Novell absorbs DRI. (Digital Research)
by Robert Bixby
By acquiring Digital Research (DRI), giant network system software marketer Novell signaled its frustration with Microsoft's failure to create NetWare network links in standard MS-DOS and Windows. DRI is the creator of DR DOS, an MS-DOS competitor. Novell intends to establish a desktop networking/operating system standard that's independent of Microsoft. Novell and DRI have been cooperating for a year on this venture.
DRI's first operating system, CP/M, was used almost universally by desktop computers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. DR DOS versions 5.0 and 6.0 have received very favorable reviews and are credited by some industry watchers with forcing Microsoft to make MS-DOS 5.0 friendlier and more frugal with memory.
Novell's impetus in purchasing DRI seems to have been Microsoft chairman Bill Gates's statement in a leaked memo that network capabilities built into MS-DOS would favor other network standards over Novell's NetWare. Integrating DR DOS with NetWare should help Novell remain competitive with other popular network software publishers, including Microsoft.
This news comes hard on the heels of an agreement between Novell and IBM that allows IBM to market Novell's products. Microsoft is beginning to look isolated in its conflict with one-time allies IBM, Apple, and Novell.
What does all of this mean for you? If you're on a network, it could mean that you won't have to go through the step of logging onto the network, that incompatibilities between your computer's operating system and your network will disappear, and that your computer's memory will be put to much better use. If you aren't on a network, you could still benefit from DRI's sudden access to the research and financial resources of a company ten times its size.