After his company announced that it's acquiring security and authentication tools from Netscape Security Solutions to bolster its software arsenal, Red Hat CEO and Chairman Matthew Szulik spoke with Computerworld about Red Hat's future strategy.

Why did Red Hat buy Netscape Directory Server and Netscape Certificate Management System from America Online Inc.'s Netscape division?
One year ago, we rolled out a statement of direction for Red Hat Linux. By adding a logical volume manager, cluster file system [and other parts], we have been building on that successfully. A piece of the architecture that we felt was critical to finish was the area around directory services. It's critically important to have them be open and not tied to any specific vendor's API [application programming interface] or protocols. This acquisition continues Red Hat's drive to make our products open and vendor-neutral.

What do you think of criticisms levelled by a Sun executive yesterday that the deal was for "antique software?"
While they're talking, we're selling.

Why did Red Hat buy these parts rather than create them on your own?
This technology has been maintained and evolving since 1998. There has been a great group of developers working on this technology. The domain knowledge to build it and the time to market would [have been too much to start from scratch]. Both Red Hat and the open-source community should be ecstatic.

What are the next parts that Red Hat wants to work on?
One area is the evolution of iSCSI in storage. We have a lot of interest in dealing with management services in and around storage. We also want to continue looking at the security space [for additional upgrades].