Linux and Open Source in Telecommunications
CGL and the COTS Ecosystem
CGL is an important part of the telecommunications move to using COTS components for building equipment. Carriers and service providers are in a position today where they must move away from specialized proprietary architectures toward COTS approaches and building practices for several reasons, such as reducing design and operation costs and gaining the ability to deliver new services faster based on common standardized platforms. In addition, the increased power and reliability of such building blocks, along with the development of specifications that guide their implementation, are allowing more flexibility for network deployment with improved price performance. CGL is a core building block, providing a Linux kernel that offers the needed reliability, availability and performance for platforms running in mission-critical environments and providing communication services.
The CGL working group established a registration process for Linux distributions to disclose information on how they meet the CGL requirements. The process is a public disclosure of all CGL requirements as mandated by each CGL release version and describes how the Linux vendor met the CGL requirements. The outcome of the registration process allows CGL-registered platform suppliers to market their Linux distributions and systems to NEPs and TEMs and carriers with the CGL registration mark to demonstrate the platform's suitability for carrier grade applications.
In June 2006, Debian passed the CGL 2.0 registration process, becoming the seventh distribution that meets the CGL 2.0 requirements. The other six are Asianux, FSMLabs, MontaVista, Novell, TimeSys and Wind River. The Debian announcement is of great importance. Debian is one of the leading distributions of the Linux operating system. Its registration adds more than 1,000 developers and tens of thousands of end users to the CGL community. Debian registration gives telecommunications providers a fully open platform that comes with the support of one of the strongest Linux communities and represents an ideal balance between “roll-your-own” CGL solutions and available commercial options. Telecommunications equipment providers looking for a fully open option now have one.
CGL Initiative Achievements:
Increasing the number of OSDL member companies involved with CGL; the latest members include Siemens and Motorola.
Three major releases of the CGL Requirement Definition Documents: CGL V1.1 in October 2003, CGL 2.0 in October 2003 and CGL 3.2 in February 2006.
Seven distributions and Linux vendors registered for CGL 2.0: TimeSys, Novell/SUSE, MontaVista, FSMLabs, WindRiver, Asianux and Debian. Linux vendors are now in the process of registering for compliance with CGL 3.2.
More than 25 platform providers are integrating CGL as part of their offering.
Service providers and carriers are deploying CGL-based platforms.
In the February 2006 LinuxWorld magazine editorial, “The Holy Grail of Networking”, Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL, discussed the end-to-end infrastructure with a single operating system (Linux) and the role OSDL is playing to enable this single OS infrastructure from the server to the handset. At OSDL, the CGL and MLI initiatives are driving forward an “end-to-end” Linux deployment, succeeding in its mission to accelerate the development and adoption of Linux from the enterprise to mobile computing in a vertical industry that has been historically dominated by proprietary technologies. What's next for Linux? Only time will tell.
To learn more about how OSDL initiatives are helping accelerate the development and adoption of Linux, visit the OSDL Web site (see Resources).
The author would like to thank Bill Weinberg, OSDL's Senior Technology Analyst, for his valuable reviews and contributions.
Resources for this article: /article/9267.
Ibrahim Haddad manages the Carrier Grade Linux and the Mobile Linux Initiatives at OSDL, promotes the development and adoption of Linux in the Communication industry, and leads the Carriers/NEPs Forum he established at OSDL in early 2005. Prior to joining OSDL, Ibrahim was a Senior Researcher at the “Research and Innovation” Department of Ericsson Corporate Unit of Research in Montréal, Canada, where he was involved with the server system architecture for 3G wireless IP networks and contributed to Ericsson's open platform efforts. Ibrahim is co-author of two books on Red Hat Linux and Fedora, and a Contributing Editor of three leading Linux publications. Ibrahim received his PhD in Computer Science from Concordia University in Montréal, Canada.