Novell customers and partners have welcomed the company's plan to offer its Netware operating system with either a Netware or Linux kernel from next autumn.
Earlier this week the company unveiled its Netware 6.5 operating system, which includes new open source, business continuity and application development elements.
And Novell chairman and chief executive Jack Messman (pictured) told delegates at its Brainshare conference in Utah that Netware 7, out later next year, would give customers the choice of a Linux or Netware kernel for the operating system.
Customers have appreciated the wider choice and indicated that the decision showed that Novell did not have to be proprietary and could halt its growing reputation as legacy technology.
"You could argue that the company which has taken the biggest lumps because of the Linux push has been Novell," said Matt Krieger, associate director of global network services at Reader's Digest.
"If anything, the Linux announcement says to Novell customers and non-Novell customers that Novell doesn't have to be proprietary.
"The implementation remains to be seen, but anything Novell can do to distance itself from being proprietary is a good thing."
Shannon Kessner, manager of Intel core services at SouthWest Airlines, also indicated that the choice is welcome.
"The key thing is that it gives customers the option. In some circles Novell has got a bit of a reputation for being legacy," he said.
And Paul Anderson, chief executive at Novell partner Novacoast, based in California, suggested that the move may attract customers to Novell's services that might not have wanted to run Netware.
The wait until next autumn for the Linux option should not be a problem, he added.
"I think Novell's philosophy has been to give the development time and get it right. What's most important for customers is to see the roadmap," he said.
Krieger added that the future of the services in Netware is more important than a choice of kernel.
"The uncoupling of services from Netware, which has been happening for two to three years, is strategically more important than the direction of Netware the product," he said.
"If the services are not dependent on Netware that sends a far more powerful message."
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