Apple has released its innovative Rendezvous networking code to the open-source community.

The solution is already based on standard protocols from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and exploits such standards as IP, DNS and ARP. Rendezvous lets enabled devices on wired and wireless networks identify each other, configuring themselves to work together automatically with no set-up time required.

Major developers, including Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, Philips, Sybase, World Book and Xerox have already announced plans to furnish Rendezvous support in future products. It's expected that the release of the code to a wider community should kick-start the development of Rendezvous-enabled solutions in the market.

"Rendezvous is a major innovation in IP networking that creates dynamic networks of computers, devices and software applications with zero user configuration," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

"By supporting an open standards process and providing open source software that is available today, Apple is encouraging the rapid adoption of Rendezvous technology," he added.

The source-code Apple has released includes software to support Unix, Linux and Windows-based systems and devices. Support for the new protocol is already built in to Mac OS X 10.2 – it's used by Apple's Instant Messaging application, iChat.

In a statement, the company says it is working "closely" with the IETF to help develop zero configuration IP networking technology and is submitting the software as an open standard as part of the ongoing IETF standardization process. The software is available for download for developers from Apple's Web site.