OSDL to Answer SCO with Linux Campaign

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-11-25 Print this article Print

The Open Source Development Lab will announce a new initiative aimed aimed at raising awareness about how the Linux kernel is developed.

The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) on Wednesday will announce a new initiative aimed at raising awareness about how the Linux kernel is developed. The initiative comes as the war of words and litigation between The SCO Group Inc., the open-source community and the companies that support it, continues unabated, and ahead of the release of the Linux 2.6 kernel before the end of the year. The motive behind the initiative is to increase customer confidence in using Linux, particularly as the group expects the upcoming 2.6 kernel will be used by millions of people, not only on servers and in telecommunications networks but also on desktops and in consumer electronic devices.
One OSDL spokesman told eWEEK on Tuesday that the community can expect a test11 version of the kernel from Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux and the labs full-time fellow, before the 2.6 production version is released in December.
The labs target audience with this initiative was any customer using Linux and anyone considering Linux, the spokesman said, offering that users confidence would increase with knowledge about how how Linux gets made. The message was also offered to a more general audience. "To date, most of the conversations on this topic have been among insiders with deep technical knowledge. That conversation has tended to exclude many important stakeholders who do not speak the insider language," he said. The lab, a consortium of leading technology companies dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, also believes that the development process of the Linux kernel, under the guidance of Linus Torvalds, "has proven to be an extremely effective means to produce powerful software for more than 10 years now," the OSDL spokesman added. In an effort to deflect the ongoing criticism of the Linux development process from SCO, OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen said that those attacks showed "a lack of understanding as to the rigor imposed by [Linux founder] Linus [Torvalds] himself and the development community at large. It is a process built on the scientific method of peer review," he said. In an effort to clarify to current and potential Linux users exactly how the Linux kernel is developed, Cohen said it was the result of the efforts of its creator, Linus Torvalds, and thousands of dedicated software developers from around the world. "These developers are self-organized into specific subsystems defined by a developers interests and technical expertise, such as in I/O, storage and networking. Each of these subsystems has a domain expert developer, called the subsystem maintainer, who oversees the work of others," Cohen said. "Subsystem maintainers review the code submitted to them and orchestrate broader peer review of code to ensure its quality," he said. All Linux code, both the current version and that submitted for future inclusion, is also available online for public examination, Cohen added. This allows all interested parties to scrutinize all submitted code—essentially, a massive code review. Only when a subsystem maintainer accepts software code is it passed along to one of the two developers at the top of the Linux hierarchy, Torvalds himself or Andrew Morton. Read more about Andrew Morton, here. Torvalds maintains the "development kernel" where new features and bug fixes are tested. Morton maintains the "production kernel" which is the version release for public use. Torvalds is the final arbiter of what is included in Linux. Moving forward, OSDLs Johnston said that as the new version of Linux arrived, the lab would talk more about Linux, its history, the directions that its members are planning, and other topics that it feels are important to the industry and that raise awareness and understanding about Linux development. Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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