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Bob Martens

Everything for No One


Bad Wireless Routers

At Martin Luther College we allow students to bring wireless routers into their dorm rooms so that they can connect their devices to our network. One thing we have seen creeping into more and more routers is the interstitial landing page and “helpful” software from the router manufacturers getting in the way of using our network.

Belkin and Netgear are the two worst at the moment but if history repeats, it will work its way into everything. The routers will ping out to some server (or a number of different servers) and if it doesn’t receive a response, it will throw up its page and keep you from using the network.


Even better is that some Belkin routers coming in recently have had some “content filtering” turned on which means that the router cannot get the proper DNS servers to allow them to register the device.


Defaults matter. Software matters. Hardware that might work just fine otherwise is broken by poor software with poor defaults. It isn’t helpful.

BrainShare Banner

I’ll See You at BrainShare 2014

I’m looking forward to being able to attend BrainShare 2014 at the beginning of November. I’ll be there spending as much time as possible learning about the mobile and file-sharing options from Novell and NetIQ and especially focused on our upcoming Novell OES migration.

Before that, however, I will have the opportunity to speak with my education IT friends at the TTP BrainShare Summit 2014 happening on Saturday and Sunday. I will also have the pleasure to speak there on Saturday. The title of the talk is SmallOps: My First Year in IT Operations at Martin Luther College, and much of it will be familiar to those who read this blog but I’ll post what I can after the talk.

It should be a good time and if you happen to see me, just grab me to say “hi”!

Novell Headquarters

The Futures of Novell and SUSE

I have no insider information, but as a heavy user of both Novell and SUSE technologies I do have an interest in what happens with both of the companies. A large portion of what I do every day replies on Novell and SUSE to function and any major change for either would mean many headaches and late nights as we work to move to different platforms.

No matter how well-intentioned both sides might be at the onset of any merger, there is going to come a time when the numbers are going to be looked at and a return on the initial investment is going to be expected. If there is no return, or the return is not big enough, then decisions are going to be made to rectify that. Many times that can manifest in layoffs and products being discarded into the heap of history.

I don’t know how well the Novell and SUSE portions of The Attachmate Group are doing, but the idea that some very good products could be discarded is disheartening. I don’t think it is a secret that Novell had been struggling mightily before its purchase, and I don’t know how the company is really doing now but I’m fairly certain that it is probably not as large as it was when initially purchased. SUSE has been spun off (which I think was a net win for everyone) and some of the products once shepherded by Novell are now under the care of NetIQ (which might make sense to some), which leaves Novell with only a portion of its prior product portfolio. A smaller company might be more focused, but it also leaves it a smaller company.

My fears for the two main companies I work with on a daily basis are distinct:

  • For Novell, I fear resources continuing to get split off into other groups. I fear Open Enterprise Server getting tossed onto the back burner just as the roadmap has some excellent things being added (not to mention what SUSE is doing with SLES in the future). I fear that the work to consolidate ZENworks into a single, coherent platform is going to get slowed down just when it looks like a product that could be used to manage the entire swath of computing platforms from desktops to phones and everything in between. I fear Vibe continuing to be ignored and Service Desk never getting a fair shake. Some of these things might have happened anyway, but now the fear is there are the surface.
  • For SUSE, I fear any hint of the company keeping things for themselves and retreating from the open source community. I fear technology becoming secondary to short-term profits. I fear SUSE not continuing to push forward as fast as possible as more uncertainty comes into the pictures again. The splitting of Novell and SUSE has been nothing but a boon for SUSE as it has been able to forge ahead with its own identity and I fear it being swallowed again or its distinctive brand being lessened.
  • For the entire purchase, I’m a little fearful of the companies being public again. Being a public company is not always a positive thing for the products being worked on. Just this week HP announced a splitting of the company into two distinct pieces, Dell has gone private, Microsoft has a new CEO, IBM has a new CEO, and Oracle will have a couple of new CEOs. There is a lot of uncertainty in technology right now and I fear this is another small part of that.

Is it all doom and gloom? Not necessarily. I think that if this turns out similar to the The Attachmate Group changes, then it could be an overall good thing for everyone involved, but any merger-and-aquisition is difficult and this one will be no different.

I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to both SUSE and Novell being a major partner at Martin Luther College.

HP Campus

HP is Splitting Up

HP is splitting up. HP as we know it today will be split into Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.

HP Inc. will handle the personal computers and printers and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will take care of servers, storage, software, and services. For me, I’m imagining I will have more to do with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (and I’m hoping their ProCurve line of networking gear will continue to be excellent).

Definitely interesting times when Microsoft and Oracle change CEOs, Dell goes private, IBM sells their X86 server business, and HP is splitting into two. The tech industry is getting shaken up and who knows what it will look like in a short time.

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