Novell executives said the upgrade--called NetWare 5.1--is intended to spur interest among the company's sprawling installed base of server systems through extensive support for Web-based technologies that could make it easier for third-party developers to build applications. The company said it intended to release a final version of NetWare 5.1 in the first quarter of next year.
Executives said approximately 12 percent of customers have upgraded to the company's current NetWare 5.0 version, which has been on the market one year.
Novell originally disclosed plans for the upgrade, previously code-named Cobra, in May of this year.
The upgrade includes versions of IBM's WebSphere application server 3.0, a five-user version of Oracle's 8i database, NetWare's Enterprise Web server based on server technology from Netscape Communications, and support for the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).
Novell's directory services, or NDS, is also included in version 8.0 along with a browser-based administrative utility called the NetWare Management Portal.
Microsoft said last month that its long-delayed Windows 2000 operating system, a major overhaul of the company's current Windows NT 4.0 software, would be available for customer use in February.