Novell set to release NetWare 6 in October

Novell Inc. last week announced plans for a mid-October release of NetWare 6, a new version of the struggling company's network operating system that's supposed to free users from the need to install NetWare client software on their PCs.

NetWare 6, which went into controlled beta-testing last summer and was originally due for shipment in the first half of this year, also includes several new Web-based network access features (see box). The software has a list price of $184 per end-user license, according to Novell officials.

Jack Messman, who took over as Novell's president and CEO two months ago, said at the fall Networld+Interop conference here that the new release can manage files in their native operating system formats. As a result, NetWare 6 "is additive," he said. "It can be deployed into any network without ripping out and replacing existing software."

Beta-tester Matt Krieger, associate director of global network architecture services at Reader's Digest Association Inc. in Pleasantville, N.Y., said he was impressed by the iPrint feature included in NetWare 6. The Internet-based tool lets end users print documents on remote printers via the Internet.

Krieger said Reader's Digest also plans to test NetWare 6's iFolder technology, which can be used to synchronize files among different computers and networks. "Keeping folders synchronized among laptops has always been a nightmare," he said, noting that iFolder may let Reader's Digest reduce the number of remote file servers that it now runs.

Novell, once the top vendor of network operating systems, is trying to recover from a continuing series of losses, revenue declines and layoffs. As part of its turnaround effort, the company is moving to reduce its reliance on sales of packaged software such as NetWare.

The plan is to focus more on networking services and consulting. To that end, Novell this summer acquired Cambridge, Mass.-based consulting firm Cambridge Technology Partners Inc. and named Messman to take over as its CEO. He had previously headed Cambridge Technology Partners.

At Networld+Interop, Novell also announced that Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo Inc. will make the networking vendor's eDirectory software the default directory server in its enterprise portal aimed at corporate users. Directory servers identify users and determine network access rights.

Jim Fanella, senior vice president of business and enterprise services at Yahoo, said the Novell technology will replace a directory server made by iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based alliance between Sun Microsystems Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp.

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