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Novell addresses ID management; shows off Ximian, SuSe buys

Last week, Novell debuted the latest version of its ID management software, Nsure Identity Manager 2. This week, the Provo, UT-based software maker is releasing version 5 of its exteNd suite for developing service-oriented Web applications. Though the two announcements are about a week apart, Novell wants developers to know that it's tying the products together to create a set of tools for building and securing so-called Service-Oriented Applications (SOAs).

"We see the ID management space and the application development space converging around a common business problem," Frank Auger, Novell's VP of product management, told Programmers' Report, "the need to ensure that information is delivered in a secure and efficient way."

Nsure Identity Manager 2 is a major upgrade of Novell's software for authenticating access to networks and managing user passwords. The previous version of this product was called DirXML, and was last released in November 2002.

Novell exteNd 5 is an integrated tools suite for the rapid development and deployment of service-oriented Web applications. The tool bundle merges Novell's portal technology with Web services application development tools acquired from SilverStream, which the company bought in 2002.

This version of exteNd also introduces visual development tools, including a number of wizards for constructing front-end forms and connections between applications. The idea, Auger explained, is to provide tools that are accessible, not only to professional Java developers, but to programmers with less sophisticated skill sets.

"Everybody is trying to make Java tools easier for Java programmers," he said. "But there are more people in organizations who need to work with Web services. We want to make Web services and identity management accessible to mainstream business analysts and systems administrators."

Novell's strategy calls for steadily improved integration between exteNd and Nsure, and the company has even established a single organization to manage the development of both products, Auger said.

Novell plans to announce the release of exteNd 5 at the upcoming LinuxWorld show in New York. The company acquired desktop Linux specialist Ximian last August and European Linux distributor SuSe last November.

In a related announcement, the company disclosed that it has completed its $210 million acquisition of SuSe Linux, and intends to indemnify its enterprise Linux customers against possible intellectual-property challenges by The SCO Group. Novell said that it would keep the SuSe Linux brand, incorporating the company into its own operations as a business unit of Novell.

SCO has claimed ownership of certain parts of the Linux code base. SCO has made an "intellectual property license" available for enterprise customers, which it says will allow business users to use Linux distributions without infringing the copyrights it claims.

Last September, Hewlett-Packard became the first Linux vendor to offer customer indemnification against SCO claims.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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