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Messman Identifies Keys to Linux Growth

BOSTON -- Novell CEO Jack Messman announced several initiatives aimed at increasing Linux's penetration in the enterprise.

The moves, detailed during his keynote address at the LinuxWorld trade show here today, span the data center to the desktop and touch upon key IT management concerns, such as interoperability and security.

The data center push is being made with partners Unisys, PolyServe and SGI. The goal is to assemble hubs that provide high availability and clustered storage and security, while presenting business advantages such as scalability and cost savings.

Jack Messman
Jack Messman
Source: Novell

For workgroups, Messman touted the Waltham, Mass.-based company's Open Enterprise Server to deliver a suite of services, combining its NetWare and its SUSE Linux for file, print, management and collaboration.

He also stressed security in his keynote. Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 recently achieved EAL4 security certification and announced a security manager appliance powered by antivirus specialist Astaro.

"Security remains the big issue," Messman said, adding that, as Linux use expands, so do potential risks. Identity management will become a primary IT infrastructure component because information must be released to the right people at the right time or productivity suffers, Messman predicted.

On a related topic, Novell and other vendors have taken steps to indemnify customers against legal copyright claims from SCO Group.

Finally, Novell announced the Hula Project to encourage the open source community to develop applications for communication and collaboration. It's based on Novell NetMail, whose core components -- about 200,000 lines of code -- will be open sourced.

The executive also took stock of the industry since his keynote at last year's LinuxWorld in New York. Linux is gaining momentum in the enterprise, as vendors and the open source community continue to address CIO concerns, he said.

"To say Linux has had impact on IT would be an incredible understatement," Messman said, citing users with high-performance demands, including the Department of Defense and Overstock.com.

He cited evolving standards and certifications -- from companies and industry groups -- that provide assurances about the compatibility and performance of hardware, middleware and software running on Linux infrastructure.

As Linux becomes more prevalent, Novell and other vendors are seeing increased demand for training and around-the-clock support, he said. Messman also said he expects desktop Linux to become more dynamic and fatter, gaining functionality to challenge Microsoft products.

To conclude his keynote address, Messman said Linux would continue to win converts by continuing to develop solutions to lingering IT executive concerns.

"Together, let's work on the few remaining holdouts," he said.