Industry Heavyweights Form Linux Development Lab

HP, Intel, IBM, and NEC Corporation have formed the Open Source Development Lab, billed as the industry's first independent non-profit lab for developers who are adding enterprise capabilities to Linux. Additional contributors and sponsors of the lab include Caldera, Dell, Linuxcare, LynuxWorks, Red Hat, SGI, SuSE, TurboLinux, and VA Linux.

The lab, intended to provide open source developers with a centralized enterprise development environment for sharing development ideas and innovations, will be based near Portland, Ore. It is expected to open at the end of this year. The four founders and the contributors will provide equipment and funding to the lab over the next several years.

Rather than creating new projects, the lab will support existing projects that use open source licenses and are established according to today's open source development model. Projects will be chosen in coordination with the open source community. The initial projects, which will be announced later in the year, are expected to range from tools development to kernel projects that advance the enterprise capabilities of Linux. More information about the lab and its initial projects can be found at

The lab spells good news for enterprise Linux and should help accelerate adoption of Linux in corporate environments—a trend that has gained momentum only in the last year or so. Not long ago, corporations were extremely hesitant to embrace the open source OS, which at first suffered from lack of a journalized file system, strong SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, and lack of applications. Now Linux boasts support for a number of file systems, SMP, clustering, NetWare emulation, and so on. Continuing enhancements are hastening its adoption in the enterprise.

Just a few weeks ago, HP acknowledged this trend by designating Linux one of its three strategic operating systems. The company also announced that it is developing a Linux runtime environment so that Linux software binaries can run on HP-UX for IA-64 systems. Of course, HP is not the only hardware vendor in the Linux space. Dell already ships Linux as one of its three core operating systems. Sun is strongly supporting Linux, and IBM recently expanded support for the open source OS.