FSG + OSDL = The Linux Foundation

The FSG and the OSDL announced today their merge to form a new foundation, The Linux Foundation.

According to Zemlin, the former FSG executive director, the Linux Foundation aims to “promote, protect, and standardize Linux”. To reach that aims, three main activities of the foundation are outlined: “Protecting Linux by sponsoring key Linux developers and providing legal services”, “Standardizing Linux and improving it as a platform for software development” and “Providing a neutral forum for Collaboration and Promotion”.

While the first part includes stuff like paying Linus Torvalds and supporting projects like patent-commons.org, the third part is about being a neutral platform for all supporting companies. Keep in mind that there are several companies around which are competitors, and also think of the many different Linux distributions, for example. The second part is about standardization and providing services like the Linux developer network.

Sounds interesting to me especially because now there really is one single entry point to start with Linux. This can help new developers or other interested people to find their way around in the Linux ecosystem. Also, there will be one main voice to speak for Linux which also helps not only while promoting but also while defending the ecosystem.

Another point of view about the new formed foundation can be found in an article by linux.com where besides Zemlin also Weiss, an analyst with the Gartner Group, is interviewed. He has a more critical point of view and mentions that the foundation could have “could have a lot of leverage and market influence” but also has to prove that it can develop these characteristics: “Within a few months, we should see very concrete types of objectives or missions in terms of what the organization chart is going to look like and what the priorities are. And when will they have goals in terms of what they are achieving? If you don’t hear from them for another 12-15 months, and they disappear into the woodwork, you can write them off.”

I really hope that the new foundation will be quite effective and fast developing at the beginning to find itself and to also be a vital part of the ecosystem. This is a great chance, and it should be used.