The UNIX system (developed by AT&T Bell Laboratories) enjoyed a wide expansion of use in the early 1980s, particularly among universities and research institutes. With the subsequent formation of a core group of UNIX users in the R&D field, several computer systems incorporating the UNIX OS became commercially available, such as the workstations of Sun Microsystems. Thanks to the portability offered by UNIX, one of its most important characteristics, computer makers could develop products much more quickly than by incorporating their own OS. Until the early 1990s, UNIX systems spread rapidly throughout the world and platforms based on UNIX became common. Considered “global ecosystems,” such systems soon became known as open systems.
This paper discusses the significance that open systems have for users from the standpoints of hardware systems, OS, and middleware. The paper also examines Linux, whose use has spread rapidly in the past few years, describes in detail the development of open source software that Linux represents, and considers the characteristics of Linux, particularly the significance of having software with publicly available source codes. Based on this discussion, the paper then describes the outlook for the future development of information systems and why Fujitsu is actively supporting the use of open systems and open source software.
311FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,p.311-317(October 2005)Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu sRelated ActivitiesV Takashi Kunai(Manuscript received May 30, 2005)In April 2005, Fujitsu unveiled its new PRIMEQUEST IA servers. These servers arebest-fit solutions for mission-critical applications, with complete openness as a mostimportant characteristic. This paper first examines the history of open systems, andthen details the benefits offered to users and the growing popularity of open sourcesoftware, particularly Linux. The paper then describes the hardware, OS, and middle-ware of the PRIMEQUEST series from the standpoint of open systems, and finallyexplains why Fujitsu is so pro-active in the open-systems arena and development ofopen source software.1. IntroductionThe term open systems was first coined inthe late 1980s. Figure 1 illustrates the historyof computer systems from the late 1970s to today.In the 1970s and 1980s, when the use of com-puter systems expanded very rapidly, eachcomputer company developed its own hardwarearchitecture and OS for its computer systems.Compared with open systems, these systems be-came known as proprietary systems. Fujitsu andother computer makers developed their main-frame systems and office computers based on suchproprietary systems, given the stability and ex-cellent reliability provided in terms of handlinguser tasks. Consequently, these systems werewelcomed by many users, and continued to be eventoday.The UNIX system (developed by AT&T BellLaboratories) enjoyed a wide expansion of use inthe early 1980s, particularly among universitiesand research institutes. With the subsequent for-mation of a core group of UNIX users in the R&Dfield, several computer systems incorporating theUNIX OS became commercially available, such asthe workstations of Sun Microsystems. Thanksto the portability offered by UNIX, one of its mostimportant characteristics, computer makers coulddevelop products much more quickly than byincorporating their own OS. Until the early 1990s,UNIX systems spread rapidly throughout theworld and platforms based on UNIX becamecommon. Considered global ecosystems, suchsystems soon became known as open systems.This paper discusses the significance thatopen systems have for users from the standpointsof hardware systems, OS, and middleware. Thepaper also examines Linux, whose use has spreadrapidly in the past few years, describes in detailthe development of open source software thatLinux represents, and considers the characteris-tics of Linux, particularly the significance ofhaving software with publicly available sourcecodes. Based on this discussion, the paper thendescribes the outlook for the future developmentof information systems and why Fujitsu is active-ly supporting the use of open systems and opensource software.Untitled Document312FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,(October 2005)T. Kunai: Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu s Related Activities2. Increasing need for opennessin systemsIn the late 1980s and early 1990s, OS func-tions based on C language (i.e., ApplicationProgram Interface or API) became common amongopen systems that used UNIX as a common tech-nical component. For network functions, thesesystems shared TCP/IP functions as a commonmeans of accessing a LAN (Local Area Network).Consequently, middleware