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18 March 2008, 15:26

Brainshare: Chameleon turns Fossa

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At its Brainshare user conference in Salt Lake City, Novell presented its development outlook. By 2012, the company plans to become the leading provider of corporate software infrastructures, operating and managing any version of an operating system frontend with any required backend. On top of this vision, Novell also announced a closer working co-operation with SAP and Atos Origin and presented its plans for Linux Enterprise 11.

The rain and sleet in Salt Lake City were not to the liking of Geeko, the little green SuSE mascot. It only made a very short appearance at the opening of the Brainshare conference, reminding the audience to switch off their iPhones between presentations. Whether Fossa, Novell's new animal theme, would accept the weather conditions is doubtful. The Fossa is a cat-like carnivorous mammal that lives in Madagascar. This relative of the mongoose became the theme of the Fossa project because FOSSA as an acronym also stands for Free and Open Source Software Agility. Fossa describes Novell's vision to become the leading solution provider for all mega trends by 2012. This applies to virtualisation, identity and policy management and compliance solutions as well as the task of developing real corporate social networking solutions from the current Collaborations software.

Apart from its grand 2012 theme, Novell mainly offered co-operations at the opening of the seven-day Brainshare conference. The most important of these is a strategic agreement with SAP in which Novell's Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) becomes the system platform for SAP's Business One newcomer package, complete with a Zenworks Orchestrator version adapted for SAP Netweaver. According to Pat Hume, SAP's Senior Vice President SME, SAP plans to sell about 18,000 of these bundles before the end of this year.

Hume called on Open Source developers to assist with sales and offered 5 percent of the net price (34,000 euros on average) in commission in return. Another strategic agreement with Atos Origin is aimed at the European market and helps companies to comply with government rules and regulations. Among the first customers of this compliance partnership are German TV broadcaster Premiere and Spanish employment service Instituto de Empleo Servicio Publico (INEM).

In addition to the co-operations, Novell introduced first plans for its upcoming Enterprise Linux 11 based on Linux kernel 2.6.27. This Linux version will be released both in the usual setup of SLES (Enterprise Server) and SLED (Enterprise Desktop) and as a Thin Client and Linux Appliance. In addition, Novell plans a school desktop which Lenovo and Dell will market with their laptops. Enterprise Linux 11 is said to be particularly interesting to companies who want to migrate their old Unix systems. It will incorporate the Oracle Cluster file system, which is Posix compliant, for this purpose. Novell's CEO Ron Hovsepian announced at Brainshare that it is Novell's plan to make Suse Linux Enterprise 11 the industry standard for Unix migrations.

Because many companies are very dissatisfied with the existing Collaborations software, Novell plans to make the next Linux version more attractive by introducing the social networking world - also known as Web 2.0 - into corporate communication with a solution based on the acquired ICEcore Open Source project and a version of OpenOffice which has been specially extended to include "Teaming & Conferencing" options.

Novell only cautiously remarked about the controversial co-operation with Microsoft, which has a big stand at the show and promotes its extended co-operation. At the press conference following the opening keynotes at Brainshare, Novell's Chief Technology Officer Jeff Jaffe said that it is still too early to assess this co-operation. According to Microsoft's stand, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Wal-Mart are the most important large corporate customers who have directly benefited from the co-operation.

(Detlef Borchers) /


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