Sources gossip and spin futile dreams of bashing Microsoft

After publicly panning the Olympic games in this space, and especially after revealing
his ties to the late Gen. Sherman, the Rat became rodentia non grata in the city of
Atlanta. So he was forced to send operatives to the recent Networld+Interop show there
while he carried on with ratly duties at home.

Reports from the Rat Patrol indicated that ex-Novell chief Bob Frankenberg's ears were
burning as everyone buzzed about the departure of Ray Noorda's hand-picked successor. One
on-line publication even speculated that Frankenberg left for "family health

The Rat hasn't seen a headline like that since Pravda announced Andropov had caught a

The word from Orem, Utah, is that Frankenberg departed from Novell because--gasp--the
board asked him to. It seems that maybe, just maybe, the board has perceived the company
lacks direction.

The Rat needed no reports from Atlanta to figure that out. Calls to Novell's GroupWise
support team still get answered with a cheerful "WordPerfect." If that's not an
identity crisis, the wired one doesn't know what is.

Those remaining at Novell have good reason for an Adm. Stockdale-ish grasp on their
purpose in life: "Who am I? Why am I here?" The Rat just got done purging his
address book of all the names and phone numbers associated with Novell DR DOS, WordPerfect
and UnixWare. It's looking a lot thinner these days.

And, with Santa Cruz Operation Inc. planning a merger of UnixWare with its OpenServer
operating system, there probably will be a few more product managers out looking for work

The whole shebang results from Noorda's quixotic quest to turn NetWare market share
into a weapon against Microsoft Corp. on all fronts--network, desktop operating system and
applications. The hangover from Uncle Ray's company-buying spree includes all that money
the Cyberrodent once blew on getting UnixWare certification, so you'll pardon him for
taking it rather personally.

Now Uncle Ray, the king of delusion himself, is entering the fray again by buying back
DR DOS from Novell and trying to reprise his ancient court battles with Microsoft chairman
Bill Gates. The Rat has to admire Ray's spunkiness in pseudo-retirement, but perhaps he
should spend a few hours on the couch working out his feelings in a more constructive
fashion. Or maybe Uncle Ray should just go buy another company. Maybe the folks at Banyan
Systems will talk to him.

The Rat's sources report that Banyan has been left in "Waiting for Godot"
mode ever since Microsoft decided to create its own distributed file system instead of
absorbing Banyan and its technology. The Rat's guess is that Banyan priced itself out of
the sale.

Well, at least the U.S. Marines are still using Banyan, but their equipment generally
has the treads worn off and hydraulic fluid leaking. The Army uses its old Z-248s for
concrete forms, the Air Force drops them on Saddam Hussein, and the Navy makes them into
artificial reefs or boat anchors. The Marine Corps hangs onto them as network servers.

The Rat is sure the leathernecks will correct him if he's wrong.

All these dark thoughts about Novell inspired the Rat to start cleaning out his network
certification drawer and tossing now-pointless credentials to make room for new ones.
Several went into the trash:

Microsoft LAN Manager 2.0 Certified Administrator--now there's one the Rat expects to
draw some headhunter inquiries. Not.

3Com 3+Share Administrator. Boy, doesn't that take you back?

Z-248 repair certification -- hold it, the Rat can still use that one.

The Cyberrodent would have deleted them from his SF-171, too, but it happens to reside
on an 8-inch Xerox 860 disk and he can't find anyone to convert it to Enable format. Maybe
someone has a PDP-10 program that will do that.

"Perhaps," mused the Rat, "Noorda could buy Lanier and sue Microsoft for
making word processing hardware obsolete."

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at


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