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Novell to Make Linux Robust and Reliable 380

Posted by chrisd
from the less-is-more dept.
An anonymous coward writes: "It seems the folks over at Novell have the answer to making the "immature" Linux OS more "robust, reliable and scaleable" according to this Computer Weekly article. We have a lot more problems to use and keep running our NetWare 5 and 6 servers at our University than we've ever had with any of our Linux servers. I can't wait for Novell to help us out here."
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Novell to Make Linux Robust and Reliable

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  • by dtolton (162216) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:40PM (#5747501) Homepage
    "It hasn't had somebody like Novell worrying about making it
    robust, reliable and scalable. We think we can bring that to the
    Linux kernel."


    I guess IBM, HP and the like are peanuts compared to Novell.

    While his comments are certainly brash, and probably overly
    self-important, Netware really did make a good system.
    Ultimately they just got crushed under the Microsoft marketing
    machine. I've run both Microsoft and Novell networks and I
    definitely thought Netware was by far the superior product. As
    we've consistently seen in the IT world though, a good product
    isn't the only thing you need.

    In a sense he has a point about Linux being an immature
    operating system, although that point seems a bit overstated.
    Personally though, I'd love to see Novell contributing to Linux.
    The beauty of Open Source and in this case the GPL, is that
    Novell can contribute to the development of Linux, but they
    can't hijack it. Having more good companies contribute to
    making it reliable and scalable is a good thing. I can't see a
    downside to having them make contributions to the project.

    Ultimately the point is that Linux is catching on. Even
    companies like Sun and Novell that have their own operating
    systems are seeing the value and are beginning to support it.
    With broad industry support, Linux could supplant Microsoft as
    the dominant OS.
    • by n1ywb (555767) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:50PM (#5747599) Homepage Journal
      In a sense he has a point about Linux being an immature

      operating system
      Immature how? Granted Linux isn't an ideal operating system, it has it's rough edges. But IMO it's rough edges are fewer and smoother than almost any other OS available today. Overall it's actually quite mature, compared to many many other OSes. Windows is still playing catchup to Linux in some areas (although Linux is trying to catch up to Windows in others, like GUI desktops). Anyway one of the nice things about Linux is that for the most part everybody is aware of and open about the rough areas, and they're on the task list to be eventually addressed.

      I think that if you look at the 2.5 kernel from a OS theory standpoint, you see the most mature OS available. The scheduling improvements alone are really quite amazing, and IMO will catapult Linux far ahead of the competition.
      • Granted Linux isn't an ideal operating system, it has it's rough edges. But IMO it's rough edges are fewer and smoother than almost any other OS available today.

        Let me guess, you've never used anything but Linux and Windows...

        Other OSes available today smoother than Linux: FreeBSD!!!, Solaris, Tru64, OpenVMS, pretty much any commercial Unix today is far better than Linux in many ways. Granted, they all have their own flaws (excluding FreeBSD) but Linux couldn't hope to replace any one of them.

        • Note how Netware is conspicously absent from that list.

          However, you are grossly underestimating Linux. Linux is certainly quite capable of replacing Solaris in many deployments and has been so capable for some years now. Immaturity of Intel hardware is far more likely to be a probem than the 'immaturity' Linux.
      • by On Lawn (1073) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:51PM (#5747746) Journal
        It might be a good time to remind that although here on slashdot we know what an operating system is, many people out there still have different notions of it. I think he's more talking about network operating systems (an old 80's term) more then computer operating systems which we more identify as Linux.

        Most of what Novell does is rather mature on that level. Much more so then Linux, but probably not as much as he thinks. It has great directory, authentication and network file systems. A good AFS, LDAP, Kerberos run Linux domain is perhaps less of a polished product then Novell, but it is not far behind.

        But thats only a part of what a NOS does. Consider Groupwise, ZenWorks and other products inherent to a Novell network and you'll quickly realize that there is nothing near as mature on Linux right now. (note: Ximian just recently put out Enterprise Red Carpet, which I haven't evaluated.)

        So while I may agree that I wouldn't have chosen his terms, its still important to understand his use of them before critisizing them
        • by Anonymous Coward
          A good AFS, LDAP, Kerberos run Linux domain is perhaps less of a polished product then Novell, but it is not far behind

          "Less polished" has to be the understatment of the year. A bunch of tarballs and FAQs/HOWTOs floating around the internet isn't even in the dimension as Novell or MS's directory services stuff.

          In a lot of ways, Linus isn't really a NOS (in the 80s sense) -- it's more Internet server platform. Or at least that's how it's packaged and marketed -- the closest thing to NOS features out-of-bo

          • Not so true. LDAP provides much of the directory services for ADS, NDS and it can for Linux through nsswitch-ldap, and pam-ldap. All of those either come with the major distros. Its much improved over NIS.
            • by opkool (231966) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @12:04AM (#5748875) Homepage
              You can't be serious here.

              Comparing OpenLDAP to NDS/eDirectory is wrong. OpenLDAP is there, yes... but pales in comparison with eDirectory/NDS.

              Novell was already delivering a very mature and advanced directory services (NDS) when Linux's OpenLDAP was very beta and Microsoft Directory was... well, vastly improvable ;)

              Linux *now* is pretty good. But Novell already was much better some years ago.

              If Novell puts its knowledge into GNU/Linux so we all profit (Novell grows, Linux gets waaaaaaaaay better, Novell admin tools become GPL and we all improve them) then we all win, and win big.

