Linux consortia merge to drive forward open source

The two main advocates for the Linux operating system, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG) are merging to form the Linux Foundation.

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The two main advocates for the Linux operating system, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG) are merging to form the Linux Foundation.

The two industry consortiums are in the final stages of combining their operations, according to former FSG executive director Jim Zemlin, who will head the Linux Foundation.

Linux is now an established operating system for embedded, desktop and server systems, so the main mission that the OSDL and FSG embarked on in 2000 had come to an end, Zemlin said. The focus for the foundation would be on helping the Linux community more effectively compete with its main operating system rival, Microsoft.

The combination of the two Linux organisations was "inevitable", said Michael Goulde, senior analyst with Forrester Research. "The challenge Linux faces is the same one UNIX faced and failed -- how to become a single standard."

If Linux is really to be a long-term product for users, the open source operating system needed to allow application developers to "develop once for Linux so their software can run on any distribution", he added. At present, Linux developers often are forced to tweak applications so they can run on six or seven different distributions.

Interoperability would be a key area to work on, along with backward compatibility between newer and older Linux releases, Zemlin said.

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