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Novell tests next-gen IntranetWare

Novell is releasing a beta test version of its next-generation network operating system, code-named Moab.

Novell (NOVL) today released a beta test version of its next-generation network operating system, code-named Moab.

Moab, the next major version of Novell's IntranetWare, includes a native implementation of the IP (Internet protocol) communications protocol which is quickly gaining ground as the preferred network protocol for corporate intranet applications, according to analysts. Previously, IP had to be wrapped in a proprietary protocol for it to be used in a Novell network.

The other major feature of Moab is the ability to run Java applets and applications. The software includes a Java virtual machine and Java software developer's kit to allow developers to build, test, and run Java applications on IntranetWare.

Moab is expected to ship early next year, according to Novell. The company said customers can register on its Web site to receive the Moab beta CDs free of charge.

Yesterday at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, Novell CEO Eric Schmidt, former Java guru at Sun Microsystems (SUNW), stressed the company's efforts to incorporate the popular programming language into its software.

Schmidt said Novell--along with other staunch Java advocates including Sun, Oracle (ORCL), Netscape Communications (NSCP), and IBM (IBM)--will seek to build server-side Java applications that take advantage of computers distributed over a network.

Novell is struggling to remain a major player in the market for server operating systems. The company remains a powerhouse in the server-based OS market for popular local-area services such as file and print. But Novell has seen Microsoft (MSFT) take its experience in creating and selling desktop operating systems and apply that to its quickly evolving Windows NT Server operating system.