Novell is set to integrat code from NetMail as part of a project to create an open source collaboration server. The information was revealed by company chairman and CEO Jack Messman in his keynote at LinuxWorld. He said that the company also planned to exapnd its presence in the data centre and to "harden" Linux for corporate use.

"CIOs want to simplify and streamline IT," Messman said. Linux helps them to do that. Linux is secure, scalable and easy to deploy, maintain and support", he said, emphasising that customers want and need choice in operating systems and applications.

The open source collaboration server project, code-named Hula, which will involve Novell offering about 200,000 lines of NetMail code on an open-source basis. The project is meant to draw in members of the open source community, with about 25 Novell employees dedicated to Hula. The server that emerges from Hula will provide users with calendar and e-mail functions, filling a "major void" in current open source offerings, Messman said.

The goal is for Hula "to become for collaboration what Apache is to servers," he added.

The code Novell will make available is Internet-based, so "we thought that was a good starting point and that we ought to contribute that to jump-start this project," Messman said.

The plan to expand Novell's presence in the data centre will involve the common code base from Suse Linux Enterprise Server and will focus on application infrastructure, storage software, virtualisation, systems management and security. Specific products will be announced in those areas in coming months, Novell executives said.

Messman also laid out long-term plans for GroupWise, the company's flagship collaboration product, with three releases planned for the next four years and with the next GroupWise release, code-named Sequoia, expected in the second or third quarter of this year.