Cool Solutions

CRN Battle of the Betas


June 13, 2006 3:14 pm





CRN has done an extensive comparative review of the betas of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and Vista, including a CRN TV segment that shows some of the key features of both. CRN’s conclusion is that SUSE Linux is a serious contender. This video provides good visual proof of how SUSE Linux is pushing the innovation envelope, including in management, graphics, and code efficiency. It’s worth 10 minutes of your time…

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Categories: Expert Views, PR Blog


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  1. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry – This is just a reminder that I have not heard from Novell IR yet regarding the details of the Celerant transaction.

    I do not wish to disrupt your “Open PR” work, but I am demanding that Novell come forward with the requested information.

    I assure you that if you treat your shareholders fairly and make an honest attempt to provide the justification for this transaction publicly that I will make no further requests in this forum.

    Unfortunately, it appears that Novell does not wish to answer to its shareharders, and my questions to Mr. Smith in Investor Relations have gone unanswered.

    Is he on sick leave or something ? Is there somebody else you might refer me to ?

    Thanks, John.

  2. By:Lisa Diaz

    I wouldn’t get too excited about CRN’s reports.

    Check out this from CRN:

    “The technical strength of Novells flagship NetWare platform helped catapult the company into the top slot for network operating systems in the 2004 CRN Channel Champions Survey, its first win in five years.”

    Yep, CRN demonstrated that it was NetWare that gave Novell their “first win in five years”, so Novell figured (much like all good Marketing ideas Novell ever had) that it had to be killed.

    “What?!!? NetWare 6.5 is garnering award after award after award for us? Kill it!!! Kill it!!!”

    Smart move, Novell. Very smart.

    Watch out every one – if SUSE gets awards, Novell will kill that, too!

  3. By:JBA

    What’s so wrong with SuSE. OES on Linux is a very nice product and it’s working a lot the way NetWare does.

    Think about having trouble with third party database applications, virus scanners, backup programs on NetWare over the past years. Of course, NW65 became much better.

    You can use a linux machine the same way as NetWare. Look at the open source community and you will find a lot of very useful apps.

    The great iFolder 3.x is also only avail. on Linux. Apache, Tomcat, etc. will be developed on Linux. Linux is a preferred platform for database apps. Services like DNS, DHCP and others are per se in the OS and don’t have to be converted to another platform.

    I think, this could be a great opportunity esp. with virtualization (VMWARE and XEN).

  4. By:Lisa Diaz

    JBA, there’s nothing wrong with Linux. What is wrong is Novell’s total lack of business sense when it comes to Linux. They literally have no clue.

    You don’t just buy a company (SUSE), repackage it as your own, and then sell it. It’s not that simple, and it’s not how Open Source operates.

    The majority of companies will not go open source. Novell sees Linux and open source as the “way the world is headed”. Well, maybe some of their very large corporate accounts (who can afford it) are adding Linux in their server rooms, but the rest of the world isn’t. Novell just doesn’t see that.

    They killed off NetWare waaaayyy before Linux was ready to take over (and it still isn’t, but you wouldn’t know that if you talked with their evangelists).

    This is one of the big mistakes Novell made, and they refuse to accept that. They point to the declining sales of NetWare as “proof”, yet they completely ignore the fact that Novell’s sales channel has been aggressively pushing Linux while totally de-emphasizing NetWare. Add to that the complete impotent Marketing department, and “gee whiz, Wally, we haven’t sold as much NetWare as we used to”.

    Then when their stock slides amid bad news, they blame NetWare.

    And these people run a billion-dollar corporation. Amazing.

    Virtualizing NetWare is about the dumbest idea Novell ever had. It’s a gimmick, pure and simple.

    In order to “stick with NetWare”, they have to purchase, install, configure, manage, keep updated, and troubleshoot Linux.

    “Want NetWare? Gotta buy Linux first!”

    Got Stupid?

  5. By:Anonymous


    We’ve been open about allowing all opinions to be posted here and on the other Novell blogs, but we don’t have an obligation to let people just trash talk Novell on our website. We welcome construcive criticism. But we reserve the right to delete comments that are simply malicious and don’t add value to the conversation. There are plently of other sites where you can post this kind of attack. Thanks.

