Incorporating the Kernel
Earlier this month at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, Red Hat announced that it was including the GFS in Fedora Core 4. The GFS is a scalable, 64-bit cluster file system for Linux. It can support up to 256 x86, AMD64/EM64T or Itanium nodes. Red Hat bought the GFS as part of its acquisition of Sistina Systems in 2003. After the acquisition, Red Hat worked to make the proprietary GFS available under the GPL. "GFS is highly valuable technology that now has the opportunity to improve even more rapidly in the open-source community," said Paul Cormier, Red Hats executive vice president of engineering.Click here to read more about how work on the Linux kernel is picking up speed. But there is still a lot more work to be done, especially in regards to mapping more of the pieces into the development process, said Dan Frye, vice president of IBMs Linux Technology Center in Beaverton, Ore. "All the device drivers from all the different manufacturers have to be open-sourced and moved into the upstream tree to make this fully robust and rock solid," Frye said, adding that the community is working on this and is making progress, "but we need to get [the manufacturers] into the process, rather than standing alone." While the 2.6 kernel provides all the basics, there is still work to do, as the kernel is not good enough for every workload, Frye said. "We need better large page support for application binaries, and better scalability through the IPV. You know, its tweaking, its thousands of patches that are small stuff," he said. Frye said there was a huge amount of work going on, some of it very difficult, such as "memory add/delete [and] specific types of large page support for certain types of workloads. There is also a lot of work still to be done on system throughput for the hardest workloads: large SMP [symmetric multiprocessing] running transaction processing-type things. Theres also lots of work to be done there, as you have to get fine-grained scalability in every subsystem." "There is also still a lot of work to do around serviceability to get first-failure data capture in a reliable way throughout the system. This is increasingly driven less by technology than it is by customer workloads," he added. Frye said the Linux kernel development team at the technology center was also working on core security, functionality and a higher level of certification, as well as on Samba, networking, protocols, performance analysis, and finding hot spots and serviceability. It is also working on enabling its hardware, and is spending an increasing amount of time on storage, he said. The team is also spending much more time working on GCC, as the rest of the tool chain is in good shape, Frye said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Some large enterprise Linux customers like John Engates, chief technology officer for Rackspace Ltd., a managed-hosting provider in San Antonio, say they believe the Linux vendors now are able to incorporate these new features and functionality into their distributions more incrementally than was previously the case.