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Last issue I told you about the good news Novell is generating in the run-up to Christmas. But there are a couple of lumps of coal in Jack Messman's stocking.
Trying to put a good face on what is definitely bad news, a Novell press release trumpets: "Novell today [Dec. 13] announced it will hold its first unified global BrainShare Conference" in March in Salt Lake City. Of course, there's been a BrainShare conference in March in Salt Lake City for the past 15 years. What this announcement really means is that BrainShare Europe and the other "mini" BrainShares that have been tried at other cities over the years are no more. It's just another cost-cutting move, no matter how Novell tries to spin it.
That's not as troubling as the report I got from longtime reader Lewis Rosenthal about his trip to Provo for a training session, which included a discussion of the Open Enterprise Server (OES) roadmap. Rosenthal wrote: "I just thought I'd share with you a little bit I picked up while attending the OES Roadmap today, at ATT Live, here in Provo." Sounds good. But he gets right into the troubling news: "I can say without much doubt that NetWare - as we know it - will be vanishing in the next few years. Sometime after Cypress ships (the next version of Open Enterprise Server), Novell will be rolling out NetWare 'viX'. This will be a specially optimized version of NetWare to run in a virtual session on the Linux kernel, allowing 'legacy' NetWare NLMs to run in such an environment until such time as these applications can be migrated to OES Linux natively."
That's both good and bad news, I guess. Novell isn't simply shutting the door on the accumulated NetWare applications and utilities you're using. Not just yet, anyway. Well, Rosenthal does say that "Novell has no plans whatsoever to port iFolder 3 to NetWare, so the end of the iFolder line on our kernel is 2.1."
Rosenthal continues: "There will be IA-64 support for the Linux kernel, but as of now, Novell has no plans to support NetWare running natively on 64-bit hardware. While Novell has made a 10-year commitment to support and update other venerable products like GroupWise, they refuse to make a similar statement regarding NetWare, and believe me, many of us have buzzed about it."
To Rosenthal, it seems like déjà vu as besides being a NetWare stalwart he's also a committed user of IBM's OS/2!
Maybe it's not as bad as Lewis paints it, maybe Novell is doing the best it can for the NetWare faithful. Maybe it really isn't a retelling of the story of "How the Grinch Stole NetWare." Happy New Year, dear reader, and let's also wish for a Happy Net Year!
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