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VNU Net: Industry giants unite to form Linux lab

By John Leyden, VNU Net

Several computer hardware giants have joined forces to fund an
independent, non-profit making laboratory to speed the development
and testing of enterprise-class Linux systems.

IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard and NEC said today they are the main
backers of the lab where application developers can test Linux
software on high-end computer systems.

The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), which will receive
millions of dollars of investment mainly from the four vendors, is
expected to open this year in Portland, Oregon.

Dell and Silicon Graphics are also supporting its
foundation.

While it will not create new projects itself, the lab will be
open to developers of new and existing projects that conform to
accepted open source development models.

It will be run by an independent board which will include
members of the open source community as well as the sponsor
companies. The board will select the projects that can gain access
to the lab in what the four main backers describe as an “open,
neutral process”.

Open source vendors such as Caldera, Red Hat, LinuxCare, SuSE,
TurboLinux, and VA Linux will provide support staff and software
for the project.

Colin Tenwick, European general manager at Red Hat, said work in
the lab will range from the design of development tools to kernel
projects aimed at advancing the enterprise capabilities of
Linux-based systems and allowing the operating system to “scale
up”.

He said, for example, that the lab would carry forward software
development work for Linux on Intel’s forthcoming Itanium 64bit
microprocessor chip.

Jon Collins, technical director at Sundial Consultancy, welcomed
the move and said the investment will create the fully-fledged
development environment necessary to create enterprise class
applications. He added that additional resource for development was
needed to take the growing volume of technology forward that
vendors have released into the open source community.

“It isn’t the case if you label something open source that there
is an infinite number of people willing to jump on it,” said
Collins. “The lab will provide coherence for open source
development and guard against the fragmentation of Linux.”

Eric Raymond, an open source advocate, and Brian Behlendorf,
co-founder of Apache, have announced their support for the project
and are already developing applications for use in the lab.

“The OSDL will help fulfil a need that individual Linux and open
source developers often have – access to high-end enterprise
hardware,” said Behlendorf.