Netscape wants you to add two more words to your vocabulary: extranet and Crossware. The firm today posted its proposal for delivering on-demand applications and electronic commerce -- "The Networked Enterprise" -- in a white paper posted on its Web site, hauling in the support of over 40 companies including Hewlett-Packard, Novell, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems.
"Now that companies have seen the benefits of intranets, they are looking to extend that same online communications model to their outside suppliers, customers and partners," said Marc Andreessen, senior vice president of technology at Netscape. "Internet technologies and open standards deliver the infrastructure for this new generation of Crossware applications, that is, applications that seamlessly cross multiple operating systems, firewalls, databases, hardware platforms and business intranets. With major companies lining up behind a common set of extranet standards, enterprise customers can expect true interoperability between applications from a variety of companies going forward."
At the hub of Crossware will be support for three open standards: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), a format for storing network resource information; the S/MIME standard for sending secure e-mail; and Signed Objects, a format for automated distribution of software and documents.
Netscape plans to release tools to enable its extranet/Crossware vision over the course of the next 12 months.