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Novell to Acquire SUSE LINUX

Novell/SUSE LINUX to Support IBM eServer Line

Novell announced this week that it will acquire SUSE LINUX in a $210 million cash deal subject to regulatory approval and the winding up of shareholder agreements. "This is fantastic news for the Linux Community," observes LWM editor-in-chief Kevin Bedell. "With the stability and name power of Novell and IBM behind SUSE LINUX, I believe we are on the verge of dramatic growth for Linux in the enterprise. Coupled with Novell's earlier acquisition of Ximian, I believe the acquisition of SUSE positions Novell extremely well for next 5-10 years."

"What we are seeing today is a statement," Bedell continues. "It's a statement aimed at the corporate world telling them that Linux is now a stable, supported application with a long future in front of it. This is no less a statement than when IBM purchased Lotus Notes - after which Lotus Notes installations increased from about 3 million to over 105 million! It would not surprise me to see similar increases in SUSE installations given today's news."

Novell expects the transaction to close by the end of its first fiscal quarter (January 2004). With this acquisition, Novell will become the only $1 billion software company with a Linux distribution and the worldwide technical staff to support it. Novell/SUSE LINUX will also be the world's largest supplier of desktop-to-server Linux solutions and technical support.

"CA feels this move is excellent for the industry and supports the two distribution environment," commented Sam Greenblatt, SVP and chief architect of Computer Associates' Linux Technology Group. "The excellent global support that Novell brings to the open source community will help continue market adoption of Linux from the desktop to the server. CA fully supports Novell/SUSE in their integration efforts and looks forward to working with them to continue CA solution support for SUSE LINUX."

This acquisition follows Novell's August purchase of Ximian. Novell states that both the Ximian and SUSE LINUX acquisitions affirm Novell’s commitment to promoting the open source model and developer community.

Novell today also announced that IBM intends to make a $50 million investment in Novell convertible preferred stock. In addition, Novell and IBM are negotiating extensions to the current commercial agreements between IBM and SUSE LINUX for the continued support of SUSE LINUX on IBM's eServer products and middleware products to provide for product and marketing support arrangements related to SUSE LINUX. Both of these agreements will be effective when the acquisition of SUSE LINUX by Novell is completed.

"Responding to customer demands for open, standards-based computing, Novell has been dedicated to a cross-platform vision for four years now, and Linux is an increasingly important part of that strategy," said Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell. "The acquisition of SUSE LINUX will complete Novell's ability to offer enterprise-class Linux solutions to our customers from the desktop to the server." Messman explained, "We chose SUSE LINUX because they are a clear market leader in Linux technology for the enterprise. With this acquisition, Novell will be the only billion-dollar software company with a Linux distribution and a worldwide ecosystem around it. A worldwide technical staff of more than 600 has been trained to support Linux. The acquisition of SUSE LINUX completes our technology stack from the desktop to the server."

"Novell understands the power of open, standards-based computing, and has been moving in that direction for some time," said Richard Seibt, CEO of SUSE LINUX. "Novell's global reach, marketing expertise and reputation for security, reliability and global enterprise-level support are exactly what we’ve been seeking to take SUSE LINUX to the next level. We've also been impressed by the incredible loyalty and competence of Novell customers and business partners, and we're looking forward to joining forces to help customers gain the benefits of Linux and to help Novell continue to expand its role in the open source community."

Novell began building solutions for Linux in early 2000, when it made its eDirectory technology available on Linux. In April of this year, Novell announced it would make all the services that run on its NetWare operating system run on both the NetWare and Linux kernels in the future. In August, Novell acquired Ximian with its Linux desktop management solutions and its leadership to promote Linux desktops and to enable Microsoft .NET applications to run on Linux.

In September, Novell announced the open beta of Novell Nterprise Linux Services (NLS), an offering that runs on SUSE LINUX and Red Hat and provides a variety of networking services for Linux environments. IBM, HP and Dell have all licensed the NLS technology for resale to their customers. With the acquisition of SUSE LINUX, Novell will distribute the underlying Linux platform itself, in addition to the services for Linux that Novell already offers.

