Linked by Ian Carder on Tue 12th Apr 2005 04:10 UTC
Novell and Ximian With some free time and some spare equipment lying around, I decided to give Novell's Open Enterprise Server an install. I work in a Netware environment, but given recent trends, I decided to try and drop OES on a fresh SuSE Enterprise install. This isn't a comprehensive review; rather it's just some comments while I was just playing around. It might give people a better idea what OES actually is.
Order by: Score:
Looks great...
by Jay on Tue 12th Apr 2005 04:24 UTC

Although is anybody else disturbed by KDE running on a server? It's like bad flashbacks to Windows all over again...

by Chris on Tue 12th Apr 2005 04:40 UTC

I am truly disturbed. But at least, when you finish configging with KDE, you can shut off X and let it be a server that no one ever sits down at.

by Jay on Tue 12th Apr 2005 04:47 UTC

Hopefully there's an option to not install the xserver, KDE, etc. They could just install yast and xlibs on the server, then you could just do x-forwarding to your desktop and configure it from there graphically.

I'd be much more content with that.

KDE on a server: Chill!
by Bryan Feeney on Tue 12th Apr 2005 10:20 UTC

Windows isn't as modular as Unix systems. On Windows, a failure in the graphical layer can damage the whole system, on Linux, a failure of KDE or X is just the failure of another application, the server will keep on chugging. If you've got an appropriately set up firewall you shouldn't have too many security issues (most of KDE's involve using the web-browser, email, io-slav tools, none of which you should be doing as a super-user).

In any event, the KDM allows you to "Shutdown the X-Server" and drop you into the console, from which you can type "kdm" (or maybe "startx kdm", been a while since I did this) to start things up again.

The concern I would have is logging into a graphical environment as root: it would be better to log in as a normal user (in case you do use the KDE web-browser), and then run YaST and the administrative tools as root. This is perfectly easy to do, you start the tools as normal from the K-Menu, and the system will prompt you for the root password.

One other thing
by Bryan Feeney on Tue 12th Apr 2005 10:22 UTC

It is possible to install without the X-Server and KDE, YaST comes in a console (ncurses based) form as well, and is equally easy to use. I'm not sure, but I presume the Novell configuration items in the graphical YaST will also be present in the console YaST

X should not be required
by Fredrik on Tue 12th Apr 2005 10:29 UTC

I agree X should not be required. As for normal SuSE installations, YaST is independent of X. If you run YaST under X, then yes it will use a GUI interface. But if you run it in a text terminal it will use an ncurses interface -- but the functionality is identical!

Novell should keep this functionality (it is unclear from the article if they have), and I suggest they even add an install option to use a server purely in ncurses mode. After all, they had great success with their text based console in Novell 4.x.

RE: X should not be required
by Bert Plat on Tue 12th Apr 2005 10:42 UTC

I've had to install OES in text-mode in an early beta-version (my Compaq would go berserk in X -- now fixed, though) so yes, X isn't required

Re: Looks great...
by David on Tue 12th Apr 2005 10:46 UTC

Hopefully there's an option to not install the xserver, KDE, etc. They could just install yast and xlibs on the server, then you could just do x-forwarding to your desktop and configure it from there graphically.

For the purposes of this review the guy was merely getting an initial install of OES.

This is an Enterprise OS(tm) with the enterprise grade graphical configuration tools that are expected in such an environment and that should always be available. If you want some half-arsed text only environment that you can hack on then you're looking in the wrong place, because what you want will not be supported. However, there should be a headless configuration with remote YaST configuration, but that implies running the services (and the slight risk) to do so, as with any remote admin option.

Besides, in terms of additional services, security and vulnerabilities (especially compared with Windows technology) KDE is not a problem at all.

Re: Looks great...
by Deuce868 on Tue 12th Apr 2005 11:17 UTC

If you want some half-arsed text only environment

Funny, I've always thought that the GUI tended to be half-arsed while the command line interfaces were much richer.

In the end this is a linux box though right? A simple ctrl-alt-backspace should kill X and send you to a command line where a startx should get you back into Gui. I don't mind having to set up in X as long as I can kill it and still function remotely. Some of it was done with a web based tool according to the article so you can even forget about X forwarding at that point.

by jay_of_today on Tue 12th Apr 2005 11:43 UTC

Hi pals,

What about licencing? How much does the whole OES solution cost? Has anyone of you got into contact with Novell regarding licencing? I would be very interested to hear some comments.


X Server
by Tom on Tue 12th Apr 2005 12:14 UTC

The reason that X is present when you first boot the server is because this is the SLES 9 default. If you don't install the X server, you don't see KDE. YAST also functions quite well in ncurses, since that is how I have to install it most of the time on my test machines. Taking the default setup will leave you with X running, but that also has quite a bit to do with Novell wanting to make sure that you have a way to use iManager to setup some of the eDirectory services on the new server. If you want to install the machine, shut down X, and stick it in a closet, you are more than welcome to use a web browser somewhere else to manage the system.

As far as licensing, you pay for the eDirectory users that you put in the tree. You do pay a fee for the OS itself, but you are paying for the ability to upgrade the OS with fixes through ZENWorks Linux Management. You can install the beta if you want and use it. You just have to pay for the eDirectory users. This might give you a nice starting point:

RE: X Server
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Apr 2005 12:26 UTC

Wow, I am surprised at how much it costs:

Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 5-User e-License $995
Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 10-User e-License $1,840
Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 25-User e-License $4,600
Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 50-User e-License $9,200
Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 100-User e-License $18,400

v Linux is a big piece of SHIT
by Junk Finder on Tue 12th Apr 2005 13:07 UTC
:) @ JunkF
by l3v1 on Tue 12th Apr 2005 13:17 UTC

I always find it quite amusing that there are people out there who have the time and the will to spend it on such unspeakably pointless rants like the above ;)

:) @ JunkF
by Bert Plat on Tue 12th Apr 2005 13:21 UTC

Yup. They must be gettin'nervous

RE: X Server
by kiz on Tue 12th Apr 2005 13:34 UTC

That does seem kind of pricey. Anybody know how much a comparable Active Directory setup would cost?

