I've been working with NOWS SBE for about eighteen months - since version 2.0 was released. The lack of meaningful documentation has left me and most of us making assumptions and wondering about what we can or cannot do, what will or will not work, and what configurations may or may not be supported. As is usually the case when one makes assumptions, I was mistaken. My mistake has cost me considerable frustration and countless hours trying to support my deployment of NOWS SBE.

I imagine most users, like me, installed NOWS SBE by inserting the media and following the prompts. Along the way, we encountered all the now well documented issues, cursed under our breath, and wished we had gone with the full NOWS. I have speculated in other threads how I could avoid most of the issues I have encountered if only I could deploy full versions of the component software. Well, apparently I can.

I called Novell the other day and had a long discussion about what restrictions the NOWS SBE license has with respect to deployments. It seems there are very few. I always find it frustrating to discuss licensing restrictions with vendors. It seems everyone is reluctant to offer their interpretation of the EULA. We got around that by focusing on what the EULA does not contain. You may want to have a look at it.

The file containing the EULA in English for the USA is EULA-en_US.txt. You can find the EULA's for NOWS SBE 2.5 in this directory:

With NOWS we have separate licenses for the various components. If we have maintenance for example, we can upgrade to the latest version of GroupWise whenever we want. NOWS SBE on the other hand is licensed as a single product, so we can only upgrade to a later version of GroupWise and other components when they are included the version of NOWS SBE for which we have a license.

There is nothing in the EULA that requires us to do a scripted install. As long as we only deploy versions of the component products that are covered by our NOWS SBE license, we are free to deploy them any way we want. We would, in effect, be running the full NOWS plus have access to a few other components that are only included with NOWS SBE.

If we have a license for NOWS SBE Version 2.5, these are examples of some of the configurations we can deploy:
  • SLES10 SP2
  • SLES10 SP3
  • SLES10-SP2 / OES2-SP1 - full version of OES Linux
  • SLES10-SP3 / OES2-SP2 - full version of OES Linux
  • GroupWise on SLES or on OES

We are free to configure these components to meet our needs and that includes installing additional Linux and/or OES services that are not available to us when we do a standard scripted install of NOWS SBE. Novell supports NOWS SBE components the same way they support the full products so support should not be an issue. We would be giving up the custom integration provided by the NOWS SBE install scripts. It would take a little (or a lot) of manual configuration to make MailScanner work with GroupWise but I for one am more than willing to live with these limitations for a system that I can manage and configure the way I want. Of course, we are still limited to providing services to the number of users for which we have purchased licenses.

I'm a Novell Business Partner but I'm not authorized to speak on their behalf. While I believe this information to be accurate, the opinions expressed here are my own. If you are considering a custom deployment, I would caution you to verify with your Novell representative or Reseller that your proposed deployment does not violate your NOWS SBE license agreement.