back to article SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn

Attachmate, the software shop that headhunted Novell and SUSE Linux, is itself being bought out by Micro Focus International. The mainframe and COBOL specialist is acquiring Attachmate Group from its parent company Wizard in a deal calculated at $2.3bn before costs. Micro Focus is taking Attachmate Group in exchange for 86.60 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait to see COBOL syntax highlighting in KDE's Kate text editor

    just joking, I use OpenSUSE at home and is a very nice and good product and I wish SUSE the best in keeping it running. I would not hesitate considering the enterprise server for deployment on a corporate environment if the cost/benefit analysis fits in.

    Not the least interested in COBOL, but I can see some potential in marrying the mainframe terminal emulator with Linux. Here is a truly, really interesting, way of Linux finally gaining some traction on the corporate desktop, even if it is only initially deployed as a cheap terminal emulator. It is just a matter of time before they realize that their dirt cheap PCs used to access the mainframe can replace almost every other function they use Windows for. Alas, it would be just the opposite of what happens with Windows dumb terminals: they are really little PCs that just run the remote desktop client, but you can't use them for anything else because they can't barely run the embedded Windows copy and the remote desktop client.

    Just joking again, that won't happen, mainframe customers are almost by definition conservative technology wise and not likely to be the sources of such "radical" innovations.

    1. gregthecanuck

      Re: Can't wait to see COBOL syntax highlighting in KDE's Kate text editor

      You would probably be interested in the fact that the MF COBOL has Eclipse integration as well as Visual Studio.

    2. Brian Miller

      Re: Can't wait to see COBOL syntax highlighting in KDE's Kate text editor

      "... but I can see some potential in marrying the mainframe terminal emulator with Linux..."

      You do realize that there are already open source TN3270 and TN5250 emulators? There have been professional products for at least 20 years for IBM terminal emulation on Unix, Windows, and even MS-DOS and OS/2. I used to work at Attachmate long ago. ("Where's the IrmaLAN team?" "He's right over there! Splinter!" [This actually confused an HR rep who didn't understand the Monty Python reference. Really, I wonder how much of real life those people experience. Maybe we need to study them with tracking collars and electric shocks...])

      Yes, I remember when they were an independent company. Anyways, emulation on Linux not only includes terminal emulators, but also the Hercules project, which can emulate the mainframe itself.

      1. Simon Heffer

        Re: Can't wait to see COBOL syntax highlighting in KDE's Kate text editor

        Hopefully you actually said 'splitter' rather than 'splinter' - no wonder he was confused.

  2. Stuart 39

    It kinda makes sense.

    IBM is pushing z-linux (Modified RHEL) on Mainframe. Main use is very very cheap websphere. Cobol runs on mainframe a lot right :)

    Obviously they couldn't afford to do the same and buy RHEL, and CentOS is often given the hairy eyeball due to vendor support.

    Also Virtzilla virtual appliances are mostly based on SuSe. Ideas could include pre-baked Cobol appliances running on SuSe. Containerised Cobol, makes sysadmins life easier I suspect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It kinda makes sense.

      Some corrections:

      It Is SUSE, not SuSE for more than 10 years ago.

      "IBM is pushing z-linux..." Actually SUSE has long had the lead in market share for Linux on z, something like 80% of all Linux on mainframe is SUSE. Go to a mainframe conference and there are ten people from SUSE and maybe one from RH. SUSE was the original partner to port Linux to the mainframe with IBM.

      SUSE sometimes does not get the credit they deserve for their work on Linux, like porting Linux to 64 bit, done in partnership with AMD or getting btrfs into real production shape.

      Long time happy SUSE and openSUSE user...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It kinda makes sense.

        > like porting Linux to 64 bit

        I was running a fully 64 bit Linux on an Alpha long before 64 bit was a glint in either AMD's or Intel's eyes.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This announcement worries me

    My company (I'm the IT Manager) use SLES as our primary server infrastructure due to it's high reliability (the last reboot occurred when we physically relocated the servers to a new site; since then we've had 100% up-time). I was concerned when Attachmate took over SUSE, but decided to wait and see. Now I am *really* worried - does Micro Focus actually have any commitment to Linux (AFAIK the answer to that is a responding No). Might be time to work up some contingency plans switching our infrastructure to Redhat/Centos.