  6. By:Lisa Diaz


    Understood. Novell should also understand that they have a VERY large segment of their customers they have intentionally alienated.

    If these “open” blogs are to be “Sunshine-Only”, then I say that there is nothing “open” about them. Novell must take the bad with the good if they are to learn and grow.

    I do see that you have allowed many negative posts to be put up. I think we all appreciate it.

    Until Novell can “fix” the problems, they will continue to have people complain about their lack of business sense, etc. To not constructively criticize would be doing Novell an injustice, as they apparently can’t see the problems from their end.

    Novell at one time used to be able to listen to their customers and deliver solutions around that. Now it seems Novell just buys as many Linux-related technologies as possible and hope to become the “ultimate one-stop shopping center for Linux”.

    Again, thank you for giving us a chance to vent and point out areas of improvement for Novell.

    I would be even more thankful if Novell would use this to help right their ship.

  7. By:John Yorke

    Realize of course that your view of the situation is one of many. Many believe that the move to Linux could be the smartest move Novell has made in a long time. Regardless of how great a technology is, what matters most is how easy the product will be to sell. Channel partners which are billing nice fees servicing the server that the rest of the IT department doesn’t know much about aren’t going to like the move much. Going from a consultant with 20 years of Netware experience to a Linux consultant with 2 years of experience must be a scary prospect for some. However, the company which will deploy multiple enterprise apps, databases, and web services on SUSE Linux will love the fact that they will now have a similar skillset across all their servers. The sales people won’t have to try to sell something to companies that they used to use and instead can sell them something they never had.

    Netware used to have a huge install base and the decline of that install base means there are a lot of companies out there which are resistant to going back. There are probably many reasons that Novell lost marketshare, some Novell’s fault, but it happened and it is in the past, its unchangable. The plan to migrate Netware services to the Linux OS is not stupid, it is simply a plan that you don’t agree with. Novell needs to improve marketing and be more sales driven, if Netware 7 is what a non-Netware customer can be convinced to buy then Netware 7 should be made available, if SLES 10 is more pallatable to the non-Netware customer and the non-Netware customer might even be interested in OES 2 then those are the products that should be made available. Retention is handled by delivering good quality and an upgrade path to equal and greater features, but new sales is where the focus needs to be.

    If the people in charge know their job, know the numbers, and have charted the proper course, that would indicate they have evidence that Linux will generate more new sales than Netware would have. In Q4 we will know if that course is paying off or not because we will see the sales figures, we will look back at the release of SLED and SLES to judge if it was a success or not in terms of code quality, whether the marketing department did their job to bring the release into the public conciousness and get them interested, and whether or not the company has worked with partners to have application and hardware certifications ready. I honestly believe that this is the year (July 2006 – July 2007) that will decide whether Novell is in the OS business at all.

  8. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry –

    What’s the skinny on Mr. Hewitt’s resignation ?

    Is it possible that he is dissociating himself from conduct at Novell which he is ethically uncomfortable with ?

    Or is there a more benign explanation ?

    Can shareholders expect more high-level executive departures that do not appear to be planned or well explained ?

    Give us the scoop, Bruce. This is “Open PR” isn’t it ?


  9. By:Anonymous

    John: You seem determined to find conspirary behind every Novell move. Executives move for a variety of reasons. As the press release said, Bill left for personal reasons. Since they’re personal, I don’t know what they are. And, if I did, that doesn’t mean I’d put them on the blog. Thanks.

  10. John, why not ask Mr Hewitt himself? In the very beginning, it was stated that “inside” information and financials other than what is publicly stated will never be discussed here.

    Bruce has been generous in his allowing negative posts here. Conspiracy theorys are great if you’re Oliver Stone looking to make money off other people’s naive fears. It’s a bad thing to continually post over and over and over again here, as several things are readily apparent:

    1. You will not get a response other than publicly stated in press releases

    2. You will irritate others here

    3. You are wasting bandwidth

    While you’re determination and doggedness is respected, you’ve got to understand that this isn’t the appropriate place to continually post your conspiracy theories. Maybe one or two, but a dozen or more?


    Maybe you need to start a website and add a blog / poll / discussion area of your own. Then you can garner publicity and get Novell Management’s attention.

