Linux Rules the Day at CA World

Computer Associates devotes a day to Linux at its CA World show that will include sessions on the future of Linux and how to establish a solid platform, as it works on a range of Linux products and a partnership with Ximian.

LAS VEGAS—Computer Associates International Inc., which has pegged Tuesday as Linux Solution Day at its CA World conference here, is working on a range of new Linux deals, initiatives and products, including an upcoming formal partnership with Linux solution provider Ximian Inc.

CA is also proposing its current Event Notification Facility (ENF) as a stand-alone product for use in the Linux community. ENF is a set of interfaces that allow things like security products to directly plug into the Linux kernel without having to make source-level modifications.

"What we want to do is open this up as a stand-alone package and put it out in the open-source community so that Red Hat and all the other Linux vendors can just pick it up as part of their normal build," Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect of the Computer Associates Linux Development Group, told eWEEK on Monday here at CA World.

As an operating system interface service that enables applications to obtain event data from the operating system, this stand-alone product is essentially a way of registering product functions when certain events occur.

It is also generalized and not limited just to CAs line of products as "anybody with kernel dependencies will benefit from it," Greenblatt said.

SuSE Linux evaluated the product and has signed on to use it, Greenblatt said, while Red Hat is currently evaluating it. The greatest challenge is achieving critical mass and getting consensus on the product in the Linux community, he said.

The development of the product was a shift for CA, which is now moving away from writing specifications first and developing the product later toward a policy of writing the code first and then going to the community with it, as is evidenced in this set of interfaces.

The product is necessary as there is a class of products today that have code in the Linux kernel and every time even the smallest patch comes along, the people writing the patches do not really have upward compatibility in mind, Greenblatt said.

"They will add fields in the middle of structures and theyll change semantics, which makes it very difficult to keep up with if you are a vendor of something with kernel code," he said. "So what weve proposed is a set of interfaces that allow things like security products to directly plug into the kernel without having to have these source-level modifications."