Best Enterprise OS ever

Before there was Linux, before there was Apple (in the enterprise) before VMWare and OSx, OS2, Windows NT 4.0 onward, etc., there was the motherfucker. The king of the fucking hill that made people quake in their boots from the enormous complexity of even trying to admin it.

It had its own networking protocol, IPX. It was the scary demon in Networking For Dummies, the thing that Must Not Be Touched because it was just too hard. Instead you should run LANTastic on Token Ring or Arcnet. It was . . . Netware Motherfuckin’ 3.12:

Sixteen and a half years later, INTEL’s hard disks—a pair of full height 5.25 inch 800 MB Quantum SCSI devices—are making some disconcerting noises from their bearings, and you’re tired of the complaints. It’s time to turn off the old warhorse.

I have personal experience with stupid Netware uptime. I recall an 386 box that we had up for three years between reboots back in the 90’s. 3.12 was nearly a perfect OS, in terms of cleaning up after itself and including no unnecessary fluff. Let’s raise a glass to the old boy!

Before my time, I’m happy to say, but I have heard Stories.

Netware? I’m not sure they had even invented the enterprise back then. But if they did, then enterprise machines didn’t have anything from Intel inside… IS (I don’t think they’d invented IT yet :)) people would have been suffering with AS/400s or if they were really fancy, some genteely aging VMS systems…

But I have to admit, that’s a decent uptime stat you’ve got there, Novell. Remember when NT, the first MS offering that even resembled an OS, had a built-in uptime limit of, what was it, 2 months or so, because no one at Microsoft could imagine keeping a computer on that long?

Netware wasn’t that hard to administer until 4.x and the directory. The base OS was pretty stable until you got into trouble with flaky drivers that ran in protected mode and could crash the os.

That said, NDS is still a far better / more elegant directory design than active directory. Unfortunately it (and other directory implementations) lost to better MS marketing, Novell’s own bad marketing, changes of ownership, etc.


We used Netware as recently as 4 years ago. Not only for NDS (the Novell precursor to MS’s Active Directory) and general file sharing and printing, but also for Groupwise as well. In fact, the old server running Groupwise is still running just to allow users to access old archives. I haven’t rebooted it in the last 3 years except when I’ve powered down to shuffle devices in the server room. It’s still humming along.

It’s pretty fantastic wrt reliability. It’s running Netware 6.5 (TCP/IP only. IPX/SPX was phased out around '99. It’s still supported but we kicked it to the curb).

Groupwise is also a decent emailing system. Occasional quirky issues dealing w/ other businesses on Outlook/Exchange, occasional grousing from new users long trained on Outlook, and a general desire to make life simpler got us on Windows.

When Novell started the push to move Netware users to their SuSE based Linux OS, we jumped ship. The Linux solution looked great, but given the time to migrate, it was simpler in the long run to move to Windows then Novell’s Open Enterprise Server.

Good uptime, comical thread title (at least to the old farts among us).