There are two developments announced in press releases of interest to the FOSS community. One is the announcement of the members of the first board of directors for the Linux Foundation, and the second is about Oracle signing a patent license agreement with Open Invention Network, which is very good news.
I'll reproduce the Linux Foundation info in full, so you can see who is representing your interests.
Well. The release says the board is "a diverse group that represents the key stakeholders from every corner of the Linux ecosystem: the Linux kernel community, Linux vendors, distributions and users, as well as individual open source leaders."
HP, IBM, Novell, Oracle, AMD, Fujitsu, NEC, NetApp, Hitachi, and Intel are all there on the board. Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu fame is on the board, as is Andy Updegrove. I see people I trust and respect on the board, without question, but I see no one that represents end users directly, unless they mean *corporate* end users, like Bank of America. Perhaps they define end users the way SCO did, those with deep pockets, and kernel contributors as corporate contributors. What I see represented are Linux vendors and distributions, which is fine, but they probably need to edit that press release. And where is Red Hat? A Linux foundation board without the number one player in the Linux space?
This move by Oracle makes me more inclined to believe that Oracle is really serious about helping Linux. Open Invention Network patents are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux environment, so by signing with OIN, Oracle is demonstrating a commitment to the goal of building that environment. Of course, Novell did a lot for OIN, and then it turned around and signed the controversial patent deal with Microsoft, so aptly described as eating a bug for money. I note that the latest numbers, according to Matt Asay's reading of a Yankee Group survey, indicate to him that Novell is *dividing* the Linux market, not growing it. The winner is Microsoft. Surprise. Surprise.
Here's the OIN license agreement, if you'd like to read it. Here's what Jerry Rosenthal, CEO of OIN, said about the Oracle deal:
“We are very pleased to have Oracle become a licensee of Open Invention Network’s patents,” said Jerry Rosenthal, chief executive officer of Open Invention Network. “Oracle is the global leader in enterprise software. It is a prime example of forward-thinking companies that understand the value inherent in the openness and collaborative culture of the Linux community. OIN has and will continue to acquire intellectual property that will protect Linux developers, distributors and users, today and years into the future.”
I must add, however, since truth is the goal here at Groklaw, that corporate members of the community do need to let go of anti-Red Hat, antiGPL moves, in order to fully qualify for entry into the "collaborative culture." It's not the FOSS way. One competes in the FOSS community on excellence, and the phrase "collaborative culture" means exactly that. Corporate proprietary ways don't play well in the community, and there will be endless strife until corporate members figure out the culture, instead of trying to rip it off or force it to change. Please remember that ethics are the value-add of FOSS. Don't pollute the stream. The community cares about the GPL and it cares about Red Hat, in large part because Red Hat respects the GPL. That will not change. And if I may say so, Novell could have avoided a lot of trouble if it had had the benefit of input from noncorporate community members before it signed on the dotted line, instead of after the fact. Just a suggestion.
Here's the important info from Linux Foundation's press release:
Linux Foundation Announces a Diverse Board of Directors to Represent the Linux Ecosystem
New LF board includes Linux kernel community, vendors, distributions, users, and open source leaders
BEAVERTON, Ore., March 27, 2007 – The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced its new board of directors, a diverse group that represents the key stakeholders from every corner of the Linux ecosystem: the Linux kernel community, Linux vendors, distributions and users, as well as individual open source leaders.
The management team and founding members of the LF carefully structured the board so that the multiple voices of the Linux ecosystem are included in its governance structure. That means that all LF membership classes are represented as well as individual affiliates.
“It is essential that the Linux Foundation’s board bring every Linux constituency’s issues and opportunities to the table,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “With leadership from the kernel, legal, user, distro and vendor communities, the Linux Foundation synthesizes the top priorities of its diverse constituencies to provide services that move Linux even further ahead in today’s competitive market. We have ensured that a diversity of interests is represented on our board.”
