It has to be noted that some of the positive press is coming from those who are close to Novell - to the extent that they receive software well in advance of the public release.
Interoperability seems to be the buzzword of the moment and the fact that SUSE can play well with the various "standards" that Microsoft has established is being interpreted as a plus point.
Since it signed a patent deal with Microsoft in November 2006, Novell has been trying to sell SUSE based on the slogan "we play better with Windows."
If that had worked, you would expect to see some better Linux sales figures from Novell. Such is not the case; Novell is a distant second to Red Hat and its figures are not getting any better.
(It's pertinent to note than even in these difficult economic times, Red Hat seems to be going from strength to strength; the latest set of figures indicates that total annual revenue has grown by 25 per cent.)
If one had to choose between an Exchange clone and Exchange itself, which one would you pick?
If there was a choice between a word processor that had Office compatibility and the real thing, why would you opt for a pretender?
If one needed to use Silverlight, then why opt for the clone that is always lagging behind in terms of full compliance?
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In other words, what's the difference between golden handcuffs and silver handcuffs? Remember, SUSE Linux 11 isn't something you can download off the net and run free - you have to pay for the full enterprise version. The cost may be less but remember that Windows is a known devil.
There are a couple of questions which one needs to ask of Novell - if interoperability was really going to help SUSE gain desktop marketshare would Microsoft stand by and watch its own turf being invaded?
And if interoperability is not the silver bullet which Novell desperately seeks, what does the company then do?
It has lost all credibility with the free software community. It has lost all credibility with the open source crowd.
Any Linux distribution which aims for the desktop has to compete only with Windows. And the new competitor is going to be Windows 7. You won't find too many people who use Macs lining up to switch to Linux.
Windows XP is being slowly pushed out by Microsoft - it has to, else all the money spent on Window 7 will be in vain.
It's doubtful whether the company can survive a second disaster like Vista - and the word disaster is probably a mild description of the world's greatest technological fiasco.
Would Microsoft allow Novell to compete on the desktop unless it knew that it was a no-contest? You know the answer to that one, gentle reader.