Ramblings of James Gosling, a Novell enthusiast, Network Engineer and IT consultant specializing in Novell products. An Open Enterprise Server enthusiast on Novell Netware & SUSE Linux, a strong Novell advocate. He uses an array of Novell products and shares his thoughts and experiences.

Archive for the 'Novell & SUSE' Category

If it ain’t Microsoft, it’s in fashion behind the Great Firewall

Worries about US spying in China have sparked new interest in Novell’s venerable NetWare product line.

NetWare ruled the LANS of the early 1990s, providing file, print and directory services in the days of client/server. Like so many other companies of the era, Novell struck trouble once Microsoft arrived in its patch. Windows NT 4.0’s improved domain services, and strengths as an application server*, made life hard for Novell.

The company eventually decided to walk the open source path, developing NetWare Open Enterprise Server (OES) and offering customers the chance to use either a Novell kernel or that of SUSE Linux. In January 2014, OES recently received a second support pack for its 11th version, and continues to offer the file, print and directory services that made the company’s name.

Boris Ivanovic, the company’s veep and general manager for Asia, today told The Regthat combination of features is proving popular in China, where net new sales of NetWare OES are on the rise.

Your correspondent joked that this might be attributable to the activities of one E. Snowden, late of Moscow. Ivanovic quickly agreed, saying products that have nothing to do with Microsoft play very well in the Middle Kingdom at the moment.

Novell’s not leading with NetWare these days. Instead, the company’s talking up the combination of the “Filr” share ‘n’ sync tool and the ZenWorks Mobile Management tools as a fine way to provide mobile workers with access to on-premises file server. President and general manager Kathleen Owens says Novell customers are as keen as anyone else to support bring your own device (BYOD), and also just as keen to do so securely. Filr taps into Novell’s directory services expertise – and integrates with other directories – to help make remote file access take place while conforming to other policies.

Keeping GroupWise customers on the platform is another priority, with pointing out the cost of a rip-and-replace project an argument that she said holds water with many users.

Novell’s parent company Attachmate recently announced its intention to merge with MicroFocus. The combined entity will employ about 1,400 people and combine platforms, security, application re-platforming and application management. Combined revenues will exceed a billion dollars a year, making the group a more-than-decently-sized enterprise software player. ®

* Novell always felt that its NetWare Loadable Module application server deserved more attention than developers were willing to give it. And as it happens NLMs kinda almost live on. Here’s why: the first commercial NLM was Cheyenne Software’s ARCserve. Cheyenne was eventually slurped by CA, which only recently spun out ARCserve as an independent entity. I’ve no way of knowing if there’s a single line of code that’s made the journey.

Software and service company Novell has announced several solution upgrades focused on file management and collaboration.

The firm is launching updated versions of Novell Filr 1.1, Novell File Reporter 2.5 and Novell Storage Manager 4.0 that should allow businesses to store, share and manage files more securely.

Novell confirmed that the upgrades were designed to provide increased security at a time where business deals are increasingly taking place via digital contracts. The company cited a recent Forrester report that stated that employees are dealing with external clients or vendors on an almost daily basis.

“The security stakes increase as teams, customers, and business partners are more dispersed and more is done online and in digital formats such as signing contracts and submitting/transmitting sensitive information,” the report claimed.

Some of the new features introduced for the Filr 1.1 software include performance improvements related to indexing, synchronisation and load management, alongside mobile app developments such as support for Windows Phone.

Novell File Reporter has also gained additional features such as increased customisation across query report data, while users now have the option of downloading stored reports for offline viewing. Users of Novell Storage Manager 4.0 will experience greater flexibility with the introduction of ad hoc data copying.

 Eric Varness, Novell’s vice president of marketing and content management said that the updates were necessary for his firm to deliver a flexible software platform that doesn’t compromise on security.

News on continued collaboration between SUSE and Microsoft:

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that users of Window Azure cloud platform would be able to easily spin up instances of SUSE Linux Enterprise, thanks to the general availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise on that cloud platform.

