Sun Microsystems has further loosened its grip on its Network File System (NFS) protocol which the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF) is turning into an industry standard.
Sun is releasing the sourcecode for a key component of the protocol and doubled the level of funding it began last year for an independent development of a Linux implementation of NFS version 4 - the version the IETF is making an industry standard protocol.
The component, called the transport independent remote procedure call (TI-RPC), will be available free to developers at Sun's website. NFS is used to enable NFS-supporting multivendor platforms to share, receive and send files.
Sun officials would not comment on when the IETF will likely ratify NFS as a standard Internet protocol, but Tom Goguen, a group marketing manager at Sun's Solaris group, said part of the process involves the success of a third party in developing its own version of the protocol.
To help the process, Sun has granted an endowment to the University of Michigan's centre for information technology integration to produce an enterprise-quality reference implementation for Linux. Financial details were not disclosed.
As part of Sun's bid to make NFS a standard the company will hand over copyright of the protocol to the IETF, added Goguen.
Analysts applauded Sun's move. In a news bulletin, analysts at Zona Research wrote: "It will give the Linux community an important boost with a rock solid piece of infrastructure code, and it will greatly facilitate the ability of application developers to interface with Sun systems from foreign platform applications."
They continued: "It will also relieve developers of the onerous task of disclosing all of their application plans to Sun, a process that can gather dust on Sun's lawyers' desks from three to six weeks."
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