They were the Wright Brothers of networking software. But instead of a duo, they were a trio. Novell Data Systems hired Dale Neibaur, Drew Major and Kyle Powell in October 1981 to network CPM z80 microprocessors. The trio quickly became known as the SuperSet. A fourth developer, Mark Hurst, designed device drivers and administration utilities for NetWare.
Major remains quite close to the original NetWare development team. Hurst, Major and Powell launched Edgix in 1999. The company focuses on improving "last mile" performance on the Internet. Hurst is Edgixs chief scientist; Powell works behind the scenes; and Major lends a hand when he isnt busy consulting at Novell or working full-time at Volera. Novell invested an undisclosed sum in Edgix in 1999.
To this day, NetWares success continues to surprise Major. "In our wildest dreams we didnt expect [NetWare] to be this big or for its popularity to last this long," he says.
Still, NetWares programmers dont deserve all the credit. Novell Data Systems relaunched as Novell in the early 1980s. One of the companys early investors, Safeguard Scientifics CEO Warren Musser, told Novell CEO Ray Noorda to exit the hardware market to focus exclusively on software. The rest, as they say, is history.