Novell resurrects instant messaging client

Lately I have been ranting about Novell's "lost" applications, technologies and services and notes from you, faithful readers, have reminded me about other initiatives that even I had forgotten.

Among those is Novell's instant messaging client, which was announced as a partnership with AOL/Netscape (now Time-Warner/AOL) a couple of years ago.

The client was available as part of the DigitalMe demonstration Web site ( - which is still up and sometimes running). Lots of people at that time applauded the effort as a way to allow attributable messaging (as opposed to the often anonymous so-called 25th line "send" messages which have been with NetWare since Version 1).

As it turns out, this was a Mark Twain situation. (Upon reading his obituary in the newspaper, Twain is supposed to have sent a note to the paper's editor stating, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.")It was revealed at BrainShare Europe 2002 that the instant messaging client was being revived. (The session entitled "Novell's Strategy for Instant Messaging" should have been a clue). Product manager Jason Williams' slide show from the session can be viewed at (without the commentary, unfortunately) and it shows that there has been further development with a change in emphasis.

The original client was, essentially, a rebranded AOL Instant Messaging client (like the Netscape instant messaging client) which could connect with any other AIM client through the use of AOL's servers for locating the other party. This new instant messaging product (code-named "Quasar") will be hosted on the eDirectory platform and is intended for use only behind the firewall.

It's all part of something called "Novell Modular Collaboration Services" (NMCS, I guess) which also includes GroupWise, NetMail (formerly Novell Internet Messaging Service, NIMS), iFolder, eWork and Workspace (the latter two haven't been previously mentioned in this newsletter - but we might get to them later this year. For now, for more about eWork go to: and for Workspace go to: Quasar is designed to leverage the emerging IETF instant messaging standards (called SIP and SIMPLE) while not at all competing in the consumer space with AIM, Microsoft's MSN or ICQ - it remains behind the firewall on the corporate internal network.

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