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Linux Foundation & Harvard Announce Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS) Contributor Survey

“Open source software is everywhere. Now, more than ever, we need to get a better understanding of it to help make it even more secure.” – David A. Wheeler, Director of Open Source Supply Chain Security, Linux Foundation

In 2020, given the wide proliferation of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS), we aim to identify how to improve security, including the sustainability of the FOSS ecosystem, especially the FOSS systems heavily relied upon by organizations worldwide.

To do this, the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have developed a survey for contributors to FOSS. If you contribute to FOSS, we would love for you to participate in our study. This voluntary survey takes around 15-20 minutes to complete and allows you to advocate for the FOSS projects you care about. 

Please participate now; we intend to close the survey in early August. In appreciation of your participation, we would like to offer our participants the option to have your name included in the overall results. If you opt to be attributed in the final report, you will still have the opportunity to keep your detailed survey responses confidential.

The CII takes a collaborative, pre-emptive approach for strengthening cybersecurity by improving open-source software security. We aim to support, protect, and fortify open software, especially software, critical to the global information infrastructure. We take a holistic view of security; we include security risks in critical projects that are inadequately sustained or vulnerable to supply chain attacks. We intend to use this survey information to help guide this approach.

To take the FOSS Contributor Survey, click the button below:

 

Why CII best practices gold badges are important

“A CII Best Practices badge, especially a gold badge, shows that an OSS project has implemented a large number of good practices to keep the project sustainable, counter vulnerabilities from entering their software, and address vulnerabilities when found.” – David A. Wheeler, Director of Open Source Supply Chain Security

Open source software (OSS) is now widely used by many organizations. But with that popularity, that means the security of OSS is now more important than ever. The CII Best Practices badge project — including its top-ranked “gold” badge — helps improve that security.

In June 2020, two different projects managed to earn a gold badge: the Linux kernel and curl. Both are widely depended on, and yet in many other ways, they are radically different. The Linux kernel has a large number of developers, and as a kernel, it must directly interact with a variety of hardware. Curl has a far smaller set of developers and is a user-level application. They join other projects with gold badges, including the Zephyr kernel and the CII Best Practices badge application itself. Such radically different projects managed to earn a gold badge and thus demonstrated their commitment to security. It also shows that these criteria can be applied even to such fundamentally different programs.

But what are these badges? A Linux Foundation (LF) Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) Best Practices badge is a way for Open Source Software (OSS) projects to show that they follow best practices. The badges let others quickly assess which projects are following best practices and are more likely to produce higher-quality secure software. It also helps OSS projects find areas where they can improve. Over 3,000 projects participate in the badging project, a number that grows daily.

There are three badge levels: passing, silver, and gold. Each level requires that the OSS project meet a set of criteria; for silver and gold that includes meeting the previous level. Each level requires effort from an OSS project, but the result is reduced risks from vulnerabilities for both projects and the organizations that use that project’s software.

The “passing” level captures what well-run OSS projects typically already do, and has 66 criteria grouped into six categories. For example, the passing level requires that the project publicly state how to report vulnerabilities to the project, that tests are added as functionality is added, and that static analysis is used to analyze software for potential problems. Getting a “passing” badge is an achievement, because while any particular criterion is met by many projects, meeting all the requirements often requires some improvements to any specific project. As of June 14, 2020, there were 3195 participating projects, and 443 had earned a passing badge.

The silver and gold level badges are intentionally more demanding. The silver badge is designed to be harder but possible for one-person projects. Here are examples of silver badge requirements (in addition to the passing requirements):

  • The project MUST have FLOSS automated test suite(s) that provide at least 80% statement coverage if there is at least one FLOSS tool that can measure this criterion in the selected language.
  • The project results MUST check all inputs from potentially untrusted sources to ensure they are valid (a whitelist) and reject invalid inputs if there are any restrictions on the data.

The gold badge adds additional requirements. Here are examples of gold badge requirements (in addition to the silver requirements):

  • The project MUST have a “bus factor” of 2 or more (a “bus factor” is the minimum number of project members that have to suddenly disappear from a project before the project stalls due to lack of knowledgeable or competent personnel).
  • The project MUST have at least 50% of all proposed modifications reviewed before release by a person other than the author.
  • The project MUST have a reproducible build. 
  • The project website, repository (if accessible via the web), and download site (if separate) MUST include key hardening headers with nonpermissive values.

