The acquisition means that Novell will take on some of the most prominent projects in the open source software industry, including the Ximian Desktop desktop software, Evolution, an Exchange-compatible groupware application, and Red Carpet, a software-management tool.
Novell also said it will push forward two high-profile initiatives in which Ximian and its developers have played a central role: Gnome, one of the two main graphical user environments used with Linux and Unix desktops, and Mono, which will allow applications written using Microsoft .Net to run on Unix and Linux.
The terms of the all-cash transaction were not disclosed, but Novell said it was not expected to materially affect Novell's financial statements in the current fiscal year.
Ximian will become the Novell Ximian Services business unit at Novell, and principal developers and open-source leaders will stay with the company, including Ximian founders Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman, according to Novell.
De Icaza was chief technology officer of Ximian and will keep the same title with the new business unit. "It's a huge step forward for the open-source community to gain strong support from a company like Novell. Initiatives like Gnome and Mono will only improve with Novell's resources behind them," he said in a statement.