Rewrite SUSE Conform to Debian

Posted by tadelste on Mar 13, 2006 4:37 AM EDT; By Tom Adelstein
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Novell would do well to change some old conventions to match Debian. They would expand their support channels to pickup a massive user base and become the preferred Linux vendor in both distributions and services. They could also provide SUSE with more application options for their users.

I have given up on Red Hat. They went their own way some time ago. SUSE tried to do the same and almost failed more than once. While I like SUSE overall and I'm glad Novell bought them, Novell needs robust community support.

Free advice rarely gets accepted. With Miguel and Nat as influencers, Novell doesn't realize they have the wrong people advising them. Both gentleman are outstanding technicians but they lack the business savvy for a company like Novell.

SUSE does almost everything differently than any other Linux distribution. Before Novell purchased SUSE, I had many opportunities to discuss SUSE's business model. They considered differentiation a market advantage.

Market differentiation might make sense in a business school, but it makes no sense in the real world. Adherence to standards makes more sense in the free software world. Branding arises in Internet commerce as the result of communities of interest.

An example of differentiation

Simple conventions are important to Linux system administrators. I used to build RPMs for Red Hat and then attempt to install them in SUSE. They would not work in SUSE. I had to maintain two RPMS because Red Hat and SUSE refused to name their libraries the same.

When I log on to SUSE, Red Hat and Debian to update DNS files, I find the main configuration file, named.conf in different places. In Debian the path to the file lies in /etc/bind/named.conf. In Red Hat and Fedora, the file lives in /var/named/named.conf. In SUSE, the file lives in /etc/named.conf. I won't go into where all of them really live because outside of Debian, those files are symbolic links.

Additionally, the zone files have different names. The way SUSE implements chroot also seems odd. If you run a Linux shop without any SUSE servers, Novell will have a difficult time attempting to sell you their great management tools. Who wants to learn three implementations of Linux and try to keep a data center running efficiently?

Why Debian?

Debian has the largest development community of the various Linux distributions. They already make a stable Linux. I don't see any one supplanting them, especially SUSE.

Canonical branched Debian when creating Ubuntu. Shuttleworth added innovation to the plodding Debian model. Ubuntu has market penetration where Novell wants to go. Novell doesn't have anyone with the celebrity of Shuttleworth.

Linspire has captured a nice piece of the retail space. Wouldn't Novell love to put its training centers in MicroCenter and CompUSA? Remember Novell has a mainstream business reputation.

Xandros has the best interoperability with Windows shops. Novell could use many of Xandros' innovations. Xandros also uses Debian.

What to do?

Novell should acquire Canonical, Linspire and Xandros and start migrating pieces of SUSE to Debian. Imagine the vertical markets Novell could enter. Red Hat would have a higher profile competitor.

I doubt Novell would take my advice. Why would they? They've done business for 25 years and they already know everything. Meanwhile, what will they do about Debian's growth? Novell doesn't just have Red Hat with whom to contend. Novell has some stiff competitors in areas they want to go with SUSE.

Let's see what they will do.

» Read more about: Story Type: LXer Features; Groups: Debian, Novell, Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Just to let you know I started reading you Beranger 0 1,828 Mar 19, 2006 2:30 AM
Glad that Novell bought SuSE ? FredMobach 1 2,066 Mar 15, 2006 11:28 AM
As a slightly counter argument.. well.. maybe wrong word... cjcox 3 2,509 Mar 13, 2006 3:53 PM
Couldn't be more wrong anandrajan 1 2,214 Mar 13, 2006 12:13 PM
Comment dmityugov 0 2,191 Mar 11, 2006 11:04 AM

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