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Novell: More than just a SUSE face

Novell just acquired assets that strengthen its position in Identity Management, making it much more than a Linux company.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

Novell primarily gets public credit (or recrimination) for its Linux business, but on Thursday Novell reminded the world that it's more than just a Linux vendor, acquiring the assets of technology assets of Fortefi Ltd. and a perpetual source code license to ActivIdentity's single sign-on solution.

Both moves strengthen Novell's position in the Identity Management market.

Linux serves as the beachhead for Novell into enterprises that may have lost interest in the former NetWare giant. CIOs that are interested in Linux will consider SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and then, hopefully, give the Novell sales executive time to also explain how the company can help with identity management, workgroup collaboration, and other areas served by Novell's product line.

Novell isn't just a Linux company, then, and most of the software it sells is proprietary, calling into question whether it's even accurate to call it an open-source company.

Regardless of the nomenclature, the Fortefi and ActivIdentity deals give Novell more value to sell CIOs. It's a strategy that seems to be paying off.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.