Novell Delays Linux Services for NetWare, Plans Products Using Ximian Code
Sep 18, 2003, 20:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jacqueline Emigh)
Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame
By Jacqueline Emigh
Linux Today Writer
Novell is delaying shipment of its much anticipated Linux
services for NetWare product until the end of this year, due to a
decision to integrate software code from Ximian, a recently
acquired ISV that is very active in the Linux space.
Ximian code will show up in other future Novell products, too,
including a Linux-based interface for Novell's GroupWise, and even
possibly a desktop GUI from Novell.
The delayed product, known as Novell Nterprise Linux Services,
represents the first step in a plan, unveiled at Novell's
BrainShare show last spring, to make the entire NetWare protocol
stack available on Linux as well as NetWare. Ultimately, in the
forthcoming NetWare 7.0 operating environment, Novell expects to
accomplish a port of the Linux kernel to NetWare.
Novell first eyed commercial release of Nterprise Linux Services
for November. Now, though, shipment will be pushed back a month or
more, so that Novell can integrate distribution and management code
from Ximian's Red Carpet software, said Tracy Thayne, Director of
Solutions Marketing at Novell, in an interview this week at
PCExpo/TechXNY in New York City.
The first version of Nterprise Linux Services is currently in
closed beta with some of Novell's customers. An open beta is now
slated to start in November. At this point, Novell's product looks
likely to include the following: Directory Services; iPrint
Services, for printing; iFolder Services, for personal File
Management; Integrated Messaging and Calendaring; System
Management; and a browser-based "Web Experience" component.
On the Directory Services side, Novell is building DirXML
connectors to NetWare Directory Services (NDS). For calendaring,
the company will integrate iCal-based calendaring features
previously added to NetMail. NetMail, a messaging environment from
Novell that is already available for Linux, is lighter but less
feature-rich than GroupWise. Virtual Office will be used for
messaging and chat.
Thayne said Novell is gearing the new suite mainly to existing
NetWare customers, to make it easy for them to work with existing
NetWare services on the Linux platform. "Generally, only a very few
NetWare shops have used Linux," he acknowledged.
The user interface for the Linux product is almost identical to
Novell's NetWare Services, noted a Novell trainer, Ed Schlictenmyer
of Cal Data Systems Inc. Also at PC Expo/TechXNY, the trainer led a
hands-on workshop using a pre-beta build of Nterprise Linux
"It's mostly the same GUI (graphical user interface) as in
Nterprise NetWare Services. There is some command line stuff in the
Linux version, but no more than in the NetWare version,"
Schlictenmyer said, in another interview.
Still, though, Novell seems to targeting the Linux suite at
long-time Linux users, too. According to Thayne, Novell's main
reason for integrating the Ximian code is to provide Linux
customers with distribution mechanisms already familiar to
"Linux people understand RPM (packages). So we've pulled all of
that from Red Carpet," Thayne said.
Novell doesn't have a projected release date yet for NetWare
7.0. "We just released NetWare 6.5 two weeks ago," he said.
"However, we'll probably do several more releases of Nterprise
Linux Services, before shipping NetWare 7.0."
Thayne also maintained that major hardware makers IBM, Dell and
Hewlett-Packard are taking a serious look at bundling Novell's
services for Linux with their hardware.
For further down the road, Novell is now working on several
other products that will include Ximian code. The next initiative
of this kind will provide a connector between GroupWise and
Evolution, Ximian's Linux-based, Microsoft Outlook-like messaging
front end, according to Thayne.
Novell, he said, will also try to"deliver on some of the
experience and expertise" that Ximian developed while working on
two open source projects: Gnome, an effort to build a GUI desktop
for Linux, and Mono, a project for enabling Microsoft .NET
applications to run on Linux.
"(A GUI desktop for Linux) might not happen right away, or it
might not happen at all. But we think it's really important,"
Thayne added. "Hopefully, we'll (also) be able to get .NET
applications to run on Linux."
Judging from reactions at PC Expo, existing NetWare and Linux
customers continue to be pleased that Novell is porting the NetWare
stack to Linux.
"I can tell you this much. Anything produced by Novell will be
well engineered and very scalable," contended show attendee Daniel
O'Brien, a Novell CNE (Certified NetWare Engineer) who heads up IT
services at a New Jersey law firm called Greenbaum, Rowe Smith.
Greenbaum, Rowe Smith isn't running any Linux applications yet,
according to O'Brien. The installation at the law firm is a mix of
NetWare and Windows 2000 Professional.
"More power to Novell," said Sean Rogers, an independent IT
consultant who runs a company known as The Netamedic in
"Now that there's another big name behind Linux, we ought to
start seeing more applications for Linux. Eventually, instead of
needing to know three major operating environments--Windows, Linux
and NetWare--IT people will only have to know two environments,"