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Is Novell ashamed of its heritage?

Jul 22, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOpen Source

* Novell says it 'used to be The NetWare Company'

I’ll be in Portland, Ore., next week for the O’Reilly group’s Open Source Convention. This is usually not a place where the NetWare name comes up very often and I don’t expect this year to be any different. What is different, though, is that this year Novell’s Chris Stone will be making a keynote address to the assembled multitude.

His talk is entitled “What Novell is doing to make open source a mainstream reality on the desktop and server,” and according to the blurb: “Novell used to be ‘The NetWare Company.’ Today, Novell is one of the most dynamic open source advocates and drivers on the planet. How did Novell manage this transformation and, more importantly, what is Novell doing to manage competing forces on the desktop (KDE vs. Gnome), foster open source innovation (OpenOffice, Mono, etc.), and generally push open source to the next level of adoption?”

Is someone else the “NetWare Company” today?

No, Novell is still the NetWare company, but it does sometimes seem like it’s ashamed of the title, doesn’t it?

Some readers, reacting to last week’s newsletters about the potential use of NetWare Kernel Services to port NetWare Loadable Modules (NLM) to Linux, seem to think that the next version of the Novell server, Open Enterprise Server (OES), won’t run NLMs at all. That’s not true. OES will have Linux and NetWare kernels allowing you to run up both SuSE Linux hosts as well as NetWare servers. NLMs will continue to run on the NetWare server in OES.

I suspect that any NLM that will run on NetWare 6.5 will run on the OES version because I suspect the OES version will be NetWare 6.5 with service packs, but Novell hasn’t made a definitive pronouncement yet. I suspect that a lot of the confusion stems from Novell’s continuous touting of the Linux and open source aspects of OES while downplaying (or completely failing to mention) the NetWare aspects.

I doubt Stone will have much to say about NetWare next week, either. But, as Novell gears up to push you towards Open Enterprise Server, it might be wise to recall a statement he made to the Open Source Business Conference last spring:

“Customers need to be able to determine when to upgrade, at their pace, not our pace. Novell shouldn’t tell you, Microsoft shouldn’t tell you. None of us should tell you when to upgrade. You should have the freedom to make that decision.”

Anybody still running NetWare 2.15?