LinuxWorld: The unsung hero of OSDL

“About two years ago, Scott McNeil, then president of SuSE, had
an idea. (Scott is now open source strategist for VA Linux.) He
thought that IBM, Intel, and others should subsidize a laboratory
where open source developers could test and optimize their work on
high-end enterprise systems. Even Linux itself would benefit from
such a lab, because the kernel developers would finally have the
resources they needed to address scalability issues. Scott took his
idea to Intel and others, but they were only marginally interested
at the time. About a year later, Scott took Intel’s temperature
once again. This time, the chipmaking giant was warming up to the
prospect, and indicated it had something in progress. Thus was born
the Open Source Development Labs, or OSDL.”

“That much of the story I know to be true. If I had to guess
what changed Intel’s mind, I’d say that Intel recognized that Linux
would be a formidable contender for the Internet server space, the
market owned primarily by Sun. Somewhere along the line, Intel
realized that if it could help make Linux more scalable, Intel
could go up against Sun for the ISP space. So Intel began to see
the value of sponsoring the open source laboratory conceived by
McNeil. No doubt IBM, HP, and NEC also saw the potential to sell
more hardware in Sun’s space, which explains why they are eager

“So now these giants, along with companies like Caldera, Red
Hat, Linuxcare, SuSE, TurboLinux, and VA Linux, are going to create
a laboratory somewhere near Portland, Oregon, and stock it with
support staff and various high-end systems. People can do open
source development and testing on site, or they can log in remotely
and do their work.”