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Novell Moves Ahead With Linux

Novell rolls out network services on Linux despite ongoing issues with SCO Group.

Despite a recent run-in with the SCO Group, Novell is moving forward with plans to offer its network services on Linux. Novell on Tuesday introduced Nterprise Linux Services, which, when available later this year, will give companies file, print, messaging, directory, and management services in a package supported by the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating systems.

The initial version of Nterprise Linux Services will include several Novell network services, including identity services via Novell eDirectory and DirXML, file services via Novell iFolder, printing services via iPrint, messaging services via NetMail, management services via ZENworks for Servers, and a portal called "Virtual Office" that lets users access all of these services from a single location. In addition, Novell iManager will provide a browser-based, single point of administration for Nterprise Linux Services.

Nterprise Linux Services is expected to be available for Dell PowerEdge, Hewlett-Packard ProLiant, and a number of IBM server types within the next few months. Pricing for the services isn't available. Beta versions of Nterprise Linux Services are expected to be available on certain HP ProLiant servers in July. For IBM customers, the services initially will be available for Intel-based xSeries servers with support for zSeries mainframes, iSeries midrange systems, and pSeries Unix servers to follow in subsequent releases.

Novell's venture into the Linux market strengthens its relationships with Dell, IBM, and HP, companies that have been drifting out of Novell's sphere as they became more likely to endorse Microsoft over Novell, says John Enck, a Gartner VP and research director. Now Novell is expanding Linux's appeals to the enterprise, giving users a choice of eDirectory or Open LDAP, iFolder and iPrint or Samba for open-source file and print services.

While Nterprise Linux Services won't necessarily be of interest to Novell customers, who are already running the company's software on other platforms, it shows that Novell is moving to support emerging platforms such as Linux, Enck says. The timing of this announcement, after Novell first made its designs on Linux known at its April BrainShare conference, may have been delayed a bit due to SCO Group's lawsuit against IBM, alleging that IBM is leaking SCO Group's proprietary Unix source code to the Linux community.

"If everyone was waiting for the SCO thing to be over, they would be waiting a couple of years," Enck says. While there's some risk associated with moving ahead with a Linux strategy at this time, Enck says companies "aren't going to wait on the sidelines."

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