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Novell's Net Gain

NetWare 6.5 enhancements are open-source and developer friendly.

The process for in-place upgrades has changed in 6.5. In the past, you needed to boot the server from the NetWare OS Install CD. Now the upgrade process begins from the install option of the NetWare GUI screen. You also can remotely install servers. I'm not sure I like the new starting point, as it is easy to forget to shut down running applications first. This wasn't a problem with the old way, when the upgrade started by booting from the CD.

New Tools

NetWare 6.5 should win Novell points in the open-source community and with developers. To Apache, PERL and Tomcat, Novell has added the commercial version of the popular MySQL database, which means Novell customers don't have to worry about license restrictions on software developed inhouse using MySQL. NetWare 6.5 also supports PHP 4.2.3; has enhanced its PERL 5.8 support; and has replaced the Netscape-based Web server with Apache 2.

To test out the Web server, I installed some PHP applications from www.hotscripts.com. As expected, just about every project I tried worked great. You can find a few additional PHP modules for NetWare at forge.novell.com. There were a few minor glitches with these, however. For example, webnotes, a simple file-based note program, didn't like writing files back to the NetWare server.

To shake the stigma that NetWare is not an applications platform, Novell has included the Extend Application Server from last year's SilverStream acquisition. The Extend server makes it easy to write and run Web applications (for more on Web services, see "Serving Up Soap").

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