OpenSEA Alliance Launches!

MOUNTAIN VIEW (May 14, 2007). Six leading networking and security technology companies (Extreme Networks, Identity Engines, Infoblox, Symantec Corporation, TippingPoint, and Trapeze Networks) announced the formation of the OpenSEA Alliance, a newly formed group dedicated to the development, promotion, and distribution of an open source 802.1X supplicant.

The formation of the OpenSEA alliance was initiated, coordinated and promoted by Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at industry analyst firm the Enterprise Strategy Group.  Oltsik comments: “In a network-connected world challenged by ever-growing sophisticated security threats, open source solutions provide an avenue for standards-based implementation and rapid technology adoption.  In this way, I believe that open source efforts like the OpenSEA Alliance can lead to security and privacy advances that benefit society at large as well as individual organizations and users.”

The seven companies are joined in this effort by JANET/UKERNA.  JANET is the network dedicated to the needs of education and research in the UK serving a community of 18 Million potential end-users. It connects the UK’s education and research organizations to each other, as well as to the rest of the world through links to the global Internet.  UKERNA (United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Association) manages the operation and development of JANET on behalf of JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) for the UK Further and Higher Education Funding Councils.

“The concept of a community underpins everything UKERNA does and JANET is based on the need for organizations to communicate, collaborate and co-operate in the shared interests of education and research,” states Louis Searchwell, Technical Specialist for UKERNA.  “A key area of focus for UKERNA is the promotion of secure networking to the community of users it serves. For these reasons, UKERNA is extremely keen to participate in the development of an open source 802.1x supplicant benefiting its users and the education and research communities across Europe and beyond.”

The name OpenSEA stands for “Open Secure Edge Access” and reflects the group’s focus on open source solutions for networking and security.  In its initial project, the OpenSEA Alliance plans to develop a robust cross-platform open source 802.1X supplicant with the goal of emulating the reliability, ubiquity, and success of the popular Firefox web browser.

The OpenSEA 802.1X supplicant development is well underway as it is based upon the existing Xsupplicant, a cross-platform open-source 802.1X client originally developed within the University of Maryland and taken over by Chris Hessing while at the University of Utah.  Xsupplicant uses a modular architecture to enable extensions including new authentication types and integration with other security components. OpenSEA plans to support the extension of Xsupplicant with key functionality including support for Windows XP, a robust GUI, and an API for extensibility.

Group members plan to market the OpenSEA Alliance and Xsupplicant at the upcoming Interop trade show from May 20 through May 25 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

The OpenSEA alliance is incorporated in the State of California as a 501c-6 non-profit organization and has established a governance model based loosely on the popular and successful Eclipse Foundation.  In addition to its initial 802.1X project, the group will focus on open source networking and security technologies.  To facilitate and promote current and future projects, the OpenSEA Alliance welcomes technology vendors, academic institutions, industry standards groups and individual developers to join to the group and participate in its efforts.

"With the funding, support, and participation of so many industry leaders, the OpenSEA Alliance will certainly help to drive more open source activity into networking and security," said Alan DeKok, co-founder and leader of the FreeRADIUS project and a supporter of the OpenSEA Foundation.  "I look forward to future collaboration between the OpenSEA Foundation and FreeRADIUS project as the two groups have a common goal and a lot of synergy."

Further information about the OpenSEA Alliance can be found at the organization’s web site at www.openseaalliance.org.