Novell Inc. and Collabra Software Inc., a small designer of network software, have joined forces to challenge Lotus Development Corp. in that market, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Lotus, with its Notes software line, has about one million users and is by far the largest maker of groupware products. Groupware is used to collect and share information among people in a work group or company using the same computer network.The Novell-Collabra alliance calls for Novell to merge Collabra's groupware products into its own network software line.

No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed. Novell, based in Orem, Utah, will begin selling Collabra products early next year.

Collabra, based in Mountain View, Calif., adds a bulletin-board capability to Novell's existing groupware offerings.