              P.S.: I'm a former Novell Admin, turned into Linux Admin as Microsoft Marketing Division pushed away Novell. I'd love to work with GNU/Linux/Novell systems :)

              I'm excited!
        • by dublin (31215) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:55PM (#5748384) Homepage
          Most of what Novell does is rather mature on that level. Much more so then Linux, but probably not as much as he thinks. It has great directory, authentication and network file systems. A good AFS, LDAP, Kerberos run Linux domain is perhaps less of a polished product then Novell, but it is not far behind.

          Sorry, but Linux isn't even in the same league when it comes to network services. NetWare has its warts, but so far as NOS capabilities they are in a class of one. (Although Banyan was interesting, are they still around?)

          The fine granularity of file permissions in NetWare is an absolute dream, and matches and supports real-world needs *far* better than those of Windows, or especially Unix-derived servers. (I've been dealing with the brain-dead Unix file permissions for 18 years now, and the whole system is a major dog's breakfast.)

          ACLs have been grafted onto various network filesystems in myriad incompatible, incomprehensible, and unmanageable ways, but that's really no substitute for a just having a reasonable set of permissions capabilities in the first place.

          Further, NDS is far and away the best directory service available today - it's really a shame it hasn't taken hold in the Unix/Linux world, as we need it badly if there is ever to be any hope of holding AD at bay. (Those that don't do serious enterprise work fail to comprehend that it's AD that makes it virtually impossible to pull Windows out of an organization - this is the *real* Kool-Aid, and if your organization has drunk a long draft of it, you're poisoned, bucko... Raw LDAP is not really an option in most environments, as the staffing required to manage it that way exceeds the available talented labor pool in most places...)

          You're right that all the apps built on these network services have no real equivalent at all in the Unix/Linux world, and only shabby imitators in the Windows world, but even at the server-only level, NetWare in unequalled. I hate the way you administer it, (it's intentionally obtuse to encourage CNE certification), and it has some weaknesses as an application server, but it works and works well.

          It's well-engineered, too: As a protocol jock, I say that with real knowledge - compare the rock-solid reliability, wide area bandwidth efficiency, and latency insensitivity, not to mention advanced features and security of NCP to *anything* else, and I think it will come out *way* ahead. I've built worldwide remote site networks that have to have transparent file access back to civilization via a satellite telephone, (the worst latency environment within three planetary diameters) and only NetWare and NCP are capable of operating in such an environment. Nothing else is - not NFS, not SMB, not whatever, just NCP.

          Gee, this sounds like a Novell ad - It's not, I haven't even touched the product in two years, but what they do, they do well.
          • I've built worldwide remote site networks that have to have transparent file access back to civilization via a satellite telephone, (the worst latency environment within three planetary diameters)

            err, wouldn't a message in a bottle have worse latency?

          • (Although Banyan was interesting, are they still around?)

            No, long gone.

            Microsoft purchased part of them in around 1998 or so, and from then onwards Banyan tried to migrate their customers over to pure NT networks, ostensibly going via their StreetTalk for NT product.

            At that stage, though, Banyan's market share was falling dramatically, and some nasty bugs (particularly long-filename support with European codepages) and reluctance to support some client OSs didn't help either.
      • Immature in the way that it have a lot of space for fundamental changes and improvements. Other "mature" systems maybe are difficult to improve in such ways as Linux did in each major version including 2.6.
    • by Herkum01 (592704) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:54PM (#5747760)

      I got Novell certification so I do speak from experience even though it not never my primary product that I supported.

      Netware was incredibly stable but when it came to setup and configuration it was overly complicated. Windows took over the market not because it was a better product, but because it was more accessible. They concentrated too much on things people, who were casually trying to get involved with it, did not want to learn. MS basically proved that you don't need to be a genuis to set-up file and print sharing which is what Netware was geared for.

      In many area's they were ahead of their time(Directory Services in 1994 is a great example), but if they had paid a little more attention to how people would like to work with computers instead of making it act like a mainframe they would not have been whipped so thoroughly in the market.

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:54PM (#5747761)
      Netware really did make a good system.

      I agree, but realize Novell had a lot of things going for it:

      • They tightly controlled what was Novell certified, and what wasn't. Admins didn't buy hardware unless it had that little red sticker on it that said "Novell Certified". When you limit the subset of hardware and software, you make QA infinitely easier, and your operating system's reputation isn't tarnished by some guy selling video cards out of the back of his truck that cause novell servers to die(people constantly confuse OS reliability with hardware stability). It isn't just simplifying your hardware/software base though- Apple had(well, ok, still does, to some extent) this theory, except that the quality of code and QA -before releases went out the door- was piss-poor; even today it's pretty bad; case and point would be 10.2.5, which is reputed to be causing a lot of kernel panics related to USB. They have the same problem with hardware- almost everything they ship is defective in at least a half dozen ways(some of them minor, some of them very much not so.)
      • Novell never had to worry about making a desktop OS; in the server world, #1 priority is reliability, and so you don't have to worry about adding the latest this-or-that. Servers are simpler than desktops; they're asked to do a limited number of things, comparatively, but just do it on a big scale. It's like the difference between -most- Linux distros, and OS's like OpenBSD; do one thing(network/serving) and do it well. The big boys(and even the little guys) only cared about keeping their fileserver up 24x7x365. Novell could do that exceptionally well. Remember, you can't make everyone happy all of the time, so why bother trying? I wish linux distros would grow up and find their market segments instead of trying for everything. Even Apple has recognized the need for separate desktop and server "distros".
      • Network services back in Novell's hayday were a hell of a lot simpler than they are today. It used to be all you really had to handle was logins to the network from a workstation, printing, and filesharing, and chances are you could do it with a limited amount of hardware. That was it. Nowadays, networks are far, far more complicated and decentralized, AND at the same time you've got people who want to run a NATing gateway, print server, SMB, mail, web...and slice their veggies, all with one box.
      • Remember, you can't make everyone happy all of the time, so why bother trying? I wish linux distros would grow up and find their market segments instead of trying for everything. Even Apple has recognized the need for separate desktop and server "distros".

