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Novell taps open source for security

Company releases code to write programs for its eDirectory software and launches a security appliance based on its SuSE Linux OS.

For Novell, security and open source belong together.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company said Monday that it will submit the programming interfaces for eDirectory to two open-source projects, allowing developers to use Novell's directory program to authenticate network access. Novell also detailed a partnership with Linux security company Astaro to create a security appliance that runs Novell's SuSE Linux operating system.

The announcements were made in conjunction with this week's RSA security show in San Francisco and LinuxWorld conference in Boston.

The submitted code is required to use security-related services in Novell's eDirectory, which forms the basis for Novell's suite of identity management software. The contributed software will be managed by the FreeRadius and Samba open-source projects.

Novell has a well-established portfolio of network security-related products, which it sells under the Nsure brand. In 2003, it acquired open-source companies SuSE Linux and Ximian in an effort to tap into growing interest in open-source software.

With access to the application programming interfaces (APIs) for eDirectory, developers can build applications that tap into Novell's authentication system, which supports the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) standard.

This contribution "allows us to integrate secure, single sign-on authentication for Windows clients using Samba domain controllers with the award-winning Novell eDirectory," Jeremy Allison, co-author of Samba, said in a statement. The Samba program enables Windows files and printers to be shared by Unix and Linux systems.

Novell also released on Monday a new security product, which it developed with Linux security software company Astaro.

The device provides features to prevent an unwanted intrusion into company networks. It includes six applications, including a firewall, virtual private network access, intrusion detection and virus scans. Called Novell Security Manager powered by Astaro, the appliance starts at $315.