When Canonical launched Ubuntu 9.10 earlier today, Centrify Corp. -- maker of Microsoft Active Directory-related tools -- raised its hand and vowed to support Ubuntu Server Edition 9.10. It was a small but significant announcement that could (potentially) help Ubuntu gain a stronger foothold within corporate Windows networks. Here's why.

Centrify offers "Active Directory-based auditing, access control and identity management for Unix, Linux, Mac OS, Java and web platforms."

I'm not positive if Centrify overlaps with such solutions as Likewise Software. But I was impressed to see Centrify front-and-center with Ubuntu-oriented news today.

Frankly, I wish more software development firms raised their hands and pledged to support Ubuntu Server Edition 9.10 -- but I suspect most Canonical software partners are waiting for Ubuntu Server Edition 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), a Long Term Support (LTS) release scheduled for April 2010.

Centrify's Offering

Centrify claims its software suite for Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition enables "an open source cloud computing environment that will be easily integrated with Microsoft Active Directory."

David McNeely, director of product management at Centrify, offered this prepared statement:
"Centrify helps organizations deploying Ubuntu by enabling granular, role-based access controls and privilege management that goes well beyond access controls to ensure that their administrators have only the rights they need without giving them extended privileges that, if misused, could compromise systems and by extension the business.”
Centrify claims to turn a non-Microsoft system or hypervisor into an Active Directory client, enabling administrators to secure that system using the same authentication and Group Policy services currently deployed for their Windows systems.

Does Centrify work as advertised? I haven't tested the software, which arrives for Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition (starting at $350 per server) in late December.

Interestingly, Centrify promotes its software through a growing channel partner program. As you likely know WorksWithU has two channel-focused sister sites (MSPmentor.net and TheVARguy.com). So we respect channel-friendly companies.

It's good to see an ISV raising its hand and supporting Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition. Hopefully more ISVs will raise their hands during Ubuntu 10.04's release cycle.

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