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eDirectory API’s and the desktop

Reader Omac asks:

I read recently that Novell will release some of the APIs used in eDirectory to the FreeRadius open source group. Could you comment on the impact upon the desktop user?

We made the FreeRADIUS/eDirectory API announcement at the RSA conference on Monday. My good friend (and frequent hiking companion) Tim Harris was a principle driving force behind this effort, launching us into it about a year ago when I still covered the eDirectory product line. Tim elucidated the need for eDirectory to support LEAP/EAP compliance for wireless authentication. (He listened to customers and help engineers deliver on requirements–such novelty.)

Anyway, to Omac’s question, will this have an impact on the desktop user? Absolutely! The first thing that will happen is that this clears the path for wireless authentication to eDirectory for both Windows and Linux desktops.

But I’ll presume that Omac’s question is aimed at Novell Linux Desktop and address that as best I can. First, we’re at an early stage in the process, but already, Tim has worked to get some of these changes into the SUSE LINUX distribution code base. That will immediately inject awareness into our developers, and the way we manage components in the distribution, it means that we’re now set up to support it over a long period of time.

One thing the announcement does not change is the path that we are on for getting Novell Linux Desktop authentication to eDirectory done. We were working on that authentication prior to–and separate from–this announcement. Since I run out of substantive content at this point, I’ll ask Tim to chime in a response to this entry.


2 Responses

  1. As one of the customers that Tim listened to, I’m extremely happy of his efforts in this area. Good work.

  2. Omac, Ted, Anonymous,

    Thanks for the interest and support for the work we’re doing around Security and Authentication for Linux and Open Source. I’m really excited about the work we did with the FreeRADIUS group and with SAMBA to provide a seamless integration for our mutual customers.

    For the Novell Linux Desktop, we’re taking the approach of choice. One of the product groups within Novell is in the process of replicating the functionality of Novell’s traditional “client” technology for the Linux platform. For customers that want the familiarity and speed of the traditional Novell client experience, there’s going to be a solution.

    We’re also building out methods for our products and services to consume the native authentication capabilities of the different operating systems they run on. For example, we’re building Kerberos support for eDirectory to enable interoperability with Active Directory and/or other Kerberos based authentication systems. We’re adding SAML support for web services based authentication systems. We’re working to bring multi-factor and graded authentication capabilities to the platform as well. Some of what we’re building will be proprietary, but a large amount of it will be done in open source… (sometimes Intellectual Property issues, or US Government regulations prevent us from open sourcing things we really wish we could)

    I can’t go into details on some of what we’re building, but rest assured that the Novell Linux Desktop will benefit from Novell’s 20+ years experience in authentication and authorization for network services. We plan to make NLD shine regardless of what environment you ask it to live in, or where you ask it to log in.

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