        Don't be stupid. Server operating systems and desktop operating systems are similar. The fundamentals are the same. The differences are in the fine tuning.

        Debian produce probably the most stable (in all senses) Linux distribution. They don't have a Serv
        • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:11PM (#5748452)
          Returning to your final comment about Apple, their strategy of releasing two different OS's for desktop and server is a marketing decision, not a technical one.

          Oh for chrissakes...no, it's not just marketing. For example, system updates are released entirely separately for OS X client and server- and often contain drastically different updates. The server updates come almost always after the client updates, and rarely have I heard of the server updates causing nearly as many problems as the client side updates.

          Don't be stupid. Server operating systems and desktop operating systems are similar. The fundamentals are the same. The differences are in the fine tuning.

          ...and believe it or not, that "fine tuning" is a little more complex than "picking which set of packages to install" and "how we market it". Novell is, in fact, the perfect example of the power of a ground-up, purpose-built server platform. Linux's weakness is that it has NO equivalent; your precious Debian has no core, ground-up focus on being a server distro and ONLY a server distro.

          Case and point- there simply isn't a way to use Novell as a desktop operating system(at least, it's not as easy on any other OS). It is ONLY for serving, and as a result, has a clear path in all regards, from development, to QA, to marketing. Do one thing, do it well.

      • Since you go off-topic to make erroneous points, I'll go off-topic to shoot them down. Quote: It isn't just simplifying your hardware/software base though- Apple had(well, ok, still does, to some extent) this theory, except that the quality of code and QA -before releases went out the door- was piss-poor; even today it's pretty bad; case and point would be 10.2.5, which is reputed to be causing a lot of kernel panics related to USB. They have the same problem with hardware- almost everything they ship is d
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:03PM (#5747814) Homepage Journal
      I spoke with Novell's Open Source point person, and over on LWN.net he's posted something pointing out that he's now aware of the problem. Obviously, it will take a little time to get this message up to the president of the company. But I expect he'll use more careful words next time.

      Bruce

    • by Radical Rad (138892) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:00PM (#5748111) Homepage
      I agree that the Messman statement you quoted was at least a poor choice of wording and maybe even outright FUD. However he did state some truth in the following:

      Kernels - Windows, Unix, Linux and NetWare - may have become commoditised, said Messman, but services were the key to the future. "Linux doesn't have the services and support that we can bring to the table," he said.

      Novell has a Directory Services that is far more mature and superior to its competitors, and NDS is integrated very nicely with LDAP. 'eDirectory' on Linux has been a reality for some time now. Novell has been shifting toward Java and open standards since the time that Eric Schmidt took over. Their latest push seems to be toward web services; In NetWare 6 the servers and services can be almost competely managed through a browser and they purchased a minor but highly regarded J2EE application server, Silverstream [silverstream.com]. Linux was never designed to be a fileserver and doesn't even have ACL's yet in the filesystem, something that MS had from the start in NT 3.1. But even NT's file rights assignment is laughable compared to the fine grained control that exists in NetWare. Similarly, SMB is not at the same level that NCP is.

      Novell is now aiming to help put Linux on the desktop. Just today they announced a Groupwise client for Linux [novell.com] which was a big roadblock for companies who want to migrate from Windows to a more secure, stable, and economical alternative. I think if Novell wants to bring their technologies to the Linux platform (and vice versa [novell.com]) then it will strengthen both. That's synergy.

      With broad industry support, Linux could supplant Microsoft as the dominant OS.

      'Will' not 'could'. It is already beginning.

  • did they steal it from SCO?
  • no surprise here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrjive (169376) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:41PM (#5747518) Homepage Journal

    "Linux is an immature operating system," he continued. "It hasn't had somebody like Novell worrying about making it robust, reliable and scalable. We think we can bring that to the Linux kernel."

    In other words...."we want to slap our brand name all over it." Last time I checked, Novell was already pretty much in a niche, so this is probably their attempt at jumping on a bandwagon.
    • Re:no surprise here (Score:4, Interesting)

      by afidel (530433) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:00PM (#5747802)
      Novell, niche? Not hardly. In fact I would guess there as many Novell file servers as windows (now windows is a lot more popular for app servers). Novell has massive installed base that is slowly eroding. Their biggest problem may have been that their product was TOO good, there wasn't a lot of incentive to upgrade. Yes Netware sucks in places, it is software afterall and all software sucks, as does all hardware =)
      • Right...but where Windows covers a lot of markets, Novell is basically clinging just to the strength of their file server software.

        By clinging to linux (or making it "more mature" as their CEO put it), they can branch into all the other lucrative markets that linux is already accepted in (especially the server market).

