After listening to Brian Green, Novell's European director of Linux solutions, give a keynote regarding the company's forthcoming marriage of NetWare's services to the SuSE Linux kernel (Novell calls this Open Enterprise Server), Novell's customers are worrying that the company will put some of its non-open source products such as Groupwise on the chopping block.
The worries are not unfounded. With native NetWare in decline, the company realizes that to succeed going forward it must hitch the real value in NetWare -- the services it offers such as its enterprise directory management solution -- to a much stronger ecosystem like Linux. That combination however could undermine some of Novell's other products. If OES gets any traction, its automatic inclusion of alternatives to Groupwise such as SuSE Linux Openexchange Server and Ximian Evolution (Ximian was acquired by Novell) undermines the customer's need to separately license a proprietary email/collaboration server like Groupwise. Further creating doubts about the company's commitment to Groupwise, Steve Brown, the European vice president of Novell, used the words "Certainly in the short term" in saying that the company would continue providing Groupwise support in the immediate future. This would have been a great question to have asked Novell's director of product marketing Charlie Ungashick during my audio interview of him last week.