Novell Inc is lining up updates to its GroupWise and SuSE Linux Openexchange server collaboration software for the new year, including incorporating its iFolder technology with GroupWise and separating SLOX from the Linux operating system.
The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company acquired SuSE Linux Openexchange Server (SLOX) along with SuSE Linux earlier this year and is now pitching it at small-to-medium businesses with up to 1,000 users, while the Novell GroupWise product is pitched at the high-end with thousands of users.
The company will keep both products moving forward, according to UK technical director, Steve Gaines, and is lining up technology refreshes for both focusing on the different requirements of their user bases.
One of the issues we’ve seen is the problem around documents and information being duplicated and distributed in all directions, he said, describing how teams collaborating on a single document can often end up with multiple versions of the truth. What we’re actively trying to do is fix that problem where information loses its context, Gaines continued. Early next year we’ll start to address that sort of problem.
In order to do so, Novell iFolder file access and management software will be incorporated into GroupWise with peer-to-peer capabilities enabling users to open up access to a document from their desktop to specified users. Access will be controlled by Novell’s directory and authentication services, while server-based group access will also be an option. It will be included in the next release of GroupWise, and we’ll build on that, said Gaines.
Novell is also planning to open up the interfaces for GroupWise to SOAP, .NET and Mono to encourage what Gaines calls satellite companies in the collaboration space such as security software vendors to provide additional value on top. There will be a lot more companies in the collaboration space but the principal engine will be GroupWise.
While GroupWise is gaining more collaboration functionality, the next version of SLOX will see it separated from the underlying SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. SLOX has a definite future with the next release in early 2005, said Gaines. It will now be a separate product from the operating system.
This will enable users to take the technology and install it on existing SuSE Linux environments. A lot of users already have a site license for SuSE Linux, so why would they need another license? Gaines argues.
As well as smaller businesses, SLOX is also the way to go if a customer absolutely mandates Outlook as a client, according to Gaines, thanks to its support for the Microsoft email client. Now that the developers of the underlying Open-Xchange Server technology, Netline Internet Service GmbH, have released it under an open source license, SLOX is also aimed at companies looking for open source options.