Novell is open sourcing a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory toolkit to let developers create applications that interoperate with a variety of directory services. The company plans to release the Novell LDAP software developer kit (SDK) in early March. LDAP is an open standard protocol for communications between applications and directory services. Novell wrote its LDAP SDK to the LDAP version 3 (LDAPv3) specification. Novell's NetWare Directory Service (NDS) also works with LDAPv3. Kris Magnusson, open-source architect at Novell, explained, "Novell is a first-class partner of OpenLDAP," an industry effort to produce an open-source set of applications to interact with LDAP directories, such as NDS and Netscape Directory Server. Novell has OpenLDAP's efforts in mind as it releases the Novell LDAP SDK. "The SDK is a set of source code that provides client access to LDAP servers," explained Magnusson. "It's a collection of C files; it's designed for C programmers; and it's useful for small applets, for straight-up programming." In accordance with the principles of open-source code, all innovations based on the source code are sent to OpenLDAP, which makes these changes freely available to the technology industry. When an open-source project works properly, as it has in the Linux community, the approach can accomplish complex software projects in a relatively short period . This approach is often a good way to build a devoted following to a standard. Novell hopes that the LDAP SDK will have that effect on the company's efforts to promote NDS in its expected competition with Microsoft's embedded Active Directory (AD) standard. Magnusson characterized the LDAP SDK release as cooperation between Novell, OpenLDAP, and the Internet community. "It makes sense to develop infrastructure once," he said. "It's in our own interest to participate in a community and in an open standard." He added that everyone at Novell is excited to see what will come of open sourcing the LDAP applications. "Open source is a doggone lot of fun," he said, "and you can quote me on that."