Collaboration, though, works both ways. Microsoft has made it easier for Azure customers to deploy instances of SUSE Linux Enterprise on the public cloud, so it only seems fair to return the favor and offer improved support for Windows Server’s Hyper-V virtualization platform on our SUSE Cloud product.

SUSE Cloud is based on OpenStack, which has always been hypervisor-agnostic, supporting Xen, KVM, QEMU, LXC, and ESX(i) right alongside Hyper-V. But the changes announced today at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco improves upon SUSE Cloud’s Hyper-V support even more, enabling customers to select Hyper-V as a virtualization technology to run private clouds based on SUSE Cloud.

This solution specifically streamlines the automated installation of Hyper-V-based compute nodes and the rapid dispatching of workloads across a private cloud infrastructure.

Such interoperability between SUSE Cloud and Hyper-V will enable enterprises to standardize their open source private clouds on the same technology they may also use in public clouds, such as Windows Azure, or on the Windows Server machines used in their data centers if they’re working in a heterogeneous environment. Our approach to SUSE Cloud, then, mirrors our perfect guest strategy that we use with SUSE Linux Enterprise, in which we have long supported SUSE Linux Enterprise running on Xen, KVM, ESX, and Hyper-V.

Does this mean we’re somehow diminishing the support we have for other hypervisors in SUSE Cloud? Not a chance. We’re still providing seamless support for other hypervisors in SUSE Cloud, because the end result – providing the exact tools the customer needs – is still our number one goal.

Original article:

Novell has announced the release of Novell Filr, a file sharing solution that provides seamless, anywhere, any-device access to corporate files, while giving IT complete control of all shared files. Novell Filr is the result of Novell’s history as the pioneer of networked file and print services and, unlike cloud-based file sharing solutions like Dropbox, Skydrive or Google Drive, it is built specifically for the enterprise.

Novell Filr leverages an organisation’s existing on-premise infrastructure, eliminating the need to manage third-party services, rebuild access controls, or regulate the use of unapproved file sharing applications. By integrating with existing file systems, Novell Filr essentially mobilises the files users have already created, right where they’re already stored—without the security or compliance risks that come with storing files in a cloud controlled by a third party.

According to a recent Gartner report, file synchronisation and sharing are critical capabilities for organisations with a highly mobile workforce and the need to accommodate today’s BYOD trends. “We expect IT organisations will face increasing demand for these capabilities, with deeper focus on security and compliance by regulated or security-conscious enterprises,” said Gartner Analysts Monica Basso and Jeffrey Mann.

The wild proliferation of mobile devices has created a pressing need not only for mobile device management, but for mobile content management. The ability to let mobile workers access, share and collaborate on files is key to any mobility initiative and a critical component of contemporary business success.  Novell Filr enables all of these capabilities, while keeping files on the corporate server with their access rights, quotas, backup systems, firewalls, disaster recovery protocols and existing policies intact.

“With our 30-year legacy in file and networking services and our commitment to providing security-focused solutions that drive workplace productivity, we are changing the game with Novell Filr – a true enterprise-quality solution for mobile file access and sharing,” said Bob Flynn, Novell President and General Manager. “Unlike any other file sharing solution on the market today, Novell Filr provides the access and collaboration capabilities to keep employees happy and productive, while meeting IT’s need for enhanced security, compliance and the ability to leverage established policies and protocols.”