products like Oracle(DB software) have become easily portable amongopen systems and a group of global software ven-dors has been formed. With regard to networkconnectivity, the use of a network infrastructurethat had undergone rapid expansion at the sametime based on the TCP/IP functions made it pos-sible to create an environment enabling mutualconnectivity among open systems, marked by theuse of e-mail, FTP, and telnet, and thus usheringin the age of the Internet.Open systems came to signify conveniencefor users, coupled with the openness of computersystems being recognized as a market need. Thebenefits to users of computer systems that con-form to open standards are as follows:1) Users can obtain equivalent open systemsanywhere in the world, while remaining freeto switch to alternative products.2) Users can compare the products of severalvendors for selecting those products thatoffer superior functions, performance, andprice.3) Users can freely choose the most suitableproducts from among a wide array ofmiddleware.4) Open systems offer excellent network inter-connectivity and compatibility with Internetenvironments.Although the Microsoft Windows NT operat-ing system and successor systems, such asWindows 2000 and Windows 2003, are Microsoftproprietary systems and not UNIX-based systems,the OS environment is similar to that of UNIX inthat these systems have interconnectivity withUNIX systems and can share UNIX middleware.Thus, these systems can be considered as satisfy-ing the requirements of open systems.3. Open source softwareA license to use UNIX source codes had to beobtained to develop the open systems of the 1990s(except for a proprietary open system like Win-dows NT). However, the OS source codes weresuch a strictly guarded corporate secret that thecodes could not be revealed outside the company.Despite this situation, standardizing OS APIs andnetwork interconnectivity through the standard-ization of network connection protocols achievedmiddleware portability.Then in 1991, Linus Torvalds, a Finish post-graduate student, created Linux and its sourcecodes were released for public use based on condi-tions in the GNU public license (GPL). Thisachieved a level of standardization exceedingthose of APIs and network protocols that madeopen systems possible, and open source softwaresoon became the focus of OS engineers through-out the world.Richard Stallman, who established the FreeSoftware Foundation (FSF) in the 1980s, proposedthe notion of open source software. Initially, thismainly meant that individuals, universities, andFigure 1History of proprietary systems and open systems.Mainframes Office computers Proprietary systems " UNIX created by AT&T Bell Laboratories UNIX systems" Windows NT3.1 shipped " Linux created by Linus Torvalds Open systems 1970 1980 1990 2000 2005Windows systemsLinux systems Untitled Document313FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,(October 2005)T. Kunai: Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu s Related Activitiesresearch institutions using UNIX systems couldfreely amend software source codes by using theirsoftware skills. However, as the use of Linuxbegan to spread in the late 1990s as open sourcesoftware, Red Hat and other Linux distributorsdeveloped commercial Linux packages that wereequipped with installation tools and manuals,which made it easy to install Linux on IA servers.This also made it possible to use Linux withoutbeing familiar with OS source codes, and thuscreated a situation where the use of Linux rapid-ly expanded in pace with growing Internet use.Corporations welcomed Linux since it satisfied theneed for the low-cost, large-scale introduction ofWWW and e-mail servers, and because of theliberal licensing conditions for using Linux sys-tems. In the late 1990s, Linux became a standardOS for IA servers alongside the Microsoft Windowssystem.Since the Linux OS API and networkconnection protocol were developed with the goalof compatibility with UNIX systems, Linuxachieves a greater degree of compatibility withrespect to middleware portability and network in-terconnectivity among UNIX open systems thanWindows.4. Characteristics of opensource softwareWhen Linus Torvalds was creating Linux, theprocedure for developing open systems OSchanged completely from that used for UNIX opensystems. He developed Linux on his own withoutusing existing UNIX or other source codes, andwas thus able to regulate the use of Linux sourcecodes without being restricted by any particularcompany or individual. Moreover, since he ownedthe copyright to Linux source codes, Torvaldsapplied GPL to the use of Linux. This guaran-teed that Linux could be used free of charge andthe release of source codes for public use meantthat OS engineers