IBM on Mar. 25 unfurled a blueprint for computer networks that for the first time don't require a huge mainframe to serve as a traffic cop. But IBM needs other networking companies to buy into its plan, and some are limiting their investment in creating compatible products until they're sure there's a demand from customers. Said Gerry Machi, general manager of Novell's NetWare Systems Group: "We're a very pragmatic company, and it's a huge development effort."

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