Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

Summary: In an interview, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn discusses his plans for Novell, SUSE and Linux.


Now that Attachmate owns Novell, what does the formerly obscure company plan to do with its $2.2-billion operating system and networking prize? I interviewed Attachmate via e-mail CEO Jeff Hawn and this is what he told me.

Before launching into the interview, I'll note that most of Novell's senior executive staff won't be hanging around. Ron Hovsepian; President and CEO; Dana Russell, CFO; John Dragoon,  CMO; and Markus Rex, SVP and General Manager of open platforms and long time SUSE leader have all left. So it is that Attachmate is starting with a clean management slate.

SJVN: What's the plan for Novell's offerings?

JH: Business will operate as usual at Novell. We intend to operate the company as an individual business unit, meaning that there is a direct line of sight between sales, marketing, technical and professional services, product management and engineering. Novell will operate autonomously and now has the ability to focus and dedicate resources on the needs of their customers.

Current Novell and SUSE product roadmaps will remain in place. The Attachmate Group does not end-of-life products and we do not force customers to move to/from any products - we are focused on meeting the needs of our customers and that is our first priority.

SJVN: What's the plan for SUSE's offering?

JH: We are bringing together the products and people associated with the Novell OPS [Open Platform Solutions] business and forming a new dedicated business unit under the SUSE brand. The fundamentals remain the same: a passionate commitment to quality engineering and excellent customer service. But, this new BU structure will enable the focus, agility and adaptability required to aggressively pursue the rapidly growing enterprise Linux market opportunity. Customers, service providers and industry partners are ready for the technical performance, business value and world-class service SUSE can offer as a focused business unit.

SJVN: Why split Novell and SUSE?

JH: SUSE was acquired by Novell some time ago, and we see tremendous potential in this technology. Our hope is to bring prominence to it by giving it individual branding as a separate business unit. By separating both Novell and SUSE, we can give each of these brands the focus they need to meet the needs of their specific customers and ensure that they are successful.

SJVN: Who will manage them? I'm presuming they'll have separate management teams? Will SUSE be headed out of Germany again?

JH: Novell and SUSE will each be run by a President and General Manager, and both ultimately report to me. Novell will be headquartered in Provo, Utah and managed by President and General manager Bob Flynn. SUSE will be headquartered in Nuremburg, Germany and will be run by Nils Brauckmann, President and General Manager.

SJVN: What plans does Attachmate for Novell/SUSE's open-source offerings? E.g. openSUSE and Mono.

JH: SUSE sponsorship and participation in key open-source projects is a fundamental element of the business. This commitment is driven by a desire to contribute to and collaborate with the community in a way that fosters the success of open source technologies overall and creates the greatest value for our customers. The openSUSE project is a great example of vibrant and healthy collaboration. SUSE sponsorship and participation in projects like openSUSE creates great value for the community and also for SUSE customers who benefit from the innovations and advancements we create together.

SJVN: What will Attachmate's acquisition mean for Novell/SUSE's partnerships with Microsoft? With its VARs?

JH: Microsoft and our partners will continue to play an important role for all of The Attachmate Group business units. There are no changes to our existing partners and channels.

SJVN: Will Novell/SUSE continue its membership with the Open Invention Network [an open-source patent protection group]? The Linux Foundation?

JH:: We will continue our membership in the Open Invention Network as well as The Linux Foundation.

So, what does all this mean? Well, for customers, partners and developers it sounds like business as usual. Still, with such a clean management slate we're going to have to wait and see how things really come out in the next few months. For the moment, if I were working with Novell I'd be cautiously optimistic.

Related Stories:

Novell Deals Done

Microsoft gets Novell’s Patents rights but must share them with Open-Source Software

OpenSUSE 11.4: SUSE Linux Revitalized

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Software

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  • By the looks of it, nobody seems interested in this story.

    I find it interesting that Attachmate chose to split out SUSE and yield management control to expertise in Germany.

