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

“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. “

Complete
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