An interesting quote showed up in a Novell press release last week. The release touted the fact that the Georgia State Court of Appeals (identified as the "third-busiest court in the U.S.") had recently adopted NetWare 6.5 for its docketing system, porting an old mini-computer system to modern technology.
One of the draws of going to NetWare, according to John Ruggeri, IT project manager for the Georgia Court of Appeals, was the fact that "we didn't have to learn an entirely new platform and can get the power of open source in an environment we know and trust."
Linux and the open source movement are thoroughly intertwined. NetWare 6.5 is also thoroughly intertwined with open source through the inclusion of Apache Web Server, MySQL database, Perl and PHP scripting and programming and the Tomcat Web services environment. Most of these either shipped with or are available for NetWare 6.0, also.
Taking traditional NetWare services (such as file and print, directory, network management and messaging) and porting them to a Linux/open source environment is simply the flip side of the coin that has open source applications running on the NetWare engine.
One other consideration from reader James, in Japan - "Theoretically if all of Netware can run on the Linux kernel, does that mean that you could swap in any Linux kernel you want? That you could run multiple virtual NetWares on IBM mainframes, and you could run Netware on Alpha, on MIPS, on PowerPCs, on anything? There would probably still be a ton of device drivers to write, but it's a thought."
It is a thought, James, and a very good one - one I hadn't pondered very much. But Novell and IBM have partnered on NetWare before (remember "Blue box NetWare" 3.x?) so it's not inconceivable that IBM's implementation of Linux on a mainframe could be coupled with NetWare on Linux to produce an engine that is powerful and scalable as well as secure and extensible. That sounds like a real winner. Stay tuned.