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Novell NDS for Linux arrives ahead of schedule

The first of Novell's Linux services is delivered

Novell and Linux watchers knew it was coming. However, no-one expected that the company would deliver its Novell Directory Services (NDS) eDirectory and Corporate Edition for Linux almost two weeks before Novell's annual gathering of NetWare supporters, BrainShare.

While no reason for the LAN giant pulling the trigger early was announced, the directory service silver bullets were fired on the afternoon of 13 March. Well, at least Novell said that the network directory service programs were available that day via the reseller channel and directly on its ShopNovell Web site. When ZDNet US asked about and looked around, however, no-one was unable to find anyone that could sell a licence for the NDS Linux programs.

What ZDNet US did find out was that although Novell has said at least part of the NDS for Linux code would be open source, none of it -- under any open-source licence -- is currently available. Despite years of open source lip service, the Novell Community licence remains more of a mock-up than a working model.

However, the programs and their user licences will be available shortly at $2 (£1.20) per user on eDirectory. NDS Corporate Edition licences will be priced at $26 (£16) per user. There will also be several ways to discount the price to zero.

Linux companies thought Novell was right on the bull's-eye. Caldera, with its long history of friendly relations with Novell, lead the list of supporters, but the other Linux marksmen -- Red Hat and TurboLinux -- also vowed their support, as well as Bowstreet, Evergreen Internet and Sendmail.

Novell doubtlessly welcomes the support, because this isn't just a trial shot. Company sources revealed that other Novell packages, including the next version of office groupware and email package GroupWise 6.0 (codenamed BulletProof), will appear on Linux before the end of the year.

With Tuesday's announcement, Novell will be supplying complex directory services for NetWare, Windows NT, Linux, Solaris and Windows 2000. Support for Compaq's Tru64 Unix is expected to arrive by the end of the year. With this latest move, NDS is well on its way to challenging LDAP as the most widely available directory service with the greatest heterogeneous support. In these categories, Microsoft's Active Directory is a non-contender with only Windows 2000 support.

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