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Novell's Buyout and What that Means for Open Source

  • March 3, 2010
  • By Developer.com Staff

If Novell is bought, how will that impact the Linux and open source arena?

That's what CNET's Matt Asay discusses in today's column.

An investment firm, Elliott Associates, has made a $1.8 billion buy-out offer to take over Novell. As Asay notes, Elliott is not a technology company, they will certainly chop up Novell's assets and sell them off as quickly as possible.

So who wins and who loses?

Novell's Suse Linux distribution is the number 2 distro, trailing way behind Red Hat. But according to Asay, Novell "has helped Microsoft keep some measure of control over its open-source competition."

"The easy view," Asay said, "is that Red Hat will benefit and Microsoft will shrug and move on, but reality may be more complicated."

If Oracle, VMware or IBM pick up Novell's Suse Linux that could rejigger the Linux landscape.

According to Asay, "each of these companies (among others) has a strong, revenue-generating software portfolio that largely obviates the need to make money on Linux directly."

"Novell's legacy has weighed down its ability to push its Linux business into top gear, a problem that won't afflict likely suitors for that business," Asay concludes.


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