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European Grid technology project eXtreemOS banks on open source

The XtreemOS project (Building and Promoting a Linux-based Operating System to Support Virtual Organizations for Next Generation Grids) aims at investigating and proposing new services that should be added to current operating systems to build Grid infrastructure in a simple way. XtreemOS targets the Linux well-accepted open source operating system extending it to Grid with native support for virtual organizations. One of the most important challenges in XtreemOS is the identification of the basic functionalities which are to be embedded in the Linux kernel.

Grid technologies connect computers and scientific instruments, bringing together users from around the world and from different companies in a single, 'virtual' organisation. In turn, members of this virtual organisation can share knowledge instantly and easily access and store shared data.

One project the EU is funding under its Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is , the objective of which is to design and promote an open source operating system which will support virtual organisations.

As an operating system it could be used for individual personal computers and computer clusters, as well as for mobile devices, which would all have access to the resources of the grid.

Using the popular Linux open source software, XtreemOS would like to become an alternative to its direct rival, the US-based Globus toolkit, to become the new de facto standard in this crucial technology.

According to the coordinator of the project, Sandrine L'Hermitte, 'The XtreemOS system will offer an alternative to the Globus toolkit, which is currently the most widespread middleware system for managing computational grids despite its complexity.'

'The XtreemOS project should help bolster Europe's position in the research fields of operating systems and Grid systems. Today, even though the Linux operating system, the Symbian system for mobile phones and the World Wide Web were born in Europe, the USA prevails in these domains. The XtreemOS project should help restore the balance,' she concluded.

The four-year project will also aim to promote the XtreemOS system for grids at the international level. With two Chinese partners forming part of the project consortium, the project has its eyes firmly set on Asia and its rapidly expanding market.

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