Notebook: What Dazzled and What Didnt at LinuxWorld

Novell dismisses Sun's purchase plans, IBM looks for more Linux love, and Specifix hits the scene with new ideas on how to build and deploy Linux distribitions.

Off the cuff, Novell chairman and CEO Jack Messman dismissed Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartzs floating of the idea that Sun might buy Novell. Messman suggested that people simply read what Schwartz has written, and what others have written about his suggestion.

In case you havent been following it, the consensus among both analysts and IT professionals is that the idea of Sun Microsystems Inc. buying Novell Inc. is an asinine one. One Fortune 500 company technology buyer said he hadnt heard such a silly idea "in a month of Sundays."

As one senior Novell official put it, "If someone is serious about buying something, would you announce it to the world in a blog and by leaking it to the press?" Another upper-level Novell executive added, "Sun didnt have anything real to announce this week, so I guess they had to say something to get press."

But what about Suns announcement of Linux compatibility for Solaris 10 on the x86 platform? Many of the people on the show floor didnt think it was that big a deal. An integrator who works on Sun and IBM midrange systems said similar functionality has long been available on IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co.s AIX 5L and HP-UX systems. "Now, if they had said you could run Linux on their SPARC systems alongside Solaris, Id be interested," the integrator added.

Returning to the subject of the media, IBM officials werent too happy with their media coverage at LinuxWorld, either. It wasnt that IBM was getting bad press; it was more that no one was paying it much attention.

Carol Stafford, vice president of Linux at IBM, said that while "IBM is still Linuxs biggest booster, were just not getting mentioned that much." Look for IBM to start working harder on getting its Linux message out.

What did surprise this reporter, though, and doubtlessly helped brighten IBMs day, was that many developers were pleased to hear that the company had open-sourced Cloudscape under the Apache Software Foundation.

It seems that while the Java-based Cloudscape may not have many customers, many database and Java programmers find it an attractive, full-featured database system. It will be interesting to see if this initial burst of interest turns into a thriving open-source development community.

Next Page: IBM says it wont enforce its patents covering Linux kernel technologies.