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HP Backs Carrier Grade Debian GNU/Linux

If you had doubts of enterprise support for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, rest easy.

Thanks to HP's support, The community-based distribution is now certified compliant with the OSDL Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) 2.0.2 specification.

Debian GNU/Linux is a community effort that does not have explicit enterprise offering or formal support on its own, though there are Debian-derived distributions that do have commercial backing, notably Ubuntu which just last week launched its enterprise support play.

Deployment of Linux in Carrier operations is a goal of the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which together with its membership has been driving development of the CGL spec for a number of years.

CGL defines a set of carrier requirements that registered CGL products are measured against for use in carrier applications and environments.

With HP's help, Debian is now certified compliant with the 2.0.2 version of CGL. HP has also created a Debian-CGL subproject, which may lead to a telco-Debian custom distribution.

The CGL certification applies to the Sarge release of Debian, which came out nearly a year ago.

The CGL 2.0.2 version that HP has got Debian certified for is not exactly New, either.

The 2.x CGL specification was first rolled out in 2003 and is not the most current version of the CGL specification.

CGL version 3.2 is the most recent version of the specification, though it was just released earlier this year.

Alan Meyer, WW R&D manager of Open Source and Linux Organization for HP, explained that HP is actively involved with the CGL working group and the requirements process for the CGL 3.x specification.

"Once the 3.x specification finalizes, we will evaluate the best timing for registering Debian," Meyer told internetnews.com.

Though it may be news to some, HP has been supporting Debian in the telecom space for over three years, according to Meyer.

"While Debian has included CGL functionality for several years, HP's customers are becoming more interested in seeing the official CGL registration," Meyer said.

"With the growth of interest in CGL and Debian, the timing was right to more visibly acknowledge the CGL capabilities in Debian."

In an interview earlier this year, HP's top Linux executive Christine Martino vice president of Open Source and Linux Organization (OSLO) said it was a good possibility that HP's Linux distribution strategy could expand beyond just Red Hat and Novell.

"We actually do quite a bit with other distributions besides Red Hat and Novell that we don't even give ourselves enough credit for," Martino said in the interview.

As for HP's support for Debian does not necessarily undermine HP's partnerships with either Red Hat or Novell.

Meyer explained it as being a matter of customer choice. HP customers now have the choice and confidence of being able to deploy Debian and get HP's mission-critical support for both the hardware and the Debian distribution.

CGL certification of Debian is just one component of HP's overall involvement with the community GNU/Linux distribution.

"This partnership involves HP donation of equipment to Debian, sponsorship of Debian events, and numerous HP employees who are registered Debian developers," Meyer said.

"Within the telecom space, HP sees growing interest in the additional choice of Debian, and HP will continue to offer fully supported Debian solutions."