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back to article Novell revenues drop as board seeks sale

Whatever drama is going on at Novell in the boardroom — where the company is apparently soliciting takeover offers from up to 20 different prospective buyers — it has spilled over into the company's financial results. In an IT market that is rebounding, and where its main Linux rival, Red Hat, continues to grow both revenues and …

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Probably the reason it's Linux business is not going well...

Is due to their SLES product being crap. (unfortunately)

Having recently performed a multi week trial of SLES 11 for a cloud computing outfit setting up shop, SLES 11 failed miserably.

One of the shipped init scripts (!) even had an incorrect path to the binary it was supposed to launch (which it shipped with), so it *was not possible* for that init script to function. (had to hand edit them myself)

Quality control at Novell/SLES seems to have really taken a (really steep) nosedive since the days of SLES 8/9, when it was a decent product. Pity.

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Anonymous Coward

Hand edit a script

On a Unix based system? Shocker! :)

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Paris Hilton

Re: Hand edit a script

Heh, yeah. If it was a config file sure, but a script in /etc/init.d having a typo in the path to the main binary? Ugh.

It clearly demonstrated the level of "quality" testing applied to their releases. Bugger all. :(

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Boffin

A pity

I'd hate to see Novell go - I'm not a diehard NetWare fan, but I did like using it once I'd had the chance to work with it a bit.

I found that most of the problems we had were caused by the numpties that installed it without actually knowing what they were doing. Once all the misconfiguration had been fixed, it was stable, secure, easy to operate. I also found that most NetWare people were really helpful, particularly in the various forums.

The world moves on, and things change - but not always for the better. Que sera...

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Please let Novell die with Dignity

When I stated my IT career I started as a Novell Network Admin, so I have a soft spot for the old beast. When Netware 4.1 came out (best forget about 4.02), it had the best directory struture of any system, and even today would still give Active directory a good kicking.

The 3 worst sins committed by Novell Management were:-

The attempt to take on Microsoft office with Perfect office - You were a networking company what the hell were you thinking, stick to what you were good at.

The slow take up of TCP/IP relying to long on IPX/SPX. Somebody forgot to spot the Internet coming.

Not porting Netware run on other operating systems. NOS was OK but to a business having to run a dedicated server build just to run network was hard to swallow.

If Novell had developed Netware, we would never have the dog's dinner that is Active Directory.

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Anonymous Coward

The end is nigh

I too came into IT when NetWare was a market leader. I even remember Banyan Vines! I agree that TCP/IP sealed Novell's fate, they should have adapted sooner. Windows NT too was another nail in the coffin as far as simply file serving is concerned. I often wondered why Novell didn't branch out into file system and storage systems, seemed like a more logical extension of NetWare rather than trying to be another Operating System, Email and groupware/collaboration company.

Active Directory is not a dog's dinner - if it was, how do you explain it's success and popularity with sys admins? It's not flawless, but it certainly meets the needs of many a large IT department around the globe.

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Flame

Always a shame when the wrong horse wins

At least once a month, when fighting the braindead NTFS security model (want to revoke a group's access to a directory tree? Congratulations, you just completely dirtied a 50G directory tree. Hope backups don't melt down tonight!) I laugh that Netware's late 80s file security model is still better than Microsoft's. Microsoft's attempt at adding inheritance is a complete joke. And "Bypass Traverse Checking?" Nice apocryphal euphemism for "Don't enforce folder permissions."

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Every Linux vendor has a lot to thank Novell for.

They could have (merely) done deals, they could have (merely) stood behind their product. However, they stood their ground and slugged it out in the US Courts to demonstrate Linux was clean. Owing to the way the system works oer ther, they will get no money back having spent a small fortune in legal fees and management time.

I don't know about SLES (though editing a script to point to particular binary is a hardly challenging even if it is an unfortunate error).

However, openSUSE has been my distro of choice ever since I bought SuSE 6.something, it's amazing.

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Megaphone

All the evidence you need...

Novell's problem is illustrated here and on every other forum where Novell's name comes up: Novell is file, print and eDirectory.

No it ain't!

Novell do far more than that. Solutions like Identity Manager, Sentinel and Access Manager are fantastic but let down by Novell's Stealth Marketing Department.

Microsoft is a marketing company that sells adequate software well.

Novell is a software company that markets good software badly.

*That* is Novell's problem.

(IMHO, etc, etc)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All the evidence you need...

I think Microsoft's solutions are a tad more than adequate. If "adequate" seems to serve big businesses well enough then maybe adequate solutions is all that is needed by businesses.

Novell's problem isn't poor marketing, it's the fact that their solutions are not built for modern IT Operations environments. Too much time is need in command line interfaces to get solutions working. Microsoft's solutions maybe adequate but at least they are easily and quickly deployed. Busy IT folks want to get things done quickly with a mouse click or two, not time consuming keystrokes.

I'll grant that some Novell software has a management GUI, but even the ones that do inevitably require some CLI effort. And yes, sometimes in Windows you have to use a CLI command, but it's very rare in my experience.

Novell should ditch the groupware and collaboration stuff (Groupwise, Teaming, etc) and focus on Linux and their systems and resource management solutions.

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Netware existed on other OS

As "Portable Netware".

(At least) on HP9000 with HP-UX and on HP3000 with MPE/iX.

Not sure about other platforms though.

IIRC the Release was 3.02 or 3.12.

Expensive, but slow :)

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Joke

Keeping track of charges...

...is what sound financial principles are all about:

"But Novell kept an ion grip on costs, ..."

Is that a positive thing or a negative thing?

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Gates Horns

Don't forget the Windoze trojan-horse

Novell made some strategic mistakes, yes.

But - do not underestimate the impact of the far-reaching tentacles of the DOS/Windows ecosystem.

Every dim-bulb in the universe was familiar with it. Which turned out to be extremely important, as businesses increasingly turned to those dim-bulbs (and former secretaries, and accounting clerks) to run their networks.

Those sorts of people could pretend to know what they were doing on a windoze server, even if they really didn't, because it sorta looked the same as their silly Windoze-95 thingy at home. Whereas they would have been completely lost trying to just boot a Netware box. (or most anything else, for that matter)

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Bronze badge
FAIL

DON'T SUCK Microsoft's D1kky

your fault, you're dying, you know why? Never, ever fail on your duty! Your duty was to stay clear of the Redmond beast and fight it as eagerly as everyone else is ... not team-up with them .... When will they learn?

Another MS team-mate heading into oblivion!

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Linux

Novell is... what?

It is sad, really, there are some great people (GK-H comes to mind) and products within the Novell sphere of products. Linux is at the heart of all that is good there. And the struggle with SCO-g was/is taxing (just what the SCO and MS gang had in mind)

The cozy deal with MS *IS* the poison apple... the greater Linux community won't let it flow under the bridge which I still think is the reason Novell is where it is now.

... It might be best if IBM were to step in (purchase Novell ) as they have the clout to kick MS in the nuts... and clean out their nose, justly deserved.

Everyone is watching.

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