    Just a thought.

  11. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry – Novell has a history of executive churn and turmoil.

    I suggested nothing about conspiracies which an intelligent reading of my post will confirm.

    Frequently when executive departures are amicable, they are communicated in advance, and there is a nice note from the company wishing the departee well.

    When there is a terse statement like he resigned for personal reasons, it is sometimes the case that it is not an amicable departure. I merely want to understand whether this departure was planned and amicable.

    Whether it was or not has nothing to do with conspiracy theories, and perhaps you are simply a bit touchy.

    However, I would like you to know that I do believe that persons at Novell have conspired to enrich Novell insiders by transferring Celerant to the insiders at .3 times revenues.

    Novell could put an end to this type of theory by communicating honest information about this transaction to the shareholders.

    Cheers. John.

  12. By:Doug N

    The time has come for Messman to resign. I could care less about day traders, but as a long term investor(SEVERAL YEARS!) in this company with a large position, the performance under his control is a DISGRACE! Stock price is a DIRECT relationship to managements performance. As you know, the stock is at or below a 52 week low. What does that tell you about the Company? Too many top execs have resigned with Messman in control. That tells me that Messman is the problem. All these resignations do NOTHING to help the company or stock.I’m 100% totally against Messman having all the power he has. He should not be allowed to be the CEO and Chairman of the Board. Novell has NO TIME LEFT! Vista comes out in January. That means results should be NOW. What will Novell do comes January at the current rate they are headed? I’ll tell you. They will come out AFTER Vista’s release and say, “We are experiencing challenging times”, and that is why we saw little sales. Meanwhile, they had a 6 month lead. I demand that a vote be taken IMMEDIATELY to have Messman forced out. He has had ample time to prove himself, and has not. I’ve done my part by contacting the SEC officially in regards to Messman’s FAILED promises to investors, poor leadership, and crooked Celerant Deal. We need YOUNGER/ MORE ENTHUSIASTIC/ LESS EXCUSES leadership. A leadership that is driven by the desire to succeed, not by greed. I have no problem with top execs making a ton of money, but the shareholders better be as well. That is not the case with Messman. Good Luck all, we need it with this company. They couldn’t sell water to people dying of thirst if they had to! What a joke.

  13. By:John Lewing

    Duane – This blog is called “Open PR”. Mr. Lowry can do whatever he wishes, but suggesting that he is being generous is just stupid.

    While I do not doubt Mr. Lowry’s integrity nor professionalism, I want you to understand the the conversation I am having is with Novell as a company, and I am not going to ignore unethical and perhaps illegal actions at Novell based on the idea that Mr. Lowry is kind, generous, professional, swell, and god fearing.

    I do believe that Novell has become corrupt and am using this forum in a desperate attempt to shame Novell into communicating information about the Celerant transaction to its shareholders.

    You should also note that Mr. Lowry’s decisions to leave negative posts may have been made based on a determination of legal liability which might result if he seeks to delete my posts.

    At the moment, I cannot prove that Mr. Messman or others at Novell have acted illegally in transferring Celerant at a ridiculously low price to Novell insiders. But if it is the case, and Novell was also shown to be deleting my views in “Open PR”, it would have some possible legal ramifications.

    The shareholders system overall and Novell’s poor corporate governance practices seem to prevent accountability, and this type of forum is one possible way to call attention to the problem.


  14. By:John Yorke

    Blogs are not the place for accusations of corruption. Take it up with Novell directly or get a lawyer. Speculating about Novell corruption, illegal activity, ethics, etc on here is like speculation about John Lewings waistsize, IQ, attractiveness, wealth, number of shares owned, etc. It has no place in an Open PR blog.

  15. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Yorke –

    My speculation of Novell fraud is based on the fact that Novell has chosen to deliver a valuable asset to Novell insiders for a head-scratching price, which as far as I can see cannot be justified based on comparables.

    Add to that Novell’s history of poor corporate governance and there is ample reason to investigate the details of this transaction.

    Of course, Novell holds all the cards and has the option of sharing detailed information with its shareholders which would seek to show that this was not a crony deal which, in effect, stole wealth from shareholders.

