Thursday, August 07, 2003

What does "is" mean? [update]

Earlier this week, CNet writer Robert Lemos published a story about Novell and the future of NetWare ("Novell may nix NetWare development")in which he claimed that Novell exec Chris Stone had said that there would no longer be any development of the NetWare platform. Novell CEO Jack Messman then came out with a statement denying that Novell would be killing NetWare. But the key, here, is what each is referring to as "NetWare" and what will happen to it.

NetWare is the so-called "Red Box" product which includes a core networking operating system, libraries, utilities, services and applications. But "NetWare" also refers to the core OS, the "kernel" that powers all the rest. Its development of the kernel that will stop, indeed already has. The services, utilities, etc. will continue to evolve, but mostly for a platform consisting of a Linux kernel and only secondarily for the legacy NetWare kernel.

Novell will continue to develop and sell "NetWare", the amalgam of services for Linux. They will continue to sell (but not develop) the NetWare kernel which will support many of those same services.

Its all about the words you choose and how you define them.

[update 8/8] Lemos has a new interview with Stone appearing today in which he tries to pin down this issue, but ultimately let's Stone dance and waffle around it.

UPDATE: The Burton Group's Jamie Lewis, who's very familiar with Novell, has some interesting commentary on the whole affair.

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