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Definition: NetWare

A family of network operating systems from Novell that in the early 1990s was the largest installed base of LAN operating systems. NetWare was primarily a server OS that supported Windows, Mac, DOS and OS/2 clients (and Unix clients via third party support). Eventually giving way to Unix, Linux and Windows running TCP/IP, client-only versions were also available. See TCP/IP and NetWare peer-to-peer network.

NetWare Was Proprietary
The hard drives in the server required NetWare formatting, and although DOS and Windows apps could reside there, they could only run in the server if they were recompiled (see NLM). NetWare also used its own communications protocols until NetWare 5, which included TCP/IP (see IPX, SPX and NCP).

NetWare History
In 1985, 16-bit NetWare 2.x (originally Advanced NetWare 286) supported 100 users. In 1989, NetWare 386 was the first 32-bit version. Renamed NetWare 3.11 in 1992, it had a limit of 250 concurrent users and employed the Novell bindery directory (see bindery). In 1993, NetWare 4 introduced the widely acclaimed Novell Directory Service (see eDirectory). NetWare 6.5 was the final release in 2003. See NetWare 5, NetWare 6, MHS and Novell.

NetWare Protocols
This chart compares the NetWare protocol stack with the OSI model. One difference is the Link Support Layer (LSL) interface for network drivers. ODI and NDIS were common implementations (see ODI and NDIS).