Red Hat is to take on Novell even more directly with the release of its own identity management products.

When Novell bought SUSE, the second-placed Linux distribution, at the start of the year, it emphasised its own long history of involvement with identity management. Sun Microsystems and Microsoft too have a good pedigree in such products, marking out Linux leader Red Hat with something of a gap in its portfolio.

This is set to change with the launch of Red Hat Directory Server, based on technology acquired with its buy of Netscape from AOL last September.

Unlike its competitors, Red Hat is to make this once proprietary code open source and licensed under the GPL. It has been developed to run on its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) server stack, HP's Unix platform and Sun's Solaris on HP and Sun hardware.

'Red Hat has developed standards-based solutions with security, scalability and manageability in mind from the very beginning, from enhancements in storage management and clustering to releasing the first operating system platform with a fully operational Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) capability,' said Paul Cormier, Executive VP of Engineering at Red Hat. 'Today we are announcing a massively scalable, secure, reliable, and open source directory server based on enterprise-proven technology. We are very pleased to offer customers this cost effective, high performance solution in a market where none previously existed.'

Development for the Directory server will be pushed through the newly created Fedora Directory Server project.