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11/9/2010
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Enterprise 2.0: Novell Launches Vibe Platform

The collaboration software formerly known as Novell Pulse and Novell Teaming is now available under a new name as open beta software.

At the Enterprise 2.0 Conference on Tuesday, Novell changed the name of its real-time collaboration software from Pulse to Vibe, integrated its Teaming application, and announced a public beta of the combined social platform.

It wasn't certain this day would come. Novell Pulse was built to communicate using Google's Wave federation protocol. The unexpected discontinuation of Google Wave in August raised questions about the fate of Wave-related projects.

Despite Google's commitment to make the Wave federation protocol available as open source and Novell's public statement of commitment to Pulse, Wave's collapse seemed to foretell further problems for real-time collaboration in the enterprise. Though analyst firms like Gartner argue that social collaborative software will become commonplace in corporate environments, many companies remain skeptical or resistant.

Novell hopes to avoid Wave's fate by being more evolutionary than revolutionary. Novell engineering VP Andy Fox sees Vibe as a complete collaboration platform that will complement users' favorite applications rather than reinvent them.

"We're seeing social pervade just about every business application and business function," said Fox in a panel discussion on Tuesday afternoon.

Novell Vibe may be a sign of Wave's revival, or at least its continued existence on the infrastructure level. On the conference show floor, Novell exhibitor Brian Six confidently predicted that Google will integrate the Wave federation protocol into Google Apps, allowing real-time collaboration between Google Apps, Novell Vibe, and any other Wave-enabled applications.

Novell's software in two flavors: Novell Vibe Cloud, a hosted collaboration solution, and Novell Vibe OnPrem, which can be installed behind corporate firewalls.

"New social messaging and networking tools are changing the way people work," said Colleen O'Keefe, SVP and general manager of collaboration solutions at Novell, in a statement. "Whether it is on-premise or in the cloud, Novell Vibe brings these tools together with an intuitive understanding of business collaboration needs -- simply making it easy for people to work together -- quickly and securely."

Novell Vibe Cloud is focused on facilitating secure, online collaboration. It includes enterprise social networking, real-time co-editing of online documents, file sharing and synchronization, and ad hoc group creation.

Novell Vibe OnPrem focuses more on customizable team spaces, forms, and workflows. It features team workspaces, automated workflow tools, content management capabilities, and team collaboration.

Over time, the two offerings are expected to converge, which after all is what collaboration is all about.

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