The Linux Foundation board of directors includes:
James Bottomley, Linux subsystem maintainer and vice president and chief technology officer at SteelEye. Bottomley is an active member of the open source community and maintains the SCSI subsystem, the MCA subsystem, the Linux Voyager port and the 53c700 driver. Bottomley is the LF’s Technical Advisory Board representative.
Wim Coekaerts, Linux VM tester and director of Linux engineering at Oracle. Coekaerts manages Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux strategy. His group is working on and contributing to the first Cluster File System to be accepted into the Linux mainline kernel in 2006.
Masahiro Date, general manager, Fujitsu. Masahiro Date is the general manager of Fujitsu and has been involved in operating systems at Fujitsu including development and development management of Fujitsu proprietary operating systems and Solaris and Linux. Mr. Date has been active in the Linux community for many years, including serving as director of OSDL and FSG.
Doug Fisher, vice president, Intel’s Software and Solutions Group (SSG) and general manager of SSG’s Systems Software Division. Fisher is a veteran IT executive with a rich history at HP and today at Intel. He leads a worldwide organization responsible for a wide range of software development, including Intel’s Linux and open source initiatives, and is the Intel corporate owner for virtualization.
Dan Frye, vice president, Open Systems Development, IBM. Frye is responsible for overseeing IBM’s Linux technical strategy and IBM’s participation in the open source Linux development community. He has also led IBM’s Emerging Technologies and Business Opportunities team and co-authored the original IBM corporate strategies for Linux and open source.
Tim Golden, senior vice president, Bank of America. For the past five years, Golden has worked exclusively with Linux and open source software and has led several enterprise-level solution architecture, risk management, and infrastructure lifecycle management initiatives. He is also affiliated with several community-based organizations, provides consultation to industry financial analysts and occasionally works for select clients as an Olliance Group senior consultant.
Hisashi Hashimoto, section manager, Hitachi. Hashimoto is responsible at Hitachi for both workstations and mainframes. He also works with the Open Source Software Technology Center and is responsible for collaboration with other vendors and the OSS community, including the work with the Open Source Software Promotion Forum in Japan.
Christine Martino, vice president of the Open Source & Linux Organization (OSLO), at HP. Martino is responsible for HP engineering, marketing, open source community participation and linkage, as well as HP’s Open Source and Linux indemnity and IP protection programs.
Marc Miller, open source software expert in the AMD Developer Outreach program. Miller is currently entering the seventh year of his tenure with AMD and is bridging a critical gap between industry-leading software development and cutting-edge microprocessor technology.
Brian Pawlowski, vice president and chief technology officer of Product Operations, NetApp. Pawlowski has been working on open protocols for storage since his earlier position at Sun Microsystems and was co-author of the NFS Version 3 specification.
Markus Rex, chief technology officer for the Linux and Open Source Group, Novell. At Novell, Rex is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the technology platform and providing insight and guidance to the product development organization.
Tsugikazu Shibata, senior manager, NEC. Shibata has an extensive background in the development and management of proprietary operating systems, including work with mainframes and super computers, and belongs to the Open Source Software Promotion Center of NEC where he works collaboratively with vendors and the open source community.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. Shuttleworth is founder of the Ubuntu Project, an enterprise Linux distribution that is freely available worldwide and has both cutting-edge desktop and enterprise server editions.
Andrew Updegrove, co-founder and partner, Gesmer Updegrove LLP.
Regarded as one of the most influential legal experts on open standards and how they relate to open source and IP, Updegrove has worked with more than 75 consortia, accredited standards development organizations and open source consortia, and has assisted many of the largest technology companies in the world in forming such organizations.
Christy Wyatt, vice president, Ecosystem and Market Development, Mobile Devices, Motorola. Wyatt is responsible for building a healthy software economy around Motorola’s handset platforms and for taking Motorola’s platform strategy to carrier partners. She leads teams charged with carrier market development, software alliances and the MOTODEV developer program.
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.