Netline strikes deal with Novell

Netline Internet Service on Thursday announced that Novell has agreed to provide global training, maintenance, and support for its Open-Xchange Server product.

As part of the new agreement, Novell has promised to contribute Openexchange code to the Open-Xchange community and will fully integrate Netline into Novell's DeveloperNet program. This will better allow Netline to integrate Open-Xchange with Novell's existing product including the Novell Linux Desktop and ZenWorks products.

Also under the terms of the deal, Novell will offer first- and second-level technical support for Open-Xchange, with Netline kicking in third-level support, officials from both companies said.

"Novell can help users with installation and configuration problems as well as some customization. We will get involved when there is a code fix necessary," said Frank Hoberg, Netline's CEO based in Olpe, Germany.

Open-Xchange Server is the underlying engine for Novell's SuSE Linux Openexchange Server. The product is a communications tool that has a number of groupware functions such as e-mail, calendaring, contacts, and real-time document storage. The Open-Xchange Server brand name will replace Openexchange Server, company officials said.

Some industry observers see the deal as a necessary step for both companies given the growing need for Linux-based collaborative applications.

"Our studies indicate that Linux is often asked to support electronic messaging and collaborative software," said Dan Kusnetzky, vice president in charge of software research at IDC. "This agreement is clearly in line with the trends are observing now," he said.

The product can serve as a collaboration platform to bring together open source and proprietary server and client systems, all through a common Web browser.

Netline officials said they expect to deliver Open-Xchange Server in the first quarter of 2005. The open source version of the product is available free of charge at www.openexchange.com.

More information about the agreement and the products it covers can be seen at www.openexchange.com.

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