News.com and InfoWorld report on Ximian’s acquisition by Novell. I use Evolution, the open-source email client and PIM from Ximian, on my desktop as part of the thin client-thick server solution. So, it is now interesting to see what Novell will do.
Novell officials hope the acquisition will also beef up its ability to support Linux-based solutions as the company pursues its goal of adding a full-featured Linux desktop to its lineup of groupware and systems management products, thereby accelerating the acceptance of Linux among enterprise users.
“Customers still face two key business issues: how to provide cost-effective management and maintenance of Linux systems, and how to deploy and support low-cost Linux desktops within the organization. We think we can deliver leading solutions for both,” said Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell in a prepared statement. “Just as importantly Ximian brings us Linux expertise, and strengthen our ability to work with and leverage open source initiatives more constructively,” he said.
One of the key to the deal is the Ximian Desktop 2 product, a complete Linux desktop environment that has an integrated suite of Linux desktop applications capable of supporting Windows file formats and networks. The company’s Ximian Evolution software integrates e-mail, calendaring, contact management, and task lists that are all part of one package. The product is compatible with Microsoft’s Exchange server and Sun Microsystems ONE, and sometime this year will support Novell’s GroupWise product.
Novell has developed a series of administration and security tools for managing Linux networks. In about 18 months, it plans to offer on Linux the same networking services it offers with NetWare, including directory software for authenticating a person’s identity, according to the company.
The company’s backing should bolster the Mono project, an ongoing effort to create an open-source version of Microsoft’s .Net development software. Once the project is completed, developers using open-source Mono tools should be able to create .Net applications that run on Linux or Unix. Ximian plans to release the first full version of Mono by the end of the year.
Applications built using Microsoft’s Visual Studio .Net development tools are designed to run only on the company’s Windows operating system.