Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Novell, Inc. (Big Red) is an American high-technology corporation specialising in network operating systems such as Novell NetWare and Linux, secure identity management products, and application integration and collaboration solutions. Together with WordPerfect, Novell was instrumental in making the Utah Valley a focus for high-technology software development. Today this area has many small companies whose employees have previously worked at Novell.
The company began in Provo, Utah as Novell Data Systems Inc. in 1979, a hardware manufacturer producing CP/M based systems. It was co-founded by George Canova and Jack Davis. The name for the company Novell was suggested by Canova's wife who mistakenly thought that "Novell" meant "new" in French. Victor V Vurpillat brought the deal to Pete Musser Chairman of the Board, Safeguard Scientifics who provided the seed funding. The company initially did not do well and both Jack and George left the firm. Several attempts were made to sell or give away the company but Victor Vurpillat, VP Safeguard found Ray Norda in Silicon Valley.
In January 1983, the company was renamed Novell Inc., and Ray Noorda became the head of the firm. Also in 1983, the company introduced its most significant product, the multi-platform network operating system (NOS), Novell NetWare.
Novell based its network protocol on XNS, and created its own standards from IDP and SPP, which it named IPX (Internet Packet eXchange) and SPX (Sequenced Packet eXchange). File and print services ran on the NCP (Netware Core Protocol) over IPX, as did Routing Information Protocol (RIP) and Service Advertising Protocol (SAP). To accompany this, Novell touted Novell DOS (formerly DR-DOS), similar to MS-DOS; this came from the acquisition of Digital Research in 1991. Early versions of NetWare were somewhat notorious for presenting the administrator with an ABEND.
Novell did extremely well throughout the 1980s, acting aggressively to increase the market initially by selling the expensive ethernet cards at cost; by 1990, Novell had an almost monopolistic position in NOS for any business requiring a network.
However, Novell was also diversifying unwisely, moving away from its smaller users to target large corporations, underinvesting in research and leaving their key product opaque and difficult to control and administer. In 1993, the company bought Unix System Laboratories from AT&T, giving them rights to the original UNIX kernel, apparently in an attempt to strike at Microsoft. In 1994 Novell then bought WordPerfect, as well as the Quattro Pro product from Borland. These acquisitions did not last: UNIX was sold to SCO in 1995, and WordPerfect and Quattro Pro were sold together to Corel in 1996. DR was also sold to Caldera Systems in 1996.
As Novell's performance faded in the face of new competition, Noorda was pushed out in 1994 and in around 1996 the company began a belated move into internet-enabled products, ditching the proprietary network protocol in favor of native IP. The move was accelerated when Eric Schmidt became CEO in 1997, and the result was NetWare 5 and the associated directory services through Novell Directory Services. With falling revenues, the company pushed hard at net services and platform interoperability.
In July 2002, Novell acquired SilverStream Software, a leader in Web services-oriented application development. The business area called Novell exteNd contains XML and Web Service tools based on J2EE.
Linux for Business
In August 2003, Novell acquired Ximian, a developer of open source Linux applications (Evolution, Red Carpet and Mono). This is significant, because Novell now plans to move its NetWare product to the Linux kernel by the time of its next release.
In November 2003, Novell acquired SUSE, a developer of a leading Linux distribution, which could lead to a major balance of power in Linux distributions, now that IBM is also in the game. IBM invested $50 million to show support of the SUSE acqusition.
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