Novell Filr enables organisations to maintain productivity anytime, anywhere, while taking advantage of existing security policies and procedures for secure file sharing. Some of Novell Filr’s features include:

  • On Premise Solution: Avoid abandoning the infrastructure you’ve already built and help keep files secure in accordance with established data security policies and procedures.
  • Immediate Access to Files: Novell Filr leverages existing policies and procedures to auto-populate employees’ folders, thus providing immediate access to files across a network.
  • Cross-Platform Integration: Enables businesses to leverage existing investments, including NetIQ eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory.
  • Secure File Sharing Internally and Externally: While files can be shared inside and outside the organisation, they remain on existing enterprise file servers, eliminating the need to move or duplicate files.
  • Global Search: Search capabilities are granted across organisations based on users’ access rights.
  • Offline Access: Users can access files from anywhere, at any time, on any device – whether connected or not – and changes will be synchronised when back online.
  • Collaboration: Provides the ability for numerous employees to add commentary and work on a single document simultaneously while keeping the document secure.

Novell Filr is the newest addition to Novell’s rapidly growing mobility portfolio and a response to enterprise demand for secure mobile file access and sharing.

Original article here:


ZDNet’s J.A.Watson takes a look at the latest release of OpenSuSE…

The leading edge of the deluge of new Linux releases has reached us, in the form of openSuSE 12.3.

The news is good – in fact, it’s very good.

I said when openSuSE 12.2 was released that I really liked it, and I feel even more strongly so now with 12.3. So strongly, in fact, that I already have 12.3 installed as the default boot on all of my computers.

That covers a very wide range of hardware, with CPUs from Intel (Core2Duo, various Atom versions and Core i3/i5) and AMD (C50/C60/C70 and E350/E450); with memory from as little as 1GB to as much as 6GB, graphic controllers from Intel (965) and AMD (various Radeon models); Wi-Fi adapters from Broadcom, Atheros, Intel and Ralink; wired network adapters from Marvell, Broadcom, Realtek and Intel; Bluetooth adapters; audio controllers; and whatever else this variety of notebooks and netbooks have in them.

I haven’t had a single device that didn’t work, and I didn’t have to do any special adjustment, configuration, driver download, compiling or anything else.

A release recap

The release announcement gives a quick look at the highlights, and is well worth the couple of minutes it takes to read it.  The release notes give much more in-depth information about this release, including known bugs, quirks, limitations and workarounds for a few things.

Even if you’re familiar with installing Linux in general or openSuSE in particular, it’s worthwhile at least scanning through these notes. On the downloads page you can get either KDE or Gnome 3 Live ISO images, and a complete DVD Installer image.  Oh, and the Rescue image on that page is actually an Xfce Live image as well.

If you prefer the cinnamon or MATE desktops, those can be added to the Gnome 3 version after installation, via the GUI add/remove software utility or directly from the CLI using zypper.

The Live images are smaller and thus faster to download than the DVD image (Duh), and faster and easier to copy to a USB stick or burn to a disk, so if you don’t specifically need something from the DVD I recommend using the live media.

If you already have a running Linux system, you can dd the ISO image to a USB stick and be ready to install in just a couple of minutes.

Also, the DVD ISO is not a live image, it is only an installer, so you can’t boot it to try out the operating system, and you can’t jump out of the installation procedure and run some other program during installation.

The DVD image can also be used to upgrade and existing openSuSE installation, which the Live images can not do.

Installation is exceptionally easy – those who are unhappy with Fedora’s latest anaconda installer might be happy with the openSuSE installer, as it is clear and easy to use, and doesn’t try to do any of the fancy footwork that anaconda does (personally I like the new anaconda, but that’s not important right now).

I was very surprised, pleased and impressed to find that the openSuSE installer handles UEFI, including Secure Boot, with no trouble at all, including detecting and mounting the EFI boot partition.

EFI Boot Partition
Installer shows the EFI boot partition

There is one catch, though, which is mentioned in the release notes — even when it detects UEFI boot and gets the disk configuration right, when you get to the final summary screen it will have the wrong bootloader selected – it tries to install normal (non-EFI) Grub2.

The wrong bootloader

You have to select the boot configuration item from the summary list and change that selection to grub2-efi.  This is also where you can specify that you want Secure Boot support.

Select the grub2-efi bootloader

Of course, if you are not installing on a UEFI BIOS system, you don’t need to worry about any of this, the installation will be the same as it always has been.

