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.