Novell joins Microsoft in Anti-Linux FUD

The Novell “partnership” with Microsoft has been a hot topic in Linux circles since it was announced a few years ago. Recently, Novell and Microsoft introduced a joint-marketing site to promote their collaboration.

A few years ago, I had really high hope’s for Novell’s forays in to Linux. However; bad move after bad move has left me with no confidence in Novell or their Linux products. I can’t say I was shocked to find this work of misinformation touting the “benefits” of Novell over Redhat and “unpaid” Linux.

Novell has this lovely chart to highlight the benefits of SUSE over “unpaid” Linux. “Unpaid” is a complete spin word, sounding like something Karl Rove cooked up in a focus group.

Novell FUD Chart:

fud chart

With the exception of phone and on-Site support, community based Linux does everything listed in this table. As someone who was worked with Novell and Redhat in multiple enterprise environments, their phone support offerings are not very good. On-site support? For Linux? Why would anyone need a Novell presence on-site? Unless you’re doing a training or consulting engagement (ie not support,) their is no need for Novell to come on site.

Online support with community distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian is generally far superior to Novell’s online support. Novell’s Suse forums are a ghost town compared to the Ubuntu community.

Security and system updates via community Linux outclass Novell. Novell’s update system via yast is woefully inadequate. Debian and Ubuntu provide a much better mechanism for updates. Novell provides a crappy method for patching SLES systems, because they want their big customers to buy Zenworks to handle their Linux infrastructure.

In a nutshell, nearly every point in the Novell vs. “Unpaid” section is wrong with the exception of phone and on-site support. Having dealt with Novell and other commercial distributions in the past, phone support is completely overrated. Typically, community based distributions offer higher quality support for no cost.

So why buy Novell and Redhat? If you are using Linux as the platform for Oracle or some other proprietary product, typically commercial distros are the only route. Is there any other valid reason? Its certainly not for the quality of support.

I guess it boils down to the fact that most IT shops want someone to blame/call when something goes terribly wrong.

  • http://www.open-source-depot.com/blog Open Source Depot

    Your last sentence sums it up perfectly.

    “I guess it boils down to the fact that most IT shops want someone to blame/call when something goes terribly wrong.”

    When your boss asks “what’s the status of situation-x” it’s always easier to say “I have placed a call to Novell support and they are looking into it” than say “I checked the online forums and I have no idea what’s going on”. However, I did find out how to install compiz :-)

  • http://volomike.com volomike

    And this is why I just cannot understand why Debian or Ubuntu don’t become the defacto install on web hosting providers instead of CentOS, and why I don’t see most companies switching enmasse to Debian or Ubuntu. I mean, it’s far easier to install/uninstall stuff, and far less custom compiling is necessary, and Canonical has a tech support option unless you can find the answer in ubuntuforums.org forum.

  • http://www.fsf.org Rev3lde GNU/LINUX

    Long live to Richard Stallman!

    Novell TRAITORS! FUCK YOU NOVELL! YOU SUCKS!

    GNU LINUX RULZ!! LONG LIVE TO Debian/Gentoo/Arch/Slackware!

  • John Smith

    The site is hosted on Microsoft-IIS/6.0 on windows. And check this out: http://www.moreinterop.com/pdf/default.aspx?filename=../rss/RSSFeed.aspx.cs

    You can download any file you want. :) How nice of them.

  • http://www.gpatrol.com Ty Miles

    “And this is why I just cannot understand why Debian or Ubuntu don’t become the defacto install on web hosting providers instead of CentOS, and why I don’t see most companies switching enmasse to Debian or Ubuntu. I mean, it’s far easier to install/uninstall stuff, and far less custom compiling is necessary, and Canonical has a tech support option unless you can find the answer in ubuntuforums.org forum.”

    As said in the post above, using Cent OS you have a far bigger selection of enterprise apps then Ubuntu. For instance, if I want to install Lotus Domino and Notes, on CentOS I just follow the Red Hat install since Domino and Notes are certified on Red Hat Enterprise and Cent is a clone.

    Also honestly Suse Enterprise Linux is very good. The interesting thing to me is that no one has made a Suse clone.

  • x00r

    Very nice. Thank you.
    BTW: There are companies build upon “unpaid” linux. And we grow much fater then others do :}

  • ZILOG_Z80A

    YA NOVELL MOTHER FUCKER, YA BASTARD EAT SHIT AN DIE!

  • Davide

    I cite:
    “With the exception of phone and on-Site support, community based Linux does everything listed in this table”.

