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Novell Road Map Goes Heavy on Linux

By Jacqueline Emigh (Send Email)
Posted Mar 23, 2004


Novell kicked off its annual BrainShare conference Monday with the unveiling of a road map heavy on Linux and open source, across enterprise servers, desktops, tools, and even relationships with ISVs. The company is building a bridge from its NetWare server operating system to its open source offerings from SUSE Linux and Ximian.

The goal is to bridge the company's NetWare past with its Linux future.

"It's been a good year," Novell Chairman and CEO Jack Messman said at the top of his keynote. Messman pointed back to a year in which Novell, once best known for its NetWare network operating system, barreled full-speed ahead into Linux, buying up key players SUSE and Ximian.

Now, however, Novell plans to help "drive [Linux] from the periphery to the data center," Messman maintained in his keynote. "2004 will be the year Linux goes mainstream on Linux servers." Novell also plans "very tight integration" between its server and desktop products.

"There isn't a lot of profit in the Linux OS itself," Messman acknowledged at a press conference later. Novell expects to make money with "up-the-stack services," he said, holding up file, print, and directory services as examples.

"We have a very attractive product for ISVs, because of the [Linux] growth rate," added Novell Vice Chairman Chris Nolan. "Applications are being written by customers."

Nolan also talked about Novell's "Open Desktop Initiative," which has the agenda of migrating all employees "on to Open Office and off of Microsoft Office" by this summer. "We can't with a straight face ask you to do this unless we've been through it ourselves," he said.

In a Q&A session with Messman and Nolan after the two keynotes, Linux guru Linus Torvalds was asked what he'd do differently, if he had a chance to "do it all over again."

"What I did do right was to make 'it' non-proprietary," Torvalds quipped.

Novell first articulated its change of heart toward Linux at last year's BrainShare, saying at the time that, within the next two years, Novell would make its NetWare Services available on top of Linux as well as the NetWare. With Open Enterprise Server rolling out on Monday, Novell was able to "move that up by a year," Messman said.

"[But] we didn't own SUSE at the time [last year's BrainShare]," chimed in Nolan. Yet Novell officials insisted that Novell's increasing thrust toward Linux doesn't mean NetWare's demise.

"Let's debunk a few myths," according to Nolan. "Linux doesn't spell the end of proprietary OS as we know them." he said. On the other hand, though, "It doesn't make sense to [be limited] to either pure proprietary or open source software."

In the open source arena, Novell also introduced the yet another setup tool (YaST) and Novell iFolder projects.

The company also announced that the public beta of its ZenWorks 6.5 system management software will include ZenWorks Patch Management as well as Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise.

Finally, Novell said its next generation of identity management services will be based on the open source Eclipse Framework. Novell first made known its Eclipse membership in January.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com

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