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Novell releases Connector for Exchange under GPL

Releasing it as open-source software is designed to spread its use

By Todd R. Weiss
May 12, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - In an effort to bolster business desktop use of its Linux products, Novell Inc. is making its Connector for Microsoft Exchange available as open-source software that will be freely distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
In an announcement yesterday, the Waltham, Mass.-based software company also announced that the next version of Novell Evolution 2.0 collaboration suite for Linux (formerly known as Ximian Evolution) will be available in the third quarter of the year.
Nat Friedman, vice president of the desktop technologies group at Novell, who founded Ximian and was its CEO before it was acquired last year by Novell (see story), said in a statement that offering Connector under the GPL will help spread its use.
"As companies deploy Linux on the desktop, they must ensure that users of either Windows or Linux can collaborate with each other using existing back-end systems and familiar processes," Friedman said. "Technologies like the Connector, which allow Linux desktops to operate inside a mixed proprietary/open-source environment, make choosing a Linux desktop easier for IT administrators."
Connector for Microsoft Exchange Server allows IT departments to use Exchange on the back end while providing users with open-source mail and collaboration clients, including Novell Evolution.
The idea, said Novell spokesman Kevan Barney, is to further open the door for corporate use of Linux desktop systems, especially in existing Exchange shops where reducing costs and complexity is always a goal. "It makes it a more viable choice in the business computing community," Barney said.
Connector had been sold by Novell for less than $70 per seat, while Evolution was a free open-source application.
Evolution is an open-source collaboration suite that includes e-mail, calendaring, contact management, task lists and more; it can be connected to Exchange 2000 or 2003. Users can use the software to manage their e-mail, calendars, group schedules, address books, public folders and tasks from their Linux desktops.
Tony Iams, an analyst at D.H. Brown Associates Inc. in Port Chester, N.Y., said the availability of Connector under the GPL makes sense for Novell, which also acquired SUSE Linux last November (see story). "Novell has been gradually open-sourcing some of their technology they have acquired, beginning with management tools in SUSE Linux," he said. "This is just a continuation of that trend to make sure they are proper members of the open-source and Linux communities."
The announcement "builds goodwill in the open-source community and paves the way for making its services business model work," Iams said.
The free distribution of Connector is also good for users, he said. "That Connector is very popular," Iams said.

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