Netware 6.5 Marks Novell’s “Open Integration” Push

As Novell preps for the release of Netware 6.5, the company is poised to become the latest in a growing line of commercial software firms looking to provide devs with Shared Source/Open Source code access. Take a look at how Novell wants to broaden dev abilities to access source code and integrate it with their legacy systems.

Tags: Open Source, Novell, Netware, Apache, Server, Developers, Web Services,

Novell, after years of quiet contributions to Open Source projects, including Apache and OpenLDAP, is taking its Open Source efforts to a new level. Novell is the latest in a line of commercial software firms, including IBM, Microsoft and Borland, to begin using Open Source tools and techniques to broaden customer access to their code.

Notably, Novell execs have promised that this August's Netware 6.5, along with its support for web services deployment, will bundle some of the most popular Open Source technologies for the enterprise, including Apache 2.0.45, MySQL 4.0.12, Perl 5.8, PHP 4.2.3 and Tomcat 4.1.18. These technologies are the types of solutions developers can integrate with existing legacy software.

But adding Open Source to NetWare is just the latest flavor of Novell's growing interest in Open Source. Aside from simply borrowing from Open Source communities, the company has also launched projects aimed to contribute.

Novell's NetWare-Driven SourceForge
In April, Novell launched Novell Forge, an Open Source developers' portal and resource modeled after SourceForge. To date, Novell Forge hosts some 200-plus Open Source coding projects for extending NetWare support to other commercial and Open Source technologies. Some notable Open Source integration-related projects include:

  1. ActiveX Controls for Novell Services (Core Components) -- This component contains the core libraries that are shared among the LDAP, NDAP and Socket Controls.

  2. AnalyzerXSLT -- XSLT code to convert and compare config.xml files (generated by config.nlm) to html.

  3. Apache Ant 2 Novell exteNd -- A simple Ant script environment for deployment of J2EE archives to the Novell exteNd application server outside exteNd Workbench. This script environment can be used in other development tools that support Apache Ant (Borland JBuilder and IDEA IntelliJ, among others).

  4. Apache Modules for NetWare -- These Apache Modules (or extensions to the Apache Web server) allow Apache to be customized and to take advantage of a variety of NetWare platform resources. This download includes binaries and source code for MOD_NDS, AUTH_LDAP and MOD_HDIRS, among others.

  5. Message Tools for NetWare -- Message Tools for NetWare includes both GUI and DOS tools that assist in creating internationalized code. Using these tools, NetWare developers can extract the messages or text strings from existing code and send the strings for translation.

  6. MySQL for NetWare -- MySQL for NetWare 6 SP2 is an Open Source relational database management system that allows developers to use Java, C, Perl and PHP APIs to access persistent data.

  7. PHP for NetWare -- PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a cross-platform, HTML-embedded, general-purpose, server-side scripting language used to create dynamic web pages. PHP comes with a wide range of extensions for XML, LDAP and various databases

  8. Portal Foundation Classes -- The Portal Foundation Classes are a framework to create highly interactive and dynamic web applications, similar in concept and use to the JavaSoft Swing library.

  9. Perl 5 for NetWare -- This Perl technology for NetWare is especially useful for parsing files, generating reports and dynamic web pages, and automating server tasks. Perl 5 for NetWare has been updated to Perl 5.8 and provides system administration and CGI support.

  10. XML Integration Services -- XML Integration Services (XIS) is a set of APIs that enables any application to act as an XML application server. It provides an event system, a service plug-in interface, and a fully DOM 1-compliant engine for the exchange of XML documents and data.

It may be a bit early to gauge just how useful these downloads will be. But IDN spoke with several developers who said they like the idea of Novell Forge, and will continue to track its progress.

Larry Jewell, manager of software development at Identitech, a provider of business process management software, said he is all for it, though his company has yet to post any projects on it. "The Forge site gives an opportunity to share code [and projects]," he said, adding that his company is committed to Open Source and open standards, and that companies increasingly want to work with committed businesses.

Novell Forge is still relatively new, said Steve Smith, a systems programmer II at Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona, but he's monitoring it. "There isn't anything there that I'm currently using. I downloaded the iManage kit for Linux and plan to work with it."

Inside Netware 6.5 with Open Source
Novell execs say NetWare 6.5 not only promises to take advantage of Open Source systems without increasing management costs, but will also deploy secure and reliable web applications. "We found customers asking for these technologies," said Novell spokesperson Bruce Lowry. "We definitely see acceptance in the market. What we're hoping is that we'll increase our addressable market."

Existing users of NetWare seem to welcome the inclusion of Open Source. Identitech's Jewell told IDN his company launched its latest commercial data integration tool based on Novell, in large part because of Novell's further commitment to support cross-platform open standards.

In April, Identitech launched FYI Visual, a commercial tool designed to extract large quantities of data from disparate systems and provide a more organized view to facilitate decision-making. FYI Visual uses Novell's exteNd web-application-development infrastructure as its backbone. The exteNd Composer merges XML and J2EE application servers to provide a standards-based solution for EAI, business process automation and legacy-to-web-service integration platform.

Before choosing Novell, Identitech also reviewed products from Oracle, IBM and BEA, but chose Novell for a number of reasons, including its open standards-based architecture, which will more easily enable Identitech to support competing J2EE app servers (from IBM, and BEA).

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