OSDL and the Free Standards Group will become The Linux Foundation
January 22, 2007 Leave a comment
From the press release:
The two leading consortia dedicated to the advancement of Linux – the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG) – today announced that they have signed an agreement to merge and form The Linux Foundation. The new organization accelerates the growth of Linux by providing a comprehensive set of services to compete effectively with closed platforms.
Founding platinum members of the Linux Foundation include Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, NEC, Novell, and Oracle. Jim Zemlin, former executive director of the Free Standards Group, leads The Linux Foundation. Other members of the new organization include every major company in the Linux industry, including Red Hat, as well as numerous community groups, universities and industry end users.
“Computing is entering a world dominated by two platforms: Linux and Windows. While being managed under one roof has given Windows some consistency, Linux offers freedom of choice, customization and flexibility without forcing customers into vendor lock-in,” said Zemlin. “The Linux Foundation helps in the next stage of Linux growth by organizing the diverse companies and constituencies of the Linux ecosystem to promote, protect, and standardize Linux.”
The Linux Foundation, which continues to sponsor the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds, employs a shared resources strategy – much like open source development itself – to collaborate on platform development while enhancing the Linux market for end users, the community, developers and industry.
The FSG and the OSDL have worked together on a variety of projects in the past. While their areas of focus have been different, they both have the same general goals and ideals. They also previously had to compete with each other for membership and resources. The joining of the two companies should give the new entity more resources, less overhead and duplication of effort and increased market influence. The only downside I see is that previously the “standards group” was a separate entity that didn't do a ton in the way of general advocacy or development. That independence is now gone, but it seems like a very small price to pay and managed correctly I don't see it as any problem at all. The New York Times article contained some verbiage that worried me a bit:
And the mission of the new organization is help Linux, the leading example of the open-source model of software development, to compete more effectively against Microsoft, the world’s largest software company.
Why did that worry me? Microsoft shouldn't really me our main focus in my opinion. Sure, we should learn from what they do well and be aware of what they are doing, but improving Linux should be the main goal. Luckily, that sentence seems to be the interpretation of the NYT author. Outside a quote in the press release, the word Microsoft is almost no where to be found on the actual Linux Foundation site (although there is a mention of “Successful proprietary software companies”, a generalization that I really like) and the wording of everything is in line with what I would expect of an entity focused on improving Linux and not battling a specific company. While on the topic of the site, it's a great mix of MediaWiki and WordPress that they've brought together very nicely.
A quick glance at the people involved here and it's clear that this group should be able to pick up some traction and make some demonstrable differences fairly quickly. They will also continue to employee developers such as Linus and Andrew. I'd encourage them to also try to work in community participation. I offered my support and the support of LQ to OSDL in the past. After some initial talks nothing every came of it – they just didn't have a spot for community participants. I hope to see that change with the new group. That issue aside, welcome to the party TLF; best wishes and good luck!
The Linux Foundation, FSG, OSDL, Linux, Open Source