Under the contract awarded by the French Ministry of Defense, the group is expected to make the operating system compliant with Evaluation Assurance Level 5, or EAL5, a classification within an international security certification called Common Criteria. The certification carries a lot of weight within many governments and military organizations.
Paris-based Mandrakesoft, which recently emerged from bankruptcy protection, will be joined in the effort by Bertin Technologies Group, independent research laboratory Surlog SA, software maker Jaluna and security firm Oppida. The group's work will be released as open-source software.
To date, Linux has reached as high as EAL3 under the work of Linux sellers Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc., which are working higher certification with IBM and Oracle Corp.. In comparison, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP-UX, IBM's AIX and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris, all Unix-based operating systems, have EAL4 certification, along with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows.