Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News
About 6,000 people are attending the weeklong BrainShare conference at the Salt Palace sponsored by Novell.

While not abandoning its current NetWare users, Novell officials on Monday made it clear that the company's focus is on open-source and open-standards computing.

Kicking off the annual BrainShare conference at the Salt Palace, Novell Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Messman and others praised how open source and open standards — and Novell products based on them — can help businesses work more efficiently, provide them flexibility and agility and save them money.

"We're about a clear, concise and relevant strategy: our software for the open enterprise strategic framework," Messman said. "We're about providing the open-source and open-standards leadership our customers, partners and investors have come to expect. We're about providing the products you need today to get the job done today, with the strategic and technology business to keep you competitive tomorrow."

About 6,000 people are attending the weeklong BrainShare to hear speakers at keynote and several hundred breakout sessions, receive training, browse exhibits and view product demonstrations. Massachusetts-based Novell has about one-third of its work force in Provo.

The company is concentrating its efforts on five market areas — data centers, security and identification, resource management, desktops and workgroups — and is hoping to capitalize on the shift from proprietary technology to open source.

"Our Linux and open-source participation is deep, and it is worldwide," Messman said.

Novell is pulling away from its competition in the enterprise space because its products are better integrated; they like a mixed-source, heterogenous approach; they are comforted by Novell's 20-plus years in operating systems; the company has strong worldwide technical support; and other factors, Messman said.

Among other announcements Monday, Novell introduced a next-generation platform for the open enterprise, with SuSE Linux Enterprise 10 forming the core of the platform.

But despite the push toward open source, Messman said Monday that the company will support its NetWare customers at least through 2015 and NetWare 6.5 users "as long as customers want to run it."

"That's as close to forever as you can get," he said.

Ronald Hovsepian, president and chief operating officer, spoke about how Novell products have helped Commerce Bank handle 12,500 back-office desktops with just four information technology staffers and helped Telecom New Zealand maintain a seamless customer experience and smooth transitions when acquiring other companies.

Jeffrey Jaffe, executive vice president and chief technology officer, described products that will "help transform your business to your advantage, to give you better performance, increase profits and greater business momentum."

"At Novell," he said, "we have the right balance of an unstructured, community-like development environment and the disciplined, rigorous approach that is needed to get products out the door — products and solutions you need and, in fact, demand from us."

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