In either case, installation on all of my systems has taken less than 15 minutes. The first boot after the installation has completed will perform an ‘automatic configuration’, for which the Network Manager is disabled. If you’re installing on a system with a wired network connection, you might not even notice the difference — but if you have wireless connection, you are likely to see that the Network Manager icon is missing from the panel, and even if you manage to find and click it there will be no wireless networks listed and it will inform you that Network Manager is not running.

No worries, don’t panic, just reboot one more time and all will be well.

So, once you have it installed, what makes it so great that I was raving about it at the beginning of this post?

What makes 12.3 a winner?

First, it works without any extra effort or special installation on all of the systems I have tried so far – every network adapter, every graphic controller, and every other device I’ve tried.

This is in large part because it is running Linux kernel 3.7, and there has been a lot of activity over the past couple of kernel releases in keeping up with new device drivers.

It also has the latest release of KDE (4.10); LibreOffice 3.6 including Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation and Database; Mozilla Firefox 19.0.2 and Konqueror 4.10 for web browsing; Amarok 2.7, GIMP 2.8.2  and digiKam 3.0.

I’m particularly pleased with that last one, because I really like digiKam and I use it a lot, so I like to keep up with the latest versions.

All of the kipi utilities are included for photo processing – one of my favorites in this group is hugin for stitching multiple images into a panorama.  Of course, there is a lot more included, even in the Live versions, but if one of your favorites isn’t there, you can always add it after installation.

I did this with kMyMoney, which I use quite a lot, and although the FOSS Radeon graphic display drivers work very well for ordinary use, I decided to try out the proprietary AMD Catalyst drivers as well.

The openSuSE Wiki has a page about the AMD Catalyst package, with an overview of supported hardware, links and instructions for 1-click install, GUI/Yast install and command line/zypper install. I used 1-click install, and it worked perfectly and couldn’t have been easier.

Another positive aspect of this release is that the laptop Fn-keys work on every system I have tried so far, too, at least for volume up/down/mute, brightness up/down and touchpad off/on. Wi-Fi off/on and Suspend/Sleep work on some systems but not on others, but that is typical of those keys anyway.  Multiple monitor support works well, just use the KDE Display control to set up the screens the way you want.

One last note, again about EFI Boot systems. The openSuSE 12.3 grub is capable of booting other operating systems, including Windows as well as other Linux distributions, either by directly loading their kernel or by chainloading their EFI boot image.

This means that if you want a boot selection process that is more user-friendly than sitting pressing F-whatever over and over again, and better looking than a plain text list, you can substitute openSuSE for Windows in the initial boot sequence. Of course, I would still choose to install the wonderful rEFInd boot manager, but that’s another issue.

Read the original article here:


Now that Attachmate has finished up its acquisition of Novell, the private equity-backed conglomerate of midrange software companies has set about breaking the company into two different halves.

For those of you who run SUSE Linux on your iSeries, System i, or Power Systems logical partitions, SUSE is now a separate division of Attachmate, much as Attachmate (with the Attachmate and WRQ products) was separate from the NetIQ security products. With the break, the SUSE Linux business and its related openSUSE development project are now separated from the burden of trying to save Novell and its NetWare and GroupWise from the revenue and profit slide it has endured for the past fifteen years. SUSE Linux, the SUSE Manager provisioning and patching tool (a clone of Red Hat Network), and SUSE Development Studio (an online software appliance packaging tool for SLES) will now be improved in a way that is best for the SUSE Linux community and leads to products that customers use and will pay for.

That’s what Nils Brauckmann, the new president and general manager of the SUSE division of Attachmate, told me last week. Brauckmann said that some of the Novell people who were doing back-office functions will be eliminated now that Attachmate has taken over, and the company has laid off the employees who worked on the Mono Project, which had created an open source reverse-engineered implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) for running C# programs. SUSE will continue to support customers who bought the commercialized version of Mono, of course.