    1. Getriebe

      Re: This announcement worries me

      Strange comment, and I do not see where your worry comes from. MicroFocus is a conservative customer with a very nice cashflow from an extremely stable customer base. They will not have done this move for some mad hedge fund idea of strip and sale. I suspect they do want their own OS to go alongside COBOL so they have a nice packaged deal for them many many customers.

      I inherited with horror 43 customers using COBOL as the result of a merger, and the aged workforce that looked after them. Its turned out to be dead easy to manage - very stable systems and by removing the Zimmers they stay working 18hrs a day.

      COBOL and *ix from the same supplier looks like a great proposition to me.

      1. itzman

        Re: This announcement worries me

        I agree. COBOL on a Linux server is the ultimate in stability - and will run legacy apps. till Domesday.

        Microfocus has no where else to grow. COBOL sales are static and mature.

        And if the terminals end up Linux too, well so what?

        1. Getriebe

          Microfocus has no where else to grow. COBOL sales are static and mature.

          I disagree. From above statement, I have had to get acquainted with COBOL for reason of ERP systems - and the sales wonks have sold a lot of new deals. Not iPhone6 territory but MF will be happy. Also the annual license costs must be keeping someone in Moet.

    2. John Gamble

      Re: This announcement worries me

      "...does Micro Focus actually have any commitment to Linux ..."

      Hard to say. As a company, Micro Focus actually does good work (even if it is mainly known for its COBOL products), so I'm not concerned about SUSE suddenly being re-written into an unrecognizable mess.

      If this is a response to Micro Focus's presumably shrinking product base, more power to 'em. Let them grow past their boundaries.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This announcement worries me

      > Now I am *really* worried - does Micro Focus actually have any commitment to Linux

      You have a point, and I suspect only time will tell. Poor SuSE does seem to have had a rough time with buyers not really getting what a Linux distro is and does, but on the whole it's not gone too badly. Novell started badly and ended not too badly, Attachmate realised quite early that SuSE should remain separate. MicroFocus should understand the mainframe/mini world and its specialisms, but may commit a marketing foul.

      The mine canary will probably be MF's relationship with OpenSuSE. If it continues to allow autonomy for that project, but still support it, all should be well. Meanwhile, test your systems on Debian... Just a pennyworth of opinion.

      1. pwl

        Re: This announcement worries me

        SUSE (note capitalisation) has been run as a separate business since the Attachmate acquisition of Novell.

        It would make sense for MF to continue with that same approach.

        The speculation about some kind of sudden integration of COBOL with SUSE Linux kind of misses the point of this kind of business.

        When EMC acquired VMware it didn't suddenly force VM's to only run with EMC storage...

  4. Alistair
    Thumb Up

    I *like* this idea

    COBOL on linux. Even if its targetted at SUSE and I run RH.

    Rock solid port platform for legacy cruft. Heck, I can even move some stuff off HPUX to linux when they get this wrapped up nicely.

    And perhaps we'll get something better than TN3270 for linux.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I *like* this idea

      While I can't comment on the merger in general, other than to say I think it will prove to be a Good Thing, I do want to point out that we (Micro Focus) have been selling COBOL on both Red Hat and SUSE for many years.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a “significant increase in the scale and breadth of Micro Focus.”

    If they increase the scale and breadth wouldn't the result be neither "Micro" nor "Focus"?

  6. Mikel

    Wait, what?

    Have I lost the plot? Did not Attachmate also wind up owning Unix?

  7. Paul 195

    The Micro Focus name dates back to 1976, when the new fangled "micro" computers were the focus of the company's efforts. Since the descendants of those original 8080 chipsets are still running Micro Focus software, the name is still relevant.

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