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Novell, NetApp pledge allegiance to Linux group

The software maker and the storage company join the influential Open Source Development Lab, one of the main groups promoting Linux for businesses.

Novell and Network Appliance have joined the Open Source Development Labs, one of the main groups promoting the business use of Linux and other open-source software.

The companies said this week they had signed up to the OSDL, which is funded by a group of companies that includes IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun Microsystems and Red Hat.

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Besides testing and developing the Linux kernel (the heart of the operating system), the lab directs numerous projects aimed at creating enterprise-focused Linux applications, including database software and a specialized version of Linux for the telecommunications industry. The OSDL also employs and provides legal representation for Linus Torvalds, the originator of Linux.

Novell said on Tuesday that it would participate in the OSDL's Data Center Linux project, which is working to create a version of Linux optimized for back-end computing tasks. The software maker will also contribute to anticipated efforts to promote the use of desktop Linux. Novell Vice President Jeffrey Hawkins will also serve on the OSDL's board of directors.

"The Linux industry is rapidly accelerating, with the promise to give customers lower computing costs with greater freedom and control," Chris Stone, Novell's vice chairman, said in a statement. "By joining forces with OSDL, Novell aims to take a leadership role in helping the industry overcome the many challenges that still exist to help Linux fulfill its promise as an end-to-end enterprise computing platform."

Novell, long focused on its proprietary networking software, has transformed itself into a major Linux backer over the past year through its acquisitions of No. 2 Linux seller SuSE and desktop Linux specialist Ximian. The Provo, Utah-based company was also an early combatant in SCO Group's legal battle against Linux.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Network Appliance, which makes data storage hardware and software, said on Wednesday it also plans to contribute to the Data Center Linux effort.

"Network Appliance brings us key networked storage expertise for Linux environments that will accelerate our progress in helping deliver Linux solutions to enterprise customers," Stuart Cohen, CEO of ODSL, said in a statement.