We've spent the past month and a half looking at some of the new features in NetWare 6.5, due out in a few months. Those of you fortunate enough to be headed to Salt Lake City for BrainShare in a couple of weeks can get lots more detail about the many add-ons and components that make it a compelling upgrade or new purchase. Novell has even been known to pass out beta and evaluation copies of software to BrainShare attendees, but you should still sign up for as many NetWare 6.5 sessions as you can.If you aren't going to BrainShare, though, all is not lost. Novell has promised to make available a public beta Version of 6.5 sometime in mid to late April. Users can either download the beta or have it shipped on CD.NetWare 6.5 promises to be the biggest release since NetWare 5, or maybe since NetWare 4.0, which introduced NetWare Directory Services (NDS, now eDirectory) into the scene. Novell has struggled to create an application server platform with various Web servers (having tried with NetWare Web Server, Netscape Enterprise Server, Apache), operating environments (IBM WebSphere, SilverStream exteNd), database systems (Btrieve, Oracle, MySQL) and Java tools, platforms and environments. Finally it looks like the right choices have been made.So too, Novell has struggled to find the right management tools for NetWare and the associated services - just look at NetWare Administrator, NWAdmin, Console One, NDS Manager and now iManager. But there's a stronger commitment to iManager than there ever was to the earlier efforts.For a long time Novell's engineers thought that putting a good user interface (as opposed to a network manager's interface) on the product was like putting lipstick on a pig. That led to those users, including all the decision-makers in the organization, having no idea that NetWare was even present in their network. When they admire the gold and silver faucets, the bigwigs don't even notice who makes the pipes that deliver the water. NetWare 6.5's Virtual Office facilities put the benefits of NetWare right on the executives' desktops. That's got to be a big plus for you in getting them to understand the value NetWare offers.I was hopeful for NetWare 4.0, pleased with NetWare 5.0 and not put off by NetWare 6.0. But NetWare 6.5 looks to be something to really get excited about. Get your hands on a copy as soon as you can.