Novell last week joined the Open Source Development Lab with the intent of proving to the industry that it is serious about backing Linux and open source software.The OSDL, a multi-vendor open source advocacy and technology development organization, will also add Novell CTO Jeffrey Hawkins to its board. OSDL members include such companies as Red Hat, IBM and Computer Associates.Novell will participate in the OSDL's Data Center Linux project, which is a multi-vendor effort to develop common criteria and guidelines for Linux distributions to operate as central data center server platforms.The move to join the OSDL comes as Novell looks to reinvent itself as a server platform company with an open source strategy. Last month, Novell acquired the German Linux company SuSE, as well as Boston-based Ximian, which makes desktop GUI software for Linux PCs and enterprise management software for Linux clients. Earlier this year, Novell announced plans to make such services as Novell Directory Services compatible with Linux. Novell also said it would port key Novell products - such as ZENworks management software and the NetWare kernel itself - to Linux.Novell's move to Linux comes after years of losing market share in the server operating system market, which it once dominated. According to IDC, the firm held only 12% of new operating system shipments in the second quarter of 2003. While not hot in the market, the operating system is still churning away in users' networks; a recent Network World survey of 500 companies showed that NetWare was installed in almost half the networks. With its Linux move, Novell aims to tap its installed base as potential open source customers.