Could Novell have become a Linux player?
Ron Hovsepian took over as chief and presided over the infamous patent-licensing deal with Microsoft in November 2006 that made Novell a pariah in the open source community. That was the beginning of the end.
In 2010, Novell was bought by the Attachmate Group who, showing some wisdom, relocated SUSE back to Nuremberg to be run as an independent unit. Micro Focus became the owner of the Attachmate Group in late 2014 and SUSE continued to stay in Nuremberg.
SUSE, on its own, has about a third of the revenue that Red Hat does but with a parent like Novell it could well have been much more. When it was run from within Novell, SUSE was just about breaking even.
Could there have been another big Linux competitor to Red Hat? It's a pity that personality conflicts got in the way of us never knowing for certain.