Will the combination of an old-line proprietary software company with roots in Utah and an up-and-coming open-source distributor in Nuremberg,
Germany, add to Linux's momentum? That's the thinking behind Novell's planned acquisition of SuSE Linux AG for $210 million, disclosed last week,
which brings together Novell's large installed customer base with SuSE's business-ready Linux operating system. It may be the best of two worlds--if
Novell can pull it off.
Already, Novell is getting some help: IBM says it will invest $50 million in Novell. The deal shows that "Linux is continuing to make its way into the
mainstream," says Tony Iams, a senior analyst with DH Brown Associates. "Some people may see it as the passing of an era, the freewheeling, grassroots
time when everything was free."