Novell is to use newly acquired systems management tools instead of its own ZENworks technology in a Linux software package due to go into open beta testing next month.
The announcement was made at the company's BrainShare Europe 2003 conference in Barcelona, and Novell officials said the Red Carpet tools developed by Ximian, which Novell bought last month, will be included in the Nterprise Linux Services 1.0 bundle.
Red Carpet offers capabilities such as automated distribution of software updates and patches to servers. The bundle will also include file, print, messaging and directory services.
Novell had announced in June that ZENworks would be the management tool in the Nterprise Linux Services package. "ZENworks would have worked, but our engineers found Red Carpet was closer to meeting the needs of our customers," said Novell spokesman Kevin Barney.
At BrainShare, Novell also announced a suite of networking software for branch offices and upgrades of its web application development and single sign-on products.
Several users in the US said they were pleased to see Novell moving forward with its Linux strategy, which is intended eventually to result in the full NetWare services stack being made available on Linux systems, although some were concerned at the decision to drop NetWare.
Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio described Novell's Linux strategy as a "me too" initiative that might not be as attractive as using software from more established Linux suppliers such as Red Hat or IBM.
She added that Novell has had trouble selling its software to large businesses in recent years. "Novell has the Midas touch in reverse: They take gold and turn it into dust."
In response, Novell director of product marketing Richard Maddox said his company is counting on Linux to help it rebound. "There might have been truth to the loss of enterprise customers, but since we announced Linux, we are slowing that down," he claimed. "Linux will bring us to a brand-new world."
Matt Hamblen writes for Computerworld