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David Roberts, chief executive of The Infrastructure Forum (Tif), said, "I don't believe Tif members see AD as particularly clear to implement. Once started on an AD roll-out the repercussions ripple out across the whole organisation - the planning requirements are onerous. There is scope in the market for something that is simpler to deploy."
Novell has offered its eDirectory software free of charge to software developers, equipment manufacturers and software houses in a bid to win customers from Windows 2000 AD.
AD has come under fire for the complexity of its implementation and over performance issues in database replication.
Pete Lindsay, IT engineer with Dundee City Council, said, "Given that I came from Novell to AD I'd be fascinated, but it's a question of safety first. I'd like to have some of the facilities that Novell had three years ago but whether I could persuade our management to take free software is another thing."
Among analysts, Gary Barnett of Ovum was less impressed. "If you convince people that it is worth nothing then you'll have a job convincing them to pay for anything later. Novell's eDirectory has advantages over AD but these will not be relevant to the 80% of the market that Microsoft targets."