        Besides, GNU/Linux have been around since 1991, so I don't give the "mature" comment much credibility to begin with.
        • by dublin (31215)
          Besides, GNU/Linux have been around since 1991, so I don't give the "mature" comment much credibility to begin with.

          You may not, but those of us that have worked with real, mature systems do. Linux is great for some things, but the charge of immaturity, even after 12 years is easily supportable: This is in no way intended to start a flame war, but that level of immaturity is a huge reason that people who know enough to know the difference prefer BSD for their open source servers. Linux is still remarka
          • by pr0ntab (632466)
            I often find this to be a side-effect of the linux distros tending to compete on feature lists, and not robustness. This is in contrast with the more conservative mindset of the BSDs.
            However, the competent administrator revels in being able to tame linux into being the unseen force that makes the network environment "richer". You just have to know what you're doing... the same with all things.
            I guess my point is: Netware is deep and robust by design, while Linux needs someone to make sure it so. I am comfor
  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n1ywb (555767) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:42PM (#5747527) Homepage Journal
    "Our fileserver software is aging and unstable and not very well integrated with modern operating systems and our other daemon software just sucks so we need to try and convince people to invest in us."

    A few years ago I had the priviledge of administrating a Netware 3.1 server, that eventually logged 2.5 years of continuous uptime. It eventually had to be rebooted to apply a y2k patch. Now our Netware IMAP server crashes several times per day. It used to be that Netware was the only way to go if you were serious about file serving, but it seems like Novell has failed to keep up.
    • by El_Nofx (514455) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:49PM (#5747591)
      Anyone else remember this?

      http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20010409S00 12

      Novell Server that ran for 4 years and was blocked in behind a wall...
    • by Michael_Burton (608237) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:45PM (#5747717) Homepage

      It used to be that Netware was the only way to go if you were serious about file serving, but it seems like Novell has failed to keep up.

      They went from software that logged 2.5 years of uptime to software that crashes several times a day and you say they've failed to keep up? I think you're out of touch with the marketplace!


    • Here at work we are actually using AFS instead of the Novell file system serving. Much of the same features, and IBM/Open Source give me as an admin more warm fuzzies for some of reasons you mentioned.
    • It's getting back at you for all of those times that it was too busy to bother crashing, that's all. :)
    • Re:Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cscx (541332)
      When I worked for the tech dept in my high school, we were pretty much an all Novell shop. They did the upgrade to NW 5.0 then 5.1, and it was just as unstable as can be. Our web/mail server which ran on NetWare would crash repeatedly, sometimes twice a day. Their "solution" (at that time) was to replacing the aging PPro/150 box with a snazzy new pIII. Yeah, right. Still unstable.

      Well as the head web-techie-dude I decided to take matters into my own hands and installed our lone, unused copy of NT4 server*
  • by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:44PM (#5747542)
    Linux OS more "robust, reliable and scaleable"

    Novell actually said they'd make Linux "go bust, disabled and scaley".
    • This is really confusing. Caldera, SCO, and Novell have all been linked together in some way, right? Name swaps, one of them bought the other then dropped its old name and somehow the dropped name survived somewhere else, right?

      So who is doing the suing, who is doing the developing? Is Novell now going to help the enemy of their friend, or the friend of their enemy, I am confused.

      And what happened to that guy, Ray Noorda was it? who used to own pieces of some of them, and was suing Microsoft for discri
  • HP-UX and others. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:44PM (#5747543)
    I don't know about you, but the Novell junk we have at the office here is very difficult to maintain. We have all kinds of problems.

    On the other hand, we have a number of other operating systems around here, like Linux, various BSD flavors, HP-UX and others. And you know what? They all work really well. Heck, even the two odd Windows 3.1 boxes around here work well! (We have never put a computer out of commission here.)

    I think that Novell is FINALLY realizing that their products are not in demand like they used to be, what with that newfangled Linux thing floating around, so they decided, ten years too late, to jump on the cottonpickin' bandwagon!

    This, I will never understand. It must have been a bunch of dumb-ass business people sitting around a table trying to figure out something "new and exciting" to motivate their employees and to get some buzz going on in the market. Only nobody is interested in buzz anymore. Heck, the scene must have looked like that one in Swordfish where they're all sitting around a table trying to figure out something "new and exciting" and a bus comes crashing through the window on their 20th floor conference room... only without the bus and the crashing and stuff.

    • (We have never put a computer out of commission here.)

      Then you have never known the simple joy of smacking one of those fuckers with a 10 pound sledge, or the ecstasy of emptying a magazine of .50AE into one of them.

  • by PowerEdge (648673) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:45PM (#5747549)
    Novell is far more stable and better for networked environments. After 2+ years supporting Microsoft, Linux and Novell it seems Novell is the best OS for Intel servers.
  • Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:45PM (#5747558)
    I think it's arrogant to present this news in such a cynical way. Novell's been at it longer than anyone (with file, print, directory svcs) with a scale and success rate unlike most other commercial NOS vendors. Personally, I'd like to see what they have to contribute to Linux and open source in general.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:47PM (#5747575)
    SCO releases Linux for Itanic, DoubleClick exec is privacy Czar, Australia to outlaw spam, now Novell is going to bring "maturity" to Linux? These April fools jokes are MUCH better than the crap that got posted on the first.