throughout the world couldcontribute to Linux development. Consequently,the Linux OS took on the following characteris-tics, which would not have been possible accordingto the conventional approach to OS development.1) Linux became established as a basic OS tech-nology that people throughout the worldcould share. It was adopted as standardmaterial for OS education, which meant thatnewly graduating computer engineers allpossessed a common skill.2) The governments and private sectors ofvarious countries are promoting the use ofLinux (Table 1). Behind this movement arethe intentions to foster a world informationtechnology industry and avoid an excessivedependence on any particular commercialOS.3) Since no particular vendor controls Linux,free competition is ensured with respect tothe prices and technologies for hardware andmiddleware for the Linux platform, thusencouraging cost reduction and technologi-cal innovation over the long term.USA UK France Germany China Korea Defense Information Systems Agency adopting Red Hat Linux for Department of Defense. British Government changing procurement systems to Linux based systems.French government and regional public bodies establishing non-profit organizations to share the benefits of developing free source software serving common needs.City Hall in Munich switching 14 000 desktop PCs to Linux.Chinese Government promoting the expansion of Linux through Red Flag software, which is highly compatible with Linux, and Asianux, which represents a new approach to the use of Linux.Korean government and large corporations promoting the adoption of Linux solutions by switching from UNIX to Linux-based systems.Table 1Adoption of Linux in various countries.Untitled Document314FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,(October 2005)T. Kunai: Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu s Related Activities4) Given its neutral position, Linux and otheropen source software are being used as anenvironment in which to standardize imple-mentation. For instance, as evidenced by theincorporation of IPv6 network functions, theproliferation of standard specifications hasbeen faster for Linux than for any other OS.The following sections describe Fujitsu sactivities in the field of open systems and opensource software.5. Roles Fujitsu is playing inopen source softwareFujitsu is serving the following roles inexpanding the use of open source software likeLinux.1) Hardware with greater opennessFujitsu is assembling a wide variety of prod-uct series, all conforming to open standards andranging from volume systems with superior costperformance to high-reliability systems used inmission-critical systems.2) Contribution to open source softwaredevelopmentFujitsu is participating in open source soft-ware development communities including thosefor Linux. We intend to contribute to the devel-opment of high-quality, highly functional opensource software that users will be able to use withconfidence.3) Middleware and solutionsFor the Linux platform, Fujitsu is develop-ing the same wide range of middleware productsthat are available on UNIX and other open sys-tems, and providing solutions for all types ofsystems including mission-critical systems.4) SupportFujitsu provides the same level of supportfor Linux as we have done for conventional main-frame and UNIX systems.6. Hardware with greateropenness - PRIMEQUESTSince the 1990s when the demand for opensystems increased, Fujitsu has developed seriesof hardware products that are well suited to usewith open systems. The following describes ourcurrent product series of hardware.1) Mainframe GS21 SeriesIncorporating a gigabit LAN as standard, thisseries enables the accessibility of applicationsutilizing existing software assets in the opensystems environment through the use of Inter-stage application server middleware.2) PRIMEPOWER UNIX Server SeriesThe use of Solaris (the OS occupying thegreatest share of the UNIX market) enablesthe use of a wide range of middleware with net-work interconnectivity in a high-reliabilityenvironment.3) PRIMERGY IA Server SeriesWith both Windows and Linux available, thePRIMERGY series covers the complete range fromsmall servers to high-end servers, and enablesboth Windows and Linux applications to be freelyselected.In April 2005, Fujitsu unveiled its PRIME-QUEST series of mission-critical IA servers. Bymaintaining the trend toward open systems setby the PRIMEPOWER and PRIMERGY series, thePRIMEQUEST series achieves a high degree ofreliability comparable to that offered by main-frame-class servers.The following describes the various levels ofopenness offered by the PRIMEQUEST series.1) CPU chipAdopts the Intel Itanium processor, a high-reliability, high-performance CPU whose use