Linux received yet another important boost on Friday, when Silicon Graphics (SGI) offered a key piece of its IRIX operating system to the open-source community. The software piece, SGI's journal file system known as XFS, will, if implemented, enhance a Linux-based system's ability to recover fast after a crash and to handle very large files.
SGI, based in Mountainview, California, is known as a supplier of heavy-duty computer power to the movie industry and to industries relying on computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM).
The announcement, which took place at the Linux Expo in Raleigh, North Carolina, was made Linux vendors. So far, there are 24 flavors of Linux, none of which currently offer a journal file system, as opposed to all of the Unix vendors and Microsoft, which do.
According to analysts, the software is crucial for Linux in order to enter the corporate world, where reliability and 24-hour service are required. The offer from SGI fills the gap, according to an operating system analyst.
"Furthermore, the XFS is a highly-valued piece of software by the present users", said Dan Kusnetzky, analyst at International Data (IDC), a market research firm based in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Now it is up to each Linux vendor whether XFS will be incorporated in the operating system. The decision depends heavily on an informal evaluation, done by various people in the Linux community, after the source code has been posted.
"And that is a very aggressive peer review", said Kusnetzky
However, he considers the SGI commitment to Linux one of the most important in a long line of support from IT vendors in recent months. Kusnetzky also admires SGI for having the courage to post the source code of XFS and for doing it so soon. Other vendors will now have a chance to make their hardware take better advantage of the XFS, he noted.
SGI does have a good chance of getting more customers on its Intel Corp.-based workstations owing to the many common traits between users of SGI products and Linux, the analyst said.
"They are both into content. Not business", said Kusnetzky
SGI also said today that it will work with Veritas Software on a converged file system for Linux. The SGI is the third major vendor this week to make an announcement aimed at easing Linux's entry into corporate computing. Novell Ipresented Novell Directory Services, a network management software, for Linux. Computer Associates International Inc. announced a version of its system administration software, Unicenter TNG and Unicenter TNG Framework for TurboLinux, developed by Pacific HiTech .
Silicon Graphics Inc. can be reached at +1-650-960-1980 or http://www.sgi.com/.