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Friday FOSS Week in Review: With Six You Get Netware

I can’t keep up with the players. I’m going to have to buy a program. Everybody who’s not for sale is a potential buyer. And oh yeah, Maureen O’Gara’s still bashing the SCO bashers – go figure!

SUSE Sale Apparently Hits Snag

Last week at this time it was practically a done deal. VMware was buying the Linux side of Novell. Now, according to whom and what you read, the deal is either still on, it’s hit a “snag” or it’s history and Novell is courting other suitors.


The trouble is Netware and other legacy properties that made Novell a force to be reckoned with in the days before Microsoft taught Windows how to network. It appears that Novell doesn’t want to sell SUSE unless Netware and identity management divisions are included in the deal at a premium price. Or else, they don’t want to sell SUSE unless they sell Netware first, at a premium price. Either way, they evidently want a lot of bucks for Netware. More that anyone seems to be willing to pay.

Reuters put it this way:

“Novell’s board, which hired JPMorgan in March to look at strategic options for the whole company, is unwilling to part with its best performing unit SUSE Linux alone and be left with a shell of legacy assets, according to three sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the auction.

“However, private equity firms, the natural buyers for its NetWare and identity management units, are so far unwilling to pay the price the software company wants, the sources said.”

It’s natural that there’s some old timers at Novell who, remembering the glory days, don’t want to see NetWare, once the crown jewels in the Novell arsenal, reduced to bargain basement status. It’s also natural among them will be a few dreamers who think that with just a little new development Netware could once again be a valuable commodity.

Of course, the facts speak a different story. Novell tried and tried for years to get Netware back on track before finally giving-up to acquire SUSE and become a Linux company. If they couldn’t bring Netware back to the forefront in the enterprise, with all the love and understanding they have for the product, how do they expect someone else to do it?

There’s still a small base of companies that love Netware and don’t want to give it up, albiet a base that’s not destined to grow much. In other words, there’s still some usefulness left in the old OS. Novell’s Netware business could be a nice little investment for someone – but not at a premium price.

Who’s Buying (or Not Buying) Mandriva?

The continuing saga of Mandriva’s (lack of) finances grows more confusing by the day.

In last Friday’s “Week in Review” we reported that Mandriva was on it’s last legs and hanging by a thread. Then on Monday we told you that a group of ex-Mandriva developers were forking the operating system into a new distro, Mageia. Before the ink had dried on our computer screen, we got word that a Russian firm, NGI, was buying Mandriva for two million euros and that the Mandriva code base would be used to develop a Russian OS, which would require the firm to be moved to Russia. Then, Mandriva issued a release stating, among other things, financial solvency:

“Mandriva recovered from a difficult situation. The recovery was done through restructuring the debts, a simplification of the organization, a new investor and a new strategic focus.”

Although the release mentions nothing of a sale to NGI, it does state, “In Russia, Mandriva has plans to extremely extend R&D and setup up to 15 people for testing & QA.” In addition, we can expect a “community distribution” to be available in spring 2011.

Until this all gets sorted out it would be prudent to refrain from installing Mandriva for anything mission critical.

Red Hat’s Profits Fall – But Beat Expectations

According to Reuters, Red Hat reported lower profits on Wednesday, but still managed to beat the predictions of the soothsayers on Wall Street:

“The world’s biggest provider of Linux software, whose rivals for corporate customers include Novell Inc. and Microsoft Corp., reported profit of $23.7 million, or 12 cents per share. That compared with $28.9 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter when Red Hat recorded a one-time $7.3 million tax gain.”

During the quarter, Red Hat’s revenue rose 20 percent to $219.8 million.

O’Gara Still Shilling for SCO and the Forces of FUD

We couldn’t leave without passing this on…

You might remember that back at the height of the SCO fiasco, writer Maureen O’Gara appeared to be writing propaganda pieces for the FUD folks, despite being published on web sites such as Linux Business News.

Well, she’s still at it… and she evidently still thinks SCO’s getting screwed, as we discovered when we found this excerpt that was published today:

“SCO continues to chase its paid-up appeal of the jury decision finding that Novell, which bought Unix from AT&T in 1993, still owns the damn thing despite selling the business to SCO in 1995 and SCO still entertains hopes of a courtroom showdown with IBM over their so-called Monterey contract.”

Some things will never change.

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That’s it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll see you Monday. Until then, may the FOSS be with you…

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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