Historically the LF has focused on getting projects to the passing level because projects not even at the passing level have a higher risk. But many projects are widely depended on or are especially important for security, and we love to see them earning higher-level badges.

Of course, a gold badge doesn’t mean that there are no vulnerabilities in the existing code, or that it’s impossible to improve their development processes. Perfection is rare in this life. But a CII Best Practices badge, especially a gold badge, shows that an OSS project has  implemented a large number of good practices to keep the project sustainable, counter vulnerabilities from entering their software, and address vulnerabilities when found. Projects take many such steps to earn a gold badge, and it’s a good thing to see.

We hope other projects will be inspired to pursue — and earn — a gold badge. Of course, the real goal isn’t a badge — the real goal is to make our software much more secure. But good practices can help make our software more secure, and we want to praise and encourage projects to have good practices.

For more background information on the best practices badge, see the presentation “Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) Best Practices Badge in 2019”.

OSS projects can go to the CII Best Practices badge website to begin the process of earning a badge. If you’re considering the use of some OSS, we encourage you to check that website to see which projects have earned a badge.

Those who wish to learn more are welcome to contact David A. Wheeler, Director of Open Source Supply Chain Security at The Linux Foundation, at dwheeler AT linuxfoundation DOT org.

Building a sustainable open source community: training and certifications

Training and professional certifications are an important part of how open source technologies establish themselves as industry-leading solutions and adopted in commercial ecosystems

Introduction

In an earlier piece, we discussed how, over the last 20 years, the Linux Foundation has grown from a single project, the Linux kernel, to an organization that has helped to convene and host hundreds of the world’s most important open source communities. 

The Linux Foundation’s support programs add value for our communities as they enable our projects to engage and grow a technology ecosystem worldwide.  

The Linux Foundation has over 1,600 member companies, representing 100% of the Fortune 100 tech and telecommunication firms, small businesses and startups, hundreds of end-user companies, and everything in between. It also has over 25,000 software developers contributing code, a shared investment that we estimate to be valued at $15.7B – and growing. Our hosted projects enable advancements in many technology areas and across many vertical industries, from security to networking, edge computing, cloud, automotive, blockchain, embedded systems, and web applications.

With the increased demand and adoption of open source technologies comes the desire for professionals with the skill sets to deploy, manage, and operate systems and support end-users. According to the Linux Foundation’s most recent Jobs Report, some key findings were revealed about open source employment opportunities:

Building a sustainable open source community: training and certifications

  • Hiring open source talent is a priority for 83% of hiring managers, a 7% increase from 76% in 2017. 
  • Hiring managers cited cloud (66%) as the technology most affecting their hiring decisions. Containers placed second at 57%, followed by security (49%) and networking (47%).
  • Finding the right mix of experience and skills is difficult for 87% of hiring managers. That included the 44% who rated it very difficult, a percentage that leaped from 34% in 2017.
  • Thirty percent of respondents working in open source technologies improved their ability to work on exciting projects, collaborate with a global community (19%), and work on the most cutting-edge technology challenges (16%). 

This report will be updated this autumn, and early indications show that these trends are accelerating given current market conditions.

The Linux Foundation provides a complete portfolio of support programs for training and certification, which align with the technologies that its communities develop. The support programs currently focus on eight primary domain areas:

  • Linux Internals
  • Open Source Developer Compliance
  • Systems Administration
  • Security 
  • Networking/Edge Computing
  • Cloud
  • Web Development
  • Blockchain

These programs are co-developed with the communities, and we add programs all the time as communities request support. 

Why training and certification are critical for open source communities

The Linux Foundation’s communities request support for training and certification because it creates a cadre of professionals that can implement solutions using their collaboratively developed technologies, with demonstrated expertise. Additionally, without trained and certified professionals, these technologies will face challenges achieving or scaling both industry adoption and commercial ecosystems supporting them. Having end-users adopt the technology, and commercial solution and support providers also provide a pipeline of future contributors back to the project’s codebase. As the open source technology is deployed, it gets tested, bugs are found, new features are requested, and all that feedback cycles its way into the upstream project, sustaining and making the project better for everyone dependent on its continued success.

For many open source projects, to gain adoption and generate a commercial support ecosystem, they will ultimately need to have training and certification programs. While this may sound similar to how other professional communities have matured and have become validated for developer and engineering certifications for commercial clouds and proprietary software systems, there are some important distinctions as to why a commitment to developing training and certification for open source technologies is critical to their long-term success.

