Linux: A Reason To Stick With NetWare

If you were surprised by Novell's plans to offer Linux tools for the enterprise, you haven't been paying attention.

July 7, 2003

2 Min Read
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If you were surprised by Novell's plans to offer Linux tools for the enterprise, you haven't been paying attention. Novell has been moving toward support for open-source software in general--and Linux in particular--for quite some time.

It's clear IBM, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, Sun Microsystems and now Novell believe open-source software is ready for the data center. They are all distributing or supporting one or another open-source product. The incessant claims by analysts and certain proprietary vendors aside, Linux is here to stay.

Novell has long supported software that works. It was nearly impossible to install NetWare 2.11 correctly the first time, but once it was installed, NetWare was ultrareliable. That reliability has remained with subsequent versions of the operating system. NetWare's quality is better than it used to be, even though it has lost popularity amid growing competition.

Novell's Linux support is a smart move on Novell's part. Linux will be running next to NetWare and Windows in the data center--indeed, it already is in many enterprises. Novell can ignore it and let open-source developers attempt to bridge the operating systems gap, or Novell can embrace it and show that NetWare adds value to IT operations by interoperating with all the OSs in your data center. Novell has been gradually losing market share, so it pays for the vendor to produce tools that interoperate with other systems.

Some open-source proponents are openly hostile that "big business" is attempting to stop open source. And though some big vendors are running scared, the list above shows that most are embracing open source. SAP's database is an excellent example. TThe move to open source gave SAP the opportunity to concentrate on its core business. Open source changes the way software is marketed and sold. Some companies will embrace it and adapt, others will react with fear and bluster. It's up to you to distinguish between the two camps.Novell is sure to deepen its support for Linux, making for an interesting future for NetWare. Many of the companies still using NetWare are looking at options to replace it--primarily Windows or Linux. But if it truly interoperates with both, and you have a trained NetWare staff in-house, sticking with NetWare may be more attractive.

Keep an eye on Novell's moves in the next 12 months. You may find you aren't in a rush to get rid of NetWare after all.

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