I just have to share with you guys what I witnessed today, I won't be surprised if this is not happening only here in Bulgaria and nobody admits it, but I tell you - I was shocked. Let me start from a bit far away.

Ever since Novell signed the cooperation agreement with Microsoft, we were keeping in line with Novell's direction to be open-minded about integrating Microsoft technologies into Novell infrastructures, even promoting installation of Novell products on Windows servers, etc. Even more, we have always emphasized that Novell technologies are multi-platform, that they integrate seamlessly with AD, etc., etc. It was also stated in the same cooperation agreement, that Microsoft will embrace SUSE linux as the preferred linux system to integrate into MS environments, and will even sell SUSE to its customers. Maybe this is the case in the US, but oh dear, this whole picture has nothing to do with the reality here.

I agree that Microsoft currently has the biggest market share for its systems, and currently Novell is quite "small" in market share, relative to Microsoft. At least here, Novell is trying to survive with what has left after the management decisions/strategy from the last 10 years until now. There are very few new clients, and mostly in the SMB sector. In the context of the cooperation between the companies, I would say that Microsoft is a "bear" and Novell is an "ant". Currently the ant is trying to sit on the same table with the bear, and waits for the bear's left-overs. It's an ugly way to say it, but that's how I see it, and this vision of mine just got confirmed (again) today. In the past it was the other way around, but I don't remember Microsoft (in the ant position) selling Novell-integrable (NetWare or e-Directory compatible) applications. They went their own way and became the "bear". Truth is that today, Microsoft's systems are all tightly integrated with their AD and Exchange, and they don't work (at all, or well) with other non-Microsoft systems.

Going back to what I witnessed today. One of the few left Novell-built government organizations here got a new consultant few months ago. The consultant has "consulted" the Minister that the whole infrastructure should be replaced by Microsoft products. We're talking about a relatively large organization (600-700 users), and pure Novell infrastructure working since I can't remember how many years. OES, GroupWise, iPrint, Access Manager, ZENworks CM, you name it - all Novell systems, up-to-date, supported and working. So, new IT staff has been hired, some of the old staff were "left" and a group was organized to perform the migration. Of course, since we are the ones who built and support the whole system, we were asked to come to a meeting and discuss some points that were not very clear to the group. And guess who was on that meeting - Microsoft Bulgaria. 3 of them. Officially they have nothing to do with this. But in practice - they are the ones behind all of it. The whole migration project is their doing through one of their partners. It's a struggle for them to do the migration (as they have no idea what they are migrating from) and they've asked us to give them an offer to migrate our systems to Microsoft! So, Novell may sign whatever agreements with MS, but MS is slowly taking over what's left, and they don't want to hear about co-existing in a Novell infrastructure. They are migrating everything and don't care how great Novell systems work on Windows servers and with AD.

I hope the new Attachmate management will reconsider Novell's marketing strategy, and lead Novell to become a "bear" again. Because, for me, being the happy ant waiting for few left-overs, is humiliating. Being a Novell CNE and CNI, and involved with Novell systems for many many years, it's a pain to see what's happening and where Novell is going during the past several years.

Maybe I'm still affected by this meeting today but this is what I think of Novell's agreement with Microsoft:
##@%!%#!#@$#@$!#@%@%##@%#$#%#$!@!@!!!EFQ$##$#@$@ED D@!E@!!

Novell, remember who you were and what you were doing, and think where are you now. Currently you are producing "pieces" of software. It's not integrated anymore. OES, GW, ZENworks - they are completely independent systems now. AD for GroupWise - do you really think a Microsoft shop will go that way instead to Exchange? I doubt it. Drop the development of Windows versions of your server products. Nobody cares that your software is multiplatform. Concentrate on SUSE, it's a great OS with huge potential, develop all products for SUSE only! If you stop developing Windows versions, you may concentrate the efforts on linux, and cut costs and prices as well. Increase quality, it has dropped tremendously over the years! Stop serving Microsoft, they are not your friend.

I just hope all my dedication to Novell and efforts during the past years were not in vain...