isexpanding worldwide.2) Peripheral devicesThe cost-effective peripheral devices usedwith the PRIMEPOWER and PRIMERGY seriesare also available for the PRIMEQUEST series.Untitled Document315FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,(October 2005)T. Kunai: Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu s Related Activities3) OSBoth standard Linux and standard Windowsenable the special features of PRIMEQUESThardware. Thus, common worldwide Linux andWindows applications may be freely selected forrunning on PRIMEQUEST.4) NetworksA gigabit LAN is incorporated as standard,with a state-of-the-art 10-gigabit LAN also option-ally available.5) MiddlewareMiddleware that can be used includesFujitsu s Interstage, Systemwalker, Symfoware,and PRIMECLUSTER, as well as middlewareprovided by such worldwide Independent SoftwareVendors (ISVs) as Oracle Corporation, SAP AG,and others.7. Linux, the open source OSThe following describes the background ofsystems requiring high reliability (such as thePRIMEQUEST series) in adopting Linux the opensource OS.7.1 Maturity of Linux OSSince Linus Torvalds first released the LinuxOS source codes to the public in 1991, its func-tions have rapidly matured thanks to thecontributions of OS development engineers world-wide.1) However, though the functions of Linuxkernel 2.4 released in 2001 were adequately usedon WWW servers and mail servers, there wereunresolved problems regarding the expandabili-ty and reliability of large scale systems such asthe PRIMEQUEST series.In 2004, the Linux community unveiledLinux Kernel 2.6. Major distributors like Novelland Red Hat subsequently began distributingLinux based on Kernel 2.6, specifically Novell s SuSE Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9) in 2004 andRed Hat s Enterprise Linux 4 (RHEL4) in 2005.The 2.6 version of Linux has fine-grained lockgranularity and uses technology that reduces theoverhead in parallel operations on large multipro-cessors. It also incorporates Machine Check Ar-chitecture (MCA), which utilizes the reliablehardware architecture of the Itanium processor.Thus, significant reliability problems havebeen resolved by incorporating a memory dumpfunction, enhancing the parallel processing ofthreads, and adding other features jointly devel-oped by Fujitsu and Red Hat, Inc. based on a jointdevelopment agreement (signed in May 2003).Refer to Rapidly Growing Linux OS: Features andReliability published in this journal for moredetails.7.2 Development communitySince Linux was originally created for PCuse, the development community was interestedin developing Linux for this purpose. Consequent-ly, some felt that low priority was given todeveloping Linux to meet the requirements oflarge servers. However, many members of theLinux development community had intended touse Linux for a wide variety of applications, in-cluding supercomputers and embedded systems.This is why the participation of Fujitsu and othercomputer companies in this kind of developmenthas been welcomed, and by clearly explaining thescalability and reliability requirements for largesystems to the development community, thoserequirements are now being satisfied by standardLinux.7.3 Linux design considerationsThough the development community acceptseasily understandable enhancements, more com-plex modifications or those involving largedevelopment size are not readily taken up. More-over, since Linux is not a commercial OS, it isdesigned to be as simple as possible and has noextra functions for assisting other commercial soft-ware. This has produced several advantages forLinux. It is a dependable quality system sinceearnest efforts were made to fix bugs as quicklyas possible and any attempt to insert backdoorsis practically impossible, thus providing LinuxUntitled Document316FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,(October 2005)T. Kunai: Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu s Related Activitieswith enhanced security. In addition, since Linuxis hardly dependent on other products, there islittle risk of side effects of OS patches that fix prob-lems or OS modifications that enhance OSfeatures, thus increasing the stability in systemsusing Linux. Such advantages of Linux greatlybenefit mission-critical systems like the PRIME-QUEST series.7.4Maintenance support for LinuxLinux is licensed virtually free of charge(with only a charge for media) and the Linuxdevelopment community provides support tousers based on goodwill. However, there is noformal assurance for the use of Linux. For thisreason, Fujitsu has teamed up with Linux distrib-utors to provide high-level maintenance supportfor Linux of a degree similar to that offered formainframe systems and UNIX systems.7.5Fujitsu s contribution to