View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Was yesterday's news that Novell acquired SuSE a disaster or great news for Linux?
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Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Novell + Suse Linux + IBM + Linux + Linux Comunity + Open Source ?

Last time I saw any thing like this was when Luke Skywalker found R2D2, C3PO, Obiwan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbaca and princes Leia.

It is not necessary give freebies to make the business go ahead. Simply stand (support) Open Source !!!

I buy a Personal Computer blunded with a modern Suse Linux for $100,00 happily.

Jack Messman leads the happy workers in song?

Doc's picture

The problems with most acquisitions are cultural and political, not "strategic" or operational.

Novell may be a far more enlightened company than it used to be, but it's from another country and another culture (in a variety of ways), and it doesn't have the best track record at acquisitions.

Somebody from Germany pointed me to this picture here (warning: it's 2.2Mb) amidst SuSE PR files, saying it refected the "mood" inside SuSE as the announcement was being made. Here's a smaller version on my own server.

I hope, for the sake of both companies, and their customers and users, that this thing works out. To do that, however, Novell needs to go out of its way to make the SuSE employees feel they're still working for a purpose that goes beyond a paycheck. And that won't be easy.

Re: Jack Messman leads the happy workers in song?

Anonymous's picture

I did notice that no one seem to be smiling, but then any time your company sells out to another , there are worries that come along with that. After a annocement like this, my worst fears come to pass and found myself out of a job in a couple of weeks. I hope for their sake and Ours Novell has indeed change.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Has anyone else thought of what just happen? SuSe had a "licence" of SCO for their system Now owned by Novell and IBM, unless SCO forcefully take that away IBM is now more secured now than ever of the dirty rotten SCOndle.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Novell has had to change its brand image from "the only network company" to "the best network company" when marketing to corporations now getting some network software bundled with every computer.

SUSE are a German company with a reputation for quality and that fits far better with the direction of the Novell brand than RedHat would. I think that would matter to some of the decision makers in Novell, because they could have bought just about any linux company they wanted right now.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

One reason I picked and bought SuSE was cause it was NOT an American company.

SuSE is a great product. With a sigh of nostalgia, I'll be telling my grandchildren one day a woeful story...
"Once upon a time, there was a grand and great Linux distro called SuSE. That is, until the Amerian corporate plague came..."

not good bye Suse. Good by KDE and the

Anonymous's picture

I see Novell trying to "out-RedHat" RedHat and to "out-Microsoft" the microsoft. Suse linux will become one more commercial americana blend.

KDE is QT, at least at the library level. Novell SELLS middleware. You think Novell will want to pay for the "commercial" (resellable) version of QT? No.

"Read my lips," (tm) Suse will be Xemian Gnome based.

"Oh! Humanity!" (tm)

or make a lgpl compatible qt

Anonymous's picture

...which would be fantastic, solving the final hurdle to acceptance of the KDE way.

Re: or make a lgpl compatible qt

Anonymous's picture

An LGPL-compatible Qt would be the death knell for Trolltech. They make money and are able to pay their developers because proprietary software houses that use Qt have to pay them. They aren't going to give that up.

This fact makes Gnome more attractive from a financial point of view for companies like Red Hat and Sun.

In the end, though, it just isn't going to matter. Gnome and KDE interoperability will continue to improve (Novell has a huge reason to push this, if they don't want to throw away their investment in Ximian, and Red Hat has been pushing it as well). Both Novell and Red Hat will continue to unify the look and feel of Gnome and KDE, which will piss off the KDE people. Users won't be aware of whether they are running a KDE or a Gnome app.

Re: not good bye Suse. Good by KDE and the

Anonymous's picture

You mean they shell out $210 million for SuSE, and a QT commercical license costing them one-time $2000 per developer is too expensive?!?!?! Talk about penny-wise pound-foolish. For that matter, SuSE almost certainly already has a few developer licenses since they develop Yast (non-gpl) with QT.

What about Lotus Smartsuite?

Anonymous's picture

Just a thought: If IBM is as committed to Linux as they seem, why not make the old Lotus Smartsuite applications run on it? Could be the "killer app" Linux has been looking for.

Re: What about Lotus Smartsuite?

Anonymous's picture

> Could be the "killer app" Linux has been looking for.

IMHO, that killer app would be SuSE's OpenExchange product. If Novell can fund enough development, we'd see more people evaluating a migration to OE instead of MS Exchange 2003.

Re: What about Lotus Smartsuite?

Anonymous's picture

They've stated in the past that they could not do this due to the restrictions under which they licenced some of the technology in SmartSuite.

Ximian and SuSE

Anonymous's picture

I would like to chime in at this point with the issues revolving around Gnome and KDE. First is to realize that Gnome is not GTK and KDE is not Qt.

