Novell is to move its networking services to the open-source Linux platform.
Nterprise Linux Services will consist of Novell's file, print, messaging, directory, and management services tailored to the Red Hat and SuSE distributions of Linux. It wil ship at the end of the year.
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Also being announced are partnerships with IBM, Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard, who will offer the suite to their PC-based customers with full training and support, according to Novell.
The company has been eyeing up datacentre environments deploying Linux, according to Jeff Hawkins, vice-president of the Linux business office at Novell.
One analyst said Novell's Linux move was a logical one.
"Novell has a long history of providing scalable, reliable, secure and manageable products," said analyst Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president of system software research at IDC.
"It has a long history of being a part of the enterprise infrastructure. This is exactly what end-users tell us they want from Linux. So, Linux users or prospective Linux users who feel that these things are important just might feel a little more comfortable when Novell's directory services software, combined with Novell's management and security software, are combined with Linux."
A closed beta program for Nterprise Linux Services, for approximately 150 customers, will begin next month.
With the file services in the product, users can manage files based on Samba, an open-source software platform providing compatibility with Windows clients on file protocols, Hawkins said.
The iFolder function in the package will protect personal information and enable file-sharing between PCs.
Enterprise print capabilities in Nterprise Linux Services, hosted on Linux servers, will enable users to access multiple printers via a listing set up on a company's website.
Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld