Novell adds some muscle to OSDL

The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) on Tuesday gained a little more market influence to convince corporate users to adopt Linux by announcing that Novell Inc. has joined the consortium to help drive both server and desktop initiatives.

Jeffrey T. Hawkins, vice-president with the Office of the CTO at Novell, has been elected to OSDL’s board of directors.

Novell will participate in a number of OSDL working committees including ones for the Data Center Linux (DCL) and Carrier Grade Linux, according to OSDL officials. The company is also eager to contribute to the consortium’s Linux-based desktop efforts.

“Novell is very interested in the Data Center Linux working group. We are on the cusp of publishing the first output from that group, which will be Version 1.0 of the Requirement Specification, which will be out in the first half of next year. I think Novell is in early enough here to contribute to that exercise,” said Nelson Pratt, director of marketing for OSDL.

Despite its US$1 billion in revenues and acquisitions of SuSE Linux and Ximian earlier this year, Novell will not have any more influence in determining OSDL’s drive to plant Linux on the desktop than any other voting member.

“(Novell) will contribute to the momentum, but they very much want to be a part of it. We announced out intention to investigate Linux on the desktop months before Novell joined. Our bylaws dictate that no single member can direct lab initiatives any way without a consensus,” Pratt said.

Novell will not make any contributions to Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel since that technology is now deep into its beta cycle, with the finished version expected to be ship early in next year’s first quarter.

Linux inventor Linus Torvalds and his hand-picked team of engineers released Test Kernel 9 of Version 2.6 in November and are now wrapping up work on Test Kernel 11.

“They are not taking any more contributions for 2.6. The only input coming in is for bug fixes and very small enhancements,” Pratt said.

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