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Server software gets tailored to Red Hat

Open-Xchange's product, long tightly tied to Novell's Suse Linux, adds a version for rival Red Hat's OS.

SAN FRANCISCO--Open-Xchange, whose server software has long been tightly tied to Novell's Suse Linux products, has released a version for Red Hat's operating system.

The company, formerly called Netline Internet Service, has been planning the move for years, CEO Frank Hoberg said Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference here. It now expects more than half its revenue to come from sales in conjunction with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, he said.

"From the revenue and strategic perspective, it's very important to support the most important Linux platform, especially here in the United States," Hoberg said.

In June, Open-Xchange moved its headquarters to Tarrytown, N.Y., from Germany, where Suse's operations are still centered. Netline got its start selling technology bundled only with Suse products.

The main difference between the Suse and Red Hat versions of Open-Xchange's product is in the installation process, Hoberg said. The server software requires an application server to run Java programs, which is standard in Suse Linux Enterprise Server but a separate product for Red Hat. Consequently, Open-Xchange offers a bundle of its software with Red Hat's operating system and application server, he said.

Open-Xchange's software, an open-source project called Open-Xchange, is used for collaboration tasks such as e-mail and calendars. It competes chiefly with Microsoft Exchange, but also with Lotus Notes and Novell Groupwise. In an effort to pave the way for those thinking about switching, the company will release conversion modules called extenders, Hoberg said.

Open-Xchange has two versions of its server software. A lower-end version supports as many as 25 users; a five-user version costs $299. The higher-end version supports an unlimited number of users, and a 25-user version costs $850. For each version, additional users cost $25 apiece, though there are volume discounts, and a support subscription after the first year costs one quarter the initial fee.

In addition at LinuxWorld, Open-Xchange announced it had hired Oliver Nachtrab to be vice president of business development and marketing. Previously, he was director of product management for Suse.