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5/22/2007
08:11 PM
Tom Smith
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Microsoft Enlists Startup To Help Secure Linux Desktops

Patent claims against Linux notwithstanding, Microsoft is working with a startup to ensure a key security initiative includes support for the open-source operating system on client computers. On Tuesday, Avenda Systems said it will build Linux client software for use with Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP) technology. That software will allow NAP to interact directly with Linux clients.

Patent claims against Linux notwithstanding, Microsoft is working with a startup to ensure a key security initiative includes support for the open-source operating system on client computers. On Tuesday, Avenda Systems said it will build Linux client software for use with Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP) technology. That software will allow NAP to interact directly with Linux clients.NAP is a security policy enforcement technology built into the latest Windows client and server operating systems. Avenda is also beta testing its own enterprise policy management called eTips that is designed to work alongside network access control technologies such as Microsoft's NAP.

In an interview at Interop, Avenda CTO Michael Fine said the work with Microsoft on client systems is an extension of the company's planned strategy. "It gives us a lot of credibility in the client space as far as delivering agents for Linux," he says. "We're working with them to make sure Linux is as compatible as Windows" with NAP.

Microsoft's partnership with the start-up is a much-needed acknowledgment that, despite its claims on Linux patents, enterprises of any meaningful size have Windows and Linux clients, and the value of NAP would be restricted without support for Linux.

Fine says Avenda could deliver its Linux agents in the next few months, and will look to license the software to customers using Microsoft NAP. The Linux client code will also work with Avenda's own eTips system when that ships.

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