Linux Foundation announces new board

The Linux Foundation, a merger of the two Linux operating system evangelizing consortiums, named its 15-person board of directors Tuesday

The recently formed Linux Foundation, a merger of two Linux evangelizing industry consortiums, named its 15-person board of directors Tuesday. Along with executives from IT firms, the board also features the founder of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, a leading end-user of open-source software, and a lawyer whose work is focused on consortiums and standards development.

The nonprofit Linux Foundation came into being in January through the combination of the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG). It has around 70 members including IT vendors, universities and end users.

With Linux firmly established as a leading operating system, the groups saw their old mission of spreading the word about Linux coming to an end and a need instead to concentrate their combined energies on helping the Linux community more effectively compete with Microsoft's Windows OS. As well as continuing to provide a safe haven for Linux kernel developers including the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, the consortium will increase the legal protection it offers developers and work on interoperability issues between Linux distributions.

In choosing a board, the organization tried to pick representatives across the Linux community, including developers, vendors and users, the Linux Foundation said in a release.

The 15 board members include Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu Project, Tim Golden, senior vice president at Bank of America, where he's headed up Linux and open-source software projects for the past five years, and Andrew Updegrove, the co-founder and partner at Gesmer Updegrove. Updegrove is recognized as a key legal expert on open standards and works frequently with open-source consortiums and standards bodies.

Board members include the heads of open-source and Linux development at Hewlett-Packard -- Christine Martino -- at IBM -- Dan Frye -- and at Novell -- Markus Rex.

The other board members come from Advanced Micro Devices, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Intel, Motorola, NEC, Network Appliance and SteelEye Technology.

Also on the board is Wim Coekaerts, director of Linux engineering at Oracle and the manager of the vendor's Unbreakable Linux strategy, which in October begun to include offering cut-price support to users of Red Hat's Enterprise Linux.

In other Oracle Linux news, the Open Invention Network (OIN) announced Tuesday that the database, applications and middleware vendor has become a licensee.

In November 2005, IBM, Red Hat and others formed OIN as an intellectual property company where they could acquire and pool patents and then ensure that the patents were available to the Linux community.

By becoming a licensee, Oracle will have access to OIN's 100-plus patents royalty-free after agreeing not to assert its own patents against the Linux operating system.

The Linux Consortium has something similar through the Patents Commons initiative that the OSDL embarked upon in August 2005. That initiative brings together software licenses and patents pledged to the open-source community into a central repository. While OIN actively goes out and collects patents, the Patents Common project has been more about encouraging patent donations.

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