Novells Linux Bandwagon Motors On

Jack Messman, the company's CEO, makes it clear that Novell is moving ahead with Linux and that its partners are joining it on the road.

SALT LAKE CITY—CEO Jack Messman opened Novells annual trade show, BrainShare, with a keynote speech filling in more of the blanks in Novells Linux plans.

Novell Inc.s basic Linux blocks—OES (Open Enterprise Server), the NLD (Novell Linux Desktop) and ZENworks for network system management—are here. On Monday, Messman explained to his capacity audience of more than 4,000 BrainShare attendees here some of the ways that Novell will be building on those blocks.

"Today, Novell delivers solutions to customers that are open, secure and global," Messman said. "Our leadership in Linux is giving customers more options than ever before for their computing needs, while our identity-driven services deliver comprehensive security for the most complex enterprise environment."

Moving forward, though, Messman emphasized, isnt just about Linux. Officially announcing that ZENworks 7 is on its way, he pointed out—as a demo of the product showed—that with ZENworks 7 running on OES or SuSE Linux, administrators can manage Windows, Linux or mobile devices.

Messman also announced the upcoming arrival of Novell Linux Small Business Suite. This product, which will start shipping at the end of March, is a direct competitor to Microsofts Small Business Server 2003. Based on SLES, it comes with GroupWise 6.5 and installs in about an hour.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols column on what he calls the top three Linux desktops.

The Small Business Suite package, which will be sold largely though the reseller channel, comes with a three-server license and five CALs (client-access licenses). The CALs also come with copies of NLD. However, users working with XP Pro or Windows 2000 also can use the Small Business Server. The new suite can scale up to 100 customers.

Messman also announced a partnership with open-source Java middleware and J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) vendor JBoss Inc. Novell will act as both a reseller and an OEM for JBoss. This means that at least some JBoss functionality will eventually ship as part of OES and SLES.

During a question-and-answer session after the keynote, Messman said Novell would be contributing code and engineering to the development of the open-source JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Middleware System).

"We could have moved our own application technology to open source or partnered with someone who was already there: JBoss. Together, well make a stronger software stack with two leaders," Messman said.

Continuing in this line of emphasizing Novells partnerships with other vendors, Messman announced the Novell Market Start program. This program is meant to open the doors to Novells distribution and support channels for open-source ISVs.

In addition, he announced the Novell Validated Configuration program. With this program, Novell will start certifying not just stand-alone equipment or software for use with Novells Linux products, but entire stacks of software. This, in turn, will make it much easier for companies to deploy a Novell-based Linux enterprise package.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Novells announcements at this years BrainShare trade show.

Throughout his keynote, Messman also emphasized the importance of identity management.

To further this end, Messman announced ASF (Application Services Foundation) and ISF (Identity Services Foundation), two new SDKs (software development kits). These kits are designed to help ISVs create applications that will make it easy for administrators to secure and manage both the security and application services stacks.

Looking ahead, Messman said he is certain that Novells complete Linux solutions are just what customers need. When asked about the recent report from Microsoft that customers are overwhelmingly turning away from NetWare to Server 2003, William Hewitt, Novells CMO (chief marketing officer), said, "In our surveys in 2004, we saw less than 5 percent of our customers move to Server 2003."

"We really dont know how scientific this survey that Microsoft quoted was," Hewitt said.

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