Novell tosses hat in free e-mail ring

Novell Inc. hung a free e-mail shingle out on the Web today, beginning testing of a service that runs on its own Novell Internet Messaging System.

Novell Inc. hung a free e-mail shingle out on the Web today, beginning testing of a service that runs on its own Novell Internet Messaging System.

Novell officials declined to give more details than what is provided at the test site, www.myrealbox.com, except to say that the MyRealBox service is based on Novell Directory Services and the Internet Messaging System. Novell has not offered a free service before, although it has given users limited access to GroupWise over the Internet in trial runs of 180 days.

The Internet Messaging System, which debuted at Novell's BrainShare user conference in March, runs on NDS and IP-based NetWare, an Internet version of its flagship network operating system. The system shipped in August in a bundle with GroupWise to Novell customers in the education market.

Mum's the word on IM

Novell officials would not say whether the company planned to integrate instant-messaging technology from America Online Inc. (Novell announced support for AOL's real-time chat service in August.) But a spokesman stressed Novell's intention to grow its online offerings.

"We are constantly looking at technologies in the Internet space. Novell is an Internet company," said Terry Ulanch, GroupWise product manager. "The directory makes things easy to manage, and we will add other companies' offerings as they make sense."

Although the site features comments from users worldwide, Novell officials said it is not officially in an open beta program yet. Today was the first day the open URL was tested.

On the site, Novell promises no advertisements and protection from spam. It also reports that users of the MyRealBox service will be allocated 5MB of storage space for messages and attachments.

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