Open Enterprise Server

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Open Enterprise Server
OS familyUnix-like, NetWare
Source modelOpen source / Closed source
Latest releaseOES 2018 SP1 / February 2019; 3 months ago (2019-02)
Marketing target
Package managerRPM Package Manager
Preceded byNetWare 6.5

Open Enterprise Server (OES) is a server operating system published by Novell in March 2005 to succeed their NetWare product.[1]

Unlike NetWare, Novell OES is a Linux distribution—specifically, one based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The first two major releases of Open Enterprise Server could run either with a Linux kernel (with a NetWare compatibility layer) or Novell's NetWare kernel (with a Linux compatibility layer).[1] Novell discontinued the NetWare kernel prior to the release of OES 11.

OES 1 and OES 2[edit]

Novell released OES 1, the first version of OES, in March 2005.[1] Since some users wanted backward compatibility with NetWare, Novell offered two installation options: OES-NetWare and OES-Linux. These are two different operating systems with different kernels and different userlands.

OES-NetWare is NetWare v6.5 equipped with NetWare Loadable Modules for various Novell services (such as NetWare Core Protocol, Novell eDirectory, Novell Storage Services, and iPrint) and open-source software (such as OpenSSH, Apache Tomcat, and the Apache HTTP Server).

OES-Linux is a variation of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) with added NetWare services: the NetWare Core Protocol, Novell eDirectory, Novell Storage Services, and iPrint.

OES 2, released on 8 October 2007, retained the OES-NetWare option. Its operating system, NetWare 6.5 SP7, can run as a paravirtualized guest inside the Xen hypervisor. The OES-Linux edition was updated to SLES 10.

Features introduced in OES 2 include:[2]

OES 11[edit]

OES 11 was released 13 December 2011 based on SLES 11 SP1 64-bit. This is the first version of OES to be 64-bit (x86_64) only, and to be SLES based only (not NetWare).

  • Introduces Novell Kanaka for Mac client
  • Uses Zypper tool to patch up to 100 times faster than OES2
  • Added Automated / Unattended Upgrades from OES2
  • New Novell Linux Volume Manager ( NLVM) provides easier storage management

Novell released a service pack, OES 11 SP2, on January 28, 2014.

OES 2015[edit]

  • OES 2015 added new features and improved performance.[3]
  • OES 2015 SP1 was released in 2016.[3]

OES 2018[edit]

  • OES 2018 was released in December 2017, based on SLES 12 SP2.

Release summary[edit]

  • OES, released in March 2005, included NetWare 6.5 SP3 and SLES 9 SP1.
    • OES SP1, released in September 2005, was based on NetWare 6.5 SP4 and SLES 9 SP2.
    • OES SP2, released in January 2006, was based on NetWare 6.5 SP5 and SLES 9 SP3.
  • OES 2, based on NetWare 6.5 SP7 and SLES 10 SP1, was released on October 8, 2007.
    • OES 2 SP1, released on December 1, 2008,[4] based on NetWare 6.5 SP8 and SLES 10 SP2.
    • OES 2 SP2 was released on November 11, 2009,[4] based on SLES 10 SP3.
    • OES 2 SP3 was released on December 22, 2010,[4] based on SLES 10 SP3, SLES 10 SP4 (as of April 15th 2011).
  • OES 11 was released on December 13, 2011, based on SLES 11 SP1 (64-bit only).
    • OES 11 SP1 was released on August 28, 2012,[4] based on SLES 11 SP2.
    • OES 11 SP2 was released on January 28, 2014,[4] based on SLES 11 SP3.
    • OES 11 SP3 was released on August 2016, based on SLES 11 SP4.
  • OES 2015 was released on August 2015.[3], based on SLES 11 SP3.
    • OES 2015 SP1 was released in June 2016, SLES 11 SP4.
  • OES 2018 was released in December 2017, based on SLES 12 SP2.
    • OES 2018 SP1 was released in February 2019, based on SLES 12 SP3.

End-of-support schedule[edit]

OES version Release date General Ends [5] LTSS Ends
Old version, no longer supported: 1 1 March 2005 ? ?
Old version, no longer supported: 2 8 October 2007 31 July 2013 ?
Old version, no longer supported: 11 13 December 2011 13 June 2017 ?
Older version, yet still supported: 2015 31 August 2015 31 December 2019 ?
Current stable version: 2018 6 December 2017 28 December 2022 ?
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release


  • Automatic Client Upgrade (ACU) - automates the upgrade of Novell client software on existing workstations[6]


Vendor motivation[edit]

Novell executives expect that porting these services to an OS with growing popularity and better support from hardware and software vendors will give Novell a good opportunity to improve its business results.

OES is Novell's reaction to two things:

  • the increased significance of Linux and open-source in the company strategy and the industry in general
  • the fact that it lost a lot of market share, not because the customers were dissatisfied with the quality of its networking services, but mostly because these services ran almost exclusively on top of an OS that was narrowly specialized in its initial design and didn't get as strong support from ISVs as most of its competitors.

License costs[edit]

Licensing costs are identical regardless of the platform, and the platforms may be mixed under the same license. As with Novell's other products, OES is licensed per user seat, without regard to the number of servers. Pricing is typically not altered by physical CPUs or the use of hardware virtualization technologies (e.g. VMware, Xen). NetWare and OES both include two-node licenses for Novell Cluster Services, allowing basic clustered environments to be created without additional licensing charges.

In comparison, Microsoft Windows charges per server and per client, with additional charges for larger SMP support and for clustering.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Prickett Morgan, Timothy (13 December 2011). "NetWare-Linux Love Child Turned Up to 11". The Register. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  2. ^ "Upgrading to OES2: Planning & Implementation Guide".
  3. ^ a b c "Manage File & Print Networks - Open Enterprise Server". Novell Web site. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Novell Product Support Lifecycle".
  5. ^ Product Support Lifecycle
  6. ^ Harris, Jeffrey (2005). Novell Open Enterprise Server Administrator's Handbook, NetWare Edition. Novell Press. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780672332784. Retrieved 2015-02-15. Automatic Client Upgrade[:] Although the Client Upgrade Agent has largely replaced this functionality, Novell still offers the ACU feature to automate the upgrade of multiple existing workstations to the latest Novell client.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]