GroupWise 5.1 tackles World Wide Web

Novell's usually quiet groupware division is about to get vocal at Internet World 96 in New York next week, where it will detail GroupWise 5.1, a forthcoming version of its product that sports several Internet enhancements.

Novell's usually quiet groupware division is about to get vocal at Internet World 96 in New York next week, where it will detail GroupWise 5.1, a forthcoming version of its product that sports several Internet enhancements.

Novell is readying two upgrades to 5.0, which shipped in the middle of October. The first phase will add support for Internet messaging standards, including POP3, Lotus officials say.

The second phase will incorporate Jefferson, an eagerly awaited Web data library enhancement. The Jefferson project, code-named after the US president who thought up the public library system, will provide tools that maintain a library of GroupWise documents on intranets or external Web sites. For example, an author's updates to a corporate document automatically will be synchronised with the Web library version. Users can also request documents in the library via full-text or URL searches.

Analysts like Novell's innovative approach with the library model.

"It gives GroupWise a real edge on Notes, which lacks a document-locking mechanism and check-in or check-out features," says Dave Marshak, an analyst at Patricia Seybold Group, in Boston.

Novell's GroupWise is currently the groupware market share leader ahead of Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. But the product's stronghold is beginning to loosen, according to industry experts.

Analysts say Novell's delay in communicating plans for Web enhancements to GroupWise has cost the company market awareness in the wake of Netscape's crashing of the groupware or messaging party.

"Despite having a solid product and tight integration with NetWare and Novell Directory Services, Novell has suddenly found itself the No. 4 player in terms of Web mind share," says Bob Lewin, an analyst at Dataquest, in San Jose, California. "That means for many sites, they're not even in the consideration set, even though one of the top three [Netscape] doesn't have a deliverable product yet."

GroupWise's faithful followers are not worried.

"It's easier to deploy than any other product on the market, and the Jefferson upgrade will add even more value," says Gary Pinder, informatics manager at the Federal Court of Canada, in Ottawa.

Upgrades to 5.1 will be offered to 5.0 users via a free download from Novell's Web site in stages beginning in February.

Novell is on the Web at http://www.novell.com.

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