The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. Founded in 2007, the LF 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.
The open source model has transformed software development by providing faster demand-side learning, higher quality, better security, shorter development cycles, and lower prices than closed platform development models.
For Linux to remain open and attain the greatest ubiquity possible, important services must be provided, including legal protection, standardization, promotion and collaboration. The Linux Foundation has been founded to help close the gap between open source and proprietary platforms, while sustaining the openness, freedom of choice and technical superiority inherent in open source software.
The Linux Foundation’s Activities
The Linux Foundation does not build Linux, nor does it compete with existing Linux companies. Rather it fosters the growth of Linux by focusing on the following areas:
Protecting Linux by sponsoring key Linux developers and providing legal services
It’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 and offers developers legal intellectual property protection through such initiatives as the Open Source as Prior Art project, the Patent Commons Project, 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 competitors’ 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.