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NLD Launched!!

Yesterday we announced the release of Novell Linux Desktop. I was pretty excited about the release, and a little nervous about it. I find I have a lot of trepidation regarding Linux and Novell. Mostly in that I think that Novell is making a bold move embracing Linux, and I still wonder if the IT market will accept us, whether the open source community will take us as legitimate in what we’re doing.

There’s so much fear around “the Linux community” and what a touchy culture they are. That’s kind of what I have found among the not-so-savvy-about-open-source set. The general belief seems to be that they are a huge, capricious lot. But the truth is that the “they” who actually know each other and really are getting things done in the Linux space (enthusiasts, hackers, contributors and maintainers) are waaay more sophisticated than merely the mere “Live Open Source or Die” charicitures frame them to be. For example, our announcement headlined us on slashdot.org and it was soon a massive thread. The general gist of what I read in the thread–with some due noise filtering applied–seems to be: “You like me. You really like me.” We got high marks and a lot more people “get it” than I thought would. Sure there are still some cranks in the crowd, but the conspiracies they espouse are kind of fun to read.

Outside of the open source community reaction, the response to announcing Novell Linux Desktop has been huuuuge. We announced and got coverage across the Internet, with more articles still coming in. Nov 8, 2000 marked Novell’s single highest bandwidth demand day ever as 4000 requests slammed us to download the 600+ MB ISO images. The Novell Linux Desktop landing page had 75K unique page views–the most any Novell product has ever received on its launch day.

This all happened on the same day that we announced a Microsoft settlement of $536 million for an 8 year old lawsuit. I did not know about the settlement before we announced, so I was concerned that it might drown out the NLD announcement. (Neveretheless, I took to telling everyone that the settlement resulted from Microsoft seeing our announcement and are capitulating by just handing us cash.) The settlement announcement drew further attention to Novell, and therefore Novell Linux Desktop. Some business/financial coverage of the settlement also covered Novell Linux Desktop, so we may have even gotten some unplanned exposure to the non-geek financial community.

It was a huge day for Novell. I got to be close to the center of it.


4 Responses

  1. Let’s hope this success doesn’t go to your head, then, and you remain the modest, self-effacing shy introvert you’ve always been….

    :)ave kearns

  2. So Reverend Ted, when you were asked this question:


    2. How is iFolder compared with existing VPN or other solutions found today in the Windows land? What are its advantages over Microsoft’s solutions and what those over Red Hat Enterprise?

    Ted Haeger: Novell iFolder 2 is a completely different thing from a VPN. iFolder is for file synchronization service. It is implemented as a client-side application that synchronizes files from a Windows or Linux desktop to a back-end server. The server is hosted as an Apache application, so it uses standard web protocols and ports, encrypted or not, which means that this service is one that does not require a VPN. Novell iFolder 2 gets a user two beneifits: first, their data is synchronized to a back-end service so it can be backed up by standard datacenter processes; second is that a user can synchronize their local data to another client (through the server), allowing them to have a home machine and a work machine and a laptop (Windows or Linux) all remain in synch with each other.


    What did you think was going on in the interviewers head?

    — Paul

  3. omac:
    Indeed. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

  4. Professionally, I am not at all concerned with Novell being accepted as a “true player” in the Linux markets, or with NLD being accepted as well. As a Novell partner I listen carefully to the comments and feedback from my customers. Those under Novell contract (especially those with existing Premium Support contracts) have been vocal in learning about SUSE Enterprise Linux 9 (because of the server transition) and more importantly to NLD.

    I think Novell will have the same challenge that Sun has historically had in introducing “main stream” products. Commitment. You can not leave people in the lurch by changing your mind every 6-8 months on your commitment to a product and/or technology set. So when Novell makes moves like “giving” away the Evolution connectors to make email more feasible for all on NLD (and Linux at large) they strengthen their position.

    I think iFolder 3.0 is going to be something very special, and I think it will help tremendously in bridging Windows / Linux workflows.

    As a general comment on NLD, I gave it to a technology trainer I know who had expressed interest in beginning the process of switching from Windows to Linux. Beyond training she does much in the field of web coding, and so was very interested in the processes of getting programs like Dreamweaver working on NLD. She installed NLD in its default modes and came back a few hours later — it appears on this model of IBM laptop I had to update a few things (that were not available by Red Carpet) to get the wireless cards to work properly. I would guess this has something to do with the Server based optimization from Enterprise 9, but thats only a guess — the point of this: I think it should be clear that NLD is ready for auto deployment by IT staff who have worked these things out in advance, but there is definately work to do to get the general non-linux technies into the fold.

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