First off, there isn't much I could attest to in the technical sense that should worry any Novell investor as to any weaknesses within Novell's product. Sure, NDS can always be better but that's subjective right now. It will always be upgraded and improved upon I'm sure. As it stands, it's head and shoulders above anything else remotely resembling a Directory.
As for it's weaknesses....
Well, NDS suffers from problems outside of it's technical merit. By that I mean that Novell has not fully exploited the power of NDS in applications outside of their scope (the Corporate Enterprise) and through this limited exploration, they have some marketing/brand problems.
Until now. Now we're at the horizon of digitalme's explosion into the public realm.
Also, Novell has done a tremendous job getting the IT people (all the techies) on board with the virtues of NDS. Now if they could only take this energy and translate it into layman terms for the general public to understand....
Then again, it would be premature for them to do so since there have been no applications for which the everyday people could relate to. When I teach about NDS, there is an important aspect we stress in class, it's called relevancy. We constantly show how NDS makes things easier to do (such as security, performance and fault tolerance) and why that's important to businesses as well as to a network admin :)
When we explain how you can use NDS to meet business goals, this allows us to make a case for "benefits" (sort of like an ROI in effect).
To do this with the everyday public, Novell will need applications that transfer "benefits" to the general public. They need to make people WANT what NDS has to offer. Once people want it, the demand for NDS-enable apps will skyrocket.
If Novell can explain how NDS can improve security for digital transactions for example as well as for personal information people will listen. When Novell can produce either the framework and/or product that will allow people to manage their digital identities (digitalme), things will be much different for all of us.
This is the weakness I believe all of us on this board have been lamenting about for some time. When will Novell get their marketing behind the product and make a case for it beyond the Corporate Networks of America?
Until people understand and see what NDS can do for them, Novell will always be considered decent company with good fundamentals and a growing market. They will have moderate growth because of their new revenue horse, NDS. When the public learns, I mean really understands what NDS can do for all of us, Novell will become hot.
Peter J Strifas