Novell is not bothered by rival Red Hat's acquisition of middleware company JBoss, according to Novell president Ron Hovsepian.

Red Hat's acquisition has “further validated our early adoption of JBoss,” Hovsepian said. When Novell looked at various application servers, “we chose JBoss ahead of Red Hat’s own Jonas,” he commented.

Novell's contract with JBoss is still in place, despite Novell's favouring of the Suse distribution of Linux, he said. Some industry commentators had suggested that the Red Hat move would encourage Novell and IBM to move closer together on open source.

The company claims to have a consistent code base from mainframe servers through to mid-range servers and down to the desktop, said Hovesepian on a visit to New Zealand. “You, as Chief Information Officer, get to train your staff on one platform,” he said.

Novell announced Suse Linux Enterprise 10 at its Brainshare conference last month. Earlier the same month, at Cebit in Hanover, it announced its Enterprise Linux Desktop - a desktop that does not require users to be Linux buffs, and provides them with functions that business users expect from a system such as Windows.

“We have focused on interoperability, interfacing it with common directories like Active Directory and e-directory,” he says. Novell has transferred some of the macros from Excel to Open Office, easing transition. “We’ve focused on usability.”

Business users now choose Linux on reliability scalability and security, rather than cost, he said. “The biggest obstacle is communicating that value message. It’s important to be able to show that the value [in terms of those three leading criteria] is there.”

Meanwhile, Novell has bought e-Security, a maker of security management and compliance monitoring software, having sold security and identity management software, such as Novell Identity Manager, eDirectory and SecureLogin, for a number of years.