The open source community works more organically and cyclically, which necessitates that a cadre of expertise is built for it not just to be deployed (as the commercial training and ecosystem have worked historically over the past 40 years) but also as part of its continuing development and for it and all of its participants to thrive. 

An open source software community develops software, and it gets deployed by professionals. Those professionals often eventually move on to different organizations and implement the same software. Those organizations will ultimately need more people to support deployments and write applications to extend and customize the software. These organizations also need system administration professionals and cloud providers to support solutions based on these open source software systems.

Why should communities create training and certification programs with the Linux Foundation? 

Straight from the source, and integrated into how communities are built and run. As the home of Linux and other major open source technologies, nobody is closer to these projects than The Linux Foundation itself — its training programs are uniquely integrated with our communities and projects. We understand how to align instruction with a community development model. Training is one of the support pillars that also enable the developers and engineers to focus on the open source project’s development and leave educating users and implementers of the code to the Linux Foundation’s training team. 

Accelerating community growth through free training. Thanks to our members’ support of the Linux Foundation and its projects, we are often able to provide free training courses from our communities. Free training is one of the fastest ways to bring more people into our open source communities as they learn, test, deploy and support solutions based on the open source technology, as they usually come back to offer suggestions, feedback, and fixes.

Vendor-neutral courseware. The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit organization and does not promote any particular commercial product, solution, or service.

Excess funds received go back to the project community. Although the Linux Foundation keeps pricing affordable and frequently offers further discounts, the overall program does generate a surplus. Since we are a nonprofit, the surplus is invested back into the open source community in a variety of ways: we provide scholarships to deserving individuals to become trained and certified at no cost, and the Foundation supports projects that are important to the world but do not receive individual or corporate financial support. Surplus funding is also used for linux.com as well as other digital assets and key initiatives such as CommunityBridge. 

Up-to-date Curriculum. Linux Foundation courses are current with the most recent version of the software or technology. As the host of many of the most critical open source projects that are continually changing, the Linux Foundation is in an excellent position to find experts and ensure the materials are maintained and updated alongside the project’s evolution. Additionally, enrolled students receive access to the latest course versions at no additional cost.

Current and cutting-edge technologies. The Linux Foundation hosts the fastest-growing and most influential open source projects and is the first to release courses about them. 

Expert instruction. The Linux Foundation’s courses are created and taught by some of the top developers and practitioners in open source, with decades of collective open source experience behind their belts and a deep familiarity with our open source communities.

Relevant material. The Linux Foundation’s courses are created using feedback from its massive community of open source practitioners and companies. Students can be confident that the topics they are learning are applicable in today’s business environment. Companies and organizations can integrate certifications in their hiring search and evaluations to find professionals with qualified skills.

Conclusion

With the most popular open source projects receiving upwards of 90% of their code from commercial companies, they are continually seeking trained people with the skills to deploy, support, and operate the open source technology. With Linux Foundation training, in most cases being free to access, our communities can efficiently train a vast ecosystem of people with skills companies are seeking to employ. The online delivery of our courses also makes our training accessible to people from low-income regions around the world, where access to training can provide a considerable boost to their career prospects.

Enterprises especially value certifications as evidence that employees are qualified and have demonstrated their expertise in a particular technology. Enterprises also want to train their existing employees on new technologies in an organized, efficient manner, which professional training courses can provide.

Offering training and certification is one of the best ways to scale any growing open source project community. For a project to continue growing and get more contributors involved, the community will need individuals to be able to gain an understanding of the project in a relatively quick and straightforward way. Our organized training curriculum was designed to fill this expertise gap.

The Linux Foundation’s training and certification offerings, combined with its community-organized events, provides a well rounded and neutral path to build skills and enable people to contribute back to its projects, sustaining their efforts into the future.

Building a successful open source community

Why do you need program management as part of your open source project? We asked a few of the Linux Foundation’s program managers to tell us how they each approach the task.

How does coordination and facilitation help improve my project? 

We tend to think of the primary goals of the Linux Foundation’s projects as producing open software, open hardware, open standards, or open data artifacts — the domain of participating programmers & engineers, system architects, and other technical contributors. 

