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Novell is gunning for a chunk of the office market share from Microsoft with the release of its open workgroup suite for small businesses.

The new software, which is based on Novell's Suse Linux distribution, has server and desktop components which include open source products. It comes with Groupwise for email and calendaring, while storage and user rights administration is managed by Novell's Open Enterprise Server.

The suite also ships with OpenOffice.org for Windows and Linux.

Explaining the rationale behind bringing the product to market, Novell's SMB VP Ray Boggs said "small businesses are increasingly interested in Linux".

And in a clear swipe at the likes of rival and sometime partner Microsoft, the firm said its open source office product offered customers flexibility and freedom compared to "expensive, proprietary-only software bundles".

Novell's open workgroup suite small business edition will be available from September this year. ®

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