IBM Offers AFS to Open-Source

IBM last week announced that it will release the source code to its Andrew File System (AFS). The technology could help Linux gain enterprise acceptance.

AFS is similar to the more widely used Network File System but is considered more robust and secure, said Tony Iams, an analyst at D. H. Brown Associates Inc. in Port Chester, N.Y. AFS is used mainly in academic and government markets but also has users in the financial industry. The system will work with most versions of Unix and with Microsoft's Windows NT.

"We did this because the AFS community wanted this to be open-source," said Dan Frye, program director at IBM's Linux Technology Center.

According to Iams, AFS is "technologically really quite beautiful, but it never caught on commercially. IBM is not giving up all that much by turning this over [to open-source]."

Iams said AFS could help Linux compete in the enterprise - but the Linux community must first decide to accept it. IBM has previously committed to contributing some of its journaling file-system technology to the open-source effort.

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