thedevelopment and promotion of LinuxAs a member of the Linux developmentcommunity, Fujitsu has been contributing throughdeveloping functions for Linux and furtherimproving its quality. Examples of the functionsdeveloped by Fujitsu for Linux are given in Rapidly Growing Linux OS: Features andReliability published in this journal.The maintenance support service offered byFujitsu is reinforced through cooperation with theLinux community and distributors. Bugs foundby users while using Linux are all fed back to theLinux community, thus resulting in further qual-ity improvements. This activity is supported by akernel mailing list that links Linux developmentengineers, with much of the communicationthrough this list coming from Fujitsu engineers.In fact, Fujitsu is a major contributor to the mail-ing list among both Japanese companies andcompanies worldwide.Table 2 lists the organizations that are pro-moting the expansion of Linux and other opensource software. Fujitsu is also promoting the useof open source software by working together withthese organizations.Open Source Development Laboratory (OSDL) Japan Open Source Software (OSS) Promotion ForumLinux Professional Institute (LPI)Japan Linux Association (JLA) PC Cluster Consortium A non-profit organization promoting the expansion of Linux use by proposing and designing functions for its application in the enterprise field, for example Carrier Grade LinuxCGL) for telecommunications systems and Data Center Linux (DCL) for enterprise computer systems. Its members consist of key Japanese users and vendors of information systems and academic experts in the field. The forum freely discusses problems in the use of OSS and tries to find solutions for them. A non-profit corporation promoting global standards for the accreditation of Linux engineers. A non-profit organization whose objective is to contribute to the healthy development of the Linux community. Its principal activities are promoting the spread of Linux culture, Linux education and activities for the common good of the Linux community. PC Cluster Consortium is a body that was established for the maintenance and further development of SCore Cluster System Software developed by the Real World Computing Project (RWCP), a project promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Its aims are to expand the use of PC clusters and further develop the market for them. Table 2Organizations promoting open source software with whom Fujitsu collaborates.Untitled Document317FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J., 41,3,(October 2005)T. Kunai: Trend toward Open Systems and Fujitsu s Related ActivitiesTakashi Kunai joined Fujitsu Ltd.,Japan in 1972 and has since beenengaged in research and developmentof OS software for mainframes, UNIX,and Linux. He is now responsible forpartner alliances including the relation-ship with Linux distributors.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. ConclusionIn the past, open systems formed the basisof particular ecosystems and developed into an en-vironment where abundant middleware andsystems were interconnected. Now, thanks to thecontributions of software engineers worldwide,these systems have since been developed into high-performance software ecosystems based on opensource software, which extends from the OS level(Linux) to the upper middleware level (e.g.,PostgreSQL, Apache).In the 1990s it was generally believed thatthe world s computer systems would become PC-based. Now in the 2000s, however, we seem tohave entered an age of ubiquitous computer sys-tems due to the tremendous need for high-levelsystems for a wide variety of applications, rang-ing from game computers to intelligent householdappliances, car-mounted computer systems, andlogistics systems.Moreover, we are approaching a time whencompound systems configured from dissimilarcomputers that use grid computing networks willbe experimented with and put to practical use.Since the requirements for the diverse informa-tion systems necessary to control said systemspose low investment cost and offer flexible appli-cation, there will be growing opportunities forLinux and other open source systems, due to theirliberal licensing conditions and use free of charge.Through hardware products such as the PRIME-QUEST series and the use of Linux and other opensource software, Fujitsu intends to supply highreliability information systems that combineLinux and other open information systems. Wealso intend to continue contributing to the devel-opment of open source software as a member ofthe open source development community.Reference1)T. Kunai: New World of Computer TechnologyOpened up by Linux. (in Japanese), FUJITSU,54, 2, p.117-123 (2003).http://magazine.fujitsu.com/vol54-2/paper06.pdf