SUSE Linux AG was founded in Germany, and with the Attachmate acquisition, the unit’s headquarters is moving back to Nuremburg. Most of the engineering, support, and sales people who worked for Novell’s Open Platform Solutions unit are still with the new SUSE company. Marcus Rex, who managed the OPS unit for years and who was chief technology officer for the SUSE Linux distro for many years, left the company in the wake of the Attachmate acquisition. Ralf Flaxa has been named vice president of engineering in his stead and will be working from Nuremburg, where the majority of SUSE developers still work, although SUSE has labs in Utah, China, and India and has tech support operations in Utah and the Czech Republic. Michael Miller has been tapped to work under Brauckmann as vice president of global alliances, marketing, and product management for SUSE and will work from Attachmate’s Seattle offices; Brauckmann will be in Nuremburg. Ronald de Jong has been named vice president of EMEA sales, working from the Netherlands, and Terri Hall is vice president of North American sales, working from California.

Read More:

Attachmate Busts Apart SUSE from Novell, Puts Own People in Charge


Now that Attachmate owns Novell, what does the formerly obscure company plan to do with its $2.2-billion operating system and networking prize? Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at ZDNet interviewed Attachmate via e-mail CEO Jeff Hawn and this is what he told me.

Before launching into the interview, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols noted that most of Novell’s senior executive staff won’t be hanging around. Ron Hovsepian; President and CEO; Dana Russell, CFO; John Dragoon,  CMO; and Markus Rex, SVP and General Manager of open platforms and long time SUSE leader have all left. So it is that Attachmate is starting with a clean management slate.

SJVN: What’s the plan for Novell’s offerings?

JH: Business will operate as usual at Novell. We intend to operate the company as an individual business unit, meaning that there is a direct line of sight between sales, marketing, technical and professional services, product management and engineering. Novell will operate autonomously and now has the ability to focus and dedicate resources on the needs of their customers.

Current Novell and SUSE product roadmaps will remain in place. The Attachmate Group does not end-of-life products and we do not force customers to move to/from any products – we are focused on meeting the needs of our customers and that is our first priority.

SJVN: What’s the plan for SUSE’s offering?

JH: We are bringing together the products and people associated with the Novell OPS [Open Platform Solutions] business and forming a new dedicated business unit under the SUSE brand. The fundamentals remain the same: a passionate commitment to quality engineering and excellent customer service. But, this new BU structure will enable the focus, agility and adaptability required to aggressively pursue the rapidly growing enterprise Linux market opportunity. Customers, service providers and industry partners are ready for the technical performance, business value and world-class service SUSE can offer as a focused business unit.

SJVN: Why split Novell and SUSE?

JH: SUSE was acquired by Novell some time ago, and we see tremendous potential in this technology. Our hope is to bring prominence to it by giving it individual branding as a separate business unit. By separating both Novell and SUSE, we can give each of these brands the focus they need to meet the needs of their specific customers and ensure that they are successful.

SJVN: Who will manage them? I’m presuming they’ll have separate management teams? Will SUSE be headed out of Germany again?

JH: Novell and SUSE will each be run by a President and General Manager, and both ultimately report to me. Novell will be headquartered in Provo, Utah and managed by President and General manager Bob Flynn. SUSE will be headquartered in Nuremburg, Germany and will be run by Nils Brauckmann, President and General Manager.

SJVN: What plans does Attachmate for Novell/SUSE’s open-source offerings? E.g. openSUSE and Mono.

JH: SUSE sponsorship and participation in key open-source projects is a fundamental element of the business. This commitment is driven by a desire to contribute to and collaborate with the community in a way that fosters the success of open source technologies overall and creates the greatest value for our customers. The openSUSE project is a great example of vibrant and healthy collaboration. SUSE sponsorship and participation in projects like openSUSE creates great value for the community and also for SUSE customers who benefit from the innovations and advancements we create together.

SJVN: What will Attachmate’s acquisition mean for Novell/SUSE’s partnerships with Microsoft? With its VARs?