However, successful projects engaging a broader ecosystem of commercial organizations, particularly when raising funds, benefit from active leadership besides pure technical contributions. Contributors often have work outside the project that often puts demands on their time. It takes real time to build and coordinate a commercial ecosystem, ensure stakeholders are engaged, recruiting and onboarding members, create a neutral governance culture (often amid competitors competing), and to keep various aspects of the ecosystem aligned such as when end users begin to participate.

Many Linux Foundation projects fundraise to provide resources for their community. This is an excellent benefit for the technical community when the business ecosystem comes together to invest and help the community obtain resources to build a thriving community and ecosystem. A typical fundraising model in our community is to offer an annual membership structure that provides a yearly fund for the project. 

The Linux Foundation’s approach to governance separates decisions about funds and business affairs from the technical project’s governance. The companies contributing money to a project’s fund can decide how those funds are spent and any related business decisions. The technical community can operate independently with open source best practices and continue to make decisions about what code to accept, how to build releases, etc. based on the technical merit of decisions in front of them and not based on what companies contributed funding.

We will always have representation from the technical community involved in the budget and business decisions to ensure funding decisions are well informed. This is how the Linux Foundation model preserves the development best practices of open source while enabling a community to benefit from the commercial ecosystem dependent on their work.

Guidance for your community

Within a technical project, there are roles for organizing how releases are built. Often some committers decide which code is accepted, and maintainers decide what to put into a release.  When scaling the project to create an ecosystem around it, there are other key roles and responsibilities that a project needs to stay on track and to continue to scale. These functions include:

    • Planning and Building.  Building a cohesive strategy is critical to the success of a project and requires investments in outcomes the core stakeholders want to see happen, and prioritize
    • Measuring KPIs. Tracking a project’s mission, goals, and objectives while moving those through the swim lanes is key to iterating on things that work and addressing things that don’t.
    • Facilitating. To be successful at facilitating, a coordinator must understand the landscape, and remain neutral. This can be difficult and is often the most challenging part of the job, NOT weighing in unless asked. 
    • Advising. Coordinators are a sounding board for these things with some expertise. To mature an organization, you must craft mechanisms for self-governance and sustainability.
    • Iterating and Reflecting. What happens along the way is that stakeholders in the community want to get things done — but when that happens without reflection, you lose sight of what and where you’re going. It’s essential to see the forest AND the trees, especially from an above-the-canopy view.

In the past, we have had a few communities with respected, neutral leaders who have provided these roles. The Xen Project is one example of a member of the community who has offered to perform this role for many years. There is a significant time investment from the community’s leadership to make it work, which is an excellent benefit for the community to have someone able and willing to spend their work time on this function. 

Many other projects are not able to find someone in the community to help. This is often where the Linux Foundation builds a support program to assist the projects we host that need help to obtain neutral coordination and facilitation professionals. We call the people who provide this support Program Manager (PM). PMs are often the first point of contact for community participants and potential members, and are usually involved in the following activities:

    • Program Managers help the governing and technical boards shape the project’s directions and goals. 
    • Program Managers will work with a project’s technical leadership to understand their technical goals. 
    • They work with the members to fill positions such as Chair and Treasurer and are involved with the voting process.
    • They ensure that both the governing and technical boards act within the agreed-upon guidelines of the project’s charter. 
    • They help onboard new members into the project community. 
    • They will engage resources from the Foundation’s Marketing, PR, Events, and Training teams to coordinate the support programs delivered for a project.  
    • Program Managers also oversee the delivery of other support programs provided by the Foundation and any services provided by vendors or contractors.
    • Program managers will pull in the Foundation’s IT service team members for a consultative discussion on the right development infrastructure, tools, and managed IT support programs based on the project community’s needs and roadmap. 
    • Program managers actively engage in community management and help the project’s leaders coordinate meetups, developer hackfests, and participation at events.

Setting strategic goals for your community

Identifying and articulating a project’s mission is essential with an open source project as it is with any business activity. Setting concrete goals enables the participants in a project to discuss and align around a single narrative that can guide their activities and inform decisions. 

Program Managers work with the project’s membership and technical leadership to define a strategy with goals, milestones, and metrics for the project. They coordinate discussions to assist the governing board in coming to a consensus on a budget that supports the technical community’s needs and aligns with the project strategy. 

For open source, very often, the goals include maximizing a project’s footprint in order to help the most people. Goals are often articulated to a fine granular level — enabling contributors to engage more easily, growing the membership from a particular sector of the ecosystem, or increase contributions from end users. 

The CHAOSS project is a community focused on defining community metrics around engagement, risks, etc. that are often helpful to project leaders in setting and establishing goals for measurably improving their ecosystem. 

Implementing a project lifecycle for your community

Open source projects often have subprojects and various efforts to innovate on new ideas that may not be ready to be included in an official release or as their independent release. We often refer to these communities as using an “umbrella” model with several coordinated sub-projects within the community. Within an umbrella community, the projects will typically follow a lifecycle. The lifecycle generally follows a path from imagination to planning to initial execution, expansion, and eventually maintenance and eventual retirement. 

Program managers often work with the technical leadership to codify this lifecycle according to milestones so that participants in the project can immediately understand where a project stands in terms of maturity and resources. CNCF, for example, has project phases that include Sandbox, Incubation, and Graduation. OpenJS Foundation has project phases that include Incubation, At-Large, Growth, Impact, and Emeritus, which map to the needs of their community.

A project lifecycle is an essential tool for a foundation to signal the maturity of multiple projects and identify for the community what the path towards a fully mature project requires. It is both a pathway and a signal, noting that projects grow and change, and what the community thinks a project should rely on to guide itself. 

In most projects, there is an entry-level, a mid-level, and a graduate level. The entry-level projects indicate a promising start for an emerging project and something to be considered. Mid Level projects show growth and development for an audience that might consider using this project, and graduated projects indicate full maturity and a project that many in the ecosystem rely upon.

“Within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the various project stages have been beneficial for encouraging projects to grow, not only from a development standpoint but from a community standpoint. A project looking to graduate has to demonstrate both a strong codebase and a strong community.”

Amye Scavarda Perrin, CNCF Program Manager

Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) Program Manager Trishan De Lanerolle notes how the Technical Advisory Council plays an active role in a project’s lifecycle management:

“Linux Foundation Networking project (LFN) technical leadership (Technical Advisory Council) developed and published a model that lays out criteria and checkpoints for projects in various stages of maturity, including an LFN Entry review and evaluation for new candidate projects to the LFN umbrella. The entry process provides a mechanism to amicably and fairly assess upcoming projects. In LFN, that entails asking whether a proposed project: falls within the LFN scope, provides a snapshot into the status or health of the community, and ensures the project’s documented governance is clear, complete, and easily accessible.”

Through facilitating the work of the Strategy Subcommittee, whose primary goal is to assist the Governing Board with developing and implementing Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) strategic planning, Program Manager Dan Lopez was able to guide CDF toward sustainable, long-lasting strategic goals. 

“The immense value of a Program Manager lies in their ability to foster a space for progress to happen. It’s not their role to necessarily make the tough decisions, but rather be the ‘glue’ of a program, ask the tough questions, and spark inspiration and critical thinking within their stakeholder group to create, in this case, sustainable goals that will create long term value for the CDF,”

Dan was able to approach strategic planning, as a neutral party who understood the landscape of the CDF, and assist the Governing Board in creating well-aligned goals that mapped to key performance indicators that can be measured and managed over time. 

The importance of open governance in your community

The Program Manager is also a vital member of the leadership team, working collaboratively to facilitate and operationalize the wants, needs, and priorities of the governing bodies. Each Linux Foundation Program Manager works with each project community to establish a transparent, open governance model for the technical community.

In open governance, a project is managed by a group of people representing the stakeholders in a project — generally project members and leaders of the project’s technical efforts. The concept of conducting a major technical effort using an open form of governance, in which all stakeholders’ needs must be addressed, and people are required to cooperate to get work done, is founded on the basic concept of democracy. It differs from closed or proprietary governance due to the transparency and coordination required to reach consensus.

Open governance provides a balance that can never be found in a proprietary, restrictive environment — the dynamics of that activity drive creativity and innovation, and significantly increase the speed of development. Program managers and community managers often guide these processes and help keep governance bodies on track with each other.

DPDK’s Program Manager Trishan de Lanerolle discusses how his project is divided into two bodies of equal responsibility:

“DPDK is one model of open governance, with co-equal governing bodies; the Governing Board has ownership and oversight, over budget, marketing, lab resources, administrative, legal, and licensing issues, and a Technical Board with ownership and oversight on technical issues including approval of new sub-projects, deprecating old sub-projects, the project’s technical roadmap, recruiting maintainers, defining the processes for contributing, testing, and managing security. The Technical Board comprises individuals from various organizations, that are not necessarily corporate members of the project, recognized for their technical contributions. The governing board comprises representatives from member organizations, who financially support the project, working hand in hand to make the project mission a reality.” 

Other projects, such as LF Energy, take a somewhat different path towards how their governance is structured. 

LF Energy represents an example of open, representative governance within a rapidly growing open source foundation. LF Energy has a board of directors, like most foundations, made up of Premier members, and includes a representative from the General members and a representative from the Technical Advisory Council (TAC), which is made up of technical project leaders. No single company has more than one representative on the board, which provides corporate as well as cultural diversity and voices from all over the industry, not just focused on one niche. 

The Linux Foundation’s neutral program management support program can help

Active program management and program management support is one of the main reasons why open source projects join an organization like the Linux Foundation. Our program management professionals provide a unique set of operational skills and capabilities that nearly all of our projects take advantage of — which is to offload operational and facilitation work from the community. 

In summary, a successful project should have community coordination and program managers that can plan and build, that can measure a project’s performance, that can act as prime facilitators and advise, and can help project stakeholders iterate and reflect to learn from their experiences in order to move a project forward.

“Managing Open source projects can be compared to nurturing a young sapling as it grows into a mature, healthy tree — or in this case, a community. Our job is to supply it with the right balance of nutrients and conditions for successful growth. Following proven governance models with strategic program management, helps increase the odds of nurturing a healthy community. Program Managers help clear the path, allowing communities to focus on the code and achieving technical goals. We are horticulturalists, toiling away in the background, and if we are doing our job correctly, you shouldn’t notice us.” 

Trishan de Lanerolle, Technical Program Manager & Community Architect, LF Networking

In 2020, we want to learn from best practices in how companies create effective open source strategies, how their open source programs are structured, and how they measure success.

The TODO Group is a set of companies that collaborate on practices, tools, and other ways to run successful and productive open source projects and programs.

Open source program offices help set open source strategy and improve an organization’s software development practices. Every year, the TODO Group performs a survey to assess the state of open source programs across the industry, and today we are happy to launch the 2020 edition.

Last year, over 2,700 people participated in the survey. As a result, we were able to learn: 

  • Adoption of open source programs and initiatives is widespread and goes beyond early adopters and; 
  • Hiring of open source developers is a prominent concern, and; 
  • Companies value their open source foundations

In 2020, we want to learn from best practices in how companies create effective open source strategies, how their open source programs are structured, and how they measure success.

We are also asking how macroeconomic conditions and COVID-19 are affecting open source. Survey closed.

Virtual event suggestions for open source communities

Introduction

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every aspect of life across every population and industry around the globe, numerous conferences, events, and meetings have been canceled or postponed. The Linux Foundation events team has been working in overdrive negotiating to cancel or postpone events that were or are impossible to operate this year safely. The health and safety of our communities and staff is our top concern.

The good news is that for those events that can no longer safely take place in person, virtual events still offer the opportunity to connect within our communities to share valuable information and collaborate. While not as powerful as a face-to-face gathering, a variety of virtual event platforms available today offer a plethora of features that can get us as close as possible to those invaluable in-person experiences. Thanks to our community members, we’ve received suggestions for platforms and services that the events team has spent the past several weeks evaluating. 

After researching a large number of possibilities over the last few weeks, the Linux Foundation has identified three virtual event platforms (and a small-scale developer meeting tool) that could serve the variety of needs within our diverse project communities. Our goal was to determine the best options that capture as much of the real-world experience as we can in a virtual environment for virtual gatherings ranging from large to small. After evaluating 86 virtual event platforms, and in the spirit of contributing back, we thought we would share what we learned.

Below is the shortlist of platforms we’ve identified for our potential use, based on which offered features that best replicate our in-person events of different sizes. We’re sharing our findings because these learnings might be a good fit for others in our community, or perhaps save you time looking at options. If you’re evaluating any platform, be prepared to spend a few weeks getting conversations started with salespeople, viewing demos, obtaining pricing, and negotiating features.

Why we chose the platforms listed

There are many virtual conferencing solutions offered in the market today. Each solution varies on price, features, scalability, and technology integration points. The list of every single platform and software solution we looked at, including open source-based solutions, can be viewed here. One of these other solutions might be a better fit for your organization’s needs. 

