Novell sets Open Server date, eyes government desktops

Novell said the Open Enterprise Server (OES), which combines open source and commercial networking platforms, will begin shipping in February 2005 after four months of beta testing. The company also revealed that it will be working with IBM -- at Big Blue's Linux Technology Centre (LTC) in Canberra -- to build hardware and software solutions designed to persuade government departments to migrate away from Windows.

Novell said the Open Enterprise Server (OES), which combines open source and commercial networking platforms, will begin shipping in February 2005 after four months of beta testing.

The company also revealed that it will be working with IBM -- at Big Blue's Linux Technology Centre (LTC) in Canberra -- to build hardware and software solutions designed to persuade government departments to migrate away from Windows.

David Lenz, director of sales and marketing for Novell in Asia Pacific, said that with the OES, which will include Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and the NetWare operating system, Novell would be working closely with IBM to build a desktop solution for government departments.

"Novell and IBM are going to work in the public sector. Using the Novell Linux desktop with IBM's suite of collaboration products we are in a position to offer desktop solutions to government departments," said Lenz.

Although Lenz refused to say exactly which government departments are considering a desktop migration he promised there would be announcements "within months".

"In the state government there are various departments tinkering, running pilot programs and looking into desktop migrations. But at this stage I am not able to say which ones," said Lenz.

Lenz said people have got used to the idea of Linux on the server and the next step is to move onto the desktop.

"People are comfortable with Linux in the server. With OES now there is nothing stopping them implementing it on the desktop. We will see a lot happening in Australia over the next few months," added Lenz.

Paul Kangro, Novell's solutions manager in the Asia Pacific region told attendees of the roadshow that international governments do not trust Microsoft to protect their intellectual property.

"Here is a nation's intellectual property. It is going to be stored in a proprietary data format on a proprietary operating system. To retrieve that information and to exercise the power of government they need to ask the permission of a US-based company. That is why governments are interested in Linux and open standards in general," Kango said.

CNET News.com's Dinesh C. Sharma contributed to this report