Novell Plans GUI For '04
Moving Beyond Linux Services 1.0
Novell is planning new Linux products for 2004, now that its Nterprise Linux Services 1.0 product is out the door. The second edition of Linux Services will feature a GUI (graphical user interface), in addition to the CLI (command line interface) in 1.0.
Also next year, Novell expects to provide a direct connection between its ZenWorks management software and Red Carpet, a Linux-based management product picked up in the company's recent acquisition of Ximian.
After an open beta that began in November, and an earlier closed beta, Linux Services 1.0 shipped last week, one day ahead of schedule. "You can get it for people as a stocking stuffer," quipped Jason Williams, product manager for Nterprise Liinux Services at Novell.
Nterprise Linux Services represents the first step in a plan, first rolled out at Novell's BrainShare conference last spring, to make the whole NetWare protocol stack available on both Linux and NetWare. Eventually, in NetWare 7.0, Novell will port the Linux kernel to NetWare.
Novell originally intended to release Linux Services 1.0 this past November, but then delayed shipment until the end of this year due to a decision to integrate code from Ximian.
The 1.0 edition of Linux Services that shipped last week includes eDirectory services; an iPrint server; iManager, for Web-based management; iFolder; NetMail 3.5; Novell Resource Management; and Virtual Office, for self-service and collaboration.
NetMail 3.5 can work as a client with either Novell GroupWise or any POP3- or IMAP-compliant messaging environment, Williams said during a recent interview.
In 2004, Novell will bring out a version of NetMail 3.5 for NetWare, he noted.
Novell Resource Management, another ingredient of Linux Services 1.0, integrates a Red Carpet daemon that enables RPM software distribution. "Going forward, we'll also be offering a direct connection between ZenWorks and Red Carpet some time next year. I can't give any specific time frame on that, though," Williams said.
In the second release of Linux Services, also due out some time in 2004, Novell plans to offer an iPrint client for Linux, as well as a GUI that will support "either KDE or GNOME," he added.
"The target users for our first edition were administrators who are already accustomed to the command line interface. In the second edition, however, we'll be expanding things out to people who are used to (Microsoft) Windows and other graphical environments," Williams maintained.
Ximian has been known, too, for Evolution, a Linux-based but Microsoft Outlook-like messaging frontend. Ximian staffers also worked on open source projects that included Mono, a project for enabling Microsoft .NET applications to run on Linux, and GNOME.
At this point, Novell will be looking at user responses to 1.0 to determine what kinds of additional products and services to offer for Linux. "We need to decide what makes the most sense for customers," according to Williams. Possibilities now being contemplated include management improvements to Linux Services, such as GSI failover; new antivirus, storage and backup services; and a Windows client for NTP Server, he said.
As with 1.0, the next edition of Linux Services is likely to feature two betas. "We had phenomenal response to the 1.0 beta, and we were very pleased. Many thousands of people wanted to participate in the closed beta. We ended up inviting about 100. We'll be inviting those people back as a core," he predicted.
Novell also anticipates widening the closed beta somewhat for the second release of Linux Services. "If you get too many people involved in a beta, though, things can get too difficult to manage. So we'll need to balance this out," Williams observed.