Novell to boost Internet mail system

Novell Inc. is readying more collaboration capabilities for its Internet mail system, enhancing the software’s appeal as an alternative to beefier groupware systems such as Lotus Development Corp. Notes/Domino, Microsoft Corp. Exchange and even Novell’s GroupWise.

The Novell Internet Messaging System (NIMS) 3.0 features new calendaring capabilities, as well as the ability to let end users create notes and schedule tasks and meetings. NIMS, which has attracted 5 million users since Novell introduced it two years ago, is aimed at schools, large organizations, service providers and deskless worker environments.

“In many situations, a heavy messaging system isn’t needed,” says Richard Bliss, product manager at Novell, which boasts 25 million GroupWise users.

Internet messaging systems can be easier to roll out and manage than full-blown messaging systems in that Internet-based systems typically require the downloading of much less software and can be accessed from any PC, kiosk or device with a Web connection.

At Georgia State University, 30,000 students use NIMS.

“We looked at Exchange and GroupWise, but they offered too many options and didn’t follow any calendaring standards such as iCal [the Internet Calendaring and Scheduling specification],” says Sam White, NetWare/Windows NT server support manager. The university uses GroupWise for its faculty and other employees.

With NIMS 3.0, students can not only send and receive e-mail, but can also keep personal calendars of classes and activities, and add notes on particular subjects.

The NIMS server software supports any Post Office Protocol 3 or Internet Message Access Protocol mail client, and any device that supports WML or Wireless Application Protocol. Novell also provides a thin Web-based mail client for any user with browser access.

“Students can use the Web Mail client that comes with NIMS or Microsoft Outlook, Eudora, Netscape or even GroupWise mail clients,” White says. “They can get mail from any browser anywhere on campus.”

NIMS also works with Novell’s eDirectory for management and its system-wide address book capability. NIMS can also work with many domains, and the management of each can be relegated to individual customers or departments.

NIMS’ features are closest to those of Netscape’s iPlanet mail system. However, the iPlanet offering requires separate calendaring and wireless servers, and does not support NetWare servers. Other Internet mail packages, such as Sendmail and Openwave, have no directory or calendaring support.

NIMS 3.0 costs US$9 per user. It works on NetWare, Solaris and Linux servers. Windows 2000 server support is planned. For more information, visit