Novell has said it will offer its eDirectory free to developers, equipment manufacturers and independent software vendors in a move to drive the adoption of directories on the internet.
At the same time, the company expects the move to boost market share against Microsoft's Active Directory and Sun Microsystems' iPlanet. Directories allow companies to centrally store, manage and secure user identities and information wherever it resides on a network.
"Directories will pay a central role in the future of the internet because of their ability to manage and secure user identities, as well as bridge access between intranets, extranets and the internet," said Carl Ledbetter, chief technology officer and senior vice president at Novell.
He explained that by giving eDirectory away to its partners the company is furthering directories as the basic underlying infrastructure of the internet. Novell said it would generate revenue from the services running on top of the directory.
eDirectory, which works with customers' existing hardware and software, runs on all operating systems including NetWare, Windows NT/2000, Solaris, Linux and Tru64 Unix. It will soon be available on IBM AIX.
Novell claims to have more than 1800 applications built on eDirectory, which it says is twice as many as any other directory vendor.
However, Giga Information Group analyst Rob Enderle said that giving away the directory is usually the last step before a product disappears. "It just doesn't look good," he said. "It just reinforces the belief that there is a problem."
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