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Novell Expands Linux And Identity-Management Strategies

After years of flirting with various markets in a bid to expand beyond its core NetWare business, Novell says it's hitched to open source. The company Monday used its BrainShare 2005 conference to unveil a number of partnerships and products that strengthen its commitment to open-source software.

Wary of alienating its core customer base, however, Novell continues to also carefully pave the intersection between newer technologies and its legacy management applications. "We're focused on Linux and identity," Novell chairman and CEO Jack Messman said Monday during a press conference.

One of Monday's more significant announcements was the expansion of Novell's relationship with JBoss Inc. to make the open-source JBoss Enterprise Middleware System a big part of Novell's identity-management technology. Novell plans to extend support and contribute code and engineering resources to JBoss middleware and actively participate in the architectural design and direction of JBoss projects, including JBoss' portal. Novell will contribute a standards-based portlet container--its Web Services for Remote Portlets--and portlet library to help accelerate the delivery of JBoss Portal, which is part of the enterprise middleware stack. Novell also expects to integrate JBoss's middleware as part of Novell's exteNd suite of tools for rapidly developing and deploying services-oriented Web applications.

JBoss's enterprise middleware system, introduced in December, includes Hibernate, an open-source-code project that helps map Java objects into a relational database; the JBoss IDE, an integrated development environment for building JBoss applications that plug into the open-source Eclipse programmer's workbench; JBoss Portal for building a portal run by the application server; and Tomcat, the Java servlet engine that manages the Java commands that run a server. The introduction of this software offering lets JBoss compete directly with Linux distributor Red Hat Inc., which is Novell's chief rival in the Linux space. Red Hat distributes the Jonas application server, built by ObjectWeb, a French consortium of open-source developers.

Novell also revealed Monday an extended support policy, new product features, and a SuSE Linux Enterprise Server for the next version of Novell GroupWise, due later this year. The next release of GroupWise, code-named Sequoia, is expected this summer, followed by Aspen and Cedar, targeted for fall 2006 and spring 2008, respectively. Sequoia is expected to include client code for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and the Web; support for Microsoft Outlook; and new SOAP/XML interfaces to support integration of GroupWise with services-oriented application architectures. Novell will bundle SuSE Linux Enterprise Server with GroupWise Sequoia at no additional cost.

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