Finding a virtual event platform, however, is also just one piece of the virtual event puzzle. How you plan, structure, and execute the virtual event will be critical to achieving a successful community engagement. We stumbled across this great Guide to Best Practices for Virtual Conferences put together by the ACM Presidential Task Force, which we thought provided some great practitioner tips for communities running virtual events. 

Our goal was to find solutions for our events team that met the following three requirements: 

    • The ability to deliver the required content
    • The ability for attendees to network and collaborate with each other
    • The ability to deliver sponsor benefits in the platform for those companies supporting these events financially

Due to these requirements, we did not focus as much on web conference solutions, such as the now popular Zoom. However, if you are looking for a simple web solution, many of the typical web conferencing platforms are easy, quick options to set up a small virtual gathering. In many cases, you might not need all the features of the virtual events platforms.

There are even some wonderful open source options out there including:

    • Jitsi Meet, which has some very useful features like streaming, screen sharing tabs, sharing videos, and more that are not found in other solutions.
    • Open Broadcaster Software if you’re looking to record and stream session content, which can also be usefully paired with conferencing tools.
    • EtherPad, which many of our communities use and it’s exciting to see that there’s also video support to connect and talk while editing.
    • Big Blue Button that’s designed for teachers and students, but open source for anyone to use (and we know many of you have kids at home and might find this useful).

Linux Foundation virtual event platform shortlist

These tools are designed for medium to large events with multiple concurrent tracks, in-depth attendee networking and collaboration needs, and robust sponsor requirements. The pricing for each of these will depend on the specific event details, such as number of conference tracks, the number of chat rooms/attendee collaboration spaces, length of the event, number of attendees, and number of sponsor booths.

All of these event platforms (with the exception of QiQo Chat) have all the following standard functionality:

    • Web-based (HTML5) supporting Linux desktops/browsers (and also Windows and Mac)
    • Registration integrations that will comply with GDPR and privacy regulation requirements
    • Webhooks or REST APIs to integrate with security systems like SSO (Auth0) and SFDC.
    • Can be white labeled for your community’s event branding
    • Speaker Q&A chat available within sessions
    • Attendee networking capabilities
    • Integrated scheduling tools and agenda builder
    • Attendee analytics: booths visited, session attendance, etc.
    • Gamification options to drive attendee engagement
    • Pop-up notifications throughout the platform (‘Keynotes starting in 5 minutes!’, ‘Visit [Sponsor’s] booth’)
    • Guaranteed uptime, redundancies and autoscaling

inXpo Intrado

Best for large events with high budgets requiring a virtual conference experience with few compromises.

InXpo Intrado has robust hosting capabilities and uses hyper-scale cloud providers for its infrastructure to provide highly reliable and resilient performance. The company uses its own platform for session broadcast and integrates with third-party CRM and registration platforms. It offers 3D virtual environments throughout the platform as well as robust attendee networking options and sponsor benefits, including virtual booths. 

Benefits:

    • Extremely customizable, very immersive event experience. 3D environments & virtual booths (VR representation of physical world exhibit hall that looks like a video game)
    • A good user interface for attendees to access all content
    • No limit on concurrent sessions or live sessions so you will not have to worry about maxing out session/attendee capacities on this platform
    • The solution provider uses its own network infrastructure backbone that is fault-tolerant enough to support 98% of 911 call centers in the US
    • Real-time translation and closed captioning capabilities without requiring third-party platforms or plugins
    • Works from within China — used by Chinese companies to run in-country virtual events
    • Extra layer of attendee privacy protection with optional ‘pop up’ message for attendees to confirm before sponsors can gather any information about the attendee

Additional Considerations:

    • One of the most expensive platforms we evaluated
    • Potential longer turnaround time needed for event onboarding and setup
    • Sponsor booth templates are customizable for a fee
    • Does not allow you to plug in your own open source video streaming/video conferencing solution

MeetingPlay

Best for any size event where attendee networking tools are a priority and sponsor ‘booths’ aren’t required.

This platform can accommodate events of all sizes but does not have a 3D virtual exhibit hall/booth capability. That said, the sponsor benefits built into this platform are robust, and they have excellent attendee networking capabilities. You can use Meeting Play’s own integrated video conferencing solution for content delivery, or use your own. 