JH: Microsoft and our partners will continue to play an important role for all of The Attachmate Group business units. There are no changes to our existing partners and channels.

SJVN: Will Novell/SUSE continue its membership with the Open Invention Network [an open-source patent protection group]? The Linux Foundation?

JH:: We will continue our membership in the Open Invention Network as well as The Linux Foundation.

So, what does all this mean? Well, for customers, partners and developers it sounds like business as usual. Still, with such a clean management slate we’re going to have to wait and see how things really come out in the next few months. For the moment, if I were working with Novell I’d be cautiously optimistic.

Read the original article here:

Attachmate reveals Novell, SUSE, & Linux Plans (ZDNet)

The Attachmate Group this week finalized its $2.2 billion buyout of network industry pioneer Novell, which begins the next phase of its evolution. Attachmate will operate Novell as two separate business units, one focused on the Novell brand and the other on the SUSE Linux brand. In addition, the privately held Attachmate Group has business units focused on the Attachmate and NetIQ brands. IDG Enterprise’s Chief Content Officer John Gallant spoke with Attachmate Chairman and CEO Jeff Hawn shortly after the Novell deal was sealed to get his thoughts on what the acquisition means for Attachmate and its new and old customers.

Why does buying Novell make sense for Attachmate? One reason is that with our existing Attachmate unit and NetIQ unit, we share in many of the same customers. So there’s a high degree of overlap with the customer base and little or no overlap with the products and solutions that we offer. But we now have more to offer them. Number two, the pattern recognition here in terms of what we’ve acquired with Novell, we’ve got a mix of very mature technologies and mature markets, along with emerging high-growth technology offerings as well, e.g., SUSE Linux, the virtualization management, data center management and the like. That is consistent with what we think we’ve done well at Attachmate and NetIQ where we also have a mix of very mature technologies and those that are more in the emerging category. We think, and our customers have told us, that we do a pretty good job of managing across that broad spectrum of mature technologies that are well established and anchored in the customers’ environments to those that are emerging. So here’s an opportunity to kind of do that again.

Tell me a little bit about the organizational structure. Why keep four separate units? Within the Attachmate Group, what you will hear about and what customers will know us as is as the Attachmate unit, the NetIQ unit, the Novell unit and the SUSE Linux unit. From an organization standpoint, that makes for a clean line of sight from the customer back through our sales and services, and all the way back to product development. That gives each of our four units the ability to keep focused on specific customer needs in their specific markets. If you look back, those are four really great brands. Attachmate and Novell have been around since the ’80s. NetIQ and SUSE have been around since the ’90s. I really wanted to make sure that customers would see those brands in the most prominent way possible.

Tell me how this changes the competitive landscape. Who does this put you up against? It’s many of the same in kind of our existing markets. It gives us more to offer, for instance, in and around the identity and access management markets of security. The exception is with our SUSE Linux unit, where we are now competing with Red Hat, and we intend to focus on those opportunities and compete very hard. As it relates to the other players, the Microsofts of the world, the Symantecs and the like, we’ve already been competing with them. We now have a much stronger position with which to compete.

From a customer perspective, if you’re talking to a CIO or one of the top IT titles, what is it you want them to understand about Attachmate? What’s the overall vision you want them to get? Great products, great support, easy to do business with. And the point there is I do not have the complexity of also having to spend half my time crafting a story for Wall Street, and getting people excited about a vision. I can focus exclusively on taking care of that install base, and whether that’s new licenses into existing customers, whether that’s maintenance renewals, whether those are service offerings. You know, the types of things that are very important to customers and not always viewed in the same positive light by a Wall Street sell-side analyst who is trying to figure out where the penny per share of growth is going to come from. So our point to customers is we’re focused on your needs, we’re pragmatic about what we’re working on. I just need to get customers excited. We’ve got an install base that is plus or minus about 65,000 – that’s 65,000 of the largest commercial and governmental enterprises around the world. They already know us and we know them.

