Red Hat acquiring LDAP server from AOL's Netscape unit

Red Hat acquiring LDAP server from AOL's Netscape unit

Linux vendor Red Hat is adding security and authentication tools from Netscape Security Solutions to its software arsenal through a deal with America Online.

In an announcement Thursday, Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat said it's acquiring Netscape Directory Server and Netscape Certificate Management System from AOL's Netscape division for US$25 million. The company unveiled the deal at a financial analyst event it hosted in New York.

"We believe the acquisition of these Netscape assets has tremendous long-term strategic value for the open-source industry and Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers," Matthew Szulik, chairman and CEO of Red Hat, said in a statement. "Directory Server and Certificate Management System have already been widely deployed in the enterprise and are mature pieces of infrastructure software. The technologies will provide a secure switchboard with certificates for all traffic in the open-source architecture."

Netscape Directory Server is a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol server that provides greater manageability of e-mail accounts by centralizing application settings, user profiles, group data and policies so they can be easily obtained on a mail server. Administrators can also store policies and access control information in the directory for a single authentication source.

AOL has Directory Server deployed throughout its organization, according to Red Hat.

Netscape Certificate Management System provides a security framework that authenticates the identity of users to ensure privacy.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in Red Hat's third fiscal quarter of 2004, according to the company. Red Hat plans to market the products as part of its open-source architecture over the next six to 12 months.

"Red Hat is committed to building a secure computing environment in the enterprise," Paul Cormier, the company's executive vice president of engineering, said in a statement. "Directory Server and Certificate Management System will enable the integration of the desktop with a networkwide set of computing services that up until now had only been available from a small set of proprietary vendors."

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