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Most Recent Comments
Me2 11/08/03 04:51:42 PM EST

SCO is just upset that IBM backed out of an agreement. IBM and SCO were co-developing a product. IBM backed out and started pushing Linux. What does SCO and Linux have in common. They are both Unix flavors running on an intel platfrom. I think IBM figured they could do it for less with out SCO. Novell's management changed about 3 years ago. I think it is hard to say what will happen since Novell has a new drive in the driver seat.
I think this move benefits both parties. If a person is willing to remove a product becuase of an event in the market place they are extreame. I agree that Novell has superb products and so does SuSe. I think people are extream e and rash if they are going to migrate to from SuSe to another version just becuse SuSe was purchased by Novell.

Sea Dragon 11/08/03 01:58:06 AM EST

Repeat again :

If some says that :
"when large corporations with many interests and products take over small, focused outfits". I think may not be totally correct.

may not be totally correct.
may not be totally correct.

Depend what you find the company was.

HP, IBM & Oracle,... they serve small business so well.
Of course, they will earn money from us.


Sea Dragon 11/08/03 01:46:46 AM EST

SUSE is a corporation same as IBM, Oracle, HP, Intel, AMD.
No difference, of course include M$.
All are corporation? Then so what? :)
"focused outfits"... I don't think so.

Only depend on what they produce and what they focus? Not because of they are corporation or not?

If some says that :
"when large corporations with many interests and products take over small, focused outfits". I think may be totally correct. Depend what you find the company was.

Hope you find one that are not "focused outfits", and not because of they are corporation or not.

Good luck


Joe Burke 11/07/03 11:19:35 PM EST

Mike Calder commented on 6 November 2003:
"Well, "Me", I'm no believer in any religion, but I know what happens when large corporations with many interests and products take over small, focused outfits."

SUSE is also a corporation, no?

Sea Dragon 11/07/03 01:16:30 PM EST

- Although Novell has lossed the market share to M$ in past few years, Novell still is a good company.
It has many many sales experience with chanel partners and corporate users. It still can have power to fly in the sky with SUSE - the new stronger. (same as/near to RedHat's).

Now, M$ own the large marketing share that good enough for both of Redhat and [SUSE/Novell] to growth and success.

Of course, must have long term plan and do a long term winner (not short term).


Sea Dragon 11/07/03 01:16:14 PM EST

Second, SCO & Novell only distribute Linux version in the world such as RedHat doing now. There are too many and many distributors in the World. Everything still control in Linux Society. If M$ buy it, just buy the empty and everying will gone away from M$.
M$ got only pressure from the Court department at the end. Well good sound.

Sea Dragon 11/07/03 01:15:54 PM EST

First, M$ still face to monopoly claimed by everybody now. So M$ got the big pressure and have the risk to break down by Court decision. If M$ buy out either SCO or Novell, M$ will get the big big problem. Then it may break down by Court decision and become too many small & small M$. hahaha And loss monoploy that everyone want to see it. ha ha. very nice.

Sea Dragon 11/07/03 01:11:53 PM EST

It is interesting for M$ get Novell & SCO.
But I think it is impossible.

Sea Dragon 11/07/03 12:59:54 PM EST


Rod Lee 11/07/03 06:17:35 AM EST

it will be interesting - M$ is trying to move the goal posts onto another monopolised propriety playijng field with LongHorn - thing is, will Novell and the Linux community be able to respond........does anyone know of any Linux projects based around the "wheres my stuff" (Gates words) vision

to Me
Novell have not made any money for a while now and whether you like it or not (i am a fan by the way) their customer base was shrinking, if they didnt reverse that shrinkage at some point they would have either gone under or been bought.

Why do you think they have gone LiNux with a big red N - they are a business after all......

