Linux vendors, Novell close to deal

Major Linux vendors are expected to announce alliances this month that extend interoperability of their products with mainstream networks by bundling Novell's eDirectory for Linux with their software.

Novell also announced its Linux directory services software will ship this week.

Caldera Systems, Red Hat Software and TurboLinux are negotiating with Novell to use Novell's directory software with their Linux network packages, sources say. SuSE, a Linux powerhouse in Europe, is also reported to be a partner in the deal, according to sources close to the company.

Novell is being smart about its distribution of eDirectory, says John Dunkle, president of Creative Strategic Services. "The company found that TurboLinux is strong in Asia; Red Hat and Caldera in the US; and SuSE in Europe. Novell is strong in Europe also," he says.

EDirectory is Novell's directory services software for managing net resources. It works on NetWare, Windows NT and 2000, Solaris and OS/390.

Only rudimentary directory services, such as OpenLDAP, exist for Linux today.

"The only directory service I know of is [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol], and I am already much more knowledgeable about Novell Directory Services. Why should I change?" says Bill Dephenich, LAN manager for Roche Dinkeloo and Associates, Architects in Hamden, Conn. Dephenich has three Linux servers, one Windows NT net and three NetWare 5 networks.

Another user echoes Dephenich's support.

"We are a large corporate network with 25,000 users and many disparate systems," says Richard Ellerbock, chief systems analyst with ESKO, a power utility in Johannesburg, South Africa. "NDS is the only solution available that provides a directory on all the platforms. We do not want islands of administration, as it adds to the cost overhead and complexity for our Linux, NetWare and Windows NT networks."

Laura Didio, an analyst with Giga Information Group in Boston believes "the availability of directories for [Linux] is going to be crucial because Linux users don't have the luxury of skilled administrators and can't afford the downtime."

Caldera will bundle eDirectory for Linux with its Caldera OpenLinux; Red Hat with Red Hat Linux 6.1; and, TurboLinux with TurboLinux Server 6.0, according to sources at these companies.

Novell will not open-source its eDirectory for Linux, although it does have a version of LDAP it has contributed to the open source community. EDirectory for Linux is $2 per user. Terms of the bundling agreement were not disclosed.

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