January 24, 2001, 12:46 PM — SAN MATEO -- Linux development received a boost Wednesday with the opening of the industry's first independent, non-profit developer's lab. The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), an 11,000-square-foot complex in Portland, Ore., is backed by more than US$24 million in funding from industry sponsors including Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., and NEC Corp.
According to OSDL Lab 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.
Fifty two-way servers, six four-way servers, an eight-way server, and more than 5 terabytes of available storage make up just some of the equipment that developers will have access to at the OSDL, Witham said.
One of the first projects the OSDL will tackle will be to successfully scale a 16-way, 64-bit open-source computer, Witham said. However Witham, a former Intel employee, added that while 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 the OSDL on the lab's first day.
Each of the 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.