Novell's latest network operating system. NetWare 6 was released in September, 2001. The official announcement was at that year's Comdex which was truncated by the events of September 11, 2001.

NetWare 6 continues in the tradition of NetWare but adds many improvements to the core operating system. First of all, the kernel is fully multiprocessor enabled (previous versions of NetWare had to have NLMs specially written for MP support, with NetWare 6 the scheduler can generally put any thread on any processor if it's a uniprocessor application, or can divide an application's threads across processors if it's in fact MP enabled.)

Novell also chose to bundle many more enabling technologies with NetWare 6. including iPrint which provides IPP support for printing, iFolder which is a web based, secure, replicated file store, Native File Access which lets Unix, Macintosh and Windows clients access the file stores on a NetWare server without the need for the Novell Client. NetWare 6 also has native support for the Apache web server, and has web based management, file access, and administration tools built in to the box. NetWare 6 also comes with the license for a two node cluster for redundancy and fault tolerance.

NetWare 6 supports the newest version of eDirectory, has a full JVM installed, can run servlets through Tomcat, and is very much useable on the real Internet. Upcoming service packs will add things like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and PHP. Sure you can install and run IPX if you need to in your environment, but you don't need IPX at all to run NetWare any more.

NetWare 6 has somewhat revitalized Novell. With Microsoft's legal problems and NetWare 6's ease of use and installation, it's been able to regain some mindshare that Novell has certainly lost over the years. Of course it still has quite a way to go, but it's good to know there are alternatives out there in the commercial arena (sure, Linux is out there, but corporate still wants to pay someone for their stuff.)

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