The move is reminiscent of a period in the 90's when, in the name of flexibility and customer choice, Novell tried to deliver Netware on Solaris and HP-UX as a part of a program called PIN, or Processor Independent NetWare (at the time, Solaris and HP-UX only ran on RISC processors). Then, Novell promised to deliver Netware on an x86-based version of Unix and the name of the new product was called UnixWare. In both cases, the plans were scuttled.
Given Novell's bungling of previous attempts to sell ported versions of Netware, I asked Ungashick why Novell should be taken seriously this time? Commenting that "this is a real product," Ungashick gives his best toe-the-Novell-line answer. But the others were real products, too (I remember testing them) and I think that the answer is pretty simple. Back in the 90's, the native version of Netware enjoyed a thriving ecosystem that was full of developers and users. Today, that ecosystem is evaporating quickly. If the company wants to preserve the remaining customers as well as restore any of the network operating system's glory from the old days, let alone Novell's glory, then it needs to hitch the Netware wagon to an ecosystem that's heading in the opposite direction: Linux. If Novell doesn't pull it off this time... well, you know what they say in baseball... three strikes and you're out.