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Novell announces new Windows, Linux tools

The company touts management products for both Linux and Windows systems, as it tries to balance its proprietary and open-source software portfolios.

Network software maker Novell has announced software for handling e-mail, calendars and contacts on Linux systems, as well as an automated patch management tool for Microsoft's Windows.

The company introduced the two products, Novell GroupWise 6.5 and Novell ZENworks Patch Management, Friday at the ongoing CeBit industry trade show in Hannover, Germany.

Novell greatly increased its presence in the Linux market in January, when it acquired SuSE Linux for $210 million. So far, the company has given little indication of how it plans to balance its proprietary and open-source software portfolios. However, as previously reported, Novell plans to adopt a widely used open-source license for its Linux management tool in a plan to spread the program and make its SuSE Linux product more popular.

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Novell GroupWise 6.5 for Linux is collaboration software for managing computer communications on Linux systems. The software, which is slated to be released to the public April 15, mirrors functions the company provides in its applications for Windows computers.

GroupWise 6.5 also offers features for controlling e-mail, instant messaging, contacts and documents. Novell said that later this year, it will release a version of its Ximian Evolution software that features support for the product. Novell acquired Ximian in 2003. In the next 30 days, Novell plans to announce plug-in support for Gaim open-source instant messaging.

Meanwhile, Novell ZENworks Patch Management is aimed at helping companies manage software patch downloads and notifications. The company announced that the software will become available later this month. Novell said the software was developed in cooperation with vendor partner PatchLink and provides an automated patch administration system for computers running on Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Novell said ZENworks Patch Management also will improve corporate information technology security. The software offers detailed information on a number of patches, allowing end users to more easily figure out which upgrades they need to install, the company said. The package includes the ability to automatically assess patch management status and risks, as well as automated patch deployment and beefed-up security controls.

CNET News.com's Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.