Linux Foundation November Newsletter

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In this month’s Linux Foundation newsletter:

* Linux Foundation publishes guide to participating in Linux community
* Linux valued at $10b by new Linux Foundation white paper
* Linux Foundation holds successful first End User Summit
* The flagship LSB portability tool Linux Application Checker is released
* The Linux Foundation launches Linux Developer Network beta
* CME Group, Nokia, and Canonical among many making membership moves
* Linux Fast Boot Developments

Popular Community Guide Gives Developers Roadmap to Kernel Development

In August, the Foundation released a new blueprint for developers who
wish to participate in the Linux kernel community written by Jonathan
Corbet. The publication, “How to Participate in the Linux Community,”
is available on the Linux Developer Network (LDN):

Readers of the guide will learn why contributing code to the mainline
kernel is desirable, how the contribution process works, and how to
avoid common pitfalls along the way. Since the Linux kernel depends on
outside contributions for its continued success, it’s important to
make participating in that community easy for new developers.

Press and blogosphere coverage of this publication was significant (it
still remains the most popular section on the LDN to date).
InformationWeek blogger Serdar Yegulalp had this to say: “The most
important thing I’m gleaning from this anecdote is how the kernel
folks and the audio developers were seeing the whole thing from two
entirely different perspectives. The audio folks were worried about
their corner of the world; the kernel staff had to worry about
Value of Linux? $10.8 Billion. Benefit for Users? Priceless.

Last month, the Foundation released a detailed study on the potential
value of the Linux operating system. “Estimating the Total Development
Cost of a Linux Distribution” updated a 2002 study by David A.
Wheeler, using his SLOCCount source counting application to estimate
what Linux would cost if someone were to attempt to develop it from
scratch today.

Co-authors Vice President, Marketing & Developer Programs Amanda
McPherson, Community Manager Brian Proffitt, and Sr. Specifications
Writer Ron Hale-Evans estimated that it would take approximately $10.8
billion to build the Fedora 9 distribution in today’s dollars, with
today’s software development costs. Additionally, it would take $1.4
billion to develop the Linux kernel alone. The paper, released last
month, is available at

“One important perspective to carry away from this report is the
astounding pace of Linux development… we’re looking at a
distribution that’s worth seven times what it was worth six years
ago,” O’Reilly’s Allison Randal wrote.

Linux Foundation Hosts Kernel Summit and Plumbers Conference
September saw two big kernel-oriented events held in the city of
Portland, Oregon.

The first was the annual Kernel Summit, an invitation-only meeting
where kernel developers talked over the kernel and future kernel
development. Linux Weekly News, as usual, provides excellent coverage
of the event (

If you are interested in the personalities and thoughts of the folks
who shape the Linux kernel, and could not get to the Summit, be sure
to visit the Kernel Summit 2008 Video page
( to
watch any of a series of 15 interviews with the movers and shakers of
the kernel, including Linus Torvalds.

Also that month, the Foundation collaborated with the organizers of
the Linux Plumbers Conference, a show targeted at Linux system
developers. Many technical talks were highlighted from this event,
including a mention in the New York Times about a fast-booting
demonstration: “A wholly different approach is taken by Arjan van de
Ven and Auke Kok, engineers at the Intel Open Source Technology
Center, who set out to create versions of Linux that boot up in only
five seconds, instead of the 45 normally required. They were also
determined to boot up with the main system, without relying on a
special subsystem like Express Gate. They succeeded, demonstrating
their feat at the Linux Plumbers Conference in September.”

End User Summit Brings Linux to Wall Street, Main Street
In October, the inaugural Linux End User Summit took place in New York
City. The Summit was attended by a who’s who of corporate end users.
Companies who attended included  CME, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group,
Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, Dreamworks, NYSE, Fidelity, UBS, NYPD,
MetLife, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Aetna, NAVTEQ, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and many more. Also in attendance were kernel developers and commercial vendors, with the goal of providing new lines of communication between all of these groups.

The two-day event demonstrated repeatedly a great desire on the part
of the end user community to understand how Linux works on a deep
technical level and how their companies can participate more in Linux
or benefit more from its features.

Keynotes for the event included a discussion from Anthony Williams,
author of Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, and
Jonathan Corbet, editor of Linux Weekly News and creator of the Linux
Weather Forecast. The first day was marked by several panel
discussions, which allowed attendees to get some specific questions
answered, such as how Linux fits in current enterprise operations and
how corporate end users can participate more in the Linux development

During these discussions, one prevalent theme that came up was a
certain level of hesitancy on the part of the end users to give back
code to the open source development community, because of fears that
returning code would reveal too much information to their competitors
on how they conducted their business practices.

