Could it be that Microsoft finally realizes that network operating systems are all about conducting business and sharing databases, documents and spreadsheets? It certainly seemed to, and it certainly is a message that businesses want to hear. Whether it can stem the migration of Windows services to Linux platforms, though, remains to be seen.The secret of good advertising and marketing is to get other people to talk about your message, but to do so in a way that makes them think positively about your product.Microsoft's Steve Ballmer kept his coat and tie on and rarely raised his voice or his hands during the introduction of Windows Server 2003. No\u00a0"monkey boy" dance, no rhythmic chanting, no fireworks - just dull statistics about security and reliability.Could it be that Microsoft finally realizes that network operating systems are all about conducting business and sharing databases, documents and spreadsheets? It certainly seemed to, and it certainly is a message that businesses want to hear. Whether it can stem the migration of Windows services to\u00a0Linux\u00a0platforms, though, remains to be seen.And speaking of Linux, Novell's Jack Messman managed to talk out of both sides of his mouth. At Novell's BrainShare conference, he gave a preview of NetWare 7 (while paying scant attention to the upcoming release of NetWare 6.5), which will have something to do with Linux (perhaps a Novell distribution, perhaps NetWare services running on someone else's distribution or perhaps network tweaks and changes to the Linux core - all have been suggested).Messman justified the move to Linux by saying that NetWare clients wanted a "mature migration path" (and he didn't mean a migration to NetWare). But then he called Linux an "immature operating system" (Novell's overworked public relations guys did manage to remove his foot from his mouth on that one).Because Vice CEO Chris Stone had said only two operating systems will be viable in five years (Windows and Linux), what are we to conclude from Messman's remarks? (Like Nostradamus, Messman can predict most everything that occurs!)Will porting the NetWare utilities to Linux appease NetWare stalwarts who want the stability, scalability and reliability of the NetWare core? As one network manager said to me, "NetWare . . . it keeps on\u00a0... working, and it doesn't screw up my data." What more could anyone want?NetWare 6.5 is going to be an excellent network operating system, but that won't translate into a best-selling one if Novell dangles Linux in front of its customers' nontechnical decision makers as something coming "down the road." IBM's notorious track record with OS\/2 shows that it's possible for a vendor to kill off its own superior product.Tip of the weekIf, like me, you're a big fan of Novell's iFolder technology, you'll be pleased that its being incorporated into HP's Digital Asset Protection Solution to protect critical corporate data stored on local computers. All the details.