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.