Linux, Unix, Mac, Windows PCs get authentication integration

Centeris releases version 4.0 of Likewise with the intent of making Linux a first-class citizen on Windows networks

Centeris, which provides cross-platform authentication via Microsoft's Active Directory, Tuesday enhanced its Likewise platform (Clear Choice Test of Likewise) and an added open source project that will be distributed with the top Linux operating systems.

Centeris also said it was changing its name to Likewise Software given that the brand has garnered attention among corporate users looking to integrate Unix, Linux and Mac desktops with Active Directory-based network authentication.

The company released version 4.0 of Likewise with the intent of making Linux a first-class citizen on Windows networks, according to Likewise CEO Barry Crist.

The 4.0 version includes a console that mimics Microsoft's Management Console (MMC) except the console runs on Linux and allows administrators to manage Active Directory users and groups right from their open source desktops.

Likewise has also developed Linux specific group policy objects for such tasks as managing and controlling from Active Directory Gnome desktop settings, setting file and print configurations, and managing security settings.

Likewise 4.0 also includes branch office features such as support for organization unit joins, which lets IT add Linux machines to Active Directory without having domain level privileges.

In addition, Likewise is cranking up an open source authentication project called Likewise Open.

The project is intended to create an open source version of Likewise that will include the core features and functionality excluding group policy and management/migration tools.

Likewise Open will support a single user name and password on both Windows and Linux systems, the ability to apply Active Directory security settings on individual Linux machines to enforce password complexity and aging, credential caching for offline log-in and single sign-on for SSH and the PuTTY terminal emulator.

Open, which will be licensed under GPL and LGPL, will ship with the next versions of Red Hat and Ubuntu, according to company officials. A deal with Novell is in the works.

Likewise Enterprise 4.0 is priced at US$249 per server license and $49 per workstation license.

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