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15.2. IPX and Linux

Alan Cox first developed IPX support for the Linux kernel in 1985.[1] Initially it was useful for little more than routing IPX datagrams. Since then, other people, notably Greg Page, have provided additional support.[2] Greg developed the IPX configuration utilities that we'll use in this chapter to configure our interfaces. Volker Lendecke developed support for the NCP filesystem to allow Linux to mount volumes on network-connected NetWare fileservers.[3] He also created tools that allow printing to and from Linux. Ales Dryak and Martin Stover each independently developed NCP fileserver daemons for Linux that allow network-connected NetWare clients to mount Linux directories exported as NCP volumes, just as the NFS daemon allows Linux to serve filesystems to clients using the NFS protocol.[4] Caldera Systems, Inc. offers a commercial and fully licensed NetWare client and server that supports the latest Novell standards, including support for the NetWare Directory Service (NDS).[5]

Today, therefore, Linux supports a wide range of services that allow systems to be integrated with existing Novell-based networks.

15.2.1. Caldera Support

Although we don't detail the Caldera NetWare support in this chapter, it is important that we talk about it. Caldera was founded by Ray Noorda, the former CEO of Novell. The Caldera NetWare support is a commercial product and fully supported by Caldera. Caldera provides the NetWare support as a component of their own Linux distribution called Caldera OpenLinux. The Caldera solution is an ideal way of introducing Linux into environments that demand both commercial support and the ability to integrate into existing or new Novell networks.

The Caldera NetWare support is fully licensed by Novell, providing a high degree of certainty that the two companies' products will be interoperable. The two exceptions to this certainty are "pure IP" operation for the client, and NDS server, though neither of these were available at the time of writing. NetWare client and NetWare server are both available. A suite of management tools is also provided that can simplify management of not only your Linux-based NetWare machines, but your Novell NetWare machines, too, by bringing the power of Unix scripting languages to the task. More information on Caldera can be found at their web site.

15.2.2. More on NDS Support

Along with Version 4 of NetWare, Novell introduced a feature called the NetWare Directory Service (NDS). The NDS specifications are not available without a nondisclosure agreement, a restriction that hampers development of free support. Only Version 2.2.0 or later of the ncpfs package, which we'll discuss later, has any support for NDS. This support was developed by reverse engineering the NDS protocol. The support seems to work, but is still officially considered experimental. You can use the non-NDS tools with NetWare 4 servers, provided they have “bindery emulation mode” enabled.

The Caldera software has full support for NDS because their implementation is licensed from Novell. This implementation is not free, however. So you will not have access to the source code and will not be able to freely copy and distribute the software.



Alan can be reached at [email protected].


Greg can be reached at [email protected].


Volker can be reached at [email protected].


Ales can be reached at [email protected]. Martin can be reached at [email protected].


Information on Caldera can be found at

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