LinuxWorld: Novell's debutante ball

New partnerships with server makers Dell and Egenera will be among the displays of Novell's newly bought Linux status at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo beginning Wednesday. Novell, whose NetWare operating system lost out to Microsoft in the server market in the 1990s, hitched its cart to a new horse with its $210 million purchase of SuSE Linux this month. SuSE lagged behind Linux market share leader Red Hat, but Novell is hoping its cash, customer connections and intellectual property will provide a boost.

Examples of SuSE's gradual gains include the finalization of an expected support partnership with Dell, the last of the four major server makers to make the move. And start-up Egenera, which began its Linux server business offering only Red Hat, also will include SuSE in the fold. IBM, which has relied on SuSE to bring Linux support to its five server lines, endorsed the acquisition with a $50 million investment and believes Novell's move puts SuSE on a better footing in comparison to Red Hat.

"We think this is a very healthy thing, because it provides a good balance between the two," said Scott Handy, vice president for IBM's Linux strategy and market development.

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