Centrify is strengthening the integration bridge it has built between Windows and such platforms as Linux by adding support for more distributions of the open source operating system, as well as such applications as Apache and Open SSH.

Next week, Centrify will release DirectControl 4.0, and push the number of non-Windows operating systems supported to more than 100 including flavors of Linux, Unix and Mac.

With the use of agents, DirectControl turns those platforms into clients that can tap into the security and authentication features of Microsoft's Active Directory.

In addition, Centrify for the first time is moving to integrate non-Windows applications into Active Directory's Group Policy features. The first two applications are the Apache Web server and Open SSH, a widely used network-connectivity tool.

"We are trying to make heterogeneous environments look, feel and smell like a homogeneous environment from a security perspective, being authentication, authorization, auditing and group policy," says Tom Kemp, CEO of Centrify.

The company is adding support for 25 more operating systems, including Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server 6.06 and 7.04, CentOS 2.1, 3.8 and 4.4, Oracle Enterprise Linux 4, Debian 4, Scientific Linux 3.0.8 and 4.4, Fedora Core 5, 6 and 7, and Novell's OpenSUSE 10.1 and 10.2.

DirectControl already supports such platforms as Red Hat and Novell on the Linux side, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, and HP-UX for Unix and Mac OS X. DirectControl also supports VMware's ESX virtualization software.

With the new Group Policy support for applications, users can configure security settings for Open SSH, including controlling who is allowed to SSH to a set of computers; controlling the time allowed for a successful logon, displaying a security notice at logon and preventing root user logon via SSH.

Centrify also has added group policies for the PuTTY open source SSH client for Microsoft Windows, new policies for Mac OS platform that let users control logon and logout scripts and ease managing the configuration for mobile users.

DirectControl also has upgraded integration with Apple Remote Desktop Administrator and Workgroup Manager.