Novell Updates Instantme, Net Publisher

SAN MATEO (08/01/2000) - Novell Inc. Tuesday made some changes to its Novell instantme IM (instant messaging) and Net Publisher technology aimed at extending both products further into the e-business arena.

Available as a free download on Aug. 4, instantme 2.0 adds security to the speed of IM and includes the option of extending IM communications with audio and video IM technology from CuSeeMe Networks Inc. The Novell client supports Windows 95/98/2000 and Windows NT, and it runs across the America Online Inc. backbone thanks to the Novell-AOL partnership formed last fall; however, in order to use instantme 2.0, users will need to register a screen name with AOL.

"What we're hearing from [businesses] is that absolutely the No. 1 requirement is that any IM is secure; no one can see it, no one can eavesdrop and collect that information," said John Gailey, vice president of In-The-Net Services at Novell, in Provo, Utah. "What we find is that people within corporations are starting to use IM, such as AIM [AOL Instant Messenger], but in an unapproved mode, and usually when the business manager discovers that, they either turn a blind eye or turn it off."

Gailey said many companies would be more interested in using IM within their business if it were secure, because of IM's speed and presence-locating capabilities.

Using standard security certificates, instantme encrypts the data being transferred via IM and authenticates the identity of the IM recipient. New security keys are generated for each unique IM session, and instantme also will support 128-bit encryption, Gailey added.

The inclusion of audio and video IM technology will give businesses users the chance to "do a quick video conference" on a point-to-point basis, Gailey said.

The client can be configured to support 28.8K dial-up connections up to T1-level connections, with users receiving connection-appropriate video quality.

"The video requirements are light, in that one side can have video but the other side doesn't have to," Gailey said, adding that if one user has a video camera and the other does not, the video will be sent to the user without the camera while the user with the camera will get just the audio transmission.

"It's for those customers who desire the ability to take their hands off the keyboard, start talking, and/or add the video in there as well."

For Net Publisher 2.0, the second version of Novell's Web-publishing software, the company filled in a few of the "weak" spots identified by customers while using Net Publisher 1.0, said Leif Pedersen, director and product manager at Novell.

"The weakest spot we found in 1.0 was that the APIs, the ways to integrate the product [with applications], were not strong enough," Pedersen explained.

"Basically, all the customers that got the publisher wanted to extend it even more, to add more features and strengths to the product to integrate it into specific business processes. What we've done with Net Publisher 2.0 is added some APIs to make it more simple and smooth to include Net Publisher into your business processes."

Using Net Publisher, documents can be published, stored, and re-accessed by other users. The tool also allows several users to collaborate on the same document and features a built-in capability to route a document to management for approval before publishing it. According to Pedersen, Net Publisher also allows documents to be accessed via Web browsers, eliminating the need to have copies of the applications the document was created in on each desktop.

"The strength of the product really comes through as a publishing tool and, compared to the publishing tools on the market, the fact that it is completely based on a directory infrastructure," said Pedersen, noting that Net Publisher can sit on Novell's eDirectory or any LDAP-compliant directory. "The strength of it being completely deployed on the eDirectory is that you have all the security and all the other elements that you automatically inherit based on your directory infrastructure."

Although Net Publisher was first intended to be an intranet application, the growing need to also publish documents across extranets and the Internet, especially in terms of corporate and enterprise portals, has made the application's publishing capabilities especially useful, Pedersen said.

"I don't believe that it makes sense for any organization to implement a portal framework before you actually have solved your publishing and document management infrastructures," Pedersen added. "Align your business processes and your security infrastructure around your content before you actually make it available for everybody, your entire organization, including your suppliers and customers."

Net Publisher 2.0, which now supports Windows 2000 as well as NetWare and Windows NT, will be available Aug. 4 at a price of $1,295 per server plus a five-user license; extra licenses are $20 apiece.

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