Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Ignacio M. Llorente, Carmen Gonzalez, Michael Meiner, Liz McMillan, Amy Lindberg

Related Topics: Open Source, Linux

Open Source: Article

The Genesis of the Linux Foundation

New York Times published a story on Linux. This wasn't an article on technical advancement

On January 21, the New York Times published a story on Linux. This wasn't an article on technical advancement: no new kernel or distribution had been released. It wasn't financial; there wasn't yet another impressive quarter from one of the many companies that build their business around Linux. Thankfully, it wasn't another piece of FUD about open source legal issues and dubious patent assertions from desperate competitors. Instead the article simply stated: "The Linux industry has united to compete against proprietary platforms." The Linux Foundation was born.

Late last year, our members and internal management teams decided the time was right to merge the two leading Linux consortia: the Free Standards Group (FSG) and the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL). Why now?

Since OSDL and the FSG were formed, more than six years ago, Linux has grown enormously in server, desktop, and embedded usage around the world - driving more than $15 billion in annual sales of hardware, software, and services according to market research firm Gartner Group. Moreover, the open source model now dominates new software development and provides faster demand-side learning, higher quality, better security, shorter development cycles, and lower prices. OSDL and the FSG were helpful in this phase.

Now that Linux has achieved widespread use, it faces a different set of challenges. In order to advance the platform further, the Linux industry formed the Linux Foundation to standardize, protect, and promote the Linux platform. The distributed development and sales and support model of Linux drives many of its benefits, yet also creates challenges that can hinder its success. We want Linux to continue to challenge the dominant operating system in the world. We want Linux to offer true choice for end users everywhere, regardless of economic means or technical literacy. In order to do that, we need to keep the freedoms and advantages of the open source model while continuing to improve the platform and its competitiveness.

The Linux Foundation will work with our members to provide services that an open source platform needs to compete. These projects can be far-ranging, such as standardizing Linux so application developers can more easily target the platform, or smaller in scope, such as providing the legal infrastructure so open source developers can sign required NDAs before writing device drivers for private companies. Our projects can be technically complex, such as the new LSB testing framework that links compatibility tests to code development, or simple and straightforward, such as providing a neutral voice of reason to the press to counter competitors' aggressive PR tactics.

The Linux Foundation has united the Linux ecosystem with founding platinum members Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, NEC, Novell, and Oracle. Other members include AMD, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Google, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems and more than 70 other companies, industry end users, universities, and community groups. We have representation on the board from the Technical Advisory Board and key Linux individuals so the technical community's voice will always be heard. We work with the community - we don't speak for them and certainly don't tell them what to do - and at the same time we provide a much-needed forum for end users, application developers, and system and distribution vendors to collaborate and continually enhance the Linux platform for their needs.

The Linux Foundation fosters the growth of Linux by complementing existing Linux achievements in these areas:

  • Protecting Linux by providing legal services and sponsoring key Linux developers
    It's vitally important that Linux creator Linus Torvalds and other key kernel developers remain independent. The Linux Foundation sponsors them so they can work full time on improving Linux. The LF also manages the Linux trademark and offers developers legal intellectual property protection through such initiatives as the Open Source as Prior Art project, the Patent Commons (www.patent-commons.org), and sponsorship of the Linux Legal Defense Fund to deter and defend legal attacks on open source.
  • Standardizing Linux and improving it as a platform for software development
    A platform is only as strong as the applications that support it. The Linux Foundation will offer application developers standardization services and support that make Linux an attractive target for their development efforts. These include the Linux Standard Base and the Linux Developer Network. Currently all major distributions comply with the LSB and many major application vendors, like MySQL, RealNetworks and SAP, are certifying.
  • Providing a neutral forum for Collaboration and Promotion
    The Linux Foundation will serve as a neutral spokesperson to advance the interests of Linux and respond with authority to competitors' PR attacks. It hosts collaboration events among end users, application developers, the industry, and the Linux technical community to foster innovation and capture the viewpoints of its users. Through its workgroups, individuals can collaborate to solve pressing technical issues facing the Linux ecosystem in such areas as desktop interfaces, accessibility, printing, and application packaging.
I'd like to leave you with one important point. If you care about Linux, this is your foundation - it doesn't belong to me, or Linus, or big business, or the kernel developers. It belongs to everyone who cares enough to join and make Linux better. You can do this in many ways, not just by contributing or testing code. You can participate in one of our events and funnel your feedback to the community and to vendors who can make a difference. You can encourage your application developers to port their applications - if they haven't already - to Linux. You can tell your governments you want them to support true open standards in their software purchasing policy. Computing is entering a world dominated by two platforms: Linux and Windows. I've made my bet. The Foundation is here to make sure Linux unites its resources to challenge the privileged position proprietary platforms have enjoyed for too long. Please join us.

More Stories By Jim Zemlin

Jim Zemlin, formerly executive director of the Free Standards Group, is the executive director of the Linux Foundation. He previously served as vice president of marketing for Covalent Technologies. Jim has also been a keynote speaker at industry and financial conferences and is an advisor on open source strategy to various companies and governmental groups including Hyperic, Zmanda and the Chinese Open Source Promotion Union.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...