"We will support NetWare 6.5 for as long as customers continue to use it. So I urge those of you who have not yet upgraded to NetWare 6.5 to do so.
"But we want to make clear that our commitment to the product remains unchanged and in force," Jack Messman, Novell CEO and chairman, said in his opening keynote at the conference on March 20.
Addressing several thousand attendees at a packed keynote, Messman then announced a number of new upcoming products and offerings, including the new GroupWise Mobile Server powered by Intellisync, which is in beta and supports more than 400 mobile devices and a number of platforms, and will be made available for free.
"We expect this to be available to users shortly," he said.
BlackBerry users will be able to connect with enhanced GroupWise integration through the new BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1 for Novell GroupWise from RIM (Research In Motion).
Messman then announced the new Novell Open Workgroup Suite, which includes both server and desktop components, e-mail, collaboration and open-source desktop productivity applications.
It would also be priced at significantly less than Microsofts comparable suite, he said.
The Novell Open Workgroup Suite includes the Linux version of the Novell Open Enterprise Server, Novell GroupWise for Linux, the Novell ZENworks suite, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and the OpenOffice.org desktop productivity suite.
It is priced at $110 per device/user for a perpetual license and $75 annually for software maintenance.
For existing NetWare, GroupWise and ZENworks customers, the suite is available with the NetWare version of Open Enterprise Server and cross-platform GroupWise as an upgrade bundle for $150 per user/device.
A rental offering is also available for both offerings.
Messman then announced the beta for Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, which he described as the platform for the open enterprise and which leveraged the assets of Linux, open source and Novells engineering efforts.
This platform would leverage open standards across IT to drive business innovation, protected against security threats anywhere and lowered operating costs.
Two products were built on the SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 platform: the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 product and the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.
The platform supported all of Novells products, from the data center to the desktop, workgroup, resource management and security and identity fronts. "This is a complete package, offering the platform, products and services above that, as well as our partner and support networks," Messman said.
Promising that this would be the biggest and the best BrainShare conference ever, Messman said that about 6,000 people from more than 50 countries had signed up to attend the show, 800 of which are new customer attendees.
There would be some 240 breakout sessions offered over the week, 65 of which are around security and identity, he said.
Lower costs are also no longer the driving force behind Linux adoption, he said, adding that enterprises are increasingly shifting to open solutions.