    Keep in mind that Novell was under no financial pressure, and could have spun the shares to shareholders. And the idea that Novell execs were being distracted from their core business by Celerant, which is run independently, is laughable.

    And your silly statement that this type of discussion does not belong on an “Open PR” blog is equally laughable, and suggests you a cognitive disability of some sort: What part of “open” do you not understand ?


  16. By:John Yorke

    Novell’s involvement in Celerant didn’t make sense from the start. Obviously it has proven to be a bad investment when you buy another company not involved at all in Novell’s channel only to sell it a few years later and to have alienated other consulting partners in the process. Maybe it also looks bad that Messman came from Cambridge which seems not have been an advantageous acquisition for Novell. However Messman was not the person in charge of Novell at the time of the merger and at that time was accountable to the CTP shareholder. However, last fall a study by Blum Capital recommended the sale of Celerant at $75 million.

    So are we to believe based on your speculation that Blum Capital, a shareholder of Novell, recommended to Novell that they sell Celerant for less than it is worth? How would this investor have benefited from Novell selling below market price? What evidence do you bring to the table that the price is not reasonable? Do you have any evidence at all? Why not take your concerns to the FTC? Do you think the FTC is less qualified than you to look into this matter? Yes this is an Open PR blog but what does “open” mean? Open to libel and slander, open to rampant speculation, open to posting confidential materials? Just like the “free” in freedom has limits so should the “open” in Open PR.

    Thankfully Novell hasn’t gone on a total selling spree and has kept Zenworks. Hopefully they can find a way to keep Groupwise as well and find ways to add value to that offering, perhaps with interfaces to their own software, improved workgroup solutions, as well as interfaces with third party mainstream ERP and CRM packages. The good news is the annual revenues have stopped falling and have been holding and there is actually a strategy in place which makes some sense which can turn things around for Novell if they play their cards right. If Messman is replaced I hope it is someone on the inside that takes his place like Hoviespan because I really would be shaking my head if Novell took off in yet another direction when they seem so close to a workable plan. We need Novell to focus and delivering this year and if they can’t pull it together this year then I will run out of hope for them honestly.

  17. By:John Yorke

    Oops, my mistake. They sold Celerant and not CTP. So, huge price difference in the recommended price and the price actually sold for. So Novell will be accountable. They will need to answer to the large shareholders such as Blum Capital and answer why it was sold at such a loss, less than half the original value paid. However you, on an Open PR blog, is not the answer to solving the mystery. You writing a letter to the FTC, getting a lawyer, and taking things through appropriate channels is the way to solve the problem. If you are a shareholder please tell me how making charges of corruption in the Open PR blog will bring greater return on your investment?

  18. Interesting article.

    “Reader Milan from New Zealand wrote me a nice note and his take on Novell’s psychology of failure. Let me quote: “Add me to the list of pessimists. This is for all the reasons you have mentioned, and also the fact that Novell Inc. is fudging its problems. Specific technology was never the problem, and never the solution. Linux is the latest in a long line of “saviour technologies” which hasn’t changed Novell’s market situation at all. The real problems are marketing and business strategy. It’s as if the directors always think there’s something wrong with the product, that more people aren’t buying it, so go back to the engineers and tell them to change it (or buy some other company’s product, e.g. WordPerfect). Rather, they should look at themselves for the failure.”

    The classic creator versus salesperson conflict in 113 words. When you can’t sell something, blame the product. Ignore the fact the product (in this case NetWare) constantly won rave reviews and awards. Yes, saviour is spelled that way in Milan’s neighborhood. Thanks, Milan.”

    Again, it looks like there’s more than a few of us who feel this way.

    Don’t forget to sign the petition at 😉

  19. By:John Lewing

    Yorke –

    I have no idea of Blum’s ownership position or perspective on the value of Celerant, and I don’t really care.

    Novell sold the company for 53 million after adjusting for the 25 million on Celerant’s balance sheet.

    Celerant is and was an independent company and was costing Novell nothing. Chances are good that Celerant improved Novells financials.

    The best way to find out is for Novell to release all of the information to shareholders: Celerant financial data, fairness opinion, comparable companies at .3 times sales, etc.

    instead of attacking me, you should just go directly to Novell and ask that they provide this information to shareholders in order to put an end to my capaign to expose the fraud……..

