Novell and Markus Rex: Reinventing An Empire
In the 1990's Novell's NetWare dominated the networking industry with over 70% of the global market share. Their technical certifications were the industry's gold standard and offered titles such as Certified Novell Engineer, Master Certified Novell Engineer, Certified Novell Directory Engineer, and Novell Administrator. Just ten years later, the networking giant of the 20th century would find itself in a struggle to maintain relevance in the new millennium. The solution came as a change in strategy that would shift the company's focus from networking technologies to low level software and a new venture into an open sourced operating system of their own.
Microsoft's networking technologies had become increasingly prevalent with the successes of the NT platform and a shift in development from its more desktop centric operating systems to the more enterprise oriented Windows 2000. With the battle for networking technology all but lost, Novell fell back on its low level software development and in an effort to compete with Microsoft's Office suite, acquired WordPerfect. In 1996, Novell ended up selling WordPerfect to Corel when it couldn't gain market share. Ironically, it would be the acquisition of German based SuSe Linux in 2004 that would put Novell back in the ring with the operating system that had nearly wiped them out a few years prior.
Markus Rex joined Novell during the acquisition process of SuSe Linux in 2004. Six years later, he is Novell's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Open Source Solutions, and a LinuxCon keynote speaker. The Renaissance Hotel's Pacific conference room was well past seating capacity before the scheduled 8:00 am address, with standing room at a premium by the time he took the stage. In a presentation entitled “Empowering the Imagination For Tomorrow's Linux Workloads”, Markus made one thing clear: He is VERY excited about Linux. In an interview later that afternoon, Markus explained the dynamics behind his company's shift in strategy, his love for Linux and his thoughts on the Linux community at large.
I asked Markus if SUSE (now without the lowercase letters) had a strategy to compete with Canonical's success with their Linux Desktop, Ubuntu. To put it simply, they don't see the need for one. He credits Canonical for creating a desktop distribution that he described as being “slick”. It was agreed that their notoriety was derived from its appealing desktop and its vast hardware compatibility. He says this to demonstrate the key difference between Ubuntu and SUSE Linux. SUSE's main focus has always been server infrastructure. He pointed out that servers very rarely come with sound cards or high end graphics capabilities that desktop users look for when shopping for a Linux distribution. SUSE's main focus has been concentrating on stability and functionality. As a result, SUSE Linux boasts more certified applications than any other distribution in existence today.
Admittedly, SUSE does not have the same market share in the United States as they do in the European countries. Where they do have the advantage over the other Linux distributions is in its complete dominance in the emerging markets in China. SUSE Linux has managed to succeed in the Chinese market where other pay-for-service technologies including Microsoft have failed in the past.
When I asked Markus what gets him excited about Linux, his face lit up with an ear to ear smile that would be familiar to anyone exposed to the open source community. He recalled how happy he was as an Unix administrator when Linux was first made available. Unix wasn't something you could take home he notes, and so Linux was a very exciting prospect. His greatest thrill comes from the validity that Linux has received as it has matured into a globally implemented operating system. The days of using open source as a scape goat for failed projects is over, and that Markus points out, is very good.
Markus attributes the success of Linux adoption to the community of developers and testers who contribute to the open source community freely of their own efforts. The developments that drive openSUSE, Fedora and several other major distributions keep Linux on the cutting edge of technology and contribute highly to its overall security and robust stability. When asked for his advice to the community, Markus was very frank. “Linux wouldn't be where it is today if everyone focused on their own short term goals”. He points out that it is in everybody's best interest to focus more on strengthening the projects we have rather than forking a new project every time there is a need for a new feature.
While there are a number of Linux distributions committed to making improvements to the server and desktop platforms, SUSE Linux has carved a niche of their own. Their decision to focus on complete stability and usability of an enterprise class operating system (not to mention a list of thousands of industry certified applications) has positioned them as a defacto leader in European and Asian markets. It was an operating system that took the networking giant to the edge of extinction. Fifteen years later it is an operating system that not only revitalized the company, but once again put Novell back on top of a global market. With Markus Rex at the helm, wherever the company turns their attention to next, something exciting is bound to happen.
Chase Crum is the IT Infrastructure Manager for Voicenation and a self-proclaimed Linux FANATIC.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide