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OSDL Seeks To Be Linux Center of Gravity - page 2

Raising a Ruckus in Beaverton, Oregon

  • August 21, 2003
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

The Open Source Development Lab is an international collection of test centers. Within these labs, Linux developers can test data center and telecommunications projects on large-scale equipment that they otherwise couldn't afford. Only three years old, this organization has already expanded its lab hardware, and shifted its focus from technical specs and requirements to working with end-user companies to determine what their needs are, and how unmet needs can be met.

Why? Many of the raw technical issues that previously barred Linux from server room and enterprise use are either already dealt with, or fixes are in progress. As you might bee all too aware of, there's historically been a communications gap between Linux developers and end users. Linux is reaching a point--at least in the corporate sector--where no more forward momentum can be gained without taking a step back. It's time to make sure that someone is addressing the needs of the users, not just building what developers feel like building or what developers think they want.

To this end, OSDL is trying to get input from as many companies as possible, and not just in the financial and telecommunications sector. For example, Cohen was aware ahead of time that the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF, http://www.celinuxforum.org/) announcement was coming, and had already discussed a role with the CELF for OSDL in this venture. After all, this is a mostly Japanese organization and OSDL already has a test lab in Japan. Among Cohen's plans are to travel there in person to continue the discussions.

One thing that OSDL is not is a commercial enterprise. It's a non-profit organization with no products to sell. A quick look at the list of corporate sponsors makes it clear, however, that this is not a fly-by-night operation: Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, Sun... and that's just some of them.

OSDL is more of a meeting place than a product producer. By the time you read this, OSDL's first end user advisory council will have taken place. This is a (confidential) list of corporations that utilize Linux solutions. Don't expect the results to spice up your Linux desktop machine anytime soon, but any meeting of minds between Linux developers and any type of end user would seem beneficial. After all, some of the corporate end users out there are from the entertainment industry and need better multimedia functionality.

OSDL's goals just won't have much bearing on how well your FreeCiv game plays.

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