  • by mikeophile (647318) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:48PM (#5747583)
    We'd like to welcome the former Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf to our marketing division. His resume is top-shelf and I think he'll be a great asset to our team.
  • LDAP Support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knightwolf (457910) <jwm05cNO@SPAMmizzou.edu> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:49PM (#5747590) Homepage
    The major thing Novell can bring to the table has to deal with the eDirectory, filesharing, and authentication systems.

    NDS eDirectory, being a massive LDAP system, already runs on linux. Actually, you can authenticate Winblows users using the Novell client to a linux server running eDirectory. The big thing I can see them adding though would be share access with ACL support on the linux box, along with some of the SSL and PAM options.

    Novell has always had some of the best software for file sharing with regards to reliability and ease of administration. Linux has samba and NFS, but not a really good Windows authentication and file sharing service that's easily configured and run from a windows station. i.e. the ConsoleOne config tool, and the Novell client, which can replace the built-in windows authentication schemes. It would be really really nice if the server aspect could be run off of a Linux system instead of Novell's server OS.

    • Please. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kunta Kinte (323399)
      The major thing Novell can bring to the table has to deal with the eDirectory, filesharing, and authentication systems.

      Novell can try. Their systems aren't bad, but they horriblely overpriced. Maybe their MetaDirectory is worth it if you need it, but the core eDirectory I suspect can be skipped by lots of shops very easily.

      I had the priviledge to work on an LDAP based authentication system for 2 years. Most packages in this area use exactly 2 well documented microsoft API to sync or authenticate windo

    • Their windows client software has been buggy since day one, and the situation is still not 100% solved. A far cry from DOS ODI drivers or even the monolithic IPX.COM that just worked.

      I dont' see what they are bringing to the table in terms of integration if they can't get a network redirector working properly on Windows.

      I won't even talk about NDS for NT and the stomach pain it caused in a big implementation. (Federal Reserve, if you care)
  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:50PM (#5747598)
    Linux already is very rubust and stable. Where it's weak is in how difficult it is to set up to do anything; like set up a printer driver, offload pictures from a digital camera, get samba to work right. It seems like anything you want to do takes days of painful work.

    I still use linux on my servers, but that's why I switched back to windows after having linux on my desktop for over 2 years. I can install something in 10 minutes and then be enjoying using it for the next few day. The one time I couldn't get a piece of hardware to work in windows, I just had to call up the hardware vendor and they solved the problem in under an hour. If I were trying to get it to work in Linux, there's nobody to call.

    Jason
    ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
    • Six months ago - I would have agreed, but after playing with the new version of Mandrake Linux, I'd say that out of the box, Mandrake has more support for hardware than Windows.

      I have an old SoundBlaster/Ensonic sound card, a N2000 compatible network card, Martox 400 (Dual head) that all require driver donloads for Windows XP but in Mandrak - they all worked right away.

      So yes, manufacurers do suport Windows more, but out of the box, a good Linux distribution just works better.

      (This is ingnoring the fact
    • I can install something in 10 minutes and then be enjoying using it for the next few day.

      I typically spend much less than 10 minutes installing each new package on Linux - one minute is more like it, using Debian apt-get.
    • I disagree.

      KDE is quite equal to Windows/Macos. The installers are up to par as well.

      What Linux's core market is is in the server room. WIthout a directory service it can not totally replace Windows. With Windows in the picture its more tempting for IT managers to standardize on Microsoft.

      Novell is great to administer and does things that Unix/linux can not do.

      Its not an apps server but really a network service provider.

      Linux is missing directory services, enterprise journaling( not the ext3 hack), adm
    • Please don't ask Novell of all companies to work on desktop usability. If you would ever have had to use Groupwise, you would understand.
    • I dunno abt you, but when I want to install something, all I need to do is "apt-get install foo"

      This downloads the software, all its dependencies etc., installs it and is all done in seconds (without subjecting me to any "wizards")

      I'm not wild about RPM, but I certainly think apt is far superior to anything Windows has.

      RedHat's "printtool" makes it easy to install printers too. (Its GPLed of course, so its available on most distros)

      When it comes to getting pictures from my digicam, and samba, however,
  • I guess Linux is just going to be getting better and better!

    I hear that Microsoft will be helping out to improve the open source nature of Linux, and Sun will be working hard to make sure it works perfectly on x86 systems!

    Surely good days lie ahead of us with this collection of hardworking, selfless, and competent companies backing us up!
  • by SealBeater (143912) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:20PM (#5747625) Homepage
    Bye Novell.
  • Who? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Novell who? I vaguely remember someone with a name like this long ago, that had an OS that would only run a small number of proprietary programs on very selective hardware. Do they really still exist?
  • If their stuff sucks, it won't get included (or will be quickly reverted). So, only whatever positive contributions they can submit will be included. So they should help some.
  • Buzzwords (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nikkos (544004) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:38PM (#5747678) Homepage
    This sounds like Novell is replying to it's customers concerns by:

    A. Using buzzwords like "robust" "reliable" and "scalable" - the things Novell customers are concerned about,

    B. Using the hottest buzzword in computers today "Linux" - The platform Novell probably the most worried about losing it's customers to.

    Methinks Novell's focus is trying to keep it's customer base, not linux philanthropy.

    Nikkos
    • Re:Buzzwords (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @12:03AM (#5748868) Journal
      B. Using the hottest buzzword in computers today "Linux" - The platform Novell probably the most worried about losing it's customers to.

      I don't know if this is necessarily the case. I've been working on developing a solution for a problem that I've been having - distributed logons - with Linux, and have so far come away delightfully unimpressed.

