Shareware has been part of the computer software spectrum since the advent of the personal computer. The concept was a natural extension of the community spirit that marked the early years of connected computing. It goes back to the days when your connection was via a slow modem and the community was a ragtag electronic bulletin board system. Now, some 20 years later, shareware has become a staple for niche-filling computer software that bridges the programming gaps of major software vendors.

Dave’s NovellShareware fills that role admirably. The site is an excellent source of NetWare software, some of which is superior to products offered by Novell itself. The site is well organized, with an extensive table of contents, several featured programs, and a list of new releases all available from the home page. Software categories are diverse, including antivirus tools, fax tools, file management, remote administration, and security management, to name a few. No matter what niche currently needs to be filled, a network administrator can find a software program here that will do the trick.

Each shareware program listing includes a detailed description of what the software does, when it was posted on the site, the size of the file, and purchasing information. In addition, many listings offer a user rating that indicates how well a product does what it says it does. Dave’s NovellShareware is also conscientious about specifying what operating system each piece of software will require.

The site also hosts several discussion forums on NetWare, divided by version, plus a forum on Groupwise. In addition, you’ll find a forum for posting classified ads selling NetWare-related products. These forums generate a surprising amount of activity. This is a telling sign that suggests the site has developed quite a following, resulting in an old-fashioned community environment.

Once relegated to hobbyists and geeks, shareware has now become a necessity for any IT professional. Shareware provides software that network administrators need, but that other major software vendors fail to deliver. Dave’s NovellShareware follows the traditional model of users helping users and provides an excellent array of Novell-related shareware. The site is definitely worth a bookmark.

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