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Novell tries on Red Hat as customer

Just weeks after unveiling a major cost-cutting plan, the troubled software maker trumpets a list of new products and nabs the Linux maker as a new directory customer.

Just weeks after unveiling a major cost-cutting plan, troubled software maker Novell today trumpeted a list of new products and nabbed Red Hat as a new directory customer.

Red Hat, a leading seller of Linux software packages, today said it will use Novell's NDS eDirectory and DirXML software for its Red Hat Network. Red Hat Network is a secure Internet service for managing networks of Red Hat Linux systems. The companies made the announcement during the NetWorld and Interop show taking place in Atlanta this week.

Directory software essentially serves as a central "phone book" for network-based computing assets and information about computers and users, software and network devices. Red Hat said it will use Novell eDirectory, which became available today, to provide customers with individualized services over the Net that improve the security and reliability of their Red Hat Linux systems.

Earlier this year, Novell announced plans to make versions of its networking software available for Linux users and launched a version of its directory services for the growing operating system.

Novell is one of several corporate software makers that have decided to embrace Linux as a core operating system. Others, such as Oracle and IBM, see similar opportunities in nabbing a piece of the rapidly growing installed base of Linux-based systems within businesses.

Novell is working with a number of consulting companies and system integrators for the implementation of eDirectory, including Computer Sciences, Deloittte & Touche, MarchFirst and Perot Systems.

Novell eDirectory will run on NetWare, Microsoft's Windows NT and Windows 2000, and Sun Microsystems' Solaris and Unix.

Red Hat will also use DirXML, which Novell today made generally available. Novell's DirXML product, which was first unveiled in July of last year, is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard and will allow applications built with ties into directory technology to have so-called multiple views of data stored in various systems.

DirXML allows core company information to be automatically shared between other businesses or partners, the Provo, Utah-based company said.

The announcements come amid hard times for the struggling software maker. Novell recently said it will slash about 900 jobs, cutting its work force by about 16 percent. The company, which has suffered from three quarters of lackluster sales, also said it will take a fourth-quarter restructuring charge of up to $50 million.

In an effort to regain momentum, Novell this week launched its first-ever nationwide television ad campaign, which touts the company's ability to give customers "The Power to Change."

Novell also announced the general availability of Novell Account Management version 2.1, which was formerly known as NDS Corporate Edition. Account Management centrally manages and integrates user account information across different systems.

Pricing for Novell eDirectory is $2 per user. Account Management is priced at $26 per user. Pricing for DirXML includes the cost of eDirectory and is based on individual customer requirements. For example, the license fee for DirXML for a large company that wants to connect to multiple systems consisting of PeopleSoft, Oracle, NDS and Notes, supporting more than 10,000 users, would typically begin at $350,000.