Red Hat to open-source Netscape Directory next week

June 1 is D-day for Red Hat to release the renamed 'Red Hat Directory Server,' which could become the crux of an open-sourced digital-ID-management platform. Microsoft is hardly the only vendor working to assemble the technology pieces that could comprise next-generation digital-identity-management platforms. Next week, Red Hat is planning to release into open source the Netscape Directory technology it acquired in September 2004. That is according to Joanne Rohde, Red Hat executive vice president, who spoke on a panel here on open source. The panel was one of three held Tuesday, and was sponsored jointly by the Information Technology Association of America and NASDAQ. Rohde told panel attendees that Red Hat will release the directory technology on June 1, which just happens to be the day that the Red Hat Summit 2005 kicks off in New Orleans. When contacted for additional details, a Red Hat spokeswoman said: "We can not confirm the timeframe for the release of Directory Server." The spokeswoman did note that when Red Hat releases the directory, it will be made available under the GNU General Public License (GPL), as Red Hat committed to do when it acquired the technology from Time Warner. Red Hat is expected to detail more specifics regarding its directory server product and plans at next week's Summit. According to the agenda for the show, Red Hat is planning to rename the Netscape Directory Server the "Red Hat Directory Server." Red Hat officials are slated to detail the LDAP-based directory server's single-authentication, user-identity management and multi-master replication capabilities. Red Hat officials also will share information on the Web-based desktop applications that come with the Red Hat Directory Server, including a centralized phone book, employee locator and org-chart tool. Red Hat's directory play will strike at Novell more than at Microsoft, according to Robert Frances Group analyst Stacey Quandt "The acquisition of the AOL Netscape Directory server and Netscape Certificate Management System (both purchased by Red Hat last fall) broadens Red Hat's open source architecture offering and provides customers with an open source alternative to Novell's eDirectory," Quandt said. "Red Hat is directly targeting Novell and its combination of open source and proprietary solutions. Enterprise users currently running Netscape Enterprise Server can take comfort in the high likelihood that it will continue to be a supported offering." Quandt characterized Red Hat's moves beyond its core Linux distribution as a positive. "Building a portfolio of applications, although risky, assures Red Hat a better chance of succeeding in a market characterized by commoditisation," Quandt added. For its part, Microsoft is continuing to place its directory bets on Active Directory, Both Active Directory and the Active Directory Federation Services technology, which will be part of the Windows Server 2003 R2 release due to ship by the end of this year, will be at the heart of Microsoft's implementation of any kind of future. Jason Matusow, director of Microsoft's Shared Source initiative — who also spoke on Tuesday's open source panel — noted that Microsoft has opened up access to almost all of its directory source code available to selected partners, as part of its Windows Shared Source program. UKFast is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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