Netware volumes
by Peder on Tue 12th Apr 2005 13:47 UTC

If you can live without "Salvage" and friends you can make any directory in the linux filesystem be a netware volume.
Just run "ncpcon create volume HOMEVOL /home" for instance to announce /home as the netware volume HOMEVOL.

And for those of you who want to have a NSS volume on the same drive as / you need to use EVMS:

- Peder

Re: Linux is a big piece of SHIT
by Peder on Tue 12th Apr 2005 13:54 UTC

The editor shemale on here is UGLY and Stupid.

I cracked and tracked down the poster.
To my surprise it seems to be Eugenias SO ...


- Peder

question to the author
by mario on Tue 12th Apr 2005 14:16 UTC

Does it support IPX? I have been working with NetWare since 1995 to 1999, and I have just peeked into the TCP/IP kernel of NW 5.0, when my career changed rather abruptly.

Anyway, I like IPX a lot, it has that plug-and-play thing about it, and works better than IPv6. imho.

by Joe Toe on Tue 12th Apr 2005 14:17 UTC

actually considering it is novell then seeing a graphical server environment is unusual....

OES Pricing & functionality
by Gnome-Era on Tue 12th Apr 2005 14:19 UTC

OES is comparable to a windows AD solution as far as pricing is concerned I have evaluated both and have chose to build my enterprise on the OES platform. As far as functionality there ar things that are standard with OES that you don't get in your Windows AD environment. #1 iManager, Active directory requires command line management, or Admin console, #2 Server monitor built in imanager, #3 Virtual Office, is standard with OES. Sure Microsoft may have sharepoint but we are talking dollar for dollar OES vs Windows Enterprise server. I specify Winows Enterprise server because that is he version of Windows you have to use to compet with OES clustering and benefits. I have been a long time SUSE user and was concerned about the Novell. However they have merly taken the Netware services and gave the single sign-on and and management benefits to Linux that many against it have said were missing. So far I have 3 customers who have switched during the beta and are now running the final release. I have had only 2 complaints both due to iFolder which has been corrected with iFolder 3. All 3 customers were running AD all 3 have switched this is month 5 no downtime, no viruses, hacks!

Is it legal to do so?
by Larry on Tue 12th Apr 2005 14:33 UTC

IIRC, the license does not allow anyone to publish information about Novell product without their approval. Someone please correct me. I did install it, too but has not written about it for our LUG readers since i thought it is illegal to do so.

by Kancept on Tue 12th Apr 2005 14:37 UTC

I see someone had Laura's Lab Kit in their CD drive during a screenshot. :-D Connections is a good advert/magazine.

by Tom on Tue 12th Apr 2005 14:43 UTC

IPX is NOT supported in OES. According to all the documentation I've seen for migration of both 4.11 and 5.x servers to OES, the first recommendation is that you migrate all servers in the tree to IP. For 4.11, this requires migrating to in interim 5.x or 6.x version before moving all the way up. I think this has a lot to do with adding Linux into the tree, since IPX solutions on Linux have previously been half-hearted at best. If you are currently running IPX on Novell, and you want to play with OES, look at upgrading your current server to Netware 6.5 first. It plays quite well with IPX in my experience, and it will also allow you to upgrade directly to OES with little to no trouble.

by Jim Norton on Tue 12th Apr 2005 17:00 UTC

IPX will likely be supported under the Netware kernel, but not the Linux kernel.

For all intents and purposes, OES/Netware seems to be Netware 6.5 (internally it's called Netware 6.5 SP3 ... go figure)

I highly doubt the license prohibits people to disclose information about Novell products they have purchased. If so, the reviewer, the folks at and Efnet #novell are in big trouble, and have been for some time in the latter two cases. ;)

Regarding licensing, if you have upgrade protection for Netware you are entitled to OES/Netware under your current licensing agreement. The licensing is a bit different for SLES, however. Under the Netware licensing, you are able to deploy as many servers as you wish... it is licensed per user (for example, we have a 900 user licenses and we could deploy more servers than we have users if we wished) With SLES, you can deploy something like 10 servers for the first 100 user licenses you have, and 2 additional servers ever 100 user licenses beyond that. Needlessly confusing, in my opinion, but that's how it works.


OES, More Reviews, etc.
by ph0bia on Tue 12th Apr 2005 19:10 UTC

I think that OES shipped just slightly incomplete, there are some key things missing which Novell should have resolved prior to release such as Quota support in NSS.

It's a great idea though, and I am very excited about the concept - once it matures I think it will make alot of noise out there and do good things both for Novell and the world of Open Source.

You can find the official release announcement at:

And you can find another good review complete with more screenshorts, etc. at:

by jet70 on Tue 12th Apr 2005 20:17 UTC

We are currently switching away from Netware 6 to a SAMBA Domain

Samba has a salvage like option and we will never go back. ;)

by fred on Thu 14th Apr 2005 17:23 UTC

>Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 5-User e-License $995
>Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 10-User e-License $1,840
>Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 25-User e-License $4,600
>Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 50-User e-License $9,200
>Novell Open Enterprise Server & Prior 100-User e-License $18,400

The above list is the MSRP for NEW installations, street price
is lower. Also, Novell offers Upgrade pricing for existing
customers at considerable savings and Competitive Upgrade
pricing for existing customers of other Operating Systems.

DO NOT pay the MSRP!