      First, we installed Samba, and got that working as a PDC with our W2K machines. Then, we got it working together with roaming profiles. Ok, fine, but then we went to Samba-TNG so we could use an LDAP directory backend. That'd be great, if there were any decent LDAP HOWTOs for Linux. The ones that there are are horrid, and you have to assemble them all in your head to make any sense of it. Once that was done (with the poor LDAP browsers available), we tried to move other services to it, which is a nightmare. Most of the LDAP-authenticating software we have (proftpd-ldap, etc.) just plain breaks, or doesn't work, or 'works' but doesn't (fails silently), or a myriad of other things. Figuring out how to do any of this stuff in the first place was a nightmare, and then trying to figure out what's wrong without having to source-dive is just a waste of my time. Once I finally got PAM working with LDAP, we have the problem of it asks for passwords twice, instead of automatically falling back. PITA. Then, if we wanted other systems to authenticate, we'd have a whole new bag of worms.

      People say Novell is a bitch to configure. They say it's hard to learn. Yeah, but you know what? There's ways to learn. There's documentation. There's manuals. There's courses. There's books. When it comes down to it, there's $150/hr freelance CNEs or the consultants that installed your network in the first place. When customers move to Linux and try to do anything that's great about Linux (i.e. assembling their own solution) they quickly find that it may be cheaper, and it may give you more of a sense of satisfaction, but when you have to manage an entire corporate network, you don't have time to migrate everyone to Linux just because 'it's cheaper'. It's not. For the price of my time as a Linux admin, setting all this up, testing it, re-testing it, making damn sure it's not going to blow up in my face, I would suggest a Novell solution, because I know that if I set it up properly, it's going to freaking work, and if it doesn't, I don't have to worry about my boss bringing the hounds of hell down on me, because there's a support contract.

      Linux is only a challenger in small business, and Novell's offering their small business starter pack for free [novell.com] (contact your local CNS for details). Larger business will go for solutions that they don't have to worry about. You pay for some staff to get their certification, keep them up to date, and that's it. With Linux, you only have their word that they know what they're doing, and when things explode or you have to find someone else, they have to figure out what's going on, and when the system's a melange of PHP sites calling perl scripts to manage LDAP databases of user data for the patched daemons running on colocated servers, better men than I have threw in the towel on the first day. Businesses are finding this important point out: anyone can learn 'Linux' - you can train a kitten to play with the keyboard and administer a Linux system - but when it comes down to the crunch and you need to build your own system, unless you keep excellent, centralized, readable, updated documentation, you can't just hire some Linux admin off the street - you need the guy that worked there before, and hopefully he left on good terms.

      Microsoft and Novell are not out there because they're corporate whores. They're not popular because they lock people in. They're not even popular because managers have heard of them. They're popular because if I'm Novell certified in the relevant products, I can walk into any Novell business and sit down and administer the network. It's consistant. It's coherant. It's easier to just get to work, because if you know it you know it. Until Linux gets this, it won't be popular.

      --Dan
  • by vivek7006 (585218) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:40PM (#5747686) Homepage

    It seems the folks over at Novell have the answer to making the "immature" Linux OS more "robust, reliable and scaleable"

    I thought IBM had already made linux more robust, reliable and scaleable, by stealing code from SCO.

  • by spoonist (32012)

    Okay guys, let me get this straight...

    Novell is still around!?

    And they want to "help" us with Linux!?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I thought they were deader than SCO.

    SCO and Novell dropped off my radar at around the same time about 10 years ago.

    I must say, I'm blown away...

    Oh, just for fun, let's take a look at their stock prices:

    NOVL [yahoo.com]: $2.40

    SCOC [yahoo.com]: No such ticker symbol. D'OH! That's gotta hurt.

  • More lies! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tuxinatorium (463682) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:44PM (#5747707) Homepage
    Linux does not exist. It is a fabrication of some unemployed geek infidels to slander our glorious Microsoft. There are no bugs in Windows, never! Bill Gates has forbidden bugs, therefore there are none! Do not believe them!
  • Tempest in a teapot (Score:5, Informative)

    by AndyDeck (29830) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:44PM (#5747714) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot is a bit late to this story, actually. Messman pretty much just stuck his foot in his mouth, if he was even quoted correctly. Check out Bruce Peren's comment, and a response from Kristopher Magnusson (chair of Novell's Open Source Review Board) at http://lwn.net/Articles/28988/ [lwn.net]. Novell does seem to understand that Linux already has value, they just want to bring their value to the table.

    I've almost got to believe that Jack Messman was trying to make some kind of joke about the SCO/IBM lawsuit in this comment, and has just been horribly mis-understood.
    • Me == shakes head.

      I think Bruce's comment is funny: Oops, that was a faux pas, never fear boys, I'll set them straight-- and then he does! It's like Bruce is this little angel sitting on the suit's shoulders reminding them to play nice or the linux zealots will skin them alive.

      What's most interesting is that Bruce calls it a faux pas. Is that because the linux user base would be offended? Surely he's not protecting Linus' or Alan's fragile egos. Is it written somewhere in the OpenSource definition tha
  • by PylonHead (61401) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:46PM (#5747719) Homepage Journal
    We all remember when lan filesharing meant Novell. Their protocols were fast; their server was solid. They used to brag about the number of assembly language instructions between the time when a file request hit the server and the time it was being sent out.

