SUSE Linux changes owner again - why?

    Earlier this month, the British company Micro Focus announced the sale of the oldest developer of SUSE Linux distributions for $ 2.5 billion. The owner of SUSE became the Swedish stock company EQT , which invests in technology companies.

    Next is why they made a deal, and how the community responded.

    / photo Bernard DUPONT CC

    Partner Agreement

    As noted in the company, the deal with EQT is, in fact, a partnership agreement with investors. They have impressive experience in the software market, and their funds will help SUSE become a fully independent company.

    It is planned that the transaction will be finally closed early next year, when Micro Focus shareholders will settle all the formalities.

    SUSE representatives have promised that the company will continue to head for open source and promote cloud solutions. In particular, we are talking about the cloud platform OpenStack IaaS and the platform for working with application containers (CaaS), which the company acquired last year.

    Opinion of the community and participants of the transaction

    In their blog, SUSE noted that this transaction is an opportunity to accelerate the development of the company, since the investments from EQT provide "support for the release of new technological solutions to the market." Overall, however, in case the company is already going well: SUSE income for the last quarter amounted to 164 million dollars, with a growth rate of 13%. EQT representatives appreciated the strong position of SUSE in the market and aimed at fruitful cooperation with the company.

    However, the opinions of the IT community regarding the acquisition of SUSE are divided. Some Reddit users, for example, are concernedthat EQT can only concern profits, and not the fate of the Linux project itself. Therefore, they are concerned that the company would not start developing in the wrong direction, which could lead to its decline.

    However, there is a positive opinion. Some residents of Hacker News, for example, hoped that SUSE would benefit from this deal, since the EQT fund is managed by people who have made significant contributions to the development of Sweden. The fund itself has extensive experience in the development of companies - in total it has invested about $ 50 billion in more than 200 organizations.

    Brief history [resale] SUSE

    Previously, SUSE has already bought and sold. The development of its distribution company SUSE began to engage not immediately. At first, it was called SuSE (from German Software und System-Entwicklung, which can be translated as “Software and Systems Development”) and acted as a service provider: released software packages for Slackware and printed Linux manuals.

    In 1996, the company released the first distribution SuSE Linux 4.2. The release number was chosen for a reason - he refers to the answer to "The Main Question of Life, the Universe and All That" from Douglas Adams's book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

    The sense of sending out is a bit ironic: for 7.5 million years of computing, the Super Thought supercomputer developed by the super-intelligent race, in response to the “Main Question ...” gave the number 42. This answer puzzled the main characters of the book because they did not quite understand its meaning, and some developers have begun to use it as a “start number” for releases of their products. In addition to SuSE, the number 42 was used by the developers of the YaST software package : the number of the first release was 0.42.

    / photo Tambako The Jaguar CC

    After the release of the first distribution, the company began to grow and by 1997 became the developer of the largest Linux distribution in Germany. In 1999, the company began to work in the UK.

    Then began the "series of resale." In 2004, SUSE acquired Novell for $ 210 million (with material support from IBM), which is known for its NetWare network operating system . Novell bought SUSE to offer SUSE Linux-based enterprise solutions to its customers.

    In 2005, Novell created openSUSE and began to make changes to the platform that were proposed by the developer community. Prior to this, only regular programmers worked on the platform. Due to the Novell client base, SUSE solutions have spread throughout the world.

    Then, in 2010, Novell could not stand the competition in the market and were forced to make a deal: Attachmate, with the support of Microsoft funds, bought Novell with SUSE for $ 2.2 billion. At the end of the deal, Attachmate divided the Novell product line into SUSE solutions and all the rest. Gartner analyst Earl Perkins (Earl Perkins) called this deal "the end of an era of competition for key market players from the 90s," since Novell and SUSE had no chance of independent existence at that time.

    Shortly thereafter, in 2014, Attachmate, together with Novell and SUSE, merged with the British company Micro Focus for $ 1.2 billion . Micro Focus representatives notedthat this merger was aimed at obtaining benefits for both companies: by working together, they were able to offer their corporate clients comprehensive IT solutions and to represent more products in the global market.

    Until recently, SUSE functioned as an independent division of Micro Focus. Now, with the help of EQT, the oldest Linux distribution company may have a chance to prove to Earl Perkins that he was wrong. SUSE hopes that in time they will start working again as an independent company.

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