Novell has bolstered its support for Linux with a variety of products it claimed would work across operating system boundaries. Speaking at the company's own flagship event, Brainshare Europe 2003, Novell announced that Ximian's Red Carpet management services would be included in its Nterprise Linux Services 1.0 package, scheduled to be released later this year. Nterprise Linux Services, which Novell expects to put into an open beta test programme in mid-October, includes a variety of existing Novell products that run on Linux.

The company also announced that a new version of its Nterprise Branch Office 2, which lets organisations network remote offices with the enterprise data centre, is going into an open beta and is expected to ship later this year. Nterprise Branch Office works on Linux, Windows or NetWare LANs.

In an Nterprise Branch Office configuration, software is installed on an industry-standard Intel-based server in the remote office. Given an IP address, the appliance communicates with a server in the data center, synchronising information as it goes. User workstations in the branch office are connected via Category 5 to the appliance. The server in the data center connects to whatever server is installed, whether a NetWare, Linux or Windows server.

In addition, the company announced a new version of its single sign-on and password management product. Nsure SecureLogin 3.5 now provides support for Swing and AWT-based Java applications and applets. It also no longer depends on Novell client software to support biometric logons. Swing is an API used in the Java Foundation Classes. The Abstract Windows Toolkit (AWT) is an API that lets users add graphical interfaces to Java programs.

Nsure SecureLogin 3.5 also enables single sign-on on workstations or kiosks that are shared by multiple users. In this scenario, when an application is inactive, the user is automatically signed off the network. New users need to sign-on to get access to applications.

Novell brings Web services to the mainstream
Furthermore, Novell announced that a new version of its Web application development suite is going into beta. Novell Extend 5 will feature visual development tools that simplify creating Web services. It also feature a new installation program, which according to Novell, allows a customer to install Extend in less than an hour. Also, Extend 5 includes support for Linux, as well as Xforms, JSR 168 and an XLDAP-based Web services connector to the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. General availability is expected later this year.