Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Gilad Parann-Nissany, Sematext Blog , Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

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
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.

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...

"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, 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...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
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.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...