Carrier Grade Linux 5 Finalized

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The Linux Foundation this week officially released the Carrier Grade Linux 5.0 specification (CGL).

CGL provides a set of specifications which helps to define the requirements of carrier and network equipment vendors. The CGL 5 specification is the first major revision since CGL 4.0 was released in February of 2007.

The new CGL 5.0 specifications have been available in draft form for months, and vendors including MontaVisa and Wind River have already released products that will support the new specification.

MontaVista’s Carrier Grade Edition 6.0 was released in October of 2010, with support for the CGL 5. Though the MontaVista Carrier Grade Edition 6.0 solution has been improved since October, the CGL compliance remains the same.

“We have made some minor updates and added some enhancements to our virtualization and Bare Metal Engine solutions,” Dan Cauchy vice president of marketing and business development at MontaVista told “But with regards to CGL 5 compliance, nothing has changed, we built CGE 6 from the ground up to be compliant, and given that we are very much plugged in into everything that is going on in CGL, there were no surprises. ”

Cauchy also serves as the Chairman of CGL working group.

Though the specifications have been in draft form for months the official announcement of CGL 5 is an important even for the Linux industry and for the carriers.

“Many carriers require that NEPs (Network Equipment Providers) comply to the spec before their equipment is accepted into their networks, and it is almost always a baseline requirement in RFPs for new projects at NEPs,” Cauchy said.

In terms of what is in the CGL 5.0 specification, it’s actually less than what was included in its predecessor the CGL 4.0 spec.

“There was a major cleanup of requirements that are now a standard part of the upstream kernel,” Cauchy said. “We consider this a major victory for CGL, our goal has always been to have carrier requirements eventually included in the standard upstream kernel.”

Cauchy added that many of the features in previous versions of CGL spec were implemented by OSVs as patches and had to be ported forward to new kernels; now, many of these have been accepted by the kernel community.

“In these cases, we decided to remove those requirements from the CGL spec and declare victory so to speak, since you now get them in the standard kernel,” Cauchy said.

As well older requirements are no longer relevant have bee deprecated from the spec. The CGL spec predates the Linux Foundation and was originally an effort that was led by the OSDL.

Though CGL 5.0 is smaller than CGL 4.0, there are a number of new requirements. Cauchy noted that there are new requirements for high availability, especially filesystem reliability and disaster recovery, data collection and reporting. There are also additional requirements for security such as roll based access control, system auditing and log collection. CGL 5.0 also has IPv6 requirements such as IPv6-based NFS

Cauchy noted that moving forward the CGL working group’s main short-term focus will be to drive the open-source community into working on some of the gaps.

“Keep in mind, CGL is not just a specification writing entity, we also want to work with the upstream community to make sure our requirements are heard and met, that will be our focus for now,” Cauchy said. “If enough of the gaps are implemented and we receive enough new requirements, then we will start discussing CGL 6, but not until then, we’re not on any specific release cadence, it’s more driven by demand.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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