Interoperability is a key area to work on, as is backward compatibility between newer and older Linux releases, Zemlin said. At the same time, the foundation will look to expand the legal protection it offers developers and continue to provide a "safe haven" for Linux kernel developers, including the creator of the operating system Linus Torvalds, he added.
Within the open source community, the establishment of foundations to act as focal points to work on particular areas of technologies is an ongoing trend, according to Zemlin. The intention is that the Linux Foundation will become the place to go to for Linux development in the same way that the Eclipse Foundation is already the centre of tools development, the Apache Software Foundation the hub of web server and middleware work and Mozilla Foundation the heart of browser and web interface creation, he said.
The OSDL and FSG always worked closely together and had discussed merging on several occasions, Zemlin said. However, the decision to merge wasn't related to the recent OSDL downsizing, he added. In early December, the OSDL announced plans to narrow its focus, after laying off just under a third of its staff and the resignation of chief executive Stuart Cohen.
There was a fair amount of overlap in members between the OSDL and FSG, Zemlin said. The Linux Foundation staffed by 45 full-time employees and contractors will begin life with some 70 members including software vendors such as HP, IBM, Novell, Oracle and Red Hat, as well as universities and end users. Zemlin is keen for the foundation to attract new members particularly among end users, government agencies and individual developers.
The foundation's web site is set to go live Monday and will provide an introduction to the new organisation and its goals as well as links to the technical work the OSDL and the FSG were engaged in which the Linux Foundation has pledged to continue.