Linux readied for DOD IPv6 certification

Any up-to-date Linux distribution should work on DOD networks.

The Linux kernel has been brought into full compliance with the Defense Information System Agency's IPv6 Special Interoperability Certification, the Linux Foundation announced this week. As a result, all Linux distributions that use the latest kernel and enhancements should be able to pass certification.

In 2007, the Defense Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer and the chief assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration developed an IPv6 Master Test Plan to ensure all DOD equipment using IPv6 would be able to interoperate.

Although the Linux kernel has had a working IPv6 stack for several years, it lacked essential features for meeting DISA requirements, including production-ready IPv6 implementations of the Internet Control Message Protocol, Internet Protocol Security, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and Management Information Base.

The Linux Foundation has established an IPv6 Workgroup to address this issue. Led by IBM senior technical staff member Venkata Jagana, the Linux Foundation IPv6 workgroup was made up of technical representatives from Hewlett-Packard, Nokia-Siemens, Novell and Red Hat.

The group studied the DISA requirements and commissioned, cajoled or otherwise influenced Linux developers to finish up the required bits that were not already embedded in Linux's IPv6 implementation.

'The IPv6 mandate and ensuing requirements are such major undertakings that it makes it difficult for any one company to deal with it all on its own,' said Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation executive director in a statement. 'This is exactly the kind of work and collaboration that the Linux Foundation can facilitate, and which results in real technology advancements for the Linux operating system.'

The Linux Foundation is an industry-backed nonprofit consortium dedicated to developing Linux, as well as standardizing the Linux code base for enterprise use. Linux creator and chief maintainer Linus Torvalds is funded by the Linux Foundation.

DISA's Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certifies the software and equipment that meets the mandates. Approved products are placed on JITC's Unified Capabilities Approved Products List.

Last summer, JITC certified both Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Linux (SLES 10) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2.

With the code base up to date, other distributions should also meet the requirements should they be tested, the foundation says.

In addition to approving RHEL and SLES operating systems, JITC also approved the Microsoft Vista and Sun Microsystems Solaris 10.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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