Third, if you're serious about Linux in the enterprise, you may be a serious Novell shop in the next few years.
No mainstream software vendor has aligned its future with the fortunes of enterprise Linux as firmly as Novell has. From replacing the NetWare kernel with the Linux kernel to providing Linux-based security middleware and offering Linux desktops with access to Microsoft Exchange, Novell is doing the best job of putting its money where Linux is. Do Novell customers care? Probably not, because they were happy with the old Novell. The Linux initiatives were designed to attract a new kind of customer, one that Novell needs desperately.
Both IBM and Novell have made significant investments in Linux and open-source software over the past few years. But it's easier to understand Novell's interest than it is to understand IBM's investment in Novell. The most interesting analysis we've heard comes from Chris Barton, IT editor at The New Zealand Herald. In 1995, Novell sold Unix to SCO but retained some intellectual property rights as well as the right to waive potential violations of the Unix license. Barton suggested that IBM may be hoping $50 million buys it immunity from SCO's lawsuit. SCO, however, is now threatening to sue Novell for allegedly breaching a noncompete agreement.
Whatever the outcome, you can expect Novell to be a significant player in the Linux arena. The big question is, how many customers will pay to see that show?