Linux supplier Novell will no longer sell its own branded version of SuSE Linux Open-Xchange Server next year and will instead provide its global maintenance and support services to users of Netline Internet Services' flagship Open-Xchange Server.
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Under an agreement, which created the baseline technology on which SuSE Linux Open-Xchange Server is based, will release the next version of the commercial product in the first quarter of 2005, with customers getting service and support from Novell.
Frank Hoberg, the chief executive officer of Netline, said SuSE Linux did not have the global support and services infrastructure to fully back the SuSE-branded product. He added that Novell's acquisition of SuSE last year had not resolved the support issue until now.
The deal calls for Novell to provide first- and second-level support to customers, with Netline supplying third-level support, Hoberg said. "With this announcement, it's possible to get standards-based support all over the world," he said.
Netline's Open-Xchange Server is also being integrated into Novell's DeveloperNet program, which will provide Netline with Novell code so that the products from both companies can be more tightly integrated.
Kevan Barney, a spokesman for Novell, said the company had licensed Netline's Open-Xchange Server technology in the past as a basis for the former SuSE product. The move to drop SuSE's version and support Netline's version was made as part of an ongoing product review following Novell's purchase of SuSE in November 2003, he said.
In August, Netline contributed the code for Open-Xchange Server to the open-source community under the GNU General Public License.
Open-Xchange Server is a modular, standards-based, open-source application that allows users to run Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express clients on a Linux infrastructure, replacing Microsoft's Exchange Server products. Open-Xchange Server provides groupware functions, including e-mail, calendaring, contacts, tasks and real-time document storage.
SuSE will no longer offer its own branded SuSE Linux Openexchange Server and will now contribute its code base for the software to the Open-Xchange open-source community project for use by developers.
"We have received a significant amount of interest in Open-Xchange, and we believe that this agreement ensures continuity and support of the product," said Ed Anderson, vice-president of marketing for Linux, open-source platforms and services at Novell.
The open-source version of Open-Xchange, which comes without support, third-party programs and connectors for Exchange, remains available for free download.
Open-Xchange runs on all major web browsers, according to Netline, so users can use its services with any client operating system, including Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS and Palm OS.
Todd R. Weiss writes for Computerworld