Red Hat has bought certain Netscape assets from AOL.

"We believe the acquisition of these Netscape assets has tremendous long-term strategic value for the open-source industry and Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers," said Red Hat head Matthew Szulik. "Directory Server and Certificate Management System have already been widely deployed in the enterprise and are mature pieces of infrastructure software. The technologies will provide a secure switchboard with certificates for all traffic in the open-source architecture."

Netscape Directory Server is a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server that helps manage e-mail accounts by centralising settings, profiles and group data and policies. Sysadmins can also store policies and access control information in the directory for a single authentication source.

Netscape Certificate Management System provides a security framework that authenticates the identity of users to ensure privacy.

Red Hat plans to market the products as part of its open-source architecture over the next six to 12 months. "Red Hat is committed to building a secure computing environment in the enterprise," the company's VP of engineering, Paul Cormier, said. "Directory Server and Certificate Management System will enable the integration of the desktop with a networkwide set of computing services that up until now had only been available from a small set of proprietary vendors."