Why the Linux Foundation Works (and Why the OSDL Failed) [VIDEO]

Linux FoundationFrom the ‘It’s not about the money’ files:

Not all Open Source foundations are created equal. Over the last 15 years that I’ve been actively engaged in open source activities I’ve seen more than my fair share of open source foundations go bust. I’ve also seen a few do really well.

Remember the OSDL?

The OSDL was the pre-cursor to the Linux Foundation. It was an organization that I personally never really liked and neither did Oracle. Back in 2006, Wim Coekaerts (then the Director of Linux Engineering at Oracle) told methat OSDL was all about business and Oracle knew how to deal with the Linux community on its own.

Coekaerts in 2007 become an instrumental part of building the Linux Foundation, serving on its Board of Directors.

So when I recently sat down with Coekaerts last month and five years after the formation of the Linux Foundation, I asked him if the Linux Foundation was working.

The short answer is: YES.

The OSDL in Coekaerts view was presenting the business side of Linux and implied that they could get things done in Linux for business. In contrast the Linux Foundation and its leader, Executive Director Jim Zemlin doesn’t do that.

Coekaerts said that Zemlin and the Linux Foundation’s approach is all about helping Linus Torvalds and the Linux community in creating a better ecosystem for Linux.

That’s what makes a great open source foundation. It’s about enabling people to collaborate and get involved for common purposes. As Coekaerts tol me, it’s still about people working together, which is in start contrast to how the OSDL operated.

“OSDL — they couldn’t care less about community, it was a business,” Coekaerts said.

Watch the full video below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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