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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 a server OS that supported Windows, Mac, DOS and OS/2 clients, as well as Unix via third party support. After networking was added to Windows, and TCP/IP became the default network protocol, NetWare eventually faded into history. See TCP/IP and NetWare peer-to-peer network.

Proprietary and Problematic
The hard drives in NetWare servers required special formatting, and although DOS and Windows apps could reside in the server, they could only run in the server if they were recompiled into a NetWare module (see NLM). NetWare also used its own IPX and SPX protocols until NetWare 5 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 acclaimed Novell Directory Service (see eDirectory). In 2003, NetWare 6.5 was the final release. See NetWare 5, NetWare 6, MHS and Novell.

NetWare Protocols
When comparing NetWare's protocol stack with the OSI model, one major difference was the Link Support Layer (LSL) interface for network drivers. ODI and NDIS were common implementations (see LSL, ODI and NDIS).