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Novell Ditches UnitedLinux, Joins Eclipse

Jan 22, 2004, 15:30 (28 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jacqueline Emigh)

By Jacqueline Emigh
Linux Today Correspondent

At LinuxWorld yesterday, Novell CEO Jack Messman made the surprise statement that Novell is done with UnitedLinux. Messman's company also used the show in New York City as the venue for announcements that included the beta release of GroupWise for Linux; membership in the Eclipse developers' group; ELA3+ certification for the newly acqured SUSE Linux; and Linux porting relationships with BEA, Veritas, and Egnera.

In a Q&A at the end of a Novell press conference, Messman said that "there's no value to us to work in in the UnitedLinux space," now that SCO has opted out of Linux. Messman added, though, that there's no reason why Novell can't continue its partnerships with both Asia-based TurboLinux and Latin-America-based Conectiva, the two other founding members of the Linux industry association

Somewhat ironically, however, Novell today joined another industry group: the IBM-spearheaded Eclipse Project. Novell will start using Eclipse company-wide as its crossplatform IDE, said Chris Stone, Novell vice chairman - Office of the CEO.

Novell officials also told reporters that GroupWise for Linux is part of a long-term strategy to expand Novell's position in the messaging space by luring new users from Linux and Unix as well as Windows NT, an OS that Microsoft will stop supporting by the end of this year. Stone acknowledged that Microsoft Exchange, long-time nemesis to GroupWare, is one big target of the strategy.

Stone said that Novell will migrate to a plug-and-play environment encompassing a range of messaging alternatives, including Novell's current GroupWise and NetMail; SUSE's OpenExchange; and Ximian's Evolution client. Novell will aim OpenExchange at SMBs and GroupWise at enterprises, for example,

SUSE Linux achieved ELA3+ certification in only four months, said Doc Shanker, IBM Linux security architect. Ordinarily, a process like this would take several years, according to Shanker. Next, SUSE and Novell will strive for ELA4, said Richard Sebit, former CEO of SUSE and now a top executive with Novell..

The newly unveiled relationships with the ISVs are part of a push by Novell to obtain more applications for Linux, according to Stone.

Officials predicted that the three new partners will certify first on SUSE Linux, and after that on other Linux distributions.

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