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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Red Hat to Open-Source Netscape Directory

NEW YORK—Microsoft is hardly the only vendor working to assemble the technology pieces that could comprise next-generation digital identity management platforms. Next week, Red Hat is planning to release into open source the Netscape Directory technology it acquired in September 2004. That is according to Joanne Rohde, Red Hat executive vice president, who spoke on a panel here on open source.

The panel was one of three held Tuesday, and was sponsored jointly by the Information Technology Association of America and Nasdaq.

Rohde told panel attendees that Red Hat will release the directory technology on June 1, which just happens to be the day that the Red Hat Summit 2005 kicks off in New Orleans.

When contacted for additional details, a Red Hat spokeswoman said: "We cannot confirm the time frame for the release of Directory Server."

The spokeswoman did note that when Red Hat releases the directory, it will be made available under the GNU GPL (General Public License), as Red Hat committed to do when it acquired the technology from Time Warner.

Red Hat is expected to detail more specifics regarding its directory server product and plans at next week's Summit.

eWEEK.com Special Report: The Business of Linux

PointerRead more here about Red Hat's purchase of Netscape's server programs.

According to the agenda for the show, Red Hat is planning to rename the Netscape Directory Server the "Red Hat Directory Server." Red Hat officials are slated to detail the LDAP-based directory server's single-authentication, user-identity management and multimaster replication capabilities.

See more stories on Microsoft Watch

Red Hat officials also will share information on the Web-based desktop applications that come with the Red Hat Directory Server, including a centralized phone book, employee locator and org-chart tool.

PointerRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: Red Hat to Open-Source Netscape Directory Next Week

PointerCheck out eWEEK.com's Windows Center for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Skype: Interference on the line?

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Skype: Interference on the line?

May 24, 2005, 2:23 PM PT
By Ben Charny
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Skype CEO Niklas Zennström vowed to shake up the phone industry 20 months ago with his creation, the first ever peer-to-peer Internet phone service.

More than 110 million downloads and 2 billion minutes of phone conversations later, Zennström has shown that he wasn't kidding. But Skype's success has led to perhaps the most difficult chapter yet for the Luxemburg-based company. It now faces mounting concerns over a lack of customer service and a growing backlash by utility regulators as it hunts for new revenue opportunities. Zennström spoke to CNET.News.com about these and other issues earlier this week.

Q: There are a lot of customer complaints about SkypeIn, where you get inbound calls from any phone, and SkypeOut, which is used to call any phone. Is there a problem with it?
Zennström: One thing you have to bear in mind is that the telephone system has been around for 135 years; Skype's been around for 20 months. We are going through all kinds of improvements.

But clearly something is wrong. Customers are fuming about dropped or badly distorted calls. Any changes in the offing?
Zennström: There actually are people using SkypeIn that say it's better than SkypeOut. We are using a new software version for SkypeIn, which we will be gradually introducing into SkypeOut. We are continuously working on it.

One thing you have to bear in mind is that the telephone system has been around for 135 years; Skype's been around for 20 months.

Is that going to solve the problem?
Zennström: We're also adding more carrier partners in order to terminate more calls to traditional phones. That will help. We are also developing lots of new ways to correct errors in the traffic. I think we will continue to see improvements in quality.

These are quality of service problems Skype can address. But Skype can't control the quality of someone's broadband connection, which has a direct impact on Skype calls.
Zennström: We've identified a list of things we can do. But in cases where people are on a badly congested Internet network, that will have an impact on quality. But you're starting to see multi-megabit, per-second connections. In many places, Sweden for example, you can buy a 24mbps line here, and you'll start seeing that in a lot more places.

Nokia, India boost open source

Nokia on Wednesday announced a pocket-size Web browser for wireless broadband networks, the Finnish firm's first Linux-based device and its first product without a built-in mobile phone.

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is designed for browsing and e-mail functions, the phone maker said. The gizmo has a 4-inch horizontal touch screen with zoom and an on-screen keyboard. It can be connected to the Net either from a hot spot or using Bluetooth via a compatible mobile phone, Nokia said.

The tablet runs on Linux-based Nokia Internet Tablet 2005 software edition, which includes desktop Linux and open-source technologies. The device includes software such as Internet radio, an RSS news reader, image viewer and media players for selected types of media. The company will provide tools to developers using the Maemo platform to work on future versions and OS releases, it said.

The device is slated to begin shipping in the third quarter in select markets in the Americas and Europe. It will sell for $350 excluding VAT, or 350 euros including VAT, the world's biggest mobile phone maker said.

Phone makers have been introducing smart phones loaded with features including Internet connectivity and e-mail functions. On the other hand, computing device makers are designing PCs that are smaller in size and sport additional features.

"This is the first step in creating an open-source product for broadband and Internet services," Janne Jormalainen, vice president of convergence products at Nokia, said in a release. "We will be launching, regularly, updates of the software. The next software release planned for the first half of next year will support more presence-based functionalities such as VoIP and instant messaging."



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