The VAR Guy

June 25, 2008

2 Min Read
Novell: Small Laptop Win, Big SuSE Linux Victory

Novell is making The VAR Guy look pretty darn foolish. Our resident blogger keeps hyping Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux, yet Novell keeps scoring small victories and picking up momentum. The latest example: Micro-Star International (MSI) has agreed to pre-load Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on MSI’s mini-notebooks. Here’s the scoop.

The Novell-MSI deal calls for MSI to ship so-called “Wind netbooks” with SuSE Linux and later this summer. It’s a solid win for Novell, and a potential setback for Ubuntu Linux — which had hoped to dominate the emerging “netbook” industry.

Netbooks are small, low-cost, sub-notebooks built around Intel Atom processors. The Asus Eee PC (which The VAR Guy owns) is widely credited with paving the way for the emerging Netbook market.

Still, lets keep the Novell-MSI relationship in perspective. This isn’t a “winner take all” victory for Novell. The Wind (short for WiFi network device) will come in SuSE Linux and Windows versions. Hey, customer choice is good –right?

Eating More Crow

Meanwhile, Novell’s continued progress has The VAR Guy scratching his head. When Sun purchased MySQL, The VAR Guy in January 2008 openly wondered if ISV consolidation would mean doom for Novell’s open source strategy.

But by the end of February, Novell was delivering better-than-expected financial results and upbeat long-term profit forecasts.

Next up, Novell discussed its desktop Linux strategy with The VAR Guy in March. Our resident blogger wasn’t overly impressed. But once again, Novell has delivered a positive surprise — this time with the MSI relationship.

Hey, The VAR Guy isn’t suggesting that netbook sales will somehow drive Novell’s profits higher. But by building desktop and mobile mind share, Novell will help to solidify its open source market share. That, in turn, could keep CIOs and resellers coming back for more SuSE Linux.

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