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Opening Up New Ways to Build and Secure Civil Infrastructure


June 20, 2018

Even as The Linux Foundation’s projects continue to grow and mature, enterprises and government agencies and organizations struggle with the question of the sustainability when adopting open source technologies.

While Red Hat and similar companies have long made it possible for even the largest initiatives to be built and managed, through certification programs, professional services, and ongoing support businesses, city planners and others responsible for multi-million and even multi-billion-dollar projects are cautious if not conservative when it comes to too much open source (vs. locked down vendor provided solutions).

The Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) Project “aims to create an interoperable open source software platform that is secure, reliable and sustainable for more than 10 years” according to a news release issued out of Tokyo on June 20th.

The CIP’s mission is to “provide a base layer of industrial grade open source software components, tools and methods to enable long-term management of critical systems” and enhancing that with related support for the software, and assurance that Linux and Debian will stand behind their open source offerings is at the heart of their new collaboration with the Debian Long Term Support Initiative.

Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel or the FreeBSD kernel, a piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide. FreeBSD is an operating system, or OS, including a kernel and other software.

Like other operating systems, uses the free kernel to take care of basic housekeeping, including allowing other programs to start. This is necessary and valuable, but what really generates usefulness and value is application software: programs to help people get work done, or help machines get work done.

Debian comes with over 51,000 packages (precompiled software that is bundled for easy installation on machines), a package manager (APT), and other utilities that make it possible to manage thousands of packages on thousands of computers – for free.

Debian sits on top of the stack for which the kernel is the base foundation; Debian’s OS organizes tools, utilities and software, and is a very popular “universal” open source operating system.

This new collaboration with Debian builds upon CIP’s focus on delivering essential services for civil infrastructure and economic development globally. Unpacking that:

  • CIP will specifically help with Debian Long Term Support (LTS), which aims to extend the lifetime of all Debian stable releases to more than 5 years
  • CIP will work with Freexian, a multi-faceted services company that is leading the effort for Debian LTS, to maximize interoperability, security and LTS for open source software for embedded systems
  • CIP will provide funding for Debian LTS activities
  • CIP and Debian will work toward interoperability by harmonizing software and other elements

“CIP's mission of creating industrial grade open source software aligns with our goal of developing a free and universal operating system," said Chris Lamb, Debian Project Leader. "We are excited about this collaboration as well as the CIP's support of the Debian LTS project which aims to extend the support lifetime to more than five years. Together, we are committed to long term support for our users and laying the 'foundation' for the cities of the future."

CIP has had a long history of working with Debian as most control systems for transportation, power plants, healthcare and telecommunications run on Debian embedded systems.

Hosted by The Linux Foundation, CIP aims to speed implementation of Linux-based civil infrastructure systems, build upon existing open source foundations and expertise, establish de facto standards by providing a base layer reference implementation, and contribute to and influence upstream projects regarding industrial needs.

CIP and Debian are betting on the premise that enterprises and organizations will have more confidence when leveraging open source with a longer-term commitment to the roadmap and for support in place -naturally important for critical infrastructure and systems.




Edited by Maurice Nagle








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