Novell outlines open source plans

Novell Inc. ( executives moved to allay the fears of attendees at its annual BrainShare user conference this week after disclosure of plans to incorporate open-source components and industry standards in the next version of its flagship NetWare offering to launch a company-wide open-source initiative, as well as plans to add Linux and Macintosh implementations of the GroupWise collaboration product set.

After announcing the moves, Novell executives made it clear that the firm is standing by its flagship proprietary Web services products, but wants to make sure users don't get left behind by the open-source movement. "We're not dropping NetWare, we're just adding Linux," said CEO Jack Messman. "Novell will continue to support and enhance NetWare, and the services that sit on top of the NetWare kernel. It's all about choice. Customers do not have to abandon NetWare to move to Linux; if they want to go to Linux, we'll help get them there quickly and easily, and without a lot of aggravation and pain in terms of the migration issues."

While acknowledging that times are, and would continue to be, tight for Novell and other IT services providers, Messman could offer few specific long-range plans by the firm to further support the open-source movement. Messman did say the firm would discuss those plans as they develop.

"I suspect that when we get this latest round of strategic initiatives well in place, which will be soon, that we can then go on a road show to explain where we're heading," he said. "But I felt uncomfortable doing that until I could tell the world about something we could commit to."


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