Sometimes a consortium can play a smaller supportive role that is really powerful. Helping people and organizations to pull together in the same direction can accomplish amazing things. It’s very gratifying.
The Linux Foundation, in concert with several well-known industry names (hint: they start with letters like I and G), has hired a key contributor to the Linux kernel  development community, the system administrator for kernel.org . It’s an important position. kernel.org is crucial to the Linux kernel’s collaborative development environment. It is the actual physical space — in cyberspace — where kernel developers get their work done. Without it, nothing happens.
What is kernel.org? It’s not for beginners, but it’s an essential resource for those perfecting the current and building the future versions of Linux itself. Keeping the kernel.org site running smoothly is crucial to connecting Linux’s famously geographically dispersed contributors. It is the primary site for the Linux kernel source and git, the distributed revision control / software management project created by Linus Torvalds. The site is mirrored around the world through the help of countless others. From the Kernel.org namespace you can jump to FAQs, mailing lists, site updates, comments, and a lot more.
Making sure that this resource is available is an under-appreciated but essential piece of the puzzle. Others in the industry saw this need and partnered with us to fund this full-time position.
Fundamentally, this is why the Linux Foundation exists: To provide (some of) the services that an open community needs but that no corporation could provide directly. We marshal the forces of our members — they would have a hard time hiring the person directly — who are extremely generous and supportive. That’s putting money where your mouth is. The model works.
John ‘Warthog9′ Hawley joined the kernel.org administrator team in 2005 as one of the five kernel.org administrators. Working on system operations, the wikis, the kernel.org Gitweb, the GeoDNS patches to ISC’s BIND name server and a number of other things for kernel.org. His other OSS exploits include working on Syslinux, OpenSSI, and PXE Knife a set of interfaces around common utilities and diagnostics tools needed by an average systems administrator. In his free time he enjoys cooking extravagant meals and watching bad movies.
I expect now that John is in a full time role there will be a long list of projects coming in from the kernel team.
Incidentally, Linux kernel developers may be flung far and wide around the globe most of the time, but a chunk of them with be in Portland, OR next week for the Kernel Summit 2008 . If you are interested in receiving information on the event, please contact angela (at) linux-foundation.org.