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Analyst firm Gartner said Novell users considering a shift to open source would now have "a rich infrastructure stack around directory, file, print, collaboration and messaging", packaged around the Linux operating system.
IDC said Novell has a global installed base of four million servers running Netware and 95 million PCs connected to a Netware network. However, Novell's share of new server sales is slipping. IDC's latest estimates show that 23% of new servers are running Linux and 9.9% use Netware.
Novell chief executive Jack Messman said, "Linux is the future of computing. This merger reduces the barrier to deploying Linux in the enterprise."
IBM has backed the SuSE takeover with a £30m investment in Novell. IBM has been aggressively promoting Linux but Red Hat, the leading commercial distributor of the open source software, only supports some IBM platforms.
Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president for systems software at IDC, said IBM's stake would act as an incentive for SuSE to continue the complex work of developing Linux distributions across all IBM's hardware. "SuSE is the only Linux provider to support all of IBM's hardware platforms," he said.
Novell set to bring Linux into the mainstream >>