[unclug] Novell and IBM team on Linux tour
David B. Rankin
david.rankin at unc.edu
Mon Dec 15 11:43:39 EST 2003
Related to the SuSE/IBM/Novell questions at the Linux meeting...
The Online Newspaper for Linux and Open Source
Title Novell and IBM team on Linux tour
Date 2003.12.11 12:00
Since November 6th, Novell and IBM have been touring the country
together doing a dog-and-pony show about how they work together and
separately to bring their customers the best -- especially the best as
that relates to Linux. I was present at the 41st stop on that tour
yesterday in Austin, Texas. This is a brief report on the message they
About 50 attendees -- not including those from the host companies --
were at the Holiday Inn not far from the IBM campuses in North Austin
yesterday. Chatting with a few of them before the session got underway,
I learned that some had come up from Houston, which is about 200 miles
southeast. Most of the folks attending are current Novell customers,
though a lot of them had some familiarity with Linux as well. The talks
were definitely aimed at current Novell users, perhaps to explain what
the company's recent acquisitions in the Linux arena mean to them.
I don't know if IBM and Novell both still sell Netware, but in the old
days they did: IBM in a blue box and Novell in a red box. The qualifying
question at the start of a support call to either was what color box did
you buy. If not the right color, you were given the phone number of the
other company's support line. The two firms have a similar relationship
today in regards to Linux. There are areas where their product offerings
and support dovetail neatly, and other areas where they overlap. Using
the term attributed to Novell's first CEO, Ray Noorda, it is an example
In the red box
Wade Tongen handled the presentation chores for Novell. Mike Persell did
the same for IBM. They took turns before the group as they shared the
two and a half hours pretty equally.
There were more than a few comparisons made between Linux and Windows
during the morning, from both the red team and the blue team. Tongen
pointed out how Microsoft customers had no choice other than to deal
with Microsoft. With Linux, he explained, there are a number of vendors
that customers can talk to to find the one best willing and able to work
Mono was more important in the Novell purchase of Ximian earlier this
year than I realized. It lines up nicely to give Novell an Linux
equivalent for its Director-AppServer and Composer-DirXMAL .Net
offerings. Novell is not interested in getting into religious wars
between proprietary and open source camps. It simply wants to provide
customers with choices.
Novell is not interested in getting involved with the KDE vs. Gnome
wars, either. It is working hard in the SuSE purchase to ensure that KDE
continues to thrive and be a vital part of the Linux landscape.
Novell was not exactly a Linux "newbie" on the day it purchased SuSE.
Before the buy (actually, the buy will not be finalized for probably
another 30 days) 600 of Novell's 1,200 support people held at least LPI
1 certification, and 200 held LPI 2 certification. Novell is setting up
its own Linux certification program for Certified Linux Engineers (CLEs).
There is overlap between Novell's ZENWorks and Ximian's Red Carpet. A
single person from Ximian is assigned the responsibility of taking the
best from each to move forward with a single software management tool.
Novell will offer all its services in the short term (the next couple of
years) on both Netware and Linux. Beyond that, they can't say if Netware
will survive. From a business point of view, it would be better to
support only one, and a big part of the value of the SuSE purchase would
be to cut costs in having one. That's a lesson that IBM seems to have
In the blue box
Mike Persell took over to bring IBM's story to the fore. He is part of
IBM's Linux Impact Team, which helps IBM internally and IBM customers to
absorb Linux technology. Persell estimates that about 7,500 folks at IBM
have Linux somewhere in their job titles. He also told us that IBM has
15,000 Linux desktops running internally. Its choice of management tool
for that desktop? What a coincidence. It's Ximian's Red Carpet.
Persell said IBM has found software management costs to be 10% lower
with Linux than with AIX. But that's not all. Software management costs
with Linux are from 20% to 40% less than with Windows. That's a nice delta.
How pervasive is Linux within IBM? Persell said that if you see the
eServer label on a black box, that means it runs Linux, regardless of
the architecture inside the box. He also commented on the fact that AMDs
processors have IBM rethinking the X86 marketplace and what can be done
there -- especially the 64-bit Opteron. It has a lot of folks at IBM
busy removing Intel from slides and replacing it with the generic X86.
It seemed Persell's biggest two points about IBM's embracing of Linux
and open source were these: on one hand it's all about open standards,
and on the other it's about IBM giving customers what they want most, a
single "throat to choke."
1. "coopetiton" - http://www.quinion.com/words/turnsofphrase/tp-coo2.htm
2. "CLEs" - http://www.novell.com/training/certinfo/cle/index.html
3. "ZENWorks" - http://www.novell.com/products/zenworks/
4. "Opteron" -
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printed from NewsForge, Novell and IBM team on Linux tour on 2003-12-15
David B. Rankin, CCNA, MCSE, CNE
Associate Director of Distributed Computing
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Administrative Information Services
440 W. Franklin Street CB 1150
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1150
Office Phone = 919.962.2435
FAX Phone = 919.962.0900
Internet Mail Address = david.rankin at unc.edu
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