In 2003, Novell acquired SUSE Linux, bringing the German Linux distribution under Novell's direction. Now eight years later, SUSE Linux is being spun out from Novell, as is its own separate business unit, owned by Attachmate.
Attachmate has now appointed Nils Brauckmann as president and general manager of the new SUSE Linux business. Brauckmann has been an Attachmate employee since 1994 with both sales and management experience. With the new business unit, Attachmate is committing to SUSE Linux and its open source community.
"We now have a SUSE Linux business unit inside of Attachmate and we are focused on the SUSE business and brand," Brauckmann told InternetNews.com. "We have a renewed focus on Linux."
Attachmate took control of Novell after closing its $2.2 billion acquisition bid in April of this year.
Brauckmann noted that his emphasis will be on keeping the fundamentals of the SUSE Linux business the same. He added that the new business unit will remain committed to its partners and customers as well as the open source community.
In his new role, Brauckmann takes over from a similiar position to one that Novell executive Markus Rex held while SUSE was part of the Novell structure. Brauckmann noted that Rex was a respected leader and manager for SUSE within Novell. That said, Brauckmann noted that his role as president and GM of SUSE Linux is broader than Rex's role was within Novell.
"As President and GM, I have full responsibility for all aspects of the business from sales to products and that is maybe a change," Brauckmann said. "As an independent unit under Attachmate, we will be able to steer the business from A to Z and that is probably new."
In terms of product roadmap for the new SUSE Linux business unit, Brauckmann noted that for the time being he will be continuing with established roadmaps for products.
"A lot of my initial focus is around continuity and to continue the normal course of business," Brauckmann said.
One element of the former Novell Linux business that has been disrupted in recent weeks is the Mono project. Mono is a Novell led effort to provide an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET framework. Attachmate recently laid off the U.S. workforce for Mono, which has led Mono project founder Miguel de Icaza to form a new business startup.
Though some have assumed that the layoffs meant that SUSE was exiting the Mono business, that's not the case, according to Brauckmann.
"Mono is part of the SUSE Linux business," Brauckmann said.
Brauckmann commented that the goal of the SUSE Linux business is to innovate in the areas that matter to customers.
"So what you saw happening in the last few weeks is we were starting to adjust our investments in Mono to be better aligned with our business," Brauckmann said. "Unfortunately that resulted in some layoffs."
Though Attachmate has laid off a number of Mono developers, Brauckmann said that SUSE Linux will continue to support Mono.
"We will continue to support and deliver maintenance for Mono and, quite frankly, if we see demand shaping up for Mono we will be ready to invest in it at an accelerated pace," Brauckmann said.
In terms of integrations with Novell and other components of the overall Attachmate business, Brauckmann stressed that SUSE Linux is an independent business unit. That said, he noted that SUSE Linux will be part of an overall solution that other business units sell, helping customers move from physical to virtual infrastructure.
"So there are connecting points, but with regards to market we are independent," Brauckmann said.