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Another Netscape giveaway

The company says it will release the source code for its Directory Software Developer's Kit for free on the Internet.

Netscape Communications is giving away software again.

This time, in an effort to accelerate developer adoption of its Directory Server software, the company today said it plans to release the source code for its Directory Software Developer's Kit for free on the Internet.

Netscape executives lately have been spreading the gospel about the benefits of open source code and praising the success of Linux, a popular free version of the Unix operating system.

Netscape in March posted free source code for its Communicator Web software suite.

The Mountain View, California-based company said it will also release the SDK source code for its administration component, Netscape Console, for free download off the Web.

Netscape plans to make the source code for Netscape Directory SDK available in the third quarter and Netscape Console SDK available in the fourth calendar quarter. The software will be posted to the Web site.

Netscape is competing with Microsoft and Novell in the directory server market. Each vendor is angling to get as many developers as possible to use their directory service in order to drive the demand for related products, such as operating systems and Web servers.

Netscape Directory SDK gives developers the complete set of C and Java software libraries needed to access directory services using LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) versions 2 and 3. Netscape Console SDK is a prebuilt, Java-based software component that makes it easy for developers to integrate programs with the Netscape Mission Control administration package, the company said.

Joining a list of about 25 companies, software vendors Netegrity and Novera today said they plan to leverage Netscape's directory with their products.

Netscape's announcement today is the latest move by the Internet software company to boost its popularity among developers. The company made the decision to post free source code for Communicator in January. The move allows Netscape to tap into a virtually unlimited developer talent pool for the next-generation of Web browsers by giving the source code of many of its products out for free over the Internet. The first release occurred in March and gave developers access to its Communicator suite code.

Today's announcement focuses on Netscape Directory Server, which enables Internet service vendors (ISVs) to embed prebuilt directory and administration features into new software programs. The server software is central to Netscape Mission Control, a unified technology for the administration of intranets and extranets. Using Directory SDK and Console SDK source code, developers can create applications that are centrally-administered through Netscape Mission Control.