Following Novell?s decision to dump its embedded operating system, Nest, Sun has joined the Salutation Alliance, which was formed as a counter to Microsoft in the embedded market.
Novell has abandoned development of its Novell Embedded Systems Technology as a separate and universal technology, although some parts will be retained by other divisions. But any attempt to get Nest into home consumer devices has been discounted.
The move will have implications for a raft of hardware suppliers that rely on Novell technology. Office equipment makers Ricoh and Gestetner will experience delays because they were depending on Novell to deliver the embedded operating system for their next printers and systems. Neither of the companies, which are related, would comment on the delays today.
In a surprise move, Sun Microsystems joined the Salutation Alliance (SA), a group of vendors that includes Novell itself, along with others such as IBM, and focuses on embedded operating systems for home electronic devices. Japanese company Just also announced its entry into SA.
SA was originally developed as a counter to the Microsoft at Work (MaW) initiative. Four years ago, Bill Gates said his company would release a small operating system based on Windows that could control devices including telephones, fridges and more. That prompted Novell?s then president, Bob Frankenberg, to push his company along the path of embedded systems.
However, Microsoft too has backed away from the consumer devices field. A Microsoft spokesperson said: ?Two years ago Microsoft took the decision to concentrate on systems like TAPI (Telephony API). Microsoft CE [its handheld operating system based on Windows] is the nearest thing the company has to MaW. Microsoft hasn?t taken those things any further.?
Printer companies like Ricoh are still waiting for a software vendor to realise the original dream embodied in MaW and Nest. Ricoh was an MaW partner, but may now have to rely on Intel, which still wants to enter the embedded market but has never yet succeeded.
Novell has relocated its Nest team into the Novell Distributed Print Services unit and is said to be working on bringing similar services to other office equipment such as faxes. Other Nest technologies for adding intelligence to office devices, such as Autoroute routing, will be moved into the Internet Access division.
The latest Nest element, the Server Software software developers' kit, will be incorporated in Novell's core unit, Internet Infrastructure, and will become a mini-server linked to Novell Directory Services.
While the consumer devices programme has been abandoned, Novell is seeking a partner to take over its Nest utilities project, which would have provided energy companies with the ability to receive usage data over power lines.
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