    We will follow closely the developments between SUSE and openSUSE...
    Dietrich T. Schmitz ~~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz ~~ Your Linux Advocate

      Exactly, which reflects the general public's interest in Novell and Linux.
      • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

        @aep528 - the majority of the public. Nothing wrong with niche interests...
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz ~~ Your Linux Advocate You & me both. I hadn't expected the SUSE split and I'm still not sure what to make of it. I'll be watching this closely.

  • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

    I've seen these "no change" acquisitions several times and for anyone who believes it we have the words of Nelson Muntz: "haw, haw--you fell for it."
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

      @Bill4 I have to agree, new owners always give the 'Steady as she goes' speech, as they don't want customers jumping ship before they can leave the customers high and dry.
      Only time will tell.
      • Attachmate milks the long tail

        Attachmate has a long history of milking the long tail of technologies by nursing them along with minimal engineering investment. Their primary line of business is VT100 emulator clients for various operating systems, with a Windows and Office integration focus.

        Now, you might be asking, "How do you integrate a VT100 terminal with Microsoft Office?" I've seen this beast and it's like the Grand Canyon: Words don't do it justice, nor pictures, nor video. The thing itself is beyond human ken, but even depiction fails. You have to experience this sort of thing for yourself to understand that you cannot understand it. You have to stand on the edge and have your mind reject the input of your eyes.
  • Good to see SUSE split off from Novell

    SuSE was always my favourite Linux before I switched to Windows (and when I use Linux, I still choose openSUSE first). I was disappointed when SuSE were acquired by Novell, which seemed to me to be a fading vendor of obsolete networking software. I'm glad control will go back to Nuremburg (and, as small as it seems, to see 'Novell' disappear from the 'SUSE' name).
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans


      I have no used Linux in a while, but it was also my favourite.
  • Interesting. The split looks good.

    SUSE back to it's roots in Germany, with considerable freedom of operation. This can only benefit both SUSE, openSUSE and Linux in general.

    Off topic: now we have a clear distinction in national origin again, between the major Linux distributions: the American Linux (Red Hat / Fedora), the British Linux (Ubuntu, which is only South African in name!), the French Linux (Mandriva) and the German Linux (SUSE / openSUSE).
  • Bury Novell Already !

    Novell is synonymous with last century, out dated, antiquated software. Just bury the name already and then do whatever they plan on doing with SUSE. Gadzooks!
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans


      Don't know much about situation of Novell but what's personally important is my Open SUSE 11.4 KDE works very, very well. It's a great Linux distro indeed.
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

      @jpr75_z - didn't Microsoft copy Novell's directory services concept and market it as "Active Directory"?

      The marketing made Novell look old. But what's life without a straw man and a few red herrings from Redmond?
      • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

        Yes, MS copied from Novell and they in turn copied from Banyan Vines.
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

      @jpr75_z <br>I administred Novell servers back in the day and it may be "outdated" but NetWare is still a solid NOS. BTW the AS/400 running OS/400 is most likely antiquated by your standards, but that is probably the best engineered hardware and software I've ever worked with.<br><br>Bert
  • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

    I don't see SuSE surviving at all now that Novell is divorced from it. On the enterprise front Redhat is killing everyone whilst on the desktop, openSUSE is not a robust or well supported distro for adoption. I used it for a number of years and I'm glad I dumped it in favor of both Ubuntu and Debian - both of which are well supported and have a clear direction.

    Unity is another matter though - it's clunky and god-awful.
    • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

      @bitrate How in the world is openSUSE not robust or supported, especially considering the openSUSE Build Service and SUSE Studio? Novell and now Attachmate sell SLED and SLES anyway, not openSUSE. Linux Action Show ran a segment about job growth in the Linux market by distro, and at the moment SUSE is the most-named distro when specific distro experience is required in job ads.

      You shoot yourself in the foot with your admission about Unity - I guess that would be a clear direction toward "clunky and god-awful"?
  • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

    I have always been a SuSe fan / user .. brief excursions with RH and Fedora as well as Mandrake (Mandriva) and Ubuntu... I always go back to SuSe. As far as Novell (started with 2.2) MSFT did in a sense pirate NDS which is far Superior to ADS in my opinion
  • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

  • RE: Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans

    Can Attachmate fix this?