Novell will make available a public beta of its Open Enterprise Server (OES) beta within days.
One company said the server - which combines the proprietary NetWare kernel and recently released Suse Enterprise Linux 9 distribution - will be released for widespread testing by next Monday at the latest.
Novell expects to ship the final software in February 2005. In addition, the company plans to offer a common management interface - iManager for NetWare - that will let customers choose the services they deploy.
Viewed as an ideal option for NetWare customers thinking about switching to Linux, OES provides numerous services on top of the two kernels.
These services include Novell's enhanced Nterprise Linux Services 1.0, Novell Storage Services on Linux, mapped drive support for Linux from a Novell client, clustering on NetWare or Linux, and migration tools and upgrade utilities for NetWare, Microsoft and Linux.
The server will also offer customers an iPrint client for the Novell Linux Desktop or any Linux desktop, enhanced Virtual Office management features and shared iFolder capabilities between Windows and Linux clients, Novell said.
With this release, NetWare will no longer be sold as a separate product. The proprietary kernel and system services will continue to be enhanced, however, as part of Open Enterprise Services.