    Part of this speed came from having a very simple, unprotected operating system. Any process on the server could bring down the entire server. Novell's code was very well debugged and very stable.

    And then networking started to mean something other than just filesharing. People started developing client/server applications to run on servers.

    The company I worked for developed
    NLMs (netware loadable modules) back in the day. It was a pain in the ass. Our code had to be flawless, because a single mistake would "abend" the server, taking down not only our services, but the lan filesharing, and everyone else's services too.

    Mind you, we tested our code, we did everything we could to make it flawless, but that's a difficult standard to obtain in a complex piece of code.

    Novell eventually tacked on some memory protection to the OS, allowing some NLMs to run at ring 1. But it seemed like too little too late.

    Developers were realizing that it was a lot easier to develop and deploy server code on protected operating systems (Unix and Windows), and the speed bonus that Novell got by writing a down and dirty operating system was becoming less critical as machines got faster.

    The same thing will happen with Palm OS vs Windows CE and Linux for the handhelds. The miserly memory handling and power consumption features of Palm OS will not be needed in future devices, and modern operating system features will win out.
    • And that is why my Palm IIIxe may be the last pda I buy. I don't want my pda to be a jpg viewing, movie watching, mp3 listening song and dance that lasts 4-6 hours per charge. I want it to keep my contact information, remind me of apointments, and keep track of my hours and expenses. I also don't want to have to have a cradle near by to recharge the batteries. With my Palm I get 4-8 weeks on good high energy rechargables. Basically unless it has a real AI avatar there is little an "upgraded" pda can do for
  • How long before Novell goes under? They seem to be having leadership problems like Sun and I doubt they have the cash reserves Sun has.
  • It sounds ot me like some PHB's at Novell got their hands on some ten year old documents on Linux.
  • by Kur (195888) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:55PM (#5747768)
    Oddly, I'm currently at BrainShare and he did not make those sort of comments during his keynote this past Monday. In fact, he even made fun of Scott McNealy's penguin suit and set a positive tone about Novell's interaction with Open Source. He also made a point about Novell being slow to listen to market changes and how that was being changed (he used IPX as the example).

    The actual product roadmap came from Chris Stone, the vice chairman. Unlike the arrogant comments by Messman in the linked article, Stone seemed much more humble. He talked about the various Open Source technologies shipping with the next version of NetWare (6.5), including MySQL, Tomcat 4, Apache 2, and PHP 4. Finally, he announced that Netware 7 would run either the Netware kernel or the Linux kernel. He made it clear, however, that Linux was the ultimate destination. There wasn't any dismissal of Linux, especially since they expect to base all of their products on top of it.

    Does Novell have anything to contribute?

    Well, they claim that they've contributed back many improvements to PHP, Apache, and MySQL. Some, they said, were still forthcoming but that they would be available to the larger community.

    As far as their products go, they still make a surprisingly large number of good ones. Many of the services that do run on Netware, including iPrint, iFolder, NetStorage, etc. would be a welcome addition to any operating system. eDirectory's already available cross platform, so nothing is new is gained there. Provisioning and user account management with Netware/eDirectory is still superior to many alternatives and makes administering a large number of users very easy (especially for support folks).

    So, I think Jack Messman's comments are regrettable, but I don't really care what he thinks. I'm here at BrainShare to speak with the developers of the products we use and they, almost universially, get it. In nearly every session I've attended, they've highlighted solutions available from Freshmeat, SourceForge, CPAN, and others. I think it's especially helpful since most of the attendees here are not Slashdot readers. They're old school Novell admins working in a range of industries, from very large corporations to small business consultants. Despite the bravado from some CEO, Novell's participation should be welcomed and encouraged. After all, if they're contributing something useful, why not?
    • by Twid (67847) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:22PM (#5748223) Homepage

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Novell is giving NetWare a future using Linux, not giving Linux a future using NetWare.

      Along the way, they will probably contribute some useful code and leverage towards Linux adoption in the mainstream. So yes, it sounds like a win/win for both sides assuming Novell commits actual resources to the issue and it isn't just a press release. As I said in a different post, this will be the 2nd time Novell has announced the porting of all of NetWare's services to *nix, so we'll see.

  • Well, I guess we know what happened to Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf.

    Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen the CEO of Novell and the Iraqi Information Minister in the same room? Aha!

  • A view from inside (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twid (67847) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:04PM (#5747824) Homepage

    I worked for Novell until about a year ago, and I have to agree with a previous poster who said that this strategy was all about customer retention. Show customers a direction towards Linux, a little bit of open source, and toss in some buzzwords and customers might keep their license agreement. It's a good strategy financially and not unlike what Microsoft has done in that arena.

    Netware's list price is over $100 a seat. Even if MySQL, Apache, and anything else ported over worked perfectly, no one is going to buy a linux-based Netware as a linux replacement. eDirectory runs about $2 a seat list and has been running on Linux for a long time. The announcement of a free UDDI server is nice, but I don't see long term how Novell will get a piece of anything in the Web Services space with that. It's more of a developer tool, and Novell isn't a developer tools company, they make money selling to big corporations. Yes, they recently acquired an app-server company, but that's an ever worse competitive mess than the LAN arena.

    I think Novell's main problem is too many products. There are still just as many products at Novell as there were two years ago, but there are probably half the engineering staff to maintain them. Products like iChain and DirXML are incomprehensible to most people, and too narrow in scope and low in sales when most of their competition are rolling their products up into big do-all authentication suites. Also, there haven't been installation or adminstration console standards at Novell for years and years, so getting two different products from different groups running is quite a challenge.

