Open source groups to merge

The two main evangelisers of the Linux operating system, Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group are merging to form the Linux Foundation.

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The two main evangelisers of 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 to announce on Monday that they are in the final stages of combining their respective operations, according to Jim Zemlin, who will head the Linux Foundation. He had been FSG's executive director.

With Linux now an established operating system presence for embedded, desktop and server systems, the primary evangelising mission that the OSDL and FSG embarked upon in 2000 has come to an end, Zemlin said. The focus for the foundation going forward is on what the organisation can do to help the Linux community more effectively compete with its primary operating system rival Microsoft.

The combination of the two Linux consortiums 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 a be a long-term product for customers, the open source operating system needs 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 their applications so they can run on six to seven different distributions.

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