New HP Will Stay Committed to Open Source

VP Rich DeMillo says HP will remain committed to open standards and to the role it will play in developing secure IT infrastructures.

HONOLULU--The recently combined Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. will remain committed to open standards and to the role it will play in developing secure IT infrastructures, said Rich DeMillo, vice president of technology strategy of HP during his keynote speech at the International World Wide Web Conference on Friday.

That commitment, he said, will include moving away from the idea of what he called security by obscurity and to continuing contributions by his company to the open-source community.

"One of the unsung heroes in establishing trust is going to be the idea of open architectures and of open source," DeMillo said. "We have been longtime believers that youre better off publishing everything in the town square so that we all see the vulnerabilities and understand the limits of the technologies were playing with."

DeMillo said HP has used this chain of trust concept as the model for a set of secure computing platforms it is currently building on top of its Intel Itanium processor family line, the 64-bit processing architecture the computer giant is developing with Intel Corp.

Called SPA (security platform architecture), the model will give organizations the flexibility to run operating systems and device drivers as unprivileged tasks and will allow services to be authenticated and identified, DeMillo said. SPA will also allow enterprises to run multiple operating system images, for public and private infrastructure for example, on the same security platform, DeMillo said.

HP plans to release SPA to the open-source community within the next 18 months. While the company had originally planned to release it by end of this year, the merger did slow things down a bit, DeMillo said in an interview with eWEEK after his speech. While HP has already begun porting the SPA platform to Linux, DeMillo said his hope is for operating system vendors including Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. to do the same with Windows and Solaris.

"This is an open-source technology, and we plan to put it into open-source literature so it can become a common platform on top of which you can build new application," DeMillo said. "Its part of moving the trust agenda along."

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