January 31, 2002

LinuxWorld: OSDL steps in to "give guidance" to kernel development

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
The Open Source Development Lab will not just provide hardware to the Open
Source community anymore. OSDL has decided enough is enough, time to stop
monkeying around, let's get the carrier-grade Linux show on the road.

Big corporations have awakened to the possibilities of Linux in the enterprise.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says that HP customers have started asking for Linux, and
manufacturers of handheld devices and set-top boxes are realizing the power and
flexibility of Linux as an embedded OS. Now, telecommunications industries are
looking at Linux as an alternative to pricey Unix-based carrier implementations.

The problem is the bazaar mentality of the developers that says, "I may or may
not get around to adding this feature, but that's OK because I'm working on what
I want to do." This attitude is keeping Linux from realizing its potential as
an enterprise grade operating system for telecommunications. To remedy that, the
OSDL says it will now provide a "forum for creating vision and guidance to
enhance Linux to meet the needs of both the data center and carrier grade market
segments."

To facilitate the guidance, the OSDL has formed the "Carrier Grade Linux
Platform Working Group," which, they say, "is not intended to redefine existing
architectures, but rather will identify requirements and encourage development
of common infrastructure requirements."

Preventing fragmentation of the Linux kernel is a "key target" for the OSDL
team, says Ari Virtanen, v.p. of Nokia Networks. In response to media
questioning, he and other OSDL representatives speaking at a press conference
at LinuxWorld in New York City said that the Open Source Development Lab itself would
not pose a forking threat to the kernel.

"Adding the term 'guidance' (to the OSDL mission statement) was
something we thought long and hard about," says Martin Fink of the OSDL board of
directors. "But we needed to go beyond providing resources. We need to provide
guidance."

Another stated goal of the working group is to "support Open Source development
efforts toward a stable platform upon which commercial components and services
can be deployed." It will be interesting to see how the group will exert its
influence on Linux kernel development.

The Open Source Development Lab is represented by the following companies:

  • Alcatel
  • Caldera
  • Cisco
  • Computer Associates
  • Covalent
  • Dell
  • Fujitsu
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Hitachi
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Linuxcare
  • Miracle Linux Corporation
  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • MontaVista Software
  • NEC Corporation
  • Nokia
  • Red Hat
  • SuSE
  • Toshiba
  • Turbolinux
  • VA Software

Virtanen also said that OSDL will work closely with the Linux Standard Base to
avoid duplication of efforts. Additionally, the OSDL will pull in "at-large"
community members to sit on its advisory committee, which will have approval
privileges on proposed standards.

Category:

  • Open Source
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