CVS on the Mac Server: Versatile Versioning: Page 2

Posted October 13, 2006
By

John Welch

John Welch


(Page 2 of 2)

Ray Noorda: a Remembrance

On October 9th, 2006, Ray Noorda died at the age of 82 in Ogden Utah, after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s. While many of the younger folks in computing are saying, "and?," sysadmins in my age bracket are sitting back and saying "wow."

Ray Noorda is the reason why there's a company called Novell today. And while it's hard to believe, in its prime, Novell was a company that wielded great power. It would not be hyperbole to say that prior to the rise of Windows NT 4, Novell was the Microsoft of PC networking. While Sun and other Unixen may have ruled the roost in the higher education and research arenas, from the early to mid-1980s until the mid-1990s, if you had a bunch of machines in corporate America, you used Netware.

Novell NetWare may not have created things like mapping network drives, directory services, DOS networking TSRs, functionality via loadable modules, cross-platform networking, and the like, but for ten or so years, they pushed those concepts across corporate America harder than anyone else ever had. While NT became bigger, most of its early successes walked the trails that Novell, under Ray Noorda, had blazed.

Novell is also responsible for the cyclical obsessions that this industry has with certification. At the height of Novell's power, a CNE certification practically guaranteed a top salary and respect. There were a lot of administrators, perhaps too many, hired on the strength of those three letters alone. So when you see business cards with MCSE, ACSA, and the rest on them, remember that the modern certification craze(s) all started with that company selling red boxes out of Utah.

While Novell was eventually tossed from its lofty perch by both Microsoft and a number of bad ideas, (such as buying WordPerfect, and attempting to beat Microsoft as a Windows applications company), Novell was the first company to really turn PC networking from something done in small numbers and only occasionally, to a critical part of doing business.

So, if you get a chance, look around you, at the network, and everything it's become and say "Thanks" to Ray Noorda.


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