Novell Inc. looms large at LinuxWorld this year. Now that its SuSE Linux acquisition is done, what does that mean to Linux? Nabbed at the show for on-the-spot interviews, many showgoers pointed out that what Linux needs most is money. Some worried, though, that the SuSE Linux they know will ultimately fade away.
“Novell is a trusted company. Its good to see that theyre in there supporting Linux,” said Andy Stein, IS director for the City of Newport News, Va.
Schalk Steyn, engineer at EBS Dealing Resources, wasnt quite as confident. “Linux does need money. I get nervous, though, whenever a big company buys anything,” Steyn said. “I hope Novell doesnt do anything to SuSE. The best thing Novell can do is to leave SuSE alone.”
Steyn definitely wants SuSE to stick around. His company is now migrating from Sun Microsystems to Red Hat Linux. “One of the reasons were switching from Sun, though, is that we dont want to get locked into a single vendor. SuSE has represented a strong fallback position in Linux.”
“Im glad Novell is helping SuSE. Until now, Linux has been too volatile for us to use on the back end,” said Sam Storms, a systems programmer at IDA.
In an intriguing reversal of usual patterns, IDA uses SuSE and Debian Linux on the desktop, but Unix on its servers.
Not everyone, however, held such a positive opinion of Novell. Fernando Pando of CPG Group isnt sure Novell can make a go of things with SuSE.
“Novell is still that ugly child who wont stay in his room. That company is still desperate. If only theyd hung onto TCP/IP!” Pando said.
“Well see whether they can make any money with Linux. Linux is free software. Things are changing. We are now the generation that doesnt want to be told what to do—that wants to figure out things for themselves. Proprietary companies like Novell wont be with us much longer.”
One Ohio-based Novell reseller though thinks that not only will Novell make money, the switch to Linux will make money for him as well. “I loved NetWare, but I was losing customers from it to Microsoft. I know I can keep them, and get some new ones as well, now that I have Linux from a company that they trust.”