Industry leaders sponsor nonprofit Linux development lab

InfoWorld |  Development

THE OPEN-SOURCE LINUX community was awarded a fairly sophisticated workshop on Wednesday with the opening of the industry's first independent, nonprofit developer's lab.

Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), an 11,000-square-foot complex in Portland, Ore., is backed by more than $24 million in funding from industry sponsors including Intel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and NEC.

According to OSDL director Tim Witham, "anybody developing under an open-source license can use the lab on a first come, first served basis."

"The purpose of the lab is to provide to the open-source development community the large-scale system resources it has been lacking up to now," Witham said. "Up to now, to work on this large a scale, you had to go to an HP or an IBM, and there you couldn't share information between those companies. [OSDL] offers a neutral, open environment for people working on open projects to get access to this equipment." Witham added.

Fifty 2-way servers, six 4-way severs, an 8-way server, and over 5TBs of available storage make up just some of the equipment developers will have access to at OSDL, Witham said.

One of the first projects OSDL programmers will tackle will be to successfully scale a 16-way, 64-bit open-source computer, Witham said.

Witham, a former Intel employee, said that although Intel is a founding sponsor of the OSDL, the lab's maiden 64-bit open-source project is not targeted at Intel's up-coming 64-bit Itanium processor.

"The goal [of the 64-bit project] doesn't specify any instruction set. The results will work on Itanium when the system comes out, but I can tell you that 98 percent of the work is processor-independent," Witham said.

Computer Associates, Fujitsu, and Hitachi each joined as sponsors of OSDL on the lab's first day.

Each of OSDL's sponsors have their own Linux and open-source product offerings. And Witham said that other companies "participating in open source should give something back [to the open-source community]" by becoming an OSDL sponsor.

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