Microsoft will withhold technical support from NT users who install Novell's rival to its Active Directory, NDS for NT.
The news has sparked a furious row on the respective companies? Web sites, with Novell promising to provide the necessary support.
According to a posting on its Web site, Microsoft said it ?cannot? maintain certain parts of Windows NT Server running the Novell product because NDS for NT is implemented ?in a way that is detrimental for customers?.
David Bridger, Microsoft UK?s Windows NT Server product manager, said a significant part of the system would be affected by Novell?s ?changes? and it is these areas that Microsoft would not support.
Paul Gardiner, chairman of the UK?s Netware User Group, said, ?It?s sour grapes on Microsoft?s part. This is what IBM used to do - spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. I can see no technical reason why customers should not use NDS for NT. I would recommend users not to take too much notice of this.?
He said there is an entire network of dealers, consultants and even Novell technical support engineers who could offer support instead.
Microsoft claims Novell has made serious technical changes to some software routines, making the system less secure, and potentially less reliable.
Novell retorts that it has only ?enhanced? one DLL - the SAMSRV.DLL to allow NT Server and its applications to support NDS. In addition Novell said it has wrapped NDS security around the domain information and left NT?s security model untouched.
But even these changes will have ramifications on the rest of the system and it is these ?significant parts? of the server which would not be supported, counters Bridger.
Microsoft said it is unwilling to support something that Novell has changed because it does not have the necessary knowledge of the changes. However, Novell said it has offered Microsoft technical training, which has so far not been taken up.
Dominic Storey, Novell?s UK director of technology said: ?Microsoft is really feeling threatened by NDS for NT.?
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