    If Novell does not come forward with the information, you should have more reason to be skeptical that a fraud has occurred, and that Novell has enriched insiders at the expense of shareholders.

    Your arguments are lame, and are simply based on the false belief that I am wrong. Novell has every opportunity to prove me wrong, and I believe it will take SEC enforcement in order to wrestle the data from Novell.


  20. By:JBA

    Back to the main thread.

    I think you’re a bit too hard in your opinion but in many things i do agree in your words.

    The shareholders critism seemed to put them in blind believing on open source. Who really wants to sell GroupWise or ZENworks? and make Novell a Linux only company?

    Novell saw a lot of SuSE sellers and suporters and built their partner net on it, fogetting their NetWare base, of course. SuSE supporters don’t understand and don’t like to understand NetWare or NetWare services. On the other hand NetWare engineers are just learning Linux. We will see how far loyality will take this.

    Novell has a great product with Extend. I don’t understand the discussion about Tomcat, JBOSS or WebSphere while leaving Extend in version 5.x for years. Extend in combination with a solid database (Oracle, mySQL, postgres) is a great solution on Linux. Why not pushing it with SLES xx.

    Of course you’re wright in many points.
    But would you like to take the decisions on how it could be working?


  21. By:Mike Swain


    Lisa hit it dead on. Novell killed off a perfectly good NOS. They didn’t run it in parallel, they didn’t announce ANYTHING that would have given their channel, partners, developers, or customers that Novell was going to kill NetWare.

    What of the “Upgrade Protection” companies like mine bought into? What of BorderManager?

    I don’t know who started this “people buy Novell products for the Services, not the underlying OS”, but they have it dead wrong. If Messman was the one force-feeding us this line of BS, then I’m glad he’s gone. Otherwise, find out who it is, and give them a pink slip, too.

    I can’t think of a single other company that survived after doing something like this. Linux isn’t some “natural extention” (as M$ loves to say) of NetWare – it is a total and complete change.

    Admins have to be completely re-trained in it, and I can’t think of a single small business that is going to spend thousands of dollars to do this when they can simply add another Windows server to replace it. No extra training required.

    Novell simply leaves the server room. Don’t even think about Linux on the desktop if it can’t make it in the server room. This is an even bigger departure and higher training cost.

    When our current NetWare servers outlive their usefulness, they are gone. We’ve already started a project to migrate from eDirectory to AD. If we can’t count on Novell to be honest about NetWare, then we certainly can’t count on them to be honest with anything else they do.

    We had a great ride with Novell, ever since NetWare v3.11, but no more.

  22. Wow, what an interesting thread … some comments at random (some with quotes, some not …

    First of all SuSE Linux failed miserably in Canada’s first attempt at an entrprise scale implementation … just ask the nice folks at CIDA. AFAIK, Novell still has not fixed the issue.

    A quote!! John Yorke said:
    “Channel partners which are billing nice fees servicing the server that the rest of the IT department doesn’t know much about aren’t going to like the move much.”

    Nor should they!! This is a fundamentally dishonest practice without proper knowledge transfer. Much akin to the old days of holding Clients at ransom from the Ivory Tower of Mystical Programming.

    Then – John went on to talk about a sales driven Novell. Right, like the new PartnerNet 2007 program … what a joke.

    I have owned / run / managed Novell Platinum (r the then relevant designation) Partners since NetWare 2.15a. No more.

    Another quote!! Mike Swain says:
    “What of the “Upgrade Protection” companies like mine bought into? What of BorderManager?”

    Exactly!! Well said and I note the glaring lack of response form Novell on this. Novell? Hello, is this thing on? What *are* you going to do for customers who dont want Linux and have paid for their maintenance on products you no longer make?

    WE too had a great ride with Novell for the better part of 20 years!! We have sold more Novell licenses than any other Partner in our Country all told. We have performed miraculous retention work for Novell when BIG Clients threatened/planned/budgeted to leave and run to M$. In two cases, we saved a total of 18,000 seats of GroupWise AFTER the Client began mifrtions to Exchange.

    No more.

    Mommy, it’s over …..