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Novell jumps into Linux pool

Company plans to make versions of its networking software available for Linux users and launches a version of its directory services for the growing operating system.

Network software maker Novell today announced plans to fully embrace Linux.

Having previously dabbled with the "open source" software movement, Novell said it 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 said it currently is shipping a version of its NDS eDirectory software for Linux. Directory software essentially serves as a central "phone book" for network-based computing assets and information about computers and users, software and network devices.

Novell is only one of several corporate-oriented software firms that have decided to embrace Linux as a core operating system. Others, such as Oracle and IBM, see much the same opportunity: A rapidly growing installed base of Linux-based systems within organizations.

But Novell executives said the directory will be just the tip of the iceberg, with the company's related software also moving to Linux through this year and next. That means associated software for network caching and PC and server management will be available for Linux, among other products.

Novell has made no secret of its plans to morph its business so it is less reliant of its flagship operating system software, NetWare. It already has said it would release elements of its NetWare software code to the public as a means to gain wider audience among developers.

Linux companies such as Caldera Systems, Evergreen Internet, Red Hat, Sendmail, TurboLinux and Bowstreet announced plans to support Novell's Linux-based software.CNET's Linux Center

As part of Novell's plan to revamp its strategy, it has chosen to move its directory to several third-party operating systems, including Linux, Microsoft's Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 and Sun Microsystems' Solaris in addition to NetWare. Novell also has previously worked with Caldera on a version of its directory for that operating system.

Separately, Novell said it will offer a free 100-user license of its directory for Windows 2000 through May to those customers installing Microsoft's new operating system.