The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) released their second capabilities
document for Linux last week, and is asking for input. The Data Center
Linux (DCL) Technical Capabilities 1.0 document is about 119 pages long
and defines and rates Linux capabilities needed for Linux in the data
center. The DCL Technical Capabilities document is, to say the least,
This document has been quite some time in the
making. The DCL working group was announced by OSDL in August,
2002. The document contains evaluations for hundreds of Linux features
in eight categories; Scalability, performance, RAS (Reliability,
Availability, Serviceability), manageability, clusters, standards, security
and usability. The evaluations are ranked by maturity level, ranging from
"investigation" for projects in the concept phase, to "completed" for
features or projects that are available and fully adequate for customer
needs. It provides quite a comprehensive picture of the state of Linux for
use in the data center, and a roadmap of where it needs to go.
We spoke with OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen and OSDL strategic marketing manager
Lynn de la Torre about the capabilities document, how it was put together,
and what OSDL plans to accomplish with the capabilities document. According
to de la Torre, the DCL Technical Capabilities document is designed to help
OSDL and its members "solidify our priorities," with regards to Linux usage
in the data center, and to get feedback on the priorities listed. She noted
that OSDL was interested from hearing from the community at large on the
priorities as laid out in the document.
We asked de la Torre how OSDL would try to see that the features outlined
in the DCL Technical Capabilities document would be implemented, since OSDL
doesn't have the resources to do all of the work itself. She said that it
would be up to OSDL members and the community to work on the features
needed for data center Linux.
What we're doing is trying to leverage our membership as much as
possible. Our membership is growing and we are trying to really drive it
from the point of view of the member companies. If we can all get on the
same page, if you will, that's probably the best way we've come up with so
far to do that.
De la Torre also acknowledged that the scope of this project was much more
broad than the Carrier Grade Linux project:
Part of why we have to do a capabilities [document], in the first place and
why we think the first step is prioritization, is exactly for that reason,
which is that the data center is almost what I call 'boiling the ocean,'
it's so broad yet we've gone so deep in our analysis. 350 items is a pretty
large thing to look at, so obviously no technical project can address
something that big so that's why we especially feel that prioritization is
key to go forward.
She noted that OSDL is now looking for public feedback on its priorities
for DCL. Anyone interested in participating in the working group can find
the details here.
She also said that the work done so far by OSDL's members indicates that
Linux is ready for the data center, though more mature in some areas than
On edge and infrastructure, it's very mature. In database it's emerging and
in some areas it's almost completely there...the overall message is that
it's ready for the data center, especially if you look at 2.6 and some of
the functionality in 2.6.
Since the DCL working group is following a similar path to the Carrier
Grade Linux working group, we asked Cohen how successful the CGL
project has been:
I think it's been very successful. If you just look at the number of RFCs
around the world that telecommunications equipment manufacturers or
carriers have been issuing related to carrier grade initiatives, it's been
extensive. That work is really an outgrowth of work done by Nokia, Alcatel,
Ericsson, Cisco, MontaVista, so... a number of industry players have been
involved in that definition. That is the biggest reason that NTT joined,
and we have many carriers and other telecommunications equipment
manufacturers interested in participating because they want to take a
leadership position in putting together those requirements and
registrations and specifications going forward.
We also asked Cohen how OSDL's legal fund was progressing, and what happens
to the money in the event that SCO doesn't sue anyone. Cohen said that OSDL
has raised over $3 million so far with a goal of $10 million. If the money
isn't used for legal fees, Cohen said that it will probably be kept in
place until the board sub-committee in charge of the fund decides the "best
use" for the fund.
For those more interested in Linux on the desktop, OSDL has also announced
group for the Linux desktop. This is in the early stages of
development, and Cohen says that anyone is welcome to join, once the
project has been officially launched. Cohen said that OSDL would be having
the kick-off meeting for the desktop group next week. Like the CGL and DCL
working groups, participation should be open to anyone through the mailing
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