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Novell and Red Hat: a lesson in styling contrasts

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Enterprise Linux customers typically pick from just two options. Although HP’s decision to support Debian could widen the playing field, the choice really comes down to Novell and Red Hat. It’s worth comparing the two in terms of product offerings and overall style.

When we speak of Novell, of course, we mean “New Novell”. By the mid-1990s, “Old Novell”, which made its fortune in the 1980s as the premier provider of PC networking software, was on the wane. Poor management and corporate arrogance had frustrated and alienated many of Old Novell’s core customers, allowing Microsoft to sweep in and dominate its traditional core markets. But then, as it teetered on the brink of irrelevance, Old Novell reinvented itself as New Novell, a premier provider of Linux software, with the aim of taking the fight back to Microsoft’s doorstep.

The reigning king penguin of Linux, of course, is Red Hat.

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