New Linux Foundation Launches – Merger of Open Source Development Labs and Free Standards GroupSunday, January 21st, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, January 22, 2007 — 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.
Why The Linux Foundation Now
Since OSDL and the FSG were each formed more than six years ago, Linux has grown significantly in server, desktop, and embedded usage around the world. Moreover, the open source model has transformed development by providing faster demand-side learning, higher quality, better security, shorter development cycles, and lower prices than closed platform development models. OSDL and the FSG were important forces behind open source adoption and played key roles in preventing fragmentation of the Linux market.
For Linux to remain open and attain the greatest ubiquity possible, important services must be provided, including legal protection, standardization, promotion and collaboration. Successful proprietary software companies, for instance, do several important things well: backwards compatibility, promotion, interoperability, developer support, and more. In the voluntary and distributed world of Linux development, the industry continues to successfully use the consortia model to rapidly improve these value attributes for Linux. The Linux Foundation has been founded to help close the gap between open source and proprietary platforms, while sustaining the openness, freedom of choice and technical superiority inherent in open source software.
The Linux Foundation’s Activities
The Linux Foundation does not build Linux, nor does it compete with existing Linux companies. Rather it fosters the growth of Linux by focusing on the following areas:
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 Linux Foundation also manages the Linux trademark (www.linuxmark.org) and offers developers legal intellectual property protection through such initiatives as the Open Source as Prior Art project (www.osapa.org), the Patent Commons www.patent-commons.org), and sponsorship of the Linux Legal Defense Fund.
A platform is only as strong as the applications that support it. The Linux Foundation offers application developers standardization services and support that make Linux an attractive target for their development efforts. These include the Linux Standard Base (LSB) and the Linux Developer Network. All major Linux distributions comply with the LSB.
The Linux Foundation serves as a neutral spokesperson to advance the interests of Linux and respond with authority to competitors’ attacks. It also fosters innovation by hosting collaboration events among the Linux technical community, application developers, industry and end users to solve pressing issues facing the Linux ecosystem in such areas as desktop interfaces, accessibility, printing, application packaging, and many others.
The merger is pending ratification by the two organizations’ respective memberships and is expected to be completed in early February.
Support for The Linux Foundation
“As partner organizations, OSDL and FSG helped Linux achieve its current success,” said Masatoshi Yoshida, general manager, Linux Software Development Division, Fujitsu Limited. “Since Fujitsu is promoting Linux for enterprise computing systems and has been a member of both OSDL and FSG, we look forward to working together with the unified Linux Foundation along with the Linux Community in order to build and cultivate an even more stable ecosystem for the thriving operating system.”
“The new Linux Foundation will integrate and advance the activities that have been the most important to OSDL and FSG members. We expect The Linux Foundation will advance the Linux/OSS ecosystem and we look forward to working on key activities including standardization,” said Kazuhiro Fujisaki, general manager, Platform Software, Hitachi, Ltd., Software Division.
“HP has been a long-time member of both OSDL and FSG, and is proud to continue supporting the advancement of Linux and open source as a founding Board member of the Linux Foundation,” said Christine Martino, vice president, Open Source and Linux Organization, HP. “Vendors, developers and customers alike will stand to benefit from the efforts of the Linux Foundation as it works to address the most pressing legal, technical and marketing issues within the community.”
“The open movement is entering a new era with Linux and Open Source technologies having become a pervasive presence in the IT market,” said Daniel Frye, vice president, Open Systems Development, IBM. “Today’s merger represents a milestone in the maturity of Linux and Open Source. Linux has evolved from an emerging technology to an unstoppable force for customer innovation in worldwide markets.”
“The formation of the Linux Foundation is a natural evolution of OSDL and the FSG and reflects the maturity of Linux,” said Doug Fisher, Intel vice president and general manager of the company’s System Software Division. “Bringing together the expertise and best practices from each organization will further raise the level on which Linux will serve customer needs moving forward.”
“NEC expects the Linux Foundation will lead important activities for ensuring Linux interoperability among distributions and for bridging vendors to the open source development community,” said Yoshikazu Maruyama, senior vice president, NEC Corporation. “NEC has been an active Linux community member and will continue by working closely with the Linux Foundation and our colleagues from other organizations.”
“Interoperability and standardization are critical to the success of Linux. The Linux Foundation’s efforts on standards and certification, its legal and community activities, and its advisory councils will provide important benefits to our customers and the Open Source community,” said Markus Rex, vice president, Services Strategy for Novell and a board member of both the FSG and ODSL. “The fact that Novell was a founding member of the FSG and the sole major commercial Linux distributor in OSDL, combined with our historical record in early adoption and certification of the LSB, demonstrate the commitment we place on standardization to prevent fragmentation. This makes it easier for our customers to adopt Linux with confidence.”
“The Linux Foundation has successfully prioritized the most important work for collaboration among industry participants in this new stage of growth for Linux,” said Wim Coekaerts, vice president, Linux engineering, Oracle. “We are excited to work with the Foundation and other colleagues to be a part of this new day for Linux and open source software.”
“We expect the Linux Foundation will provide a business infrastructure that delivers high value to industry and community,” said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering, Red Hat. “We look forward to being involved in the Linux Foundation.”
About the Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. Founded in 2007 by the merger of the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group, it sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and is supported by leading Linux and open source companies and developers from around the world. The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms. For more information, please visit www.linux-foundation.org.
Trademarks: The Linux Foundation, OSDL, Free Standards Group, and Linux Standard Base are trademarks of The Linux Foundation. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the property of their respective holders.