What are the next steps? What do you have to do in terms of product integration, in terms of marketing and visibility for the company, in terms of getting people to understand how this is all coming together? Number one, things are made simpler by the fact that there’s not overlap with the products and solutions. We’re not going to have any “end-of-life decisions” to make. What we’ve already communicated is that the product road maps and commitment to the existing solutions remains intact. And I’ll go beyond that. We’re going to strengthen what that means as it relates to support and as it relates to carrying forward the road map. Number two, because it’s the customers that we know in many of the cases already, we’re able to communicate with them more efficiently than we would be otherwise. So it’s really about widening that communication line into those customers and helping them understand what we’re offering across the four units. All that sums up to: this was an important deal, a milestone for us. And quite candidly, for the industry, in that these are four really strong brands. The challenge now is operating those four units to maximize their performance. That means taking care of the customers and taking care of our employees. You take care of those two constituencies and you tend to get results that you like.

Attachmate boss on Novell buyout: Great brands, little overlap


PROVO — In 1979, a startup firm called Novell Inc. began operations in Utah County and was instrumental in making the Utah Valley a focus for technology and software development.

The company’s technology contributed to the emergence of local area networks, which displaced the dominant mainframe computing model of that era. At one time, Novell was valued at around $8 billion, and was the world’s second-largest software company behind Microsoft.

But in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of technology, companies that fail to innovate and stay ahead of competitors will soon find themselves irrelevant, victims of the same forces that propelled them to the top.

At Novell’s peak in the ’90s, 70 percent of the world’s computer networks were run with its system management software. More recently, the company’s fortunes have faded under pressure from Microsoft and other Web-based competitors — prompting Novell to try to reinvent itself as a distributor of the free Linux operating system.

Just last week, Novell announced the layoff of hundreds of employees from its once bustling Provo campus, only days after the company was sold. The Attachmate Group, based in Houston, announced that it had completed a $2.2 billion acquisition of Novell and the company’s headquarters was being relocated back to Utah County from Waltham, Mass. — where it had moved in 2004.

While Novell would not offer specific numbers, an employee said approximately 800 people companywide would lose their jobs — with most of those reductions in Provo.

In 2000, Novell employed more than 6,000 workers worldwide, including 2,000 in Utah County. Today, the number has fallen dramatically to approximately 3,000 around the globe, though the company would not specify how many Utah workers would remain following the recent layoffs.

“Out of respect for those affected, we are not disclosing specific figures on layoffs,” said Ian Bruce, Novell director or public relations in an email. “The restructuring affected offices worldwide, not just Utah.”

Inevitably with these kinds of complex acquisitions, there will be some workforce reductions, he added.

As a result of the merger, Novell stock stopped trading publicly and the company was selling patents to Microsoft consortium CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million.

Despite the layoffs, Attachmate and Novell are putting a positive spin on the layoffs, announcing that Novell would be coming “back to its roots and moving the headquarters back to Provo and back to Utah.”

“This will become the center for the Novell business going forward,” Bruce said.

Utah will again be the center for Novell operations, including management, marketing, engineering and research and development, Bruce said.

He acknowledged that while the job losses are “regrettable, we are confident that as part of The Attachmate Group, Novell will continue to innovate and prosper.”

A news release stated that Attachmate planned to operate Novell as two separate business units under the Novell and SUSE brand names.

“We think that The Attachmate Group’s acquisition of Novell provides a unique opportunity to further deliver significant value to customers and partners worldwide through innovative solutions, quality products, and exceptional service,” Bruce said. “At this scale, we will be able to bring to bear richer solutions, more talent and expertise, a larger product portfolio, and an expanded field presence to customers and partners worldwide.”

A former top executive with Novell said that the once great software firm lost its competitive edge because it was unable to match the marketing savvy of leaders like Microsoft.

