When Attachmate acquired Novell and its SUSE Linux business, The VAR Guy openly wondered if Attachmate was committed to owning and growing Novell's SUSE Linux organization. Now, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn has offered a strong, clear commitment to the SUSE Linux business. Here's the update.

During a phone briefing yesterday, Hawn described how Novell's assets will be organized under three business units: NetIQ, Novell (relocated back to Utah) and SUSE Linux. The VAR Guy will share some deeper perspectives about each business unit -- plus the Attachmate business unit -- in the days ahead.

Standing By SUSE?

The VAR Guy was particularly curious about Hawn's views on SUSE Linux. The reason: During Attachmate's discussions to potentially acquire Novell, SEC filings indicated that the initial dialog did not include buying Novell's SUSE Linux business. But Hawn says Attachmate was simply reacting to Novell's initial strategy -- which involved potentially selling Novell's assets in pieces to multiple bidders. Says Hawn: "Our desire from the outset was, if possible, to acquire the whole company."

Attachmate largely achieved that goal. Novell sold off some intellectual property to a group of vendors. But in terms of Novell's ongoing products, Attachmate acquired all of them -- including SUSE Linux.

No doubt, SUSE Linux faces an uphill battle against Red Hat Enterprise Linux on some fronts. But Novell took some key SUSE Linux steps before the buyout by Attachmate occurred. For instance, SUSE Studio has generated plenty of ISV buzz. And SUSE relationships with IBM and SAP, among others, remain firmly in place.

Still, The VAR Guy will be watching to see how Attachmate's SUSE business unit performs now that it is out from under the shadow of N0vell.

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