A clarification was made to this story. Read below for details.
The chief technology officer (CTO) of Novell's Open Platform Solutions Group, Markus Rex, has hit back at criticism the company included an "unstable" Xen virtualisation environment in its new Linux server, pointing to support from hardware partners.
Xen, primarily developed by US-based start-up XenSource, allows users to run multiple operating systems as guest virtual machines on the same hardware.
"If you look at the Xen open source project, we have been the
number two contributor during the past 10 months or so to that
project. So we've kind of contributed most of the enterprise
readiness for the Xen platform," Rex said.
Red Hat only had to look at Novell's launch of its new server
for testimony that Xen was enterprise ready, according to
"We had all the major hardware partners that had
virtualisation hardware like IBM, Intel and AMD. They all stood
up and said 'Yes, this technology's ready, and we fully support
deployments based on Xen and in combination with SUSE Linux
"So I guess the other vendors would not do that if it weren't
Novell had a track record of being the first to expand the
Linux platform, while competitors had often claimed the additions
weren't ready, he said.
"It's up to each vendor on when to include certain
technologies," Rex said.
"We always have been very much on the forefront of technology,
so I think it's just fitting that we have been the first ones to
Rex said the rollout was "still an ongoing process", but that
the company was on track with its two year old goals.
"The whole company has been using OpenOffice now for about a
"[This] was the far more painful transition than [changing]
the actual underlying operating system because it's the day to
day application that you use and it touches all your file formats
Novell had "80 something percent" of its people with Linux on
their desktops, Rex said.
The rollout in Novell China was complete; "most of" Novell
Germany was done, and "virtually all" of Novell's technical teams
around the world ran Linux on the desktop, he said.
Some Novell staff would still use Windows in addition to Linux
on the desktop for certain functions, such as software
development, said Rex.
Novell executives also downplayed the recent replacement of
the company's chief executive and chief financial officers.
"There have been a couple of different phases inside Novell,"
"And each of the different phases had its unique needs."
Novell turned to
Linux-based software when it completed the acquisition of SUSE
Linux in 2004.
"Now we've reached the next phase. And each of the phases have
different people doing the key decisions," said Rex.
"I've been involved with all three phases and I've worked with
all three groups of people.
"It was not necessarily so much different ... it's like a
"Whether it's better off or worse off [without former CEO Jack
Messman], this is something I cannot really say."
Messman was replaced by Ron Hovsepian, formerly Novell's chief operating officer.
Clarification: The story has been updated to clarify that Markus Rex is the CTO of Novell's Open Platform Solutions Group rather than CTO of the company as originally stated.