Open Source Developer Labs and the Free Standards Group announced that the are merging in to a single entity to be known as the Linux Foundation. OSDL scaled back operations in early December, 2006. OSDL, still employs Linux founder and advocate Linus Torvalds, the new group will employ about 45 full-time and contract workers. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Free Standards Group, has been named the Executive Director of the foundation.
OSDL was founded in 2000 and supported by a global consortium of major Linux customers and IT industry leaders. It is a nonprofit organization that provides state-of-the-art computing and test facilities to developers around the world. The Free Standards Group has overseen the Linux Standard Base, or LSB. LSB is an effort to stabilize the API between the operating system and higher-level applications so software runs seamlessly on different distributions of Linux. Bringing the two organization under one roof should provide a greater good than two separate organizations.
The new foundation has the backing of industry leading Linux supporters such as IBM, HP and Intel. However, to date, neither of the former groups had much support from Red Hat. Getting Red Hat on board will key in the success of the foundation.
The foundation has defined its goals as three separate areas of interest.
- Protecting Linux by sponsoring key Linux developers and providing legal services
Itâ€™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.
- 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 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.
- Providing a neutral forum for Collaboration and Promotion
The Linux Foundation serves as a neutral spokesperson to advance the interests of Linux and respond with authority to competitorsâ€™ 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 expected to be complete by early February.