Simple Joe 11/07/03 04:33:42 AM EST

In a few years Novell wil be claiming ownership of the GNU/Linux products.
That's how SCO got the trojan horse in, by buying and existing GNU/Linux distribution (Caldera).
a two prong attack on the GNU/Linux.
I wonder if MS owns any part of SCO and (or) Novell.

S. Vasanth Kumar 11/06/03 09:15:12 PM EST

Just wait and watch it Mike. Novell will rocket again with more superior & useful products. If you are disappointed with SuSE, let me tell you if you will regret yourself if you change the flavour of Linux now as SuSE will become even better product to use than now. I am just waiting to see a new child from Novell that can perfectly produce everything what M$(thanks SEA DRAGON) platform can/doing now and even more. It should even consider what Sun has to offer with Java DeskTop and outperform that one as well.

Mike Calder 11/06/03 05:45:02 PM EST

Well, "Me", I'm no believer in any religion, but I know what happens when large corporations with many interests and products take over small, focused outfits. The focus gets dispersed, and the culture of the large corporation takes over. And yes, I've used Novell products; I've been in IT over 30 years, and worked for large corporations and small. Suse had a professional working culture. It won't survive.

Me 11/06/03 02:59:45 PM EST

This is a great move for a company with already superb products. Already near bullet-proof on the server-side, now Novell will be able to offer reliable products "end to end". Businesses will be able to benefit from reliable product from a known entity (as opposed to the notion\fear that "Linux" is an ethereal group of unknown developers without accountability). This will lead to further inroads of Linux onto the corporate desktop. Isn't that where we want to be?

To Mike Calder - Are you so into the Open Source "religion" that SuSE will automatically become a bad product if taken over by a corporate entity? Have you ever used a Novell product? I have for almost 12 years - alongside AIX, various Linux flavours, and various Windows server incarnations.

The products are excellent, stable, and robust. The support is superb. And you dont get a single reply of "RTFM" ;-). Granted, the first-line "grunt" help desk support personnel are what you'd expect for low-paid, entry level employees, but once escallated to "real" support engineers, the support is second to none.

Try it after the merger - you'll probably still like it.

To Rod Lee: Although they have downsized a couple of times in the past two years, I don't think that any company with billions in assets, over 30 million devoted users, and a billion dollars in cash in the bank is anywhere near going under.

This move is an attempt to regain the cross-platform compatibility and support that for some reason, Novell cut from its products over the years (remember Netware and Groupwise clients for Unix Workstations?).

Lead on Novell....

Sea Dragon 11/06/03 12:30:05 PM EST

Of course, Market Leader in Linux Society will be suffered because SUSE can have more power now to increase the sales volume in market.

I think it is not bad if they only want to prompt more Linux (Desktop/Server) to market.

When we think about that, M$ OWN BIG MARKET SHARE NOW.
If SUSE & RedHat can sales more Linux to M$'s user.
It is good idea for both party. Also, Other Linux Version will be growth up fastly than SUSE & RedHat. Then that Linux version company will be market leader. Who knows that answer?
The best thing is how to create sales to M$ users.
Include Desktop & Server.

Such as KDE & GNOME, both of them can provide good desktop in market. They are co-exist and fast improve their desptop. It is good for Linux society.

Such as sendmail & qmail.... to many example.
The potential market from $M is good enough for Linux to grouth.

Such as RedHat and SUSE, they can do a good job to win back the market share from M$. On that time, for my view, the market leader should be the one that have power to get back the market share from M$.

Jason 11/06/03 10:53:06 AM EST

How will this effect Red Hat?

Sea Dragon 11/06/03 08:25:41 AM EST

Well, I think cannot say that "which one will be sunk". Linux still need the more & more power to break down M$'s monolopy. M$ do the best in marketing. Such as it's browser. Through the integrated with desktop to break down Netscape. Who know what will do in the next step.

Well, Novell & Linux can make together to increase the addition value to break down these monopoly.
It is good deal. Both side can get the best.

