Likewise Software (formerly Centeris) unleashed a treat to the networking community last week when it released Likewise Open, Spring 2008 Edition. The software lets Linux and Unix systems authenticate to an Active Directory server and capable of providing single sign-on (SSO) functionality.

The company originally released a previous version of the solution in December 2007. The latest version includes support for more operating systems.

The standard command line client now runs on Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, SuSE, Fedora, CentOS, OS X, Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX. A Windows IT Pro lab test revealed that installation and use on Ubuntu is incredibly easy. The client comes as a pre-packaged binary installer file that loads a command line tool, domainjoin-cli, that is used to set the local computer name, join a domain, or leave a domain. A GUI version of the client is equally as easy to install. The pre-packaged GUI runs on Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, SuSE, Fedora, CentOS, OS X.

Likewise released the complete source code to the solution, which according to the company, means that it can be made to run on approximately 110 different platforms. The source code is available under various licenses depending on the package module. The source code, pre-packaged binary files, and a user manual are available at the Likewise Web site.

What's missing from the free solution is support for group policy, auditing, and reporting. So for example, you won't be able to apply group policies to client systems using Likewise Open. To gain those capabilities you'll need to upgrade to the company's Likewises Enterprise platform.

Canonical, makers of Ubuntu Linux, said that it intends to include Likewise Open in Ubuntu 8.10 (due out in October), and Red Hat said they intend to bundle the software with Samba in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2, which is currently in beta testing.