VMWare Buys SuSE, What Now?

It was just announced that VMWare bought SuSE on the WSJ (paid version).


This deal included the cloud, but not any of the other OES layer. I had been a major supporter of the idea of having the OES (Open Enterprise System, or Other Expensive Shit) software as an add on and I thought it worked really well in that respect. I really didn’t like eDirectory in particular, I thought ZCM was junky and I thought most of the other novell products were trying to find some identity between legacy support and being similar to but not microsoft. eDirectory never aspired beyond being Active Directory with XML support. The driver set thing was interesting, but otherwise poorly implemented. The shared storage services were never particularly impressive and just ended up half assed compared to ZFS. The whole “similar to but not” thing extended into the depths of the distribution also – SuSE really is RedHat under the hood and I’ve made RedHat boxes run OES. Is it easy? No. Can it be done without breaking the OS or the repositories? Yes. My guess is there’s going to be a brief market for this and then it’s going to go away.

The IP going to VMware is the core OS and the cloud. This has two plusses for VMware. One of them it that SuSE has a nice gui. VMWare doesn’t want to be linux, it wants to be a GUI for managing VMs. The cloud thing is a natural since now you don’t have to provide storage, you can simply run your VM “in the cloud”. I personally think the cloud is a poor fit for VMware, but maybe they’ll do something cool with it.

AttachMate is buying the rest of the IP, including ZCM, which was the only profitable sector there. AttachMate does UIs for mainframes and legacy systems (including Unisys and I did lol) and really has no interest or use for 90% of the OES suite. They’re going to simply make connectors to the netware terminal. All the rest of the Netware software is likely to go away.

So what’s the silver lining? For one, mono development is DOA. Thank god. Mono was Linux’s bridge to .Net and it never worked well. For two we get rid of webdav alternatives.

What’s the downside? We lose out on YAST, which was probably the best in terms of bringing ease-of-use to linux. Ubuntu used it under the hood. The question becomes which side we want to be on – Ubuntu or RedHat? On one hand, RedHat developed most of the code which makes things like YAST run. On the other hand Ubuntu took it and make the UI pretty. RedHat dumps pretty for flexible and robust, but Ubuntu trades up some flexible and robust (and secure) for ease-of-use. This is a tough choice.

What of all the patents? Attachmate will own Linux as a trademark defacto, so it won’t surprise me to see Attachmate sell this to Microsoft whole or in part. I think there’s a strong argument for this being anticompetitive, but MS has a pile of money and lawyers and every reason to try to tie up RedHat who has effectively zero competitors now.


2 thoughts on “VMWare Buys SuSE, What Now?

  1. “So what’s the silver lining? For one, mono development is DOA. Thank god. Mono was Linux’s bridge to .Net and it never worked well. ”

    Why isn’t VMWare taking mono? They own Spring and there is a Spring.Net. The next release of Mono with some performance improvements and a new garbage collector might actually make it worth using.

    • They have their own API. Plus the VMWare tools lets them interface with the guest OS, and they’re working on a much lower level than .Net would be useful for. IE: what do you do if you want to communicate with a box on a different subnet, or which has no networking, etc? VMWare tools does that gracefully without needing all the trappings of WMI, etc.

      Nothing is ever going to make mono worth using. I’ve been messing with it since the bad old days of iFolder. It’s just terrible since it’s trying to emulate something which doesn’t want to be emulated, no matter how buddy-buddy MS and Novell were. More on the point there’s very little reason for VMWare to support what amounts to emulation, conceptually. There’s no use for it inside VMWare and there’s no use for it on the guest OS level either.

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