The technology behind Novell’s SuSE Linux Openexchange Server messaging platform is being released under an open source license by the company that created it, Netline Internet Service.
Olpe, Germany-based Netline’s Open-Xchange Server has been exclusively distributed as SuSE Linux Openexchange Server since the product was introduced in January 2003. The technology is being released under the GNU General Public License in a move that has the full backing of SuSE Linux’s new parent, Novell.
It’s good for the SuSE product to become open source and generate much more business, said Netline CEO, Frank Hoberg. Also for Netline it opens up new channels. Novell will continue to ship the technology as part of SLOX, while Netline is now considering a dual-license approach that will see it introduce its own version of the technology, as well as the open source Open-Xchange.
We are thinking of a similar model to MySQL, who have a dual license model, said Hoberg. MySQL AB offers an open source version of its eponymous open source database as well as a commercial license for companies such as resellers that do not want to make their products open source.
While the open source Open-Xchange Server will be released by the end of August, Netline is considering introducing its own Netline Open-Xchange Server in November. The company is also working on connectors for improved integration with Windows clients and mass import/export performance that will remain closed source but will be available from both Netline and Novell.
Hoberg added that while Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell is pitching its own GroupWise collaboration software at high-level enterprises, it will continue to push SLOX at small-to-medium businesses and had encouraged Netline to open source the code behind it to boost innovation and uptake.
As for differentiating Netline Open-Xchange from SLOX, Hoberg said Novell would be focusing on providing integration between SLOX and its own messaging and infrastructure software. If you do not need that, maybe NOX is worth looking at, he added.
Meanwhile, Netline has high hopes for the Open-Xchange technology, whether it is the open source, Novell or Netline version. If you take a look at the evolution of the Linux market, it was dominated by Red Hat and SuSE, now we are moving higher up the stack, the timing to do this is right, said Hoberg.
We feel that this is now the third leg in the middleware stack, alongside MySQL and JBoss, added Joe Eckert, formerly of SuSE and now Netline VP of corporate communications.
The company is not alone is focusing on the opportunity for collaboration and messaging software on Linux, however. As well as commercial vendors such as Novell, Oracle Corp and IBM Corp’s Lotus, Open-Xchange also faces competition from Linux-based messaging specialists such as Scalix.
Scalix’s platform is based on Hewlett-Packard’s OpenMail software, and is closed source. Netline believes that is the wrong approach. We think the future for software development is open source, so that is very important, said Hoberg. It’s much more attractive to the market compared to Exchange and Lotus Notes.