Novell's acquisitions of SUSE Linux and Ximian might be a deja vou experience -- but perhaps not all over again. This time, Novell's entry into the operating-system world could work and likely it will work.
One reason is that instead of what were not viable PC operating systems in the 1990s, this time Novell has adopted GNU-Linux, to-wit SUSE Linux, for its OS -- instead of Unix and DR DOS. Another important reason is that Novell now has embraced the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community and the Bazaar, open source, software development model.
A factor that could impact on Novell's success in its current software strategy and portfolio is whether it can and will get WordPerfect and the PerfectOffice suite back and develop it for the GNU-Linux OS. Or, in the alternative whether Novell can help the OpenOffice.org people make OpenOffice a better product than Microsoft Office. An important part of doing that is getting a good grammar-checker into OpenOffice. Our discussions with Novell's Jack Messman and Chris Stone indicate that Novell is very receptive to doing so.
Thus if Novell carries through and does what it says it is doing and what it says it will do, Novell will push Red Hat out of its slot as the number one Linux distributor. It will eclipse IBM in the enterprise. And it will help to pull the GNU-Linux operating system installed base ahead of the Microsoft operating system installed base.
Also, additional reasons we believe Novell will succeed now are set forth and discussed in the first article of this series, Novell Linux Dominates LinuxWorld 2004: Overview. So, to see additional reasons that we believe Novell will be successful now, please see that article.
We noted in that previous Novell Linux article that curiously, Friday before last, some CNN pundits were carrying on about Microsoft. They were saying that computer business is on the increase and that will translate to increased sales of Microsoft software. Their implication was that Microsoft stock would be a good investment. Bah!
Also we stated Unfortunately, CNN all too often engages in scripting and directing the news rather than reporting it. Its glowing, implied recommendations to buy Microsoft stock could be way off base. The computer software company stock to watch is Novell rather than Microsoft -- because, inter alia, Novell Linux in particular and GNU-Linux in general are well on their way to dominating the operating system market.
Our previous Novell Linux article was published 28 January 2004. On that day, Novell stock closed around $12.75. On 3 February 2004, Novell closed around $14 -- up nearly $1.25 or about 10%. Meanwhile, Microsoft stock went down from a close of almost $27.75 on 28 January 2004 to a close on 3 February of around $27.25 -- down about $0.50 or down about 2%. CNN blew it.
If Novell does what it says it is going to do, Novell will give more to the GNU-Linux/FOSS community than it takes.
Through its leadership and its contributions, Novell will help many commercial and volunteer GNU-Linux/FOSS community companies and organizations to grow their products and markets. That will be good for Novell Linux and for the entire GNU-Linux/FOSS community.
Ultimately, Novell's blending of the Bazaar and the Cathedral development models could have a tremendous impact on computer software technology and the computer software marketplace.
Stay tuned; there are more articles about Novell Linux on the way.
The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source, Martin Fink, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-047677-3. $27
The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Eric S. Raymond, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00108-8. $17.
The Linux Development Platform, Rafeeq Rehman and Christopher Paul, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0130091154. $45
OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more