Novell's Bonsai to get close integration with software from SiteScape buy

Like Microsoft and IBM, Novell is also moving its groupware and messaging in a social networking direction, a Novell executive told BetaNews.

Novell this week acquired SiteScape, founder of the ICEcore open source collaboration project, with plans for close integration between SiteScape-created crossplatform Linux/Windows' collaboration software and the next edition of Novell's GroupWise groupware and messaging environment, codenamed Bonsai.

In an inteview today with BetaNews, Gregg Webb, Novell's collaboration project manager, said that Novell first started teaming up with SiteScape while exploring how to enable its long-time GroupWise platform with Web 2.0-type technologies such as social networking, "either by building, buying, or partnering."

Essentially, Novell wanted to bring some of the flavor of Wikis, blogs, and Web sites such as MySpace and Youtube into directory-enabled business sites.

Other enterprise environments, including Microsoft Sharepoint and IBM's Lotus Notes, are also now moving in Web 2.0-oriented directions, Webb noted.

In the initial partnership between Novell and SiteScape, SiteScape converted its initially Windows-only software code into open source code that runs across both Linux and Windows. The software was also renamed Novell Teaming + Conferencing.

For interoperability across environments such as GroupWise, Microsoft Exchange, and Lotus Notes, Teaming + Conferencing also now uses crossplatform standards such as iCal, for calendaring, and Jabber, for instant messaging (IM).

"Novell's core business is really around interoperability, especially when it involves Linux," he contended.

Open source developers can write applications and perform bug fixes for Teaming + Conferencing through ICEcore.

Novell Teaming, previously known as SiteScape's Zon, includes a search engine function for finding experts within a corporate setting using keywords.

"You can then communicate with them either asynchronously, or in realtime," Webb told BetaNews.

The asynchronous communications happen through e-mail, and the realtime communications through either group chat or peer-to-peer IM.

Novell Conferencing, on the other hand, was formerly entitled SiteScape Forum.

After the acquisition, Novell will maintain Teaming + Conferencing as separate products outside of GroupWise, said Webb.

But the software will be closely integrated with Bonsai, a product expected to ship from Novell in the second half of this year.

"You'll be able to subscribe to simple syndication, for example," according to the Novell executive.

"We're also now looking at a possible mobile Blackberry implementation of Teaming," he told BetaNews.

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