    While I'm a little bitter over some of the specifics of my departure, I think overall Novell has good people and still has a large user base. It's hard to turn a big boat like Novell towards new technology when the old stuff is still raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. Hopefully this won't end up like the two previous major efforts towards *nix, the first being the purchase of AT&T Unix and the "SuperNOS" strategy and the second being a major alliance with Red Hat that never really went anywhere.

    Good luck, guys!
  • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:04PM (#5747825)
    Corning is going to make glass clear
    Chevron is going to make gasoline inflammable
    and
    Debeers is going to make diamonds hard.

    Pretty keen of Novell to jump in and "make" Linux what it already is.
  • Novell has some cool stuff for administration but its kernel is quite unstable and proprietary. This has to do with legacy code from the 286 days.

    Linux would be great not to mention if Novell ports all of their software it would be doublepluss good in newspeak.

    They might actually own the Linux market and could re-enter the application server market which they left. Novell only runs fileservers and NDS servers these days since it was too proprietary and unstable compared to Unix and WIndows.
  • I am guessing that they brought back their marketing team from when they were a mainframe company. Hopefully, somebody inside is quietly doing side work that will allow the company to survive the coming bankruptcy.
  • a robust and reliable Linux out there - its called OpenBSD.

    No need to spend any $ at al....

  • I've never used them, but this is pretty much the ultimate in hands off maintenance [informationweek.com].
  • How robust is linux? (Score:4, Informative)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:54PM (#5748072)
    I'm as much a linux fan as any other geek, hell I rely it on for my home, business, and university servers.

    But anyone who has run a linux server as a true multiuser system (i.e. with other people users, who have standard userlike weaknesses) has discovered that the linux kernel isn't as robust as say the BSD kernel. It's easy to bring a linux system to its knees with malicious or even accidental user scripts that fork bomb etc.

    Slightly different angle now, but check out this developer's response [spinics.net] to the latest ptrace vulnerability: "it's a local root hole, and there are still tons of those left out there to squash". And once those are squashed, there are lots of EZ denial of service glitches to correct too.

    I would love to see the linux kernel made more robust, like the BSD kernel. Now, whether or not Novell are the people to do it, I don't know. Personally I think that linux is still better than any Microsoft or Novell "enterprise grade" solution.

    I seriously doubt large companies have the ability, or the interest, in making any operating system truly robust. But "we" can do it I'm sure, because we know what we really want.
  • NDS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WCMI92 (592436) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:55PM (#5748076) Homepage
    The one thing that Novell could REALLY bring to Linux that'd revolutionize it would be NDS.

    Of all the network directory services, I FAR prefer dealing with Novell NDS than I do Active Directory (a poor MS clone of NDS hacked onto NT 4's way of doing things that debuted with Win 2K server). An open source implimentaion of NDS on Linux would make Linux THE file server of choice...

    The underlying Netware OS is horribly obsolete, still a DOS relic of the 1980's, but Novell Directory Services is the REAL gem Novell has left.
  • by mj01nir (153067) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:40PM (#5748323)
    If you came away from this article thinking that the big news was Novell 'dissing Linux, then you've missed the bigger point.

    ...Linux would serve as the migration path for the company's flagship NetWare network operating system. Afterwards, in an exclusive interview, he explained the move.

    With Novell planning for NetWare 7 to be a set of services running on both the NetWare kernel and the Linux kernel...


    And there you have it. NetWare is giving way to Linux. NetWare 7 will be the migration path to Lin. Will NetWare 8 simply be Novell's Linux distro? So what will those services that run on NW and Lin be? eDirectory, GroupWise, and ZENWorks mainly. Plus newer stuff like iChain, iFolder, Portal Services, DirXML, et. al.

    This really isn't a huge surprise. NetWare 6 shipped with Apache/Tomcat and 6.5 will include MySQL. So Novell has been getting tighter with OSS for some time now. And then there is the sad story of SuperNOS from back in the day.

    Even if none of you run any of this stuff, this still has to be considered a win for Linux and OSS.
  • Links of interest (Score:2, Informative)

    by sharph (171971)
    Novell Forge [novell.com], Novell's Source Forge like thing. Some propoganda from Novells site. [novell.com]
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @06:24AM (#5749873)
    Seems to be their claim to fame these days.

    They are simply, unnecessary, and have been for a good few years now. It'll take them a while to work through their financial reserves, but eventually they will wither and die like the dinosaurs they are.

    Open source is like the asteroid which smashed into the earth destroying the ecosystem the dinosaurs needed to survive. It's literally pulling the financial flora out from underneath them. What will rise up in the aftermath? Mammals. Small, fast and flexible companies which can thrive on resources which wouldn't have fed a dinosaur for a day.

    Just keep out of their way as they go through their death throes.

  • by Openadvocate (573093) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @07:17AM (#5750059)
    What idiot would publish this bashing?
    This is the company that had Directory Services up and running before Microsoft got the idea to put the word Directory after Active.(and still haven't understood what it should to).
    Also they have worked on integrating Linux and UNIX systems into their services, having them work together instead of trying to kill it.

    And finally I'd say if you have trouble keeping a Netware server up and running, perhaps you should look at the skills of the people operating them. The same stupid comment goes for people changing to Microsoft from UNIX.

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