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GITAN : Ucopia and Mandrakesoft to extend the boundaries of mobility

Wednesday November 03 2004

Moreno Valley, CA; Paris, France; November 3 2004. Ucopia, Mandrakesoft and the University of Paris' LIP6 research laboratory have just been granted a ¤1 million research grant to collaborate in advanced mobility research. The project, led by WiFi specialist Ucopia, aims at finding new ways of enabling and managing mobility in IT.

The importance mobility has taken in today's information technologies can hardly be overstressed. Laptops comprise an ever-growing part of the desktop market-share and a new generation of WiFi-enabled portable devices promises to flood the marketplace. Mobile devices are extremely widely-spread, and more and more organizations rely on wireless connectivity - the need for more advanced ways to leverage and manage the possibilities open by Wi-Fi technologies is starting to be felt. This is what GITAN is all about.

GITAN addresses three main areas of research : management, access, and applications. The first area deals with defining and implementing a model for mobility : namely, who can do what, where and how? Tools that allow organizations to define and set up such a general structure for mobility do not yet exist at this point. Access points today work most often on a all-or-nothing basis : either users are allowed access or they aren't, and if they are all services are accessible. GITAN will allow fine-grained model definitions of the type : all users of category such-and-such are allowed access to Intranet services in areas X and Y - a kind of flexibility as yet impossible.

The ever-growing importance of business mobility increases employees needs of being connected to business applications and services anywhere and anytime says Didier Plateau, CEO of Ucopia Communications. With solutions for mobility management, Ucopia contributes to professional mobility development. IDC counts 75 million mobile professionals in Western Europe. The GITAN project will satisfy these demands by developing solutions which answer business mobility needs and requirements.

The second area is concerned with automatic discovery of services and transparent access to them. WiFi access software can currently only detect whole access points for coherence with the project's approach to management, users need to know exactly what services are available to them, and ideally access to those services should be transparent. Mobility software developed within GITAN will let users know, for example, that they have Intranet-only access in certain areas and will permit smooth transition to an Internet-enabled zone without any need to reconfigure access settings. Mandrakesoft, publisher of the Mandrakelinux Operating System, will be in charge of implementing those features under Linux, and will integrate the results in future version of its products.

Mandrakesoft has done a lot in the direction of mobility recently, with the release of products such as Move and GlobeTrotter. We've also managed to strengthen our offer of services to corporate organizations., comments François Bancilhon, Mandrakesoft CEO, GITAN comes in the direct continuity of both efforts. It means our customers can expect a lot of positive developments in terms of mobile technologies, and it also means we're are committed to continued R&D investments.

GITAN's third area of research involves new uses for WiFi technology : Voice-Over-IP, Videoconferencing, and Web-conferencing. Although those are all well-established features of regular networks, getting them to work in an optimal way using WiFi connections is an area that is in need of more research. LIP6, the University Pierre et Marie Curie's Computer Science research laboratory, will be in charge of advancing research in that field. GITAN chose to focus on those particular technologies because their future as a staple of corporate mobility can't be doubted it is a natural extension of their current success in the non-mobile world.

The research grant for GITAN was awarded by French agency ANVAR. The total amount is ¤1.03 million. Ucopia will receive 32% of that amount, and Mandrakesoft 37%. The project runs for a period of 24 months. Public release of the technology and software developed as part of the contract is scheduled at the term of the period.

About Ucopia Communications

Ucopia Communications is the leading vendor of mobility management solution. Ucopia offers solutions to users of wireless networks for secure and trouble-free business mobility. The Ucopia solution enables employees and visitors within an enterprise, a campus or an administration to securely connect to a wireless network and seamlessly access the Internet, Intranet, and Extranet applications and services. Ucopia is a founder of the WLAN SmardCard consortium which is a major new initiative established to define specifications to enable the use of smart cards on Wireless LAN networks. Ucopia has recently won the CIO trophy (CAPITAL IT) for its progressive technology, responding directly to todays big business needs.

About Mandrakesoft

Mandrakesoft is the publisher of the popular MandrakeLinux operating system, one of the most full-featured and easy to use Linux systems available. The company offers its enterprise, government and educational customers a complete range of GNU/Linux and Open Source software and related services. Mandrakesoft products are available in more than 120 countries through dedicated channels and also from Mandrakestore.com, the company's online store. Number 1 in several countries, Mandrakesoft has won many awards for quality and technical innovation. "Born on the Internet" in late 1998, Mandrakesoft has offices in the United States and France. Mandrakesoft is traded on Paris Euronext Marché Libre (ISIN Code: FR0004159382/MLMAN; Reuters code: MAKE.PA) and the US OTC market (stock symbol MDKFF).

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