Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (3349 mails)

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Re: [SLE] "Linux leaders flee Novell"...
  • From: "L. Mark Stone" <lmstone@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 09:52:46 -0400
  • Message-id: <200505100952.46429.lmstone@xxxxxxxxx>
On Tuesday, May 10, 2005 09:00 am, SuSE Ground Zero wrote:
> Predictable ... now I guess we gonna see some damage control and
> smoke screens from Novell.

FWIW, I did technology and media mergers and acquisitions for thirteen
years, and these sorts of management changes are quite common, and
although painful and sometimes disruptive in the short-term, are often
beneficial in the mid-to-long-term.

Managers who thrive in an entrepreneurial atmosphere frequently do not
do well post-acquisition. They may perceive their authority as having
been reduced (which is often true) and they may also perceive an
increase in bureaucracy. The acquiring company may have a different
corporate culture than the acquired company, which can lead to culture

Companies that do post-acquisition integrations really well (Cisco comes
to mind) have full-time teams to manage every detail, to make the
acquired company's employees feel a part of the team--and to weed out
early on those in the acquired company who won't fit in the new regime.

Although there are always many sides to every story, my observation is
that Novell gave the SuSE execs a lot of free rein (and budget) this
past year to integrate the best of Novell with SuSE. The results have
been disappointing, so now Novell is taking a more hands-on approach.

I have a personal example where SuSE execs disappointed me:

We build SLES9 servers for customers to replace NT4 and Windows 2000
servers. These SLES9 servers act essentially as competitors for, or
replacements for Microsoft Small Business Server servers. We were very
excited to see Novell release their own SBS offering based on SLES9 and
Novell directory services. What a terrific best-of-breed combination.

Novell offered special upgrade pricing for Microsoft SBS users, Novell
users, etc., but no special upgrade pricing for any SLES9 users.

When I asked Novell sales about this, I was told that no SLES9 -> Novell
SBS upgrade path was possible, because the two products' licensing
models were different. SLES9 has no limit on client connections
whereas the Novell SBS product does. So what? No trade-in, no
nothing. The only option to avoid having unused licenses is to wait
out the expiration of an existing SLES9 maintenance agreement, and then
buy the Novell SBS product. Oh, and forget about migrating existing
user accounts or other settings. I was told you can only do a fresh
install of the Novell SBS product and there is no way to import user
account settings from an existing SLES9 installation.

So, not only did Novell punish existing small business users with higher
prices for being early adopters of vanilla SLES9, but they did nothing
to help existing SLES9 users migrate to a new, enhanced product bundle.

Separately, this list has a number of comments from long time SuSE users
who believe that the legendary SuSE QA controls have somehow slipped

All this while the SuSE execs were apparently running the show.

So, I am welcoming these executive changes. I respect the substantial
achievements these now-departed executives made in taking SuSE to the
level it has reached. But to take SuSE Linux to the next level, as
part of a larger entity, it seems to me that new faces are needed.

If you long for the SuSE of old, we cannot turn back the clocks. I hope
that the new executives in charge at Novell/SuSE will build on the best
that SuSE has to offer, integrate that with the best that Novell has to
offer, and market it in a customer-friendly way. And I think it only
fair that we give them a shot at doing so.

With best regards to all,

A Message From... L. Mark Stone

Reliable Networks of Maine, LLC

"We manage your network so you can manage your business."

477 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
Tel: (207) 772-5678

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