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Novell BrainShare 2007 Preview

Microsoft Plans To Be There, Sun Doesn't, Perens Will Be Across The Street

  • March 16, 2007
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

When Novell's BrainShare users' show opens its doors this Sunday, Microsoft will be on hand for the first time ever. With and without this controversial, recently minted partner, Novell will issue announcements around SUSE Linux in areas that include products, training, and new customer wins, say company sources. But also in Salt Lake City, the site of the annual Novell shindig, open source advocate Bruce Perens will throw a "Rain on Novell's Parade" press conference protesting the Novell-Microsoft agreement first unveiled in November of last year.

And could a bit of discontent be brewing elsewhere, too? A month after Novell and Microsoft forged their alliance last fall, the two companies teamed up with Sun Microsystems and about 20 other companies to form the Interop Vendor Alliance. Microsoft will serve as a platinum sponsor of BrainShare 2007, said Bruce Lowry, a Novell spokesperson. But Sun won't be exhibiting at BrainShare at all.

In fact, according to the list of some 35 exhibitors currently posted on the BrainShare Web site, the one and only member of the Interop Vendor Alliance to take out a booth at BrainShare this year is AMD.

Meanwhile, with the debut of Linux rival Red Hat's latest enterprise server still only a couple of days old, and Perens' press conference suddenly on the horizon, Novell is keeping a rather close lid on details of its own announcements until the traditional string of Monday morning keynotes.

But more generally speaking, Novell's BrainShare product announcements will cover the "infrastructure and management" of SUSE Linux, including news about SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), Open Enterprise Server (OES), teaming and collaboration, and Zenworks resource management, said Kevan Barney, another company spokesperson.

With the show just around the corner, Novell is expecting around 5,000 developers, resellers, and other users at BrainShare 2007--really no more, and no less, than appeared last year at the user conference in Salt Lake City, according to Lowry.

Lowry told Linux Planet that the company isn't targeting BrainShare at a different audience this time around, despite any impact of the Novell-Microsoft deal. But he acknowledged that this year's BrainShare will include conference tracks geared to "the interoperability work we're doing with Microsoft, [so] that's certainly new."

Lowry also reiterated Novell's frequent refrain, voiced by various officials over the past several months, that SUSE Linux users are mainly pleased about the Microsoft pact.

"Our customers have been very positive on the Microsoft agreement, and we expect they'll want to hear more about how we're putting meat on the bones of that agreement," he told Linux Planet.

Still, the Novell-Microsoft deal hasn't exactly been universally popular in the Linux and open source communities, right from the get go. As part of the earlier negative fallout, Jeremy Allison, a member of the Samba open source project, protested the alliance by quitting his job as a high-level programmer for Novell.

And Perens, primary author of the GNU contract, put together a petition last fall demanding that Novell drop the patent protection part of the agreement.

Now, in inviting members of the media to his Monday press conference, Perens says that the "Rain On Novell's Parade" event will cover the Novell-Microsoft agreement; software patents vs. open source; Novell's "bad faith actions toward their own developers;" and "GPL 3, and how it will prevent Novell from going forward with new innovations from the open source developer community, while other Linux distributions will be able to use the same software."

Perens will present his press conference at a hotel directly across the street from the Salt Palace conference center that's been the long-time home of the BrainShare show.

Novell's Lowry said this week that, outside of the interoperability work by Novell and Microsoft, other BrainShare sessions will revolve around Novell's workgroup, systems and resource management, and identity and security management products.

Yet while Red Hat was busy rolling out RHEL 5 this week, and Perens drew up preparations for his press conference in Salt Lake, Novell made a couple of announcements on the other side of the Atlantic that touched on some of the same areas slated to be addressed at BrainShare.

Novell's new Zenworks Configuration Management, intro'd at this week's CeBIT show in Germany, is designed to use integration with both Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory in remote desktop configuration by system administrators, according to press materials issued over the wire.

Also, in conjunction with the SAP LinuxLab, Novell announced that the high availability storage infrastructure in SLES 10 is now available for SAP NetWeaver and mySAP Business Suite.

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