back to article Novell's OpenSuSE commitment is tested

More than ever, these are testing times for Novell's Linux culture, and its relations with the community. The recession hit sales of Novell's SuSE Linux during its first quarter, according to chief executive Ron Hovsepian. Novell's CEO blamed over reliance on direct sales. As some have written, the benefits of the 2006 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprise here

    If there's one thing Novell has shown that it's good at, it's creating (or buying) fantastic technologies and then burying them due to a complete inability to market or sell pretty much anything. I was a big Novell fan for a long time, but pretty much everything they touch turns to crap or gets buried under a pile of it.

  2. Stuart

    Novell can't even add up, so they are really screwed

    This is so plain as day to me as a hands on IT Manager. We are a largish government shop with loads of Novell products, Netware, GroupWise, Access Manager, BM, SLES etc etc.

    I asked for a quote for a LOT of licenses(>50) from Novells #1 reseller in UK. When I saw the quote I just laughed. The prices involved where a LOT more than a certain other vendor.

    I told them they were in direct competition with both RH and Windows, and I needed a super keen price. It was actually cheaper in the end to go and buy 50 licenses from my standard non Novell aligned sources.

    They deserve all they get.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same old, same old...

    I don't see how anyone who is familiar with the history of Novell could be the least bit surprised by layoffs. I actually worked in HR at Novell for a few years, and layoffs were just all in a day's work. It's nothing personal (usually), it's just business as usual.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    50 licenses of anything is very, very far from a LOT.

    Did you really mean 50,000 or is your definition of "largish" and "LOT" a few orders of magnitude away from everyone elses?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Best technology is no good without decent marketing (Betamax, Alpha, etc)

    SuSe happens to have been my favoured Linux since about 8.0 but other than that I have no connection with it/them, and if it goes, there are plenty to replace it. That being said...

    "If Novell is genuine in its Linux ambitions, it will have cut the marketing and liaison types first."

    Maybe. Microsoft's technology is far from best in class, but one of the reasons for their continued dominance in their chosen markets is the way they use huge quantities of marketing and liaison types (and funds) to maintain and grow their stranglehold on the market. A bit of decent marketing from Novell wouldn't hurt, but "gloves off" marketing vs Microsoft (ie where it matters) is probably prohibited by the Novell/MS deal. Whoops. So if that MS/Novell deal means Novell's marketing people can't do anything useful for Novell or the industry, then they should indeed be first to go, long before the techies who may be in a position to make a difference in the industry.

    I do apologise to more sensitive readers who will find it difficult to understand why anyone on El Reg might defend industry marketing types.

  6. Ian Michael Gumby

    So starts the spin cycle of doom..


    Any moron can say 'lets cut the price' so we can capture more market share. Its an old addiction that can kill a business. You continue to slash employees as you cheapen the product. As the author points out, you have thinner margins, less money to spend on necessary R&D.

    It comes as no surprise or shock that companies have been funding OpenSource initiatives and that when the contributors no longer have a meal ticket, they will focus less on the Open Source community, but rather on their day job and putting food on the table.

    Yes there will still be Open Source projects, but on a smaller scale, and those projects that allow for a smaller commitment from individual contributors will flourish. An example would be Dojo where one can add to the community one widget at a time.

    Sun and Novell were right in cutting their Open Source staff contributors first. After all, corporations are supposed to be profit making beasts. So in lean times, you trim the fat and unfortunately, you also burn off some muscle. ;-)

  7. Darren Mansell


    Yes 50 licences is a lot, if they are all SLES10. You may be thinking of user licences. We don't tend to have those in the Linux world.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    "You may be thinking of user licences. "

    "You may be thinking of user licences. We don't tend to have those in the Linux world."

    What's a SLE Desktop licence then? At Euro47 per year, it sounds entirely reasonable compared with a classic corporate Windows desktop setup.

    If I read it right, SLE Server licences vary from Euro300 per year to Euro1200 per year with a typical option being Euro600ish, depending on level of support. An organisation wanting 50 would likely want a lot more at 300 or 600 than at 1200. A reasonable quantity but hardly worth making a huge fuss about for anyone, especially if the bod on the end of the phone is making a ***t of himself asking for a discount beyond that already available through standard volume discounts

    Shame Barack and El Gordo largely only see fit to spend billions of taxpayers money when it's wasted on failed bancasinos, and everyone else who needs a few quids worth of strategic investment (you, me, Bill's antivirus campaign, Novell, whoever) gets to starve.

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