Novell Launches Open Source Collaboration Server Initiative

Novell donates 200,000+ lines of source code and invites community development of the next generation of innovative collaboration capabilities

15 February 2005

Novell today announced the formation of Hula™, a new community project to create an open source collaboration server. The server will provide innovative calendar and mail functionality, filling a major void among open source offerings. Hula will be based on code taken from Novell's NetMail™ collaboration server product, an award-winning, proven technology foundation with an installed base of more than 4 million users.

Novell has donated the core components of NetMail to provide a starting point for the Hula project. Hula today includes standards-based e-mail, calendaring and address book functionality that can scale to 250,000 registered users on a single PC with 50,000 simultaneously connected users. Novell's contribution of such a significant product into open source – more than 200,000 lines of source code – demonstrates Novell's continuing commitment to promoting open source as well as the company's deepening involvement in helping to lead key community initiatives.

“Hula is starting from a strong position,” said Nat Friedman, vice president of collaboration and desktop engineering for Novell. “Novell has already created a server that provides the necessary basics. Our job now is to bring to Hula the innovative ideas, plug-ins and patches that will make the server really useful and compelling to large numbers of people. We're inviting open source developers to bring their own ideas to the project, and we believe Hula is a project the Linux community can rally around.”

Ron Moore, CIO of the University of Louisville, said, “We have been using Novell® NetMail for years to manage over 32,000 student mail and calendar accounts on a single server and have always been impressed with its scalability and reliability. Novell GroupWise® runs over 20,000 faculty and staff collaboration accounts for us. The fact that Novell is donating NetMail source code to create a vibrant open source community project really makes us excited about the future of the Hula project.”

In addition to Novell's contributions, other organizations are already coming to the table around the Hula project. “Combining Hula with our award-winning collaboration initiatives gives the open source world a rallying point to create a competitive alternative to the traditional proprietary solutions,” said Frank Hoberg, CEO of Netline Internet Service. “Netline will contribute to the Hula project and cooperate with Novell to combine the strengths of both our efforts.”

The Hula server will be built on open Internet standards – including SMTP, IMAP, iCalendar and the emerging CalDAV calendar access protocol – and a flexible, extensible architecture enabling the rich expansion of functionality through integration with projects such as Open-Xchange.

“We believe there is an opportunity for a low-cost, standards-based collaboration server to capture a sizable portion of the market,” Friedman said. “More and more, organizations are looking to outsource their mail and calendaring solutions to carrier services. We are launching the Hula project to build out the technology necessary to serve millions of users in this part of the market, and to put Novell in a leadership position as this market matures and the technology becomes more capable.”

Industry and Community Leaders Endorse the Hula Project

Industry leaders express strong support for the Hula project and agree it is filling an important need in the open source community.

Mozilla Foundation President Mitchell Baker: “The Hula project is a major development for the open source community. The Mozilla Foundation is committed to promoting innovation and choice, so we are excited by this initiative to provide the world with a free calendaring and mail server. Further, we're pleased that Hula will work with the Thunderbird and Sunbird clients, and we are eager to share code and contribute to Hula's success.”

Open Source Applications Foundation Founder Mitch Kapor: “Today's dominant corporate collaboration systems are based on decades-old designs, and the time is ripe for innovative new tools. The Hula server, side by side with our Chandler client, is a critical step in allowing disruptive new ideas to spread to the server. The Open Source Applications Foundation is excited to work with the Hula project to ensure that open source collaboration solutions exist from end to end.”

Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) CEO Stuart Cohen: “The Hula project is stepping in to fill a pressing need in the open source world. To date, viable open source initiatives have provided the operating system, the Web server, the database and even the desktop, but in collaboration there has always been a gap. We expect Hula to provide critical missing functionality for Linux which in turn will accelerate its use in the enterprise.”

O'Reilly Media CEO Tim O'Reilly: “Hula is a great opportunity for open source to leapfrog commercial software applications rather than just playing catch up. Nat Friedman is one of the most creative programmers working today, someone who understands that true Internet-era software isn't just desktop software with connectivity added on. Under his leadership, this is a project to watch!”

Messaging Architects CEO Pierre Chamberland: “By creating the Hula project, Novell is again clearly demonstrating to the market its confidence in the open source model and the power this model has to deliver rock-solid, leading-edge solutions for e-mail, calendaring and contact management.”

GWAVA Vice President of Marketing Richard Bliss: “Hula crosses the threshold between traditional collaboration products and the new emerging market of 'social software.' NetMail is a proven solution for millions of users. Hula lifts Novell's collaboration efforts into a leadership role in the open source community.”

Collaboration Industry Leader

Novell is a long-time leader in business collaboration with an installed base of 35 million using its flagship product Novell GroupWise. Novell recently unveiled its four-year roadmap for GroupWise, including an online “sneak peek” at a release due later this year, and believes the Hula project will be yet another reason for GroupWise customers to anticipate future versions. The Hula project is another example of Novell's commitment to leveraging both proprietary and open source innovations to create stronger solutions for customers.

“Novell’s customers know GroupWise provides unequaled security and reliability, as well as the complete collaboration features necessary for their business needs,” Friedman said. “With more than 80 percent of NetMail customers already using NetMail in conjunction with GroupWise, Hula advances will only enhance the collaboration tool at their disposal.”

Novell has also been serving the open source community directly through the SUSE Linux Openexchange Server product, which is sold in conjunction with Netline. Novell will continue to sell all three of its collaboration solutions: GroupWise, NetMail and Open-Xchange server. A detailed roadmap for Novell's open source initiatives in collaboration will be issued in the future.

Licensed as open source under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and the Mozilla Public License (MPL), the Hula project lives at For information on the Novell NetMail product from which Hula is derived, visit Novell GroupWise information is available at

About Novell

Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) is a leading provider of information solutions that deliver secure identity management (Novell Nsure™), Web application development (Novell exteNd™) and cross-platform networking services (Novell Nterprise™), all supported by strategic consulting and professional services (Novell NgageSM). Active in the open source community with its Ximian® and SUSE Linux brands, Novell provides a full range of Linux products and services for the enterprise, from the desktop to the server. Novell’s vision of one Net – a world without information boundaries – helps customers realize the value of their information securely and economically. For more information, call Novell’s Customer Response Center at (888) 321-4CRC (4272) or visit Press should visit

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