David Bradford, a senior vice president and general council for Novell from 1985 to 2000, said his company did not make the adjustments necessary to keep up with other top software firms. In 1985, every company in the world needed what Novell sold, he said.

“What the company probably should have done is to remain focused on its core success with the network operating system,” he said. “Continue to optimize that and continue to do things … in the open source market to be more successful.”

Bradford also said Novell was slow to “capture and understand better” the importance of the Internet, which was another contributor to the company’s inability to stay competitive.

Still, he said he has “high hopes” for the future of Novell in the wake of its acquisition by The Attachmate Group.

“They’ve got to find the right niches to go after to be successful and to leverage their core strengths and move into adjacent, (broad) and fast-growing markets,” Bradford said. “That’s the challenge that Novell (and) Attachmate have in the future.”

Read More:

Novell finding its way back in competitive, fast-paced tech business

Job cutbacks at Novell
05 9th, 2011

Novell Inc., one of Utah’s largest technology operations, merged with software company Attachmate last Monday, leaving hundreds of Provo branch workers  suddenly jobless.

But Novell is far from unfamiliar with cutbacks of colossal proportions.

Novell cut 600 Provo-based jobs in 2005, and 200 more in 2007. And now, after a $2.2 billion acquisition, nearly 800 employees have been cut from the company.

Novell did not disclose an exact number, but the majority of the cutbacks came from sales, human resources, corporate operations and the legal department. A former Novell accountant of 13 years, Pearl Adolphson, told Fox 13 the layoffs were unexpected.

“We were not told,” Adolphson said. “We were just brought in and told our jobs were gone.”

Pat Holman, former Novell employee, said in an email, “When a company goes this fast through its life cycle, the ride is bumpy for the employees. Not only did Novell launch 20,000 careers, it also ended almost all of those careers.”

Novell employee Nick Smith, 24, from Payson, said everyone knew something was coming, but none of the employees were sure who would be let go.

“A lot of my close friends were laid off,” Smith said. “I had mixed emotions. I struggled to find excitement or joy when so many of my friends were out of jobs, but at the end of the day, I was relieved to still have mine.”

In an official statement made on April 27, CEO Jeff Hawn said, “I hope you share my enthusiasm for our combined organizations’ exciting future, as we believe this is great news.”

Hawn later said the merger, and subsequent layoffs, will be beneficial for Provo and Provo employment.

Some claim the layoffs are a manifestation of Novell’s lack of innovation. Holman agrees.

“Patents line the halls of Novell as if they were small monuments to the innovation that once was,” Holman said in an email. “The brilliant minds of the engineering staff have now been reduced to a stack of paper and intellectual property up for sale to the highest bidder.  This is not unique in the software industry, but what is unique are the people behind the plaques on the wall.”

Holman founded an alumni group for former Novell employees to network and support one another.

“It is a group of people who look out for each other, chase down leads for the unemployed and pool funds together when serious trouble arises,” Holman said.

The alumni group still meets for lunch every two years.

Novell has partnered with Microsoft since 2006, describing the partnership on its website as “collaborative,” where the “customers win.” But as a result of Novell’s layoffs, some are doubting the partnership’s reciprocity.

Twitter user Roy Schestowitz said in a tweet, “Novell taught us that no matter the circumstances, Microsoft partners always end down below. Microsoft must be laughing loudly.”

Smith said the relationship between Microsoft and Novell is still competitive.

“Novell has tried to build avenues and form somewhat of a partnership to coexist with Microsoft, but I think they’re more of a competitor or a threat to Novell than anything else,” Smith said.

Still, Smith said the layoffs were a wise business decision.

“Although sad, I think it was a smart move for Novell,” Smith said. “They needed to downsize because there was a lot of redundancy in terms of positions. The employees that stayed on will work for a better company now that it’s merged: the company is leaner and more efficient.”

When asked if he feels secure in his job, Smith said with a laugh, “I do now!”

Read More:

Job cutbacks not novel concept at Novell

Employees say hundreds laid off at Novell’s Provo office




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