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Netscape races MS to intranet

Netscape posted its intranet strategy one day before a Microsoft event on the topic.

One day before Microsoft was to open its Intranet Strategy Day conference, Netscape Communications posted a report outlining its own intranet vision that includes details on future major releases of Navigator and server technology.

The paper, penned by Netscape vice president of technology Marc Andreessen, describes features for the forthcoming major releases of Navigator (code-named Galileo) and SuiteSpot (code-named Orion), both of which the company hopes will propel it ahead of proprietary groupware offerings such as Lotus Notes.

With the unveiling of its product roadmap yesterday, Netscape apparently was trying to preempt Microsoft's Intranet Day event today in San Jose, California, where the Redmond, Washington-based software giant will report its efforts to tap into the expanding corporate Intranet market.

According to the Netscape paper--entitled "The Netscape Intranet Vision and Product Roadmap"--the company expects to release by the end of the year Galileo, which will feature improvements in Navigator's integrated email and Usenet news clients, including Secure/MIME support for encrypting and authenticating email, LDAP support for access to directory services, and IMAP support for offline browsing of email and discussion groups. The mail client will also have filtering, rules, and searchable mailbox capabilities that are standard in most dedicated email packages.

Galileo will also include Borland International's just-in-time compiler for speeding the performance of Java applets, layout improvements, and enhanced site management capabilities, such as version control for documents, the paper says.

On the server side, Netscape will combine the groupware capabilities of CollabraShare, which it acquired from Collabra last year, with its SuiteSpot line of server software, which includes Enterprise Web, News, Catalog, Proxy, Certificate, Mail, and Directory Servers.

In the Orion versions of the SuiteSpot servers, which will be released over the next 12 months, Netscape will offer better management capabilites, including Simple Network Management protocol capabilities and support for other common management systems such as CA/Unicenter, HP OpenView, IBM/Tivoli TME, and Sun Solstice.

Like Notes and Microsoft Exchange, the Orion Mail server will offering calendering and scheduling capabilities. Orion servers will also support replication services so that directory services, discussion groups, and content can be updated on different servers throughout an intranet. Netscape also intends to beef up application development services on Orion servers with new application programming interfaces and class libraries and security through access control lists.

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