In a move to support Java in the intranet space, Novell and Sun have announced a cross-licensing agreement which will make Novell Directory Services (NDS) available to Java developers and Sun's Java WorkShop development environment available to Novell IntranetWare developers.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sun will license NDS to be included with its Solaris operating environment and Novell will license Java WorkShop for use in its IntranetWare platform and WebNFS for use in its NetWare NFS product.
IntranetWare (see IntranetWare review), which became available last month, is an open standards version of Novell's flagship NetWare product designed for use on corporate intranets.
The two companies hope the alliance will allow developers to create intranet applications based on Java, which incorporate NDS capabilities such as accessing, managing and securing network information, says Janpieter Scheerder, president of Sun Soft.
In addition the incorporation of Sun's WebNFS technology into Novell's NetWare NFS will allow any WebNFS-enabled browser to access information on NetWare NFS servers over an intranet.
"This is a significant step forward for network computing, and when Sun says network, we mean the intranet," Scheerder says.
For Sun the alliance means Java developers will have access to another naming convention -- one used by over 17 million users in the networked PC world, Scheerder says.
"NDS will help bring millions of Novell users into the Solaris world," he says.
Sun hasn't decided how it will sell and distribute the NDS technology in the future, but plans at least to incorporate it into its Solaris operating system early next year, Scheerder says.
No changes will need to be made to the Java workshop's environment in order to allow developers to access NDS, since Java language was built to incorporate new technologies over time, Scheerder says.
Novell on the other hand will benefit from opening up NDS to the JAVA development world and gain access to the huge installed base of Sun's Solaris servers, says Denice Gibson, senior vice-president of Internet products at Novell. IntranetWare's developers will also have access to a high level Java tool kit, she says. Novell will make Java Workshop available in the first quarter of 1997.
"Most PCs are networked using Novell technologies and most servers run on Sun technologies," Gibson says. "Novell is trying to make NDS the metaplatform across the board."
Novell and Sun are natural partners to promote the Java environment to developers, creating applications for all networked PCs, she says.
Plus many corporations which are looking to install an intranet are holding off because of uncertainty over which development language is the best base for intranet applications, Gibson says. "We are 100% sure this language is Java," she says.
Most analysts are positive about the alliance, but not surprised.
"This announcement promotes Java and every big company needs to be promoting Java with its products," says Mary Hubley, an analyst at Datapro Information Services. "While the announcement isn't earth-shattering, it is important in that it reinforces how important Java is in the industry."
While both companies benefit in their own way -- an expansive channel for Sun's JavaWorkshop and a toolkit which will help establish IntranetWare and NDS as intranet players -- it's the developer who is the "ultimate winner", says Evan Quinn, research director at International Data.
Novell will also license Sun's Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler to incorporate with its IntranetWare Software Development Kit for the Java platform by mid 1997, Gibson says. This should make the execution of Java application faster within the IntrenetWare environment.
The agreement is by no means exclusive, since Sun already has licensed other directory services for the Solaris platform, and Novell has partnered with Hewlett-Packard, Santa Cruz Operations and Microsoft for Windows NT, Gibson says.
The two companies will also jointly market the Java products and work on developing Java APIs, which suit both companies' needs.