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Novell beta mixes SuSE Linux, NetWare

Company starts test program for its Novell Open Enterprise Server, bringing NetWare services to SuSE Linux.

Novell has begun a widely available trial of its Open Enterprise Server, software that combines tools from the company's proprietary NetWare with the open-source SuSE Linux operating system.

Late last week, Novell posted the public beta for Open Enterprise Server on its Web site. The company has said it intends to finish the product by February.

Novell has been working on the combined NetWare-Linux product since it acquired SuSE Linux in November 2003. The upcoming product is central to the company's strategy of straddling the open-source and proprietary software models.

With a declining base of NetWare users, Novell has invested heavily in beefing up Linux--which has broader industry support than NetWare--to provide customers a long-term product road map. Novell has also taken on other open-source products, including desktop software and development tools.

Novell Open Enterprise Server will allow current customers to run a mixed network of NetWare and SuSE Linux servers and use a common management tool. With one component of the offering, called Novell Nterprise Linux Services 1.0, Novell has rewritten common NetWare functions, such as file- and printer-sharing and security, to run on SuSE Linux.

The package includes the NetWare operating system kernel and the SuSE Linux Server 9 Enterprise Edition, which is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel. It also includes so-called high-availability software for preventing server crashes and end-user productivity tools iFolder and Virtual Office.