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28 January, 2004

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MozillaQuest OpEd/Analysis

Novell Linux Dominates LinuxWorld 2004:

Overview

Mike Angelo -- 28 January 2004 (C) -- Page 2

To learn why Linux is so much a better choice than is Microsoft Windows, please see our article Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

To learn how to run MS Windows-based software and accessories in GNU-Linux, please see our article Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems

Note

Jack Messman did not say in his Keynote address that Novell would push Red Hat out of its slot as the number one Linux distributor or that it will eclipse IBM in the enterprise software arena. That's my conclusion/prediction.

However, I looked at what Novell has done, is doing, and plans to do. I also looked at what IBM and Red Hat have done, what they are doing, and the directions in which they are going. And I took into consideration the mettle of the people that run these companies. IBM and Red Hat fall way short of Novell.

The result of that analysis is that I formed the opinion that Novell will become the number one Linux distributor thus pushing Red Hat out of that slot. Likewise, Novell will eclipse IBM in the enterprise software arena -- particularly enterprise operating systems. Moreover, Novell will do that in terms of installed base, product quality, and product support.

Please keep in mind that IBM does not have its own, viable operating system. For the most part, IBM uses other people's operating systems for the computer systems it sells. IBM uses several Linux distributions such as Red Hat and SUSE for its computer systems. It also uses MS Windows and (SCO-owned) Unix for its computer systems. Thus surpassing IBM in the enterprise operating system and software arena is not all that difficult a thing to do.

It's not so much that Novell is trying to move ahead of IBM or Red Hat per se. Rather, it seems that it is going to be something that happens as a result of Novell's product development and offerings, leadership, technical competence, work ethic, and other such things.

Today's article has highlighted some of the reasons that I formed that opinion. Over the next few days, we will look at other reasons that served as the basis for forming that opinion.

M.A


IBM's Response

IBM's Trink Guarino disputes the above paragraph about IBM stating: this is factually inaccurate. IBM does not distribute Linux, but has several of its own viable operating systems including AIX, OS400, which runs our midrange mainframes and zOS, which runs our mainframes.

In reply to Trink Guarino's statement, we asked several follow up questions:

MozillaQuest Magazine: Isn't IBM putting Linux on customer's computer systems?

Trink Guarino: IBM doesn't put Linux on customers' computer systems; IBM works with Linux distributors when it provides customers with Linux solutions. However, IBM does distribute its own operating systems, which include AIX, OS400, ZOS.

MozillaQuest Magazine: If IBM does not distribute Linux, then how come IBM has TV commercials about Linux?

Trink Guarino: IBM advertises Linux because it provides solutions based on Linux and because IBM believes Linux to be good for customers and the industry.

MozillaQuest Magazine: If AIX, OS400, and zOS are so viable, why is IBM migrating so many of its customers to Linux?

Trink Guarino: IBM offers customers a choice of platforms and operating systems. Customers choose depending on the workload they need to run, the needs of their business.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Isn't IBM shifting from AIX, OS400, and zOS to Linux?

Trink Guarino: No. IBM offers choices to customers.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Isn't AIX actually Unix System V with some adaptations and extensions added by Sequent and IBM?

Trink Guarino: There is a small percentage of UNIX Systems V code in AIX, but there is also a much larger percentage of software invented entirely by IBM contained in AIX.

However, this article is about Novell and not about IBM per se. So, we will look further into IBM's statement and answers in another article.

Novell's Credentials

Novell has tremendous credentials. Some important things that Novell brings to the GNU-Linux, Open Source, and Free Software landscape are accountability, credibility, experience, innovation, reliability, security, and support.

Jack Messman noted in his Keynote address: Novell has always been a legitimate player in the enterprise software business . (Emphasis added.)

Novell started in 1979 as Novell Data Systems, a computer manufacturer and disk operating system developer. In the early '80's Novell became involved with file-sharing, printer-sharing, and developing local area networking (LAN) for PCs. That's before Microsoft operating systems had any networking capability whatsoever and before the Linux OS was even a gleam in anyone's eyes.

Novell Linux Moving into OS Lead

Novell has lots more to offer its investors, customers, and the GNU-Linux/FOSS community now that it also is a GNU-Linux company and a FOSS company. Moreover, Novell has been and is further developing both enterprise Linux and desktop Linux operating systems plus applications and solutions for them.

IBM and Red Hat are weak in the desktop Linux arena. Of the three companies IBM, Novell, and Red Hat, only Novell appears to recognize the importance of both desktop Linux and enterprise Linux -- and is developing for and promoting both desktop Linux and enterprise Linux.

Because of all that above, it is doubtful that Novell will lose any existing business to IBM, Microsoft, or Red Hat. And more than likely Novell will not pull existing business away from IBM or Red Hat -- nor does Novell appear to be trying to pull business away from them.

Likely, what Novell will do to increase its business is to increase the size of the GNU-Linux/FOSS market pie by drawing corporate, enterprise, and individual computer technology consumers from the Microsoft Windows and Unix operating systems to the GNU-Linux OS in general and to Novell Linux in particular.

Thus, Novell will push Red Hat out of its slot as the number one Linux distributor. It will eclipse IBM in the enterprise software arena. And it will help to pull the GNU-Linux operating system installed base ahead of the Microsoft operating system installed base.

Curiously, last Friday, 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!

Unfortunately, CNN all too often engages in scripting and directing the news rather than reporting it. CNN's 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.

Stay tuned; there are more articles about Novell Linux on the way.


Resources

Novell Products

Jack Messman's Keynote Address (ppt) (Use the Notes view to see the text.)

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