SuSE is heavily based on KDE and has had a very successful model sprouting from the concepts of KDE. I doubt very much that this will change as Gnome has been proven to "work" but has never been a choice Operating Environment for the common user. The Gnome project, though having many beneficial products under it's belt, lacks the structure which has become fundamental to the KDE project.

Having said this, I would almost dare to assume that Novell's focus will be placed upon tweaking Gnome and KDE both to interoperate. For prime example, drag-and-drop between Gnome and KDE applications.

Ximian and SuSE

Anonymous's picture

I would like to chime in at this point with the issues revolving around Gnome and KDE. First is to realize that Gnome is not GTK and KDE is not Qt.

SuSE is heavily based on KDE and has had a very successful model sprouting from the concepts of KDE. I doubt very much that this will change as Gnome has been proven to "work" but has never been a choice Operating Environment for the common user. The Gnome project, though having many beneficial products under it's belt, lacks the structure which has become fundamental to the KDE project.

Having said this, I would almost dare to assume that Novell's focus will be placed upon tweaking Gnome and KDE both to interoperate. For prime example, drag-and-drop between Gnome and KDE applications.

And for my own sake of sanity (and I know most of you will disagree), GTK is not Gnome. Please people, if you're developing with GTK, do not use Gnome by default. The two projects have been merged much to my dissappointment. GTK, for those of you who have used it directly, is a very structured gui toolkit well designed for very technical programs. It was designed for use in Gimp and has well supported the structure of Gimp for many years. Gnome, in a rush to compete with KDE, has perverted the GTK to it's own needs, coercing functionality into places which do not fit. Gnome's "contributions" have been a great detriment to the purity of the GTK project.

I do not disagree with the Gnome project's purpose in modifying the GTK project, but I heavily disagree with the execution in doing so.

Comments or questions to be sent to tylnmade@icqmail.com , include "GTK" or "Gnome" somewhere in the topic.

Re: Ximian and SuSE

Anonymous's picture

Please people, if you're developing with GTK, do not use Gnome by default. The two projects have been merged much to my dissappointment.

Your point is well taken, but overstated.
In fact, the trend is for functionality to move down the stack from GNOME to GTK+.
A wealth of stock icons are now available in GTK+ that were previously only in GNOME.
VTE is a GTK+ terminal emulation widget that replaces GNOME's ZVT.

The close collaboration between GTK+ and GNOME is a good thing, because it removes political barriers to doing the Right Thing.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Novell can still ruin SUSE by imposing software licensing restrictions that ultimately hurts the Linux community. In fact the Netware licensing is way over priced for the value you get out of it.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

If you think Netware licensing is over-priced then you haven't looked at it in a while. In fact Novell is making their small-business suite available to their resellers at NO CHARGE. The reseller/consultant can charge whatever he wants to (or not) for the installation of the software.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

I'm sure SuSE isn't going away, I just worry that the moderately priced boxed sets (esp. Professional for $89) will be going away. I don't doubt that IBM and Novell care about Linux, but their business model is catering to big businesses that can afford to pay big bucks. If it turns out that the boxed sets are a drag on their core business (or a distraction), then say goodbye. Hmm... how much is Red Hat charging these days for their freakin DESKTOP??? And you don't even get media. Will SuSE go the same way? Maybe a win for Novell, IBM, and the businesses who can afford their level of service. For home users and small independant VARs? I'm not so sure.

Cheers,
Ken

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

One word: FreeBSD!!!! This is one piece of free software that will never be bought up by large corporations, leaving you out in the cold. Netcraft surveys show that it is indeed a very stable OS. As you probably know, Apple uses part of FreeBSD in their kernel. And, FreeBSD also runs most Linux apps...
Make the Switch!!

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

FreeBSD? Tried it, didn't like it much. OTOH I have been messing with NetBSD lately and I like it. It's been awhile since I tried FreeBSD though, maybe it's time for another look. But still, bang for the buck, good docs, "professional" presentation... it's damn hard to beat SuSE. Heres to hoping Novell doesn't kill off the (affordable) boxed sets.

Cheers,
Ken

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Maybe a win for Novell, IBM, and the businesses who can afford their level of service. For home users and small independant VARs? I'm not so sure.

How could I make you see that this is, actually, a good thing? If there is business, then there is an opportunity. Who is going to support all these SMEs trying to build and maintain their internal networks? Well, if the big companies aren't going for it, then some small companies are going to fill this niche.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

> If there is business, then there is an opportunity.

Maybe. When I could offer small clients a $40 (or $80) solution - I always made them buy the boxed set - it was a pretty easy sell. If Novell decides to go to the Red Hat model of... what... $149 min? for just the desktop, no "official" media, no printed docs, most of my clients would just stay with Winblows. And if Novell does decide to send SuSE doen the Red Hat business path, how am I supposed to convince my clients that the previous $40 solution is now ~$150, the previous $80 solution is now ~$350, and this is a good thing that they should be happy about?

