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Red Hat Releases Directory Server Code

Making good on its promise to the open source community, Linux vendor Red Hat Wednesday released the Fedora Directory Server.

Officials said they have spent the past nine months working on the core components of the code to get it licensed under the GPL and make it available for ongoing open source development at the Fedora Project.

Fedora Directory Server, available for download on the Fedora Project's Web site, is compatible with Fedora Core 3, Solaris 2.8 and 2.9, Windows 2000 and HP-UX 11i.

Consisting only of the LDAP server itself for now, configuration tools for the Fedora Directory Server -- the administration server and end-user console -- are available in binary form and will be open sourced in the near future, officials said.

A directory server is the resting place for all directory services information: it's a repository for all users, servers and printers and is the central authority to authenticate and manage user identities within the network.

It also maps the names of network entities to its network address, so users don't have to remember a long list of IP addresses (i.e. 225.225.0.0) to get to a printer or another computer.

Red Hat bought the Directory Server technology from AOL in September 2004, paying $20.5 million in cash for the Netscape Directory Server and other Netscape Enterprise technologies.

Mike Ferris, Red Hat product marketing manager for identity, security and systems management, said Red Hat's directory server efforts will be a major project on par with its Fedora Project.

The company has a two-fold strategy for the open source release of the source code.

"One is certainly to build some community around the technology, to continue its evolution and the creation of additional plug-ins and types of uses for the directory itself," Ferris said. "But secondly, and probably more importantly, to encourage the adoption of LDAP as a standard for identity management overall."

Officials at the Raleigh, N.C., company also announced the mid-June availability of a commercial version of the software, Red Hat Directory Server for Enterprise Linux 3 and 4. The server will also be available on Unix-based Solaris and HP-UX machines.

Red Hat has plans to release other enterprise-tailored tools under Fedora in the near future.

The Fedora Global File System, which will let administrators with clustered Linux servers to simultaneously share common data to reduce multiple copies of the same data, install patches once for the entire cluster and simplify back-up procedures.