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Schmidt: Novell to speed up Java

The CEO outlines plans to improve Java performance on Intel-based servers and offer key software technologies for Windows NT.

NEW YORK--Novell chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt outlined plans to improve Java performance on Intel-based servers and offer key software technologies for Windows NT in a keynote speech today at the PC Expo trade show.

"Networks are becoming the single connecting piece of human activity," Schmidt said. The CEO, hoping to retain Novell's image as a key provider of networking software, attempted to portray his company as a supplier of software crucial to connecting people easily. Developments such as the growth of the Internet are presenting business opportunities--if they can manage the growth of their internal networks, he added.

Saying Java would be an important component of networks in the future, Schmidt said "[Java] is the mechanism by which you can run things on any [desktop] platform, but it's more important to have interoperability across server platforms."

The executive announced that Novell will work with Intel to enhance the performance of Java applications running on Novell's network operating system software and Intel-based servers. The network operating system company already claims it has the world's fastest Java virtual machine, the software layer that allows Java applications to be executed. It is due to ship this summer as part of NetWare 5.0.

For Novell, offering a performance advantage could be a key factor in attracting new users and developers. Novell has bet on Java's "write once, run anywhere" promise in order to recapture developer support--an area where the company has experienced trouble in the past. The company also is hoping that with the growth of the Java language, there will be easy-to-use software development tools that can be used to create applications.

Schmidt also touted Novell's advantages in managing ever-increasing numbers of users in corporate networks, giving PCs many of the advantages of network computers, or NCs.

"There are not a lot of pure NCs sitting around the show," Schmidt remarked, referring to NCs that only run Java applications. "People like Windows applications. But rather than getting a different category [of hardware], you can take those PCs you're deploying today and put the complexity on the server with directories."

Novell's directory services (NDS) software allows information technology managers to create "digital personas" that allow users to move from machine to machine, he elaborated. Using this, managers can preserve the look and feel of a personal PC desktop, as well as maintain a security profile that gives users access to only the information they need.

Schmidt mentioned that the NDS software will be able to run natively on Windows NT servers by sometime this fall. Right now, users have to run the software on Novell's NetWare operating system.