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Clearing up Novell’s BOMA

Mar 11, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* What's really behind BOMA?

For those who haven’t been paying attention, the past few newsletters (and the next few, for that matter) have been about the added features expected in NetWare 6.5, which should be available in a public beta version next month with release coming in June. I’m told, though, that I may have confused you in last week’s “episodes,” so I’d like to clear that up.

According to my wife, as I get older I become more easily confused. Since we’re all getting older, that might hold true for you, too. But for now it’s my confusion that’s under discussion in hopes that it won’t lead to more confusion on your part. While it wasn’t my wife who pointed out the potential confusion, Kevan Barney Novell’s senior press relations manager for the Nterprise products, can be a bit of a nag, though, (which may be what prompted my thoughts about my wife) and it was he who pointed out my confusion about Nterprise Branch Manager.

Nterprise Branch Office was launched as a Novell product last winter. It was a separate purchase that worked with NetWare 6.0. In the upcoming release of NetWare 6.5, Nterprise Branch Office will be included in the box. That’s the real scoop, the information you need to retain. Go to for all the details of this interesting product.

Nterprise Branch Office was originally announced as Novell Branch Office. The name was changed when Novell reorganized its product lines some months ago. Before its release, however, it carried the codename “BOMA.”

Boma is the former provincial capital of the Congo Free State (later the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and is still the main port for the current capitol, Kinshasa (formerly Leopoldville). It might be (if the lighting is low, and you squint) considered a “branch office” of Kinshasa.

For some reason, Novell always refers to the codename of the product in capital letters – it’s “BOMA” never “Boma.” Usually, when using a place name as a codename (Green River, Modesto, Arches, etc.,) the traditional style is to use the first letter in upper case and the following letters as lower case. I’ve been trained, and I imagine you have too, to treat a string of three, four or five capital letters as an acronym (NDS, NEAT or TCPIP for example).

In talking about BOMA, the code name for the Branch Office product, someone (it may have been me, it may have been a beta tester or it may have been someone at Novell) turned the city name into an acronym. “BO” was obviously “Branch Office.” The “M” could easily became “Manager” (or management), and the “A” could be “Appliance” since Novell touts the product as a “soft appliance.” So BOMA, by a process that Frederick C. Mish, editorial director of Merriam-Webster, calls “false acronym” ( becomes associated with the phrase Branch Office Manager Appliance, which is then shortened to Branch Office Manager and shows up in the NetWare newsletter (“news,” by the way, is a false acronym cited by Mr. Mish in his article) as a new feature in NetWare 6.5 (whose codename is “Nakoma” – not an acronym).

The product is Nterprise Branch Manager. The NetWare 6.5 feature is Nterprise Branch Manager. So it is and so it will be. Hopefully I’ve cleared up, rather than added to, your confusion.  Time will tell.