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LinuxPlanet: It's Not IBM Linux, but Close: IBM AIX 5L

Sep 03, 2000, 17:27 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

"It's not quite the long-rumored IBM distribution of Linux, but the next version of IBM's AIX -- long regarded as one of the most proprietary of the commercial Unices -- goes the farthest in melding Linux technologies with an older, established version of UNIX. And, in the process, IBM AIX 5L raises the issue as to how far software distributed under Open Source/Free Software licenses can be incorporated into an existing product without triggering licensing issues that would force the release of the entire product as an Open Source or Free Software product."

"In fact, AIX 5L is an amalgamation of technologies from several sources, as older technology from AIX will be blended with new technology (DYNIX/ptx, multi-path I/O, NUMA, and a GPLed journaling file system is coming from IBM, while UNIX System 5 standard technologies is coming from SCO UnixWare), a set of Linux tools, and the technology results of the Project Monterey initiative. The 5 in AIX 5L stands for version 5, while the L stands for Linux...."

"The inclusion of so many GPLed tools -- which could be viewed as an essential part of the operating system given how IBM is deploying AIX 5L -- will not change AIX's status as closed-source software, however. Technically, all GPLed software will be released on a separate CD-ROM and not considered to be part of AIX, Wachs said, although there are some IBM enhancements (such as the journaled file system) that will be released both as binaries and as source code. Still, this distribution method seems to strain the language of GPL and certainly comes close to directly violating the spirit of the GPL, which does not allow for closed-source tools based on Free Software. "

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