Confusion reigns in the marketplace

CNET News.com – Front Door leads off with a story that Novell to acquire SuSE Linux. “The longtime Microsoft foe signs an agreement to acquire SuSE Linux for $210 million in cash, while IBM will take a $50 million investment in Novell.” I’m sceptical that this will be a good move for any of them. Novell does not have a history of successes. SuSE was popular in Europe, with a reputation as a top distribution, but also a positive attribute of *NOT* being an “American distribution,” despite the fact that contributions come from all over the world.

Yesterday, RedHat sent out notices that ‘free’ RedHat would be no more, with a renamed (and possibly incompatible?) Fedora taking over the “enthusiast” market and a “Red Hat Enterprise Linux” raising the price point for a supported, business-grade Linux.

To me, it sounds like the #1 and #2 leading distributions have shot themselves in their respective feet. This is the kind of behavior that a marketing company like Microsoft can take advantage of. Let’s hope in the coming weeks that spin and damage control minimize the FUD sure to develop from these moves.

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