Novell Partners Embrace Its Linux Move

Novell's BrainShare tradeshow opened with both the company and its customers and partners praising its recent Linux moves.

SALT LAKE CITY—Novell Inc.s 20th annual BrainShare tradeshow opened here Sunday with a different focus from years past. The reason: Linux.

In recent years, BrainShare had been seen by the industry as a show chronicling the slow decline of a network giant and its flagship operating system, NetWare. This year, however, Novell is focusing on its shift from NetWare to its new Linux offerings. As a result, more than 6,000 people are expected to attend BrainShare this year, according to Kevan Barney, Novells senior manager of press relations. Last year, only 5,200 attended the show.

"As we look back on two great decades of BrainShare, Novell couldnt be better positioned for the future," said Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell, in a prepared statement. "With our 20 years of enterprise experience, Novell can bring together the worlds of enterprise software and open source better than anyone else. Linux is all about giving customers choice. Thanks to our Linux moves, weve seen incredible interest in BrainShare this year, both from customers and partners."

Interviews on the showroom floor proved Messman was right on the money. Ten out of ten termed Novells move to Linux as great.

Tom Corus, a systems engineer for XIOtech, a storage area networking (SAN) company with strong Novell ties, spoke for many when he said, "Linux is a perfect marriage for Novell." Looking ahead, he added, "The only reason Microsoft [Corp.] got where they are is because they captured the desktop. Now, Novell and Linux have a chance to capture it back."

"This is a terrific strategic move," said an engineer with GWAVA, an e-mail add-on company for Novells GroupWise program. "Where else could they go? Microsoft was eroding their marketshare. In a few years everyone will know that Novell moving to Linux was a great idea."

Maximilian Morganstern, an engineer at Messaging Architects, another company whose products add functionality to GroupWise, said simply, "This is a win, and with it things are definitely heads up for Novell."

Next page: A cautionary note.