Novell Inc. announced Tuesday that it is shipping a connector for Microsoft Corp. Exchange Server that allows users of its Linux e-mail package Evolution to access Exchange from a Linux desktop.

The company also announced that Novell Evolution 2.0 would be available in the third quarter of this year with support for native GroupWise. The connector for Exchange will be open-source. With the release of the connector, the entire Evolution product is available under the GNU GPL.

The upcoming version of Evolution will include spam filtering, S/MIME and PGP security, and integration with Novell’s Linux desktop and Gaim instant messaging client. In addition, it will support Novell GroupWise 6.5 for Linux, allowing users to use Evolution to access their GroupWise mail, calendars and address books.

Evolution 2.0 will also include improved offline support for IMAP accounts, calendar improvements and enhanced contact management.

Evolution 2.0 will be available as part of Novell’s Linux desktop. The connector can be downloaded May 14.