At LinuxWorld: New tools fuel continued enthusiasm
[Jan 28, 2003 - ADT's Programmers Report] - If developer proponents of the Linux platform have been
meeting resistance from managers because the bosses view Linux software as a
potential computer room renegade, they may take heart. It seems that cynical
view is quickly fading if the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, held last week
in New York City, is a valid indicator.
Developers from Wall Street, Madison Avenue and likely all of New York's five
boroughs and beyond made the trek (a cold one at that with temperatures in the
teens and below) to the show. At press time, the show's sponsors estimated the
headcount to be running well ahead of last year's 16,800 attendees. For this
reporter, the enthusiasm was palpable.
On hand were the big guns of computing -- Intel, AMD, IBM, HP, Dell, Sun, CA
and, surprise, Microsoft -- as well as an assortment of smaller players that ply
the Linux trade.
Among the many products discussed or on display:
» Scyld Computing Corp.'s 64-bit version of the Scyld Beowulf cluster
OS running on AMD Opteron processors;
» Version 1.2 of Ximian's Red Carpet Enterprise software management product
with rollback and intelligent proxy connections;
» Systems ''virtualizing'' software from MetaLinx;
» Partitioning solutions for Linux from Candle Corp.;
» A highly scalable DB2 clustering product from IBM; and
» An application clustering solution for Apache Linux servers from Emic
The bigger players, as stated, were very evident. IBM has been particularly
in the forefront, and no one, it seems, wants to be left in their dust. Why the
interest in software that so turns the OS into a commodity?
The push is customer-driven, said IBM Software Group General Manager Steve
Mills in a near-SRO keynote. Customers want to be better able to architect,
manage, partition and cluster their CPU pools, he indicated. Conversations on
the show floor seemed to indicate that customers are especially loath to be at
the mercy of vendor-dictated OS upgrades, and see Linux open source as
empowering in this regard.
For IBM, Linux is an opportunity to regain ground lost a number of years ago
in the early client/server days when many of its mainframes were replaced by
Unix boxes, especially those from Sun and HP. Developers and sys admins both
know the truckloads of midrange computers made a mess of many a computer room.
The move to more carefully architected rack-mounted server farms, which in turn
is accompanied by efforts to consolidate workloads, plays to IBM's traditional
Viewers indicate that the Unix vendors have been the first to feel the sting
of Linux rising.
Users' desires for a steady platform are hardly met yet, as Linux, though
stable, is far from mature and itself keeps changing. Smaller players vie with
bigger ones to provide solutions on this point.
As an example, there is LTrix Engineering's lice 1.7 patchless Linux kernel
debugger, shown at LinuxWorld. At the show, Programmers Report spoke briefly
with Micah Nutt, senior engineer, LTrix, who told us he and colleagues found
openly available GNU tools ''archaic, difficult to install and having an
interface that was insufficient.''
''So we built our own debugger,'' Nutt said.
The LTrix software-based debugger is intended for
engineers developing device drivers, porting Linux to embedded systems or
otherwise customizing the kernel. Many such engineers must scramble at times
when new Linux kernels appear. LTrix's software runs on the familiar Win32
interface at present. The company plans to release a Linux GUI within the next
For more LinuxWorld coverage,
please go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7186
For other Programmers Report articles, please go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6265