One surprise during the conference was the attendance of the
conference by Canonical founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth, which led
to an impromptu panel presentation with him, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian,
and Red Hat President Paul Cormier. One attendee was heard to remark
that the cooperative nature of open source “had never been drilled so
strongly into me until I saw those three guys on stage together and
talking honestly about how they compete and help each other at the
same time.”

Linux AppChecker Tool Delivers Ease of Portability
A new addition to the LSB toolset is the Linux Application Checker
(AppChecker), a powerful new tool designed to help software developers
target Linux. It draws on the extensive testing framework developed by
the Russian Academy of Sciences and the LF. So what does the tool’s
functionality really mean to application developers who want to write
apps for Linux? In a few words: ease of portability.

Developers and pundits have noticed the capabilities of the
AppChecker, too. Steven Vaughan-Nichols gave the tool high marks over
at ComputerWorld: “It’s this AppChecker that I really love about the
forthcoming LSB 4. It’s easy to try to write to a standard. It’s a lot
harder to see if you actually pulled it off… This, if you’re an ISV
is beyond cool. This is a killer development application…”

Surrounding the LSB ecosystem is another tool designed to assist
application developers get the latest information on coding for Linux:
the Linux Developer Network. Launched as a beta in August, the LDN is
the online community for Linux application developers and independent
software vendors who want to start or continue their journey
developing applications for the Linux platform. In other words, if you
or your company wants to work with Linux, this is the place to be.

The LDN’s goal is to empower developers to target the Linux platform.
A platform is only as strong as the applications that run on top of
it, and the LDN wants to make sure those developers have everything
the need to successfully and cost-effectively target Linux. One of the
ways LDN will help developers accomplish this is to help them build
portable Linux applications.

LDN is also about giving developers the tools they need to create the
best Linux apps possible (including the popular AppChecker), no matter
which platform developers want to work with. Check it out at and see for yourself!
Growth Within the Linux Foundation 
2008 was a big growth year for the Linux Foundation in terms of
membership, with a strong list of companies and vendors joining the LF
or upgrading their LF member status.

The CME Group, the world’s largest and most diverse derivatives
exchange, has become a member of the Foundation. The parent company of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the CME Group has been recognized as one of the financial services industry’s biggest users of Linux. It
first realized the benefits of Linux in 2003 when it reported that by
using the operating system it would save significant costs, increase
reliability, and dramatically reduce the round-trip time of a trade
Another membership move was the announcement of Nokia becoming a Gold Sponsor of the Linux Foundation. The company cited its ongoing
participation on Linux kernel development, such as contributing code
to HSPA cellular connectivity for OMAP3 processor to Linux kernel as a
good reason to update its membership level in the LF.

Canonical, the commercial vendor of Ubuntu, a popular version of the
Linux operating system, joined the Linux Foundation this year.
Canonical supports a wide range of other open source projects
including Bazaar, Storm and Upstart. Ubuntu has become a popular
choice for the server and desktop as well as for the rapidly emerging
areas of netbooks and mobile Internet devices.

Black Duck Software attained membership this fall. Black Duck provides
solutions for software development teams and legal counsel to manage
the hybrid software development process, which involves the assembly
of internal software, open source software and other third-party code,
and will work with the LF and its members to collaborate on legal
programs that support software development including Linux and open

Untangle became the newest member of the Foundation. Untangle,
developers of the Open Source Network Gateway, joined the LF as a way
to further contribute to the open source community.

Other new membership announcements include: Texas Instruments, Adobe
Systems, and VMWare.

Linux Fast Boot Developments
This month, Executive Director Jim Zemlin
( shook up the IT
world with a simply stated and elegant truth: in 2009, there could be
more Linux desktops than Windows.

“For those that decry the constant prediction of the ‘year of the
Linux desktop’ I am happy to say that next year Linux may actually
ship on more desktops than Windows or the Mac. That is right, I said
next year. What is driving this? Two words: fast boot.

“Matt Richtell of the New York Times wrote a great article on Sunday
about the demand for faster start up times on computers. In the story
the chronicled how HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and a array of other PC
makers are starting to develop ‘machines that give people access to
basic functions like e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less.’
Here is the interesting part: Linux is providing that access…”