers possible from an engineering perspective, as we can try things more aggressively and learn a lot faster.
"We understand that people are going to live in a mixed environment for a while and will still have Windows and Linux machines, and we are going to make that work really well, which again is not something Red Hat [Inc.] is focusing on and enabling," he said.
The sixth differentiating factor is what Friedman called Novells leadership in a number of key areas such as open source, OpenOffice, Mozilla, GNOME, KDE and Evolution. "We will use that and Mono to drive the real growth of our ISV strategy in the future," Friedman said. Friedman also said there arent too many players in the desktop market and that the ones based on Linux are essentially all using the same code base. "The good news is that we are all using open source," he said. "Red Hat engineers work with our engineers who work with Suns engineers every single day, so we are not repeating the Unix wars and are all working off the open-source code base, and theres room enough for a lot of competition. But we are going to compete really vigorously here," he said. Responding to comments by Microsofts group vice president of platforms that the open-source community will be playing "catch-up" to Longhorn, the next version of Windows due in 2006, and that they are "cloners," Friedman said Microsoft has a strong history of copying open-source innovation, from the first Web servers and browsers to the first declarative language for user interfaces and XML. "Microsoft is building these castles in the sky, and we are not going to build the same castles in the sky elsewhere. Thats not the approach. What matters is that we give the users and developers what they want," he said. "Cloning Microsoft is not the approach here. What Microsoft has discovered, though, is that Web standards have stagnated and that the Web and desktop experiences are different." He said the recent discussions between Mozilla and GNOME intended to look at how the community can provide a great environment for developers to provide high-fidelity applications until "we give them a Web deployment model. Thats what people want. Thats what that discussion centered on and was not about us going right after Microsoft," he said. Microsoft is also releasing all of its innovation in Longhorn in pretty much a single drop, Friedman said. "We arent limited in that way, and we are able to provide innovation when it is ready, while Microsofts strategy is to make everyone pay for an upgrade, and so innovation is delivered that way." For a look at the latest Longhorn build, click here. But the fact that so many Linux-based desktops exist is a solid indication that customers want a Microsoft alternative, he said, adding that Novell sees a huge revenue opportunity there as the use of Linux desktops grows. A number of enterprise pilots—many of them undertaken by Fortune 100 companies—are testing Novells desktop, he said, as well as a group of customers known as the Customer Council that reports back on a weekly basis. "We are not yet in public beta with the product, but it will be ready by the end of the year," Friedman said. "You will see a more public beta from us later this year." Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at http://linux.eweek.com for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

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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 www.eweek.com.


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