Contributed by: retroguyNOVELL AND NETWARE – THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME
Novell's purchase and fixation on Linux is the latest, and probably last, version of the same erroneous, failed tactic tried since 1991.
Supposedly what Novell needs is some missing golden arrow in their quiver; hence the situation is to be remedied with a splash of cash and a shift of attention.
The first of the golden arrows was DR-DOS, purchased in 1991. Microsoft had just released a much improved version of Lan Manager, and Novell thought, if Microsoft is trying to eat its lunch, it could do the same back.
Then, in 1992 Novell bought Unix from AT&T. The reason was that NetWare was perceived as unsuitable for enterprise back end servers.
The tactic is the same throughout: “Let's buy some new product, an existing competitor to Microsoft, that will solve our problems.” History shows clearly that Novell was never helped by such software acquisitions. DR-DOS, mostly a failure, was sold to Caldera in 1996. UnixWare was met with indifference, and some mistrust (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix_wars). It was sold for a loss of about $340m. And let's not bother discussing the purchase of WordPerfect; suffice to say, it was a disaster.
In 2003 Novell acquired Suse Linux. Here's a press release:
"The work we're doing on Open Enterprise Server brings together the best of both worlds," said Frankenberg. "Customers will have a choice - Suse Linux, NetWare or a combination of both - in Open Enterprise Server"
The problem is that this is a press release from 1995 . I have merely replaced the words “Unixware” with “Suse Linux” and “SuperNOS” with “Open Enterprise Server”. (Source: Software magazine, June 1995, "Netware Everywhere - Novell's Plan to Challenge Microsoft" by E.Harding). And when one relates the fractious, at times litigious state of Unix in the early 90's to the state of Linux today, we can say that for Novell the song remains the same.