NEW YORK -- Novell Inc. figures to start flexing its Linux muscles this week at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo.
On the heels of its acquisitions of SuSE Linux AG and Ximian Inc., as well as its offer to customers of indemnification against legal action by the SCO Group, Novell this week makes its first appearance as the No. 2 Linux distributor, behind Red Hat.
Novell, whose NetWare network operating system continues to be a popular fixture in the enterprise, despite losing market share to Windows NT, could use LinuxWorld as a launching pad for its message.
CEO Jack Messman is scheduled to deliver a keynote address tomorrow morning, to what is expected to be an overflowing room of Linux devotees. Messman is expected to announce a new partnership with Dell Inc., bringing the server maker into Europe, where SuSE's core customer base is located. Also, Novell is expected to announce it has joined the Eclipse consortium and that SuSE has gained a new security certification.
"One of the top distributors -- are you listening, Novell? -- needs to take the bull by the horn, put [Linux] into its product and market the heck out of the product," said Ken Milberg, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com site expert. "At that point, Linux can then start getting out of the Web-server garage and into the enterprise."
LinuxWorld is a twice-annual event -- another conference is held in August in San Francisco -- and the New York show is expected to attract more than 10,000 people.
Other keynotes will include a presentation from Dave Dargo, vice president of Oracle's Linux program office. He will speak about Oracle's commitment to Linux. Tom Killalea, vice president of infrastructure at Amazon.com, will explain how Amazon runs its business on Linux and how it finally turned a profit, due in large part to its commitment to the OS. Other keynotes will be delivered by Sam Greenblatt of Computer Associates International Inc. and Ross Mauri of IBM.
The current scourges of the Linux and open source worlds will be present as well.
The SCO Group won't be presenting during the show, nor will it have a booth. But the former Linux vendor, which is now shaking up the industry with its intellectual property claims, will hang like an albatross over the show, as customers wonder which Linux user will be SCO's first legal target and how SCO's $3 billion suit with IBM will play out.
"SCO has no booth because LinuxWorld is about Linux, and SCO is not -- anymore," said Moshe Bar, CTO and co-founder of Qlusters Inc. "IT pros should not follow the flap. It's a waste of their time."
Microsoft will be present at the show with a booth. The software giant is expected to push its Windows Services for Unix product, which is used to extend Windows applications to Unix systems.
Microsoft's "get the facts" ad campaign is also certain to be on the minds of attendees. Microsoft recently launched the campaign to challenge the cost-effectiveness of Linux. It uses Redmond-sponsored research to back up its claims.
"How effective is any advertising campaign that takes a negative slant on an area?" said CA's Greenblatt. "People know the truth -- the advertising just makes them look a little harder to find it."
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Dig Deeper on Linux servers
Stallings cites ubiquitous Linux use in the financial services industry and increasing deployments in government settings where Unix, Windows NT and OS/2 are being phased out and agencies are "re-plumbing" with Linux. Recent high-profile desktop deals in Munich, Germany, and Bergen, Norway, are also giving Linux advocates reason to puff out their chests.
Here, Stallings also talks about IBM's Linux strategy and how it's going after Windows NT users, and he delves into the issue of intellectual property and patents.