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OSDL's Linux Initiatives
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CGL 3.1 specifications are an upward-compatible superset of the CGL 2.0.2 specification. In 2003 and 2004, member companies produced communications products based on the 1.1 version of the CGL specifications. In the latter half of 2004, Linux distributors began to announce Linux offerings based on the CGL 2.0.2 specification. As the writing of this article, five Linux distributions have registered against the CGL 2.0: FSMLabs, Montavista, SuSE, TimeSys, and WindRiver. In addition, more than 20 platform providers offer CGL-based platforms and products. We expect that products based on the CGL 3.1 spec will begin to appear in 2006. We also expect a smooth transition for carriers and equipment providers as Linux distribution suppliers incorporate CGL 3.1 capabilities in 2006 and 2007.

As for beyond 3.1, the priorities of the CGL working group, as identified based on the market input and the feedback received from companies participating in the CGL initiative, are: real-time capabilities, testing CGL workloads, device driver hardening and availability, and Linux performance and scalability--in addition to further enhancements to security and manageability. In addition, much of the efforts in 2005 and 2006 will concentrate on promoting quality implementations of the CGL 3.1.

CGL initiative road map
Figure 3: CGL initiative road map

Development is under way on many of the CGL capabilities that do not appear in mainline distributions. While the CGL requirements address Linux-based platforms in the communications industry, a high-availability, high-performance, scalable system is beneficial to the entire Linux user community.

Linux with Carrier Grade characteristics provides an essential building block that will let us build open communications platforms. CGL is a community effort: TEMs, NEPs, and carriers supply requirements; OSDL members gather requirements and create specifications; OSDL members, community, and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) implement projects; distribution suppliers build and register CGL platforms; TEMs, NEPs, and carriers deploy. The initiative is based on cooperation between companies and individuals, and participation is open to everyone. Please consider this an invitation to get involved in this effort and contribute to the making of Linux as an alternative operating system for communications platforms.

CGL plans for 2005
Figure 4: CGL plans for 2005

Data Center Linux Initiative--Promoting Linux Enterprise Servers

This gives a brief introduction to the Data Center Linux initiative. It describes the goals, shows how OSDL achieves those goals though committees and working groups, and provides some examples of DCL-driven activities and challenges.

The DCL initiative goal

The OSDL Data Center Linux initiative was formed with the intent of promoting the adoption of Linux-based servers in the enterprise across its many tiers: edge, infrastructure, application, and database. It brings together interested parties to accelerate the availability of stable, fully featured, integrated, customer-available solutions that run on Linux. The initiative addresses both mid- and high-end multiprocessor servers as platforms for mission-critical enterprise applications and databases.

DCL has a three committees, composed of OSDL members and dedicated OSDL staff: Steering, Marketing Working Group (MWG), and Technical Working Group (TWG). The DCL Goals and Capabilities Document 1.1 documents the categories, marketing goals, and technical capabilities that MWG and TWG identify.

DCL Steering Committee Activities

The scope of issues related to an Enterprise Data Center is extremely broad. Steering focuses the efforts of the initiative. For example, Steering directed that DCL identify the most important applications used in data centers today. From that, DCL can identify the marketing and technical inhibitors to running that application on Linux in the enterprise.

DCL Marketing Working Group Activities

DCL has a marketing working group because many of the inhibitors to Linux adoption are not technical. In fact, the Linux operating system has improved so much that this is an increasingly common situation. MWG sets goals for nontechnical issues such as Linux awareness and confidence, global enterprise services and support, software availability for priority applications, training and education, care and feeding of the development community, stability, and total cost of ownership.

DCL Technical Working Group Activities

DCL's technical working group is responsible for identifying and removing the technical inhibitors to Linux adoption. When the initiative formed in 2002, the focus was on the Linux kernel. As the kernel has matured, TWG's scope has expanded to the whole software stack including and above the kernel.

TWG identified eight categories of data center concerns: scalability, performance, manageability, RAS (Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability), standards, security, clusters, and usability. To set the priorities of the effort, the group describes and maps the required capabilities in these categories according to the application workloads that marketing identifies (data warehousing for CRM, for example). For the highest-priority capabilities, the group identifies gaps in maturity and works to close those gaps.

DCL members want to be good open source citizens. Moving from a closed to an open source world requires a shift in culture for those making the transition. TWG assists those members' assimilation into the community. One DCL effort under way is to create an environment wherein more storage drivers exist exclusively in the mainline kernel. There is much good documentation on formatting style and coding rules for open source drivers. However, the knowledge about the right way to interact with the kernel community was missing and is under development.

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