Intel official touts netbooks at open source conference

Intel's strides in open source, particularly Linux, are stressed at OSCON

Intel's work promoting netbooks -- the downsized PCs that are gaining in mindshare -- was touted by a company official Wednesday, who stressed benefits in boot-up times, graphics, and network capabilities during a technology conference.

Speaking at the O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention) in San Jose, Calif., Dirk Hohndel, Intel chief open source technologist, said the company has gone from a company that was considered skeptical by the open source community to a top contributor in Linux and open source.  A key example of Intel's efforts involve netbooks, Hohndel said.

[ Also at OSCON, Microsoft made a big splash by releasing device driver code for Linux. | InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy investigates Microsoft and the great netbook pricing scam of 2009.]

"What is remarkable about this is this a computer category that started with Linux," Hohndel said.

"The category is hot; there is competition," he said. A critical differentiator for netbooks is fast boot-up, said Hohndel. "No one wants to wait for a few minutes until they can do something," he said.

Also key to netbooks is a revamped graphics stack. "We want to re-set the way graphics are done in Linux, and we've done a lot of work [on] this in the last three years," Hohndel said. Graphics have been moved into the kernel, he said.

Connectivity also is critical for netbooks and mobile Linux, he said. Work has been done on connection management; Intel also has worked with Nokia on a telephony stack, Hohndel said.

Intel, he noted, has been working on the Moblin open source project intended to provide a Linux platform for netbooks and other systems such as mobile Internet devices. The company recently turned over the project to the Linux Foundation in order to attract more community support. Hohndel invited the audience to join the effort and "help us make Moblin the OS you want."

Also at the conference on Wednesday, proponents of the Perl 6 upgrade to the Perl language detailed improvements planned for the language. An implementation of Perl 6 is anticipated next spring.

Among the features is incorporation of unit test facilities right into the language itself, as opposed to implementing them as add-on modules. This makes testing easier, said Damien Conway, a designer of Perl.  Better control of randomness, to lessen mistakes in programming and boost reliability and readability, also is eyed. Better joining for arrays is planned as well.

WSO2, an open source SOA software vendor, at OSCON is announcing WSO2 Governance Registry 3.0 and WSO2 Identity Server 2.0. Formerly WSO2 Registry, WSO2 Governance Registry 3.0 features service governance through discovery, impact analysis and extraction of metadata. Lifecycle management and federation also are featured.

WSO2 Identity Server offers identity and entitlement management for authorization and authentication in SOA. Entitlement pertains to authorizing persons to conduct activities, said Sanjiva Weerawarana, WSO2 CEO. An entitlement engine based on OASIS extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) 2.0 is featured for fine-grained authorization, WSO2 said.

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