Cheers,
Ken

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

I think the price on Mandrake boxed sets is still quite reasonable. I belong to the club and download rather than buy media so I don't pay much attention to sets in stores. I used to see either Red Hat or Mandrake boxed sets in stores. It was often a version behind or something, now I don't notice any boxed sets. Can you find a boxed set of any linux distro in Costco, Walmart or the local bookstore? If not this is a problem. How can people load something if they don't see the product? You or I will find CDs and manuals somewhere but to be on more desktops we need boxes in stores where people will find them.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Do you really care whether you can get the media or not? As long as ISOs are available, it doesn't matter. Unless you are a complete moron, you can burn them and make the same media for under $1. Get over it, ESD is here to stay and that is a good thing.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

> As long as ISOs are available, it doesn't matter.

Well, yes it does. Maybe not to me, but to (potential) customers. To them, a "home burned" CD looks, well, homemade. And then there is the issue of "professional (looking)" documentation, which SuSE currently includes in their boxed sets, and which I hope they continue to make available.

Cheers,
Ken

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

"Maybe a win for Novell, IBM, and the businesses who can afford their level of service. For home users and small independant VARs? I'm not so sure."

The obvious answer is: More Variant Distros catering to the consumer/hobbyist....
The big guys dont see this as a market, because in the greater scheme of things - it isnt (the overhead involved cuts the margins very slim......)

But there still is Fedora, Slackware, Debian. While they dont have very polished install scripts and you have to contact the programmer for support on their applications, they do remain low cost and are freely redistributable..... If you want consumer Linux, why not build your own modified distro (based on the *Big Boyz*), burn it on a CD (this is not difficult if you dont through in too many customized compiles) and give it to your "computer challenged" friends?
Once you have it installed, how often does one really have to reinstall (versus just upgrading certain packages?) I know I dont do it very often, so I dont really need a new distro - just the updates on the application, window manager or occasional kernel level...... I anticipate we will continue to see this from the community..... It's in everyone's best interest.
I think IBM, et all has given the Independent VAR an opportunity to work within the "smaller picture" and earn a good unimpeded living...... Granted the "Big Fish" deals wont be on the VAR's profit ledger, but for the Independent VAR, they never really have been - except in small verticals or in deals where M$, et al, gave them a bone.... The Vertical will still be there and there wont be a Big Corp coming in at a lowball bid to trump the VAR.....

To me this seems like a good thing......

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Hmm...

> The ovbious answer is: More Variant Distros catering to the consumer/hobbiest....

There are already plenty of distros that cater to hobbiests, most of which aren't attractive to NON-hobbiest users.

> But there still is Fedora, Slackware, Debian.

Install scripts aside, all three of them come with NO media and NO printed documentation, things whic VAR customers tend to like. At least Slackware (like SuSE) has clean (easy to read and understand) init scripts.

> ... why not build your own modified distro...

Because I'd rather spend my time using the system instead of developing it myself... Because my VAR customers want a "standard" system... Because I refuse to believe that the only two price points for Linux are "free and unsupported" and "supported but only if you're rich."

> I think IBM, et all has given the independent VAR an opportunity..."

Only if they keep selling reasonably priced boxed sets. I hope you're correct.

Cheers,
Ken

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for a level headed and real-world assessment of the event [meaning it validates my thinking 8^)]. Seriously, I think this is all good news despite the nay-sayers.

One point I'd like to emphasize is while folks point to Novell's sordid past of failures... they are still alive with a ton of cash, a plan (which is more than most companies who are just hanging on at the moment), and SuSE despite their success have had their bouts of suffering under management of their own.

Notes and discussion on linuxgazette.com

Anonymous's picture

There are Phil Hughes' notes from the SuSE/Novell press conference and discussion on the Linux Gazette forums at http://www.linuxgazette.com/node/view/132 and a look at this from the financial side on WorldWatch.LinuxGazette.com..

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

I hope Novell's ownership of Ximian (GNOME) won't mean that it squashes SuSE's sponsorship of the KDE project.

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

KDE Sucks. TTTTOOOOO SSSSLLLLLOOOOOWWWWW

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

Well I saw SuSE 9.0 on a crash course with OS X and now what is next ?

The corperate end of linux sucks , Canada has no linux distro but we do have open bsd .

I wonder if this has anything to do with Germany going over to SuSE in its banks and governments ?

Soon all that may be left is free bsd as it twas in the beginning ........

Re: View from the Trenches: Goodbye SuSE?

Anonymous's picture

I hope that SuSE will blend in its great looking settings and applications to Gnome and then blend in Ximian into that. Giving a great home/workstation that is very nicely polished! OO.o, Eveolution, Red-Carpet with the look and feel of a real desktop! This will give MS$ to worry about!

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