Please think about that why IBM will pay money to support Novell to get married with Linux society.
Why? What IBM want? Make Linux more power & stronger & .. break down monopoly... of course.. too many reasons. But I think this is good for Linux Society, Novell, IBM,....except M$ & ...

If want to growth up more, must do the best in the marketing, closing to users and know they need, do they want. All these steps, M$ are doing now and forever.

Don't do something that hurt itself and foolish. It is not good for all (include Novell) except M$.

Sea Dragon 11/06/03 08:18:42 AM EST

Well, I think cannot say that "which one will be shunk". Linux still need the more & more power to break down M$'s monolopy. M$ do the best in marketing. Such as it's browser. Through the integrate with desktop to break down Netscape. Who know what will do in the next step.

Well, Novell & Linux can make together to increase the addition value to break down these monopoly.
It is good deal. Both side can get the best.

Please think about that why IBM will pay money to support Novell to get married with Linux society.
Why? What IBM want? Make Linux more power & stronger & .. break down monopoly... of course.. too many reason. But I think it is good for Linux Society, Novell, IBM,....except M$ & ...

If want to growth up more, must do the best in the marketing, closing to users and know they need. All these steps, M$ are doing now and forever.

Don't do something that hurt itself and foolish. It is not good for all (include Novell) except M$.

Rod Lee 11/06/03 07:19:02 AM EST

Linux has been described as a "lifeline" to novell and that is what it is - without increased market share and profits brought about by a Linux strategy Novell would have eventually sunk........

Mike calder 11/06/03 05:10:08 AM EST

A disaster. I've been a happy user of Suse for four years, and made all my company machines Suse Linux. Now Suse, who have been a capable and professional outfit, will disappear into the maw of corporate USA.
So, over the next year I'm going to have to convert my business to another Linux distro, and going to have to evaluate the remaining suppliers to see who is independent, technically capable, and professional. I could have done without it.

R M Lovern 11/05/03 10:49:44 PM EST

This is the perfect marriage for SuSE Linux. A small development company that produces excellent products joining forces with a Global Marketing and Technical Services organization like Novell. And, the blessings from IBM. I think this will be a very good thing for the future of Linux.

S. Vasanth Kumar 11/05/03 08:58:56 PM EST

I understand your point Samuel. But adapting to the market changes and choosing better products according to the updating features & support is supposed to be good isn't it?. I do not see anything wrong in having direction changes on working on supporting products that can bring strength to any product. After all, Novell did not market well since the beginning and that could have been one of the reasons for their supporting product selecetions and deviations in it.

Ayhan, U r right and its not a secret. Novell has always been working with other vendors directly to provide additional supported products and have never tried to do everything on its own and monopolize the market. Novell has never had false claims about the products and features so far.
It is also known that Novell has never had MS DOS in it since it started to bundle xx DOS in it. This is the case only after ver 3 and above if i am not wrong. Before that it never shipped any xx DOS version.
Well, the use of DOS for the clients and even for the server to boot up was a good idea so that you could access at least the boot area to do some troublshooting if in case unlike the stupid NTFS.
Yeah, everyone is expecting Novell to comout with totally unrelient Desktop that can beat the rest and also we can expect that anything from Novell will be a solid solution.

Yes SEA DRAGON, you r right. now its time to get together to beat the monopoly and other stupidities in the industry that have made it like a confusing blocks of puzzle which can't be fixed at all.

Both Novell & Linux societies pretty strong and always talks sense. So hopefully thing will bring good to all of us once again but very strongly.

Couple of years or more back, I was very worried that Novell may not have long term targets to comeback unitl when they were only on NetWare. Although the products is superior they severely failed to position it after the embarking of NT and the successors. But with the recent moves they are SERIOULY ON THE RIGHT TRACK PERFECTLY.

Sea Dragon 11/05/03 12:37:52 PM EST

EXCELLENT. This is right direction.

