Plus ca change....
Back in 2001/02, Caldera tried to come up with a hedge on Red Hat's growing dominance. It started shopping around the idea of a "United Linux." Novell, increasingly eager to get into the Linux game, followed suit, and eventually bought SUSE when it couldn't get any traction with United Linux (which apparently stood for "United-as-also-rans-Linux").
Today, Ron Hovsepian, CEO of Novell and astute student of history, issued the clarion call for a united Linux. Again.
The problem for Hovsepian's statement is that the industry already has one. The problem for his business is that the standard is Red Hat.
It's the argument of the distant runner-up. Hovsepian pleaded:
In Unix, we fragmented the applications and the No. 1 thing we need is applications. We need customers and the ISVs to have their footprints on the Linux platform. If you look at the competition and Windows their application availability is their biggest advantage. They've got the applications....
[The Linux distribution market won?t expand until the platform is consistent.] It's a vision...so that ISVs can certify their application once and seamlessly port it across multiple Linux distributions. The vendors win. It opens up a broader market for applications and the customers.
I'm actually sobbing as I write this. It's heartbreaking, really! Novell tried this argument in 2002. It fell on deaf ears as the industry's ISVs voted their certification feet for Red Hat and customers followed suit with their Linux dollars. Today, Novell essentially declared, "We surrender! Please make this game easier for us to play."
Linux doesn't need a group hug. It needs more competitors. Even Oracle has the self-respect to compete vigorously, and not to hold its hands out, palms up, begging for interoperability that favors its second-class status.
Compete, Novell. Stop whining.