Novell banging desktop Linux drum hard

Rooting for Novell to gain against Microsoft is a little like rooting for the New York Mets to beat the Atlanta Braves. (Or the Braves to beat the Yankees.)

Jack MessmanPaul Murphy has a nice piece up asking what can be done to increase support for desktop Linux. (That's Novell CEO Jack Messman to the left.)

He wrote the same day that Novell launched its European Brainshare conference in Barcelona, where the answer was "we'e doing all we can." 

As readers of this space know, Novell is pushing its SUSE Linux as a desktop solution. I've been skeptical, and I've been criticized for my skepticism.

But Novell and Microsoft have a history here, and it's been mostly one-way. Novell, remember, once owned the small business networking space with NetWare. It fought PR wars against Microsoft throughout the early 1990s, although it was probably the Internet that put the final nail in that coffin.

So now Novell is the big advocate of open systems and open source. CEO Messman now expects a rush to SUSE once companies see the cost of upgrading to Microsoft Vista. (Or once they get poked by what used to be Microsoft Longhorn.) Novell says SUSE 10 will be a retail product, with over 1,500 applications ready-to-run when it ships next month. The company says it's gaining in the data center, and in workgroups, although the latter is mostly at the expense of Netware.

Rooting for Novell to gain against Microsoft is a little like rooting for the New York Mets to beat the Atlanta Braves. (Or for my Braves to beat the Yankees.) Perhaps the best news from Brainshare is that, because this is Linux, we don't have to.

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