Now, Novell not in single and with the large Linux society to work with. So they must close together and get back the market share.
Hope all of them can do well in marketing. MS do the best in this area although their products are no good in the beginning. After success in market, their products have been improved frequently,... then continue too success and monopoly.

Well, on 2003, they do the same thing by using Office 2003 & Longhorn & dot net and special skill set. They do the good marketing skill that prevent Linux & open source growth.

MS make closing to users.

How about both of Novell & Linux/[open source] society will do?


ayhan genc 11/05/03 10:18:55 AM EST

nice to see old-tşimers here again.

first some corrections:
-unixware was a real/complete unix developped/packaged by Novell based on Bell Labs. License. It's sold to SCO later. :-(
-Novell Netware packages never included any MS products (DOS, Win WfW), there was another product Netware lite which included and was running on top of DR DOS.

The problem with Novell's Netware was the need of a third party client OD (MS mostly) nad MS used this weakness to promote its servers. Now things are changing. Novell have an opportunity to include its own client OS and a lot of multiplatform tools to compete with MS (such as a linux-based exchange client with Ximian, the best directory running on MS-only environements, best desktop management for MS and linux etc.)
And the support is the key. Now we have worldwide support from a strong support organization.

Anybody remembers the Netware for Unix?


Samuel Cohen 11/05/03 07:34:09 AM EST

Kumar if you did not understand I was talking about 1986,
DOS, not Windows yet, Remember Xenix? a Microsoft then SCO
It is the COME BACK of UNIX to Novell.

S. Vasanth Kumar 11/05/03 07:17:35 AM EST

Unixware was a product to be run on top of NetWare, not an independant one. It was supported until very recently since the version revisions have happened heavily due to the market demand.

Another wrong statement, NetWare never ran on DOS. Dos was just to boot up and then will be taken over by NetWare completely.

4-5 PCs? pls check.

Another info for you, Win3.1 or 3.xx were distributed using NetWare when MS did not have any networking product & knowledge until 1993.

One more info to you, Do u know that Win platform can be better managed with Novell products??? this is proven. I have seen it myself. check sources.

Until today, NetWare is fastest server in any service that MS can run/claim to be able to run!!.

This time, you can see the COME BACK of Novell within next 2 years.

Wayne Wright 11/05/03 07:00:36 AM EST

I think this is a mistake. Novell needs to continue to focus on their current product line. Deja' vu' all over again. Unixware failed, and Novell will make a mess out of this as well.

Samuel Cohen 11/05/03 06:31:56 AM EST

Kumar, The Problem was not Quality of Unixware but the changing hands of Unix Support. Novell, If I am not mistaken left Unixware.
Us Old Timers still remember when small business had 4-5 PC's and wanted to grow. The had two Options, LAN or UNIX.
The Advantage of LAN was that they continued with DOS
Software. This is what made Novell BIG, Then.
Since 1995 when Internet became commercial, The Server
became more important than the Client and Novell lost Business to UNIX and later Linux.
This week I went to Citrix Forum here, Only to find out
that Citrix is now more connected to BiG-MS...

S. Vasanth Kumar 11/05/03 06:09:00 AM EST

FYI, Unixware was one of the popular & successful product. Infact, there are still ppl who don't want to giveup NetWare 3.12 with unixware because of its robustness.

Samuel Cohen 11/05/03 05:54:58 AM EST

I hope Novell do not repeat the Mistake of Unixware,
and Learn the realities of 2003 and Linux,
Also I hope that the War ends between different Flavours of
Linux and Unix, For me they are and should be the same!

S. Vasanth Kumar 11/05/03 03:22:56 AM EST

EXCELLENT...This is what I call a perfect move.

Rex Recio 11/04/03 09:19:02 PM EST

Sounds good to me. But I hope Novell will not emphasize 'N' in it's acquired products. 'Novell liNux', 'Novell ximiaN', 'Novell evolutioN', etc. are just plain ugly.

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