    Yes, it’s true. But does the community takes the responsibility for what they say? I mean, if I pay a support to Novell or RadHat I expect they are responsible on what they say and, as company, I also could subpoena them if I’m not happy about its services.
    Can I say the same for the community? Can a CIO base the infrastructure on the community support for running the company core business?

    I don’t think so….

    So please be more precise. The matter is much more complex than how you are painting it. Especially when we talk about business.
    Therefore I consider your post at the same level of Microvell misinformation.

  • Alan

    I hear the “neck to choke” argument all the time where I work, but frankly I don’t think it holds water. Think about it: when one of your Windows systems goes down, do you call up Microsoft and demand support and accountability? 9 times out of 10 you don’t deal with the vendor at all, you have a staff of MCSEs to reboot, repair, or reinstall. Why don’t businesses adopt this attitude with Linux?

    We run SLES and Debian where I work, the SLES is the boss’s choice, the Debian is mine. For all we pay in support costs, I have called Novell once in two years and it was clear I knew more about Linux than the guy I was talking to.

    And whoever commented on the forums was absolutely right.

  • abc

    @John Smith:

    Even better, at
    http://www.moreinterop.com/pdf/default.aspx?filename=../contact/default.aspx

    you can find the page that their contact form can not find, due to an incorrect file name (…./Default.aspx) :-P

  • rg.viza

    Before slinging mud at Novell, you need to look at red hat too. This is business as usual for any paid version of an “enterprise” linux.

    CentOS is Red Hat ES for free and you don’t get support with it outside of the usual mailing list/forum stuff provided by the community, so that chart could easily be used for Red Hat ES or any enterprise linux.

    Novell is just selling it. While their marketing is misleading, I have yet to see *any* marketing rap that isn’t misleading. It’s all hype and bullshit. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with them selling their distro… o/

    This isn’t anti-linux fud, it’s common knowledge. If you pay you get support. If you don’t, you get help from community and submit bugs through FOSS channels.

    Before you call me a Novell/SuSE stiff, I use Gentoo at home, Ded Rat at work on my servers 8)

    -Viz

  • Icee

    “when one of your Windows systems goes down, do you call up Microsoft and demand support and accountability?”

    Actually yes you do. If you are developing applications or anything else… For the same reasons you would call a linux vendor you would call Microsoft. Deal with thousands of servers and developers and you will more than likely hit a undocumented issue on both platforms.

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  • eyes_wide_open

    It staggers me that anyone’s surprised at what comes out of Novell.

    Notice the way people have flocked to Suse since the deal with MS?
    Me either.

    Linux had its day and MS won. They won because they’re liars and vote riggers and far better at embracing and extinguishing than Linux is at self promotion.
    Some of the replies above show the sort of mentality of some Linux users. It just doesn’t help to post words full of fucks and capitals.

    Besides – have you used OSX?
    The best kept secret in IT is OSX. For years I chased ease of use, first through Windows and then through Linux. In both cases there are too many corners and rough edges. Then I got an Apple. Haven’t looked back.

  • http://alexvalentine.org asv

    @ lcce

    I’ve dealt with undocumented issues on both commercial and community linux distributions. I’ve had a greater level of responsiveness from the community distributions.

    @ eye_wide_open

    Linux is growing by leaps and bounds, so I don’t what planet your living on..

    As far as OSX is concerned, its a great home/SMB desktop OS. Its great for designers and marketing departments, but its not a general purpose corporate desktop or server. OSX is no competition for Linux. You could also reverse that and say that desktop Linux is no competition for OSX. yet.. :)

  • davemc

    I agree with pretty much all you have to say in this piece except for the following:

    “On-site support? For Linux? Why would anyone need a Novell presence on-site? Unless you’re doing a training or consulting engagement (ie not support,) their is no need for Novell to come on site.”

    Training = support. Part of any Linux contract must include the training involved to make the switch. Sometimes, that also means differences training when things change dramatically or when a new package is adopted large scale. One must also consider that for Novell, this is business as usual. They do not have pictures of RMS in their offices and FOSS mission statements hanging on their walls. Its business and thats all that matters to them. Linux is nothing more to them than the free medium they use to make lots of money. If they can make more money by lying to their customers then they will gladly do so, as both them and Microsoft have proven in the past. They know that the people who make the big decisions are often not the ones in the know about these things, and thus, easily fooled, so this strategy works for them. Witness Novell’s last earnings statement as evidence to this.

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  • http://www.thoughts.com/cartransmission 700R4 Transmission

    Oh!…that’s great helpful, it’s so right to me! Million thanks for the article,