BRAINSHARE - Novell embraces Microsoft, launches NetWare

Novell commits to Microsoft interoperability at BrainShare

Novell welcomed Microsoft for the first time to its annual BrainShare user conference to discuss the interoperability implications of the vendors' controversial agreement inked in November.

"Novell is very clearly focused on the mixed stack source of Linux and Windows," said Ron Hovsepian, CEO and president of Novell. "The deal was done for one reason -- that was for the customers. It was about driving customers to interoperability."

Hovsepian outlined the scope of the agreement, and Novell's new commitment to interoperability between Microsoft and Novell, to approximately 5,000 attendees.

"That doesn't mean that I don't want you to build your footprints over in the J2EE environment -- I do -- but when we get done with that fight with Microsoft in your office, we're both going to get together and help you deliver that footprint," Hovsepian said.

Anticipating users would be interested in hearing details of the much-maligned agreement from Microsoft's view, Novell invited Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, to the stage. Mundie and Novell's Hovsepian are among the architects of the deal, which the vendors began to investigate last spring, sources say.

Jeff Jaffe, Novell's executive vice president and CTO, also took to the stage. "Going forward, there are going to be two operating systems -- Windows and Linux," said Jaffe.

"We are in an evolving environment where there are a couple of platforms," said Mundie. "Customers pushed on us a lot about resolving the interoperability question."

Novell and Microsoft also demonstrated some of the first fruits of the technology agreement in keynote addresses Monday. The companies showed Windows running as a virtual machine on SUSE, and Windows Longhorn running SUSE Linux as a virtual machine. They also demonstrated interoperability between Active Directory and Microsoft by transferring files between Windows and SUSE operating systems.

Novell demonstrated its OpenXML translator, which lets users save Microsoft's OpenXML documents in OpenOffice format.

In addition, Novell announced the open beta for Open Enterprise Server (OES) 2, the version of its network operating system that runs NetWare as a virtual machine under the SUSE Linux kernel. OES 2 also runs Domain Services for Windows, includes dynamic storage technology and has 64-bit application support. It completes the migration of NetWare services to the Linux platform.

In other product news, Novell enhanced GroupWise with the addition of Novell Teaming and Teaming Plus Conference, which provide open source teaming and collaboration capabilities. It also announced Identity Manager 3.5, Sentinel Version 6, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 Service Pack 1 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client.

Last week at Cebit, Novell announced ZENworks Configuration Management, which provides tools for managing Windows desktops including Vista.

"We are the best managers of Vista desktops," Jaffe said. "At the end of the day, we are going to push for Linux, Microsoft is going to push for Linux, but we are both going to agree on interoperability."

"Let the games begin," Mundie said. "We don't stay in business unless we keep our customers happy."

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