HP Slaps Open Source License on Unix File System

HP announced Monday it is letting its Tru64 Unix Advanced File System (AdvFS) source code run free in the Linux community. Access to this code will provide capabilities that increase uptime, enhance security and help ensure maximum performance of Linux file systems, according to HP officials.

The AdvFS source code will give the Linux community a reference implementation for an enterprise Linux file system. That includes designdocumentation, test suites and engineering resources.

HP’s code contribution provides Linux kernel developers with a comprehensive foundation to improve today’s Linux file system functionality, according to the company. HP is making the source code available under the terms of General Public License Version 2 for compatibility with the Linux kernel.

“A lot of work is going on to bring the Linux operating system to the next level,” Doug Small, director of global alliance marketing for HP, told LinuxInsider.

What It Is

HP developed AdvFS as a file system that has been deployed for more than 16 years by enterprises throughout the world. It simplifies fileand storage management, enables online system backups and increases data availability, according to HP.

The integration of key AdvFS file system features also accelerates the road map of future solutions designed to strengthen Linux for enterprisecustomers. This type of advanced file system will be a big advantage to core operations at data centers, said Small.

“To ensure the highest levels of data security and availability, Linux customers need full and immediate access to established technology,” said Martin Fink, senior vice president and general manager of business critical systems at HP. “We continue to invest our engineering resources in the development of that technology while working with the open source community to ensure accessibility and seamless integration.”

Leaving Legacy

Over the years, HP has made several contributions to the Linux community, Small explained. For instance, HP engineers worked on scalability and management issues. Also, HP launched in January its software governance initiative to help companies address the legal, financial and security risks faced when adopting free and open source software (FOSS).

“HP’s contribution of the Advanced File System code, coupled with its overall resource commitment to Linux, will greatly accelerate thedevelopment and commercial availability of improved system functionality for Linux,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of Linux Foundation. “Thetechnology and engineering resources being made available for next-generation file system projects are proof that HP is a true open source communityleader.”

Business demands are driving the Linux kernel development community to focus on the advancement of file system functionality. Currently, filesystems are being developed through an open community process. HP’s contribution expedites these efforts, according to Small.

Growing Linux Market

“The existing file system matches many of the workloads used in enterprise today. But many more workloads are more demanding and need a moreadvanced open source file system associated with Linux,” Bdale Garbee, chief technologist for open source and Linux at HP, told LinuxInsider.

For example, increasing the size of the partition and volume can let users do tasks with one command instead of having to use several, he said. There is an ever-increasing demand to increase the size.

Improvements to the file system will benefit more than just high-end enterprise Linux users, Garbee said. For instance, some of these enterprisefeatures — like taking a snapshot of the file system while the application is still running — can be useful on the desktop.

“We hope that this will bring overall functionality for desktop users as well. Our target is the enterprise user at this point,” said Garbee.

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