28 May 2004

South Africa: Novell Shows Off Linux Capacity

Johannesburg — For years, Linux was feared to be synonymous with immature products, inadequate support, limited applications and a fragmented market, said Mohamed Cassojee, Oracle SA strategy advisor, on day two of Brainshare Africa 2004 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

To combat these views, the keynote showcased Novell's Linux abilities, which include "unbreakable Linux" support from Oracle.

Novell made strategic acquisitions last year, of the SuSE distribution - the first to support the 2.6 kernel - and the Ximian desktop productivity and server-based management application set.

"Today Novell has a well-rounded ecosystem of capabilities around Linux," said Troy Monney, Novell VP of corporate marketing. "Have a look at Epi-Use's stand. They have a Linux readiness practice, to assess your organisation's preparedness to migrate. Then there is SmartSource, one of our local partners providing certifications like Certified Linux Engineer. They are giving discounts at the moment."

"Also, Business Experts like Titan, CKB, Easy Access - they're all on hand to provide technical knowledge on the platform. APC is here as power supply partner, and the Linux Professional Association (LPA) and OpenOffice.org stands can tell you about the community and productivity applications."

Very app-ed

"Many people think it's a problem that so many apps are written to the .Net architecture and for Windows," Monney added.

Demonstrating a collaborative application called iFolder, running in separate, concurrent sessions on a Windows XP PC and a Novell Linux machine, Monney called an engineer and a project manager to show that the application runs across a network as a file-sharing and rights management tool in project management. It opens Windows applications equally well on both machines.

Two speakers from NetCB Solutions then demonstrated the Novell solution the company built for the University of the North, which automated student register changes, additions and terminations, added self-help functionality to student records and ensured across-the-board register accuracy via directory integration.

Cobus Burgers, NetCB CEO, said the project's first phase, which consisted of integrating the student system with eDirectories, the latter with GroupWise mail system and with Active Directory, as well as the supply of eDirectory passwords, took 20 days. Next will come the integration of the HR system, and in time for next year, integration of the access control system.

Vendor partners

Oracle's Cassojee said the vendor's support of Linux consists of running all apps on Linux, developing on the platform, outsourcing on it, supporting it (not just Oracle products), investing in its betterment and recommending the platform to customers.

Andrew Fletcher, business critical systems manager, HP SA, said HP has a broad portfolio of products supporting Linux, due to its high growth rate and popularity today. "We now have products all the way through front-end to back-end, across all industries.

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