The Rise & Rise Of Linux Foundation

The decentralised and collaborative format of open-source projects has gained massive popularity among the developers’ community over the years. Further, an open-source project is cheaper, flexible, and inexpensive.

What started as an approach for building software has now parlayed into a movement. Open-source uses the values of the decentralised production model to remediate issues particular to communities and industries.

Open Source Development Labs and Free Standards Group merged to form the Linux Foundation at the turn of the millennium. Linux Foundation is a non-profit organisation to standardise Linux, support its growth, and encourage open-source software projects’ collaborative development.

Rise Of Linux Foundation

Open-source software has become the blueprint for building tech infrastructure, allowing companies to implement projects more efficiently at low costs, leading to an explosion of the enterprise software market.

Enterprise tech is undergoing a paradigm shift with companies pushing hard at digitalisation efforts, and open-source software is the turbine driving the transformation. As per a report, in 2019 alone, venture capitalists pumped a staggering $2 billion into open-source startups.

Linux Foundation has emerged as a clear beneficiary of this boom, creating a shared value of $54.1 billion from its community’s collective contributions.

Currently, Linux Foundation is handling over 100 projects across sectors, including artificial intelligence, networking, security, and autonomous vehicles. The organisation has further branched out into several subset foundations such as the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Open Source Security Foundation, and Cloud Native Computing Foundation. In terms of budget and reach, Linux Foundation is far ahead of its peers, including Eclipse Foundation and Apache Software Foundation.

“We are fixated on our mission: We want to create a shared technology investment, freely available to anyone at any time, permanently. We want to make sure we bring everybody into the part,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of Linux Foundation, in an earlier interview.

Facebook, IBM, Oracle, Huawei, and Microsoft pay a retainer fee of $500,000 retainer for the foundation’s platinum membership. 

Earlier, Microsoft and the foundation were at loggerheads over their diametrically opposite working philosophies. In the early 2000s, Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux a ‘cancer‘. To the surprise of market watchdogs, Microsoft buried the hatchet and came on board with the foundation. The move was totally out of the left-field, considering how Microsoft vehemently guards its proprietary software.

Big Tech Tie-Ups

The recent major tech collaborations with Linux Foundation include:

  • Linux Foundation recently joined hands with IBM and Call for Code to host seven open-source projects for racial justice to develop novel open source solutions based on artificial intelligence and cloud computing to combat systemic racism. The seven initiatives are: Fair Change, Take Two, Five Fifth Voters, Legit-Info, Incident Accuracy Reporting System, Open Sentencing, and Truth Loop.
  • Linux Foundation took the open-source Magma platform under its wings for building wireless networks. The goal is to create a ‘vendor-neutral governing structure’ to encourage more organisations to participate. Magma platform was originally developed by Facebook, and founding members include Arm, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, FreedomFi, Qualcomm. 
  • Linux Foundation inked a deal with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in February. Under this agreement, the United States Government project, ecosystem, and open community would be participating in accelerating innovation in AI, programmability, IoT, 5G, Edge computing, among others. The project will allow the US government to create the latest technology software with the open-source community’s support.
  • Google to appoint two full-time maintainers–Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor — to maintain and improve kernel security and associated infrastructure to ensure this open-source software project’s sustainability for the future.

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