Benefits:

    • Heavy focus on “attendee” experience
    • AI-driven content, chat room and attendee suggestions — based on initial questions you can customize and ask of all participants
    • Allow for gated content with in-app registration upgrade options (freemium model) similar to offering a free “hall pass” and then requiring a higher registration to attend sessions
    • Sponsor pages are very robust offering sponsors the ability to chat 1:1 with attendees, show videos/demos, sharing resources, and more
    • Option to use MeetingPlay integrated video streaming solution, or the one of your choice via your own account
    • Works from within China — they support a number of customers in China and have virtual machines in-country that they use to test before going live for an event

Additional Considerations:

    • No 3D virtual exhibit hall or booth — sponsors receive a dynamic page that allows for real-time chat with attendees, downloadable resources, and a video player for demos or welcome videos
    • Looks more like a website rather than a virtual event
    • Only 2 concurrent live sessions at a time w/out additional fee. They recommend pre-recording most sessions and playing “simulive” (meaning it is played at a specific time, and speakers join real-time to do a text-based Q&A.) The platform has a limit of 8 concurrent live sessions at any one time
    • Collaboration spaces (used for sponsor booths, attendee ‘meeting rooms’ and any live sessions that have multiple speakers or require a two-way communication) are charged by the hour and by the number of attendees, which makes using these freely a bit difficult

QiQo Chat

QiQo is best for smaller technical gatherings that don’t need all the bells and whistles of an industry event focus. This is a great option for a focus on small group collaboration, such as developer meetings and hackathons.

QiQo acts as a Zoom wrapper for attendees collaboration and session broadcasting and is ideally suited for smaller events that have a more narrow focus, where communication and collaboration needs are more back and forth, versus one-way delivery. One unique feature of QiQo is it offers the ability to collaborate on Google Docs and Etherpad as both are both integrated into QiQo’s interface. 

Benefits:

    • Inexpensive
    • An affordable option for small meetings that only need an elevated video conferencing option for collaboration. Each live event on Qiqo comes with 10 Zoom breakout rooms by default
    • Great for small group collaboration in multiple workspaces – as a Zoom wrapper, it creates more of a virtual environment around an event with multiple breakout rooms for discussions
    • Includes a large number of built-in integrated tools for collaboration and productivity: Slack, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Etherpad
    • While Zoom is their default, their support team will work with you to set this up with Jitsi or another video conferencing solution of your choice
    • Works from within China depending on webcasting platform availability

Additional Considerations:

    • Simple Zoom wrapper to add collaboration features on top of Zoom – can be used with other video conferencing tools as well
    • Very limited sponsor elements
    • A little more challenging interface and workflow than other options — a lot of options, but definitely let ‘out of the box’
    • Minimalistic approach for collaboration

Conferencing platform feature comparison

Conferencing platform feature comparison

Screenshots gallery

Conclusion

With over 40 events remaining this year under the Linux Foundation umbrella of events, we have several conferences that might go virtual. Each of these will have different requirements, so to support our diverse communities, we needed a range of options and features. We do think that this portfolio of options together meets most of our various community needs, and we hope you find value in us sharing them, along with the list of all the other platforms we examined.

FINOS Joins the Linux Foundation

Introduction

This week we are excited to announce that FINOS, the Fintech Open Source Foundation, is joining our Linux Foundation community of projects. With critical financial services projects under its stewardship, FINOS has become the hub for open collaboration in the financial services industry. FINOS serves similar needs to other vertical industry communities at the Linux Foundation, such as the Academy Software Foundation focused on the motion picture industry, Automotive Grade Linux focused on the automotive industry, and others. With FINOS at the LF, we are excited for the many cross community collaboration opportunities. 

What is FINOS and What Challenges is it Helping Financial Services Firms Address?

FINOS’  purpose is to accelerate collaboration and innovation in financial services technology through the adoption of open source software, standards and best practices.

FINOS is composed of over 30 member organizations, developing software and standards for data and data technologies, cloud services, financial desktop applications, and more. It is unique among open source foundations in that it is an open community for financial services and fintech firms to address unique industry challenges, as opposed to being horizontal across industries.

Financial services firms face unique obstacles to open source collaboration, including legal & regulatory concerns, internal policies, cultural friction, and heavily restricted technology environments. FINOS is a path to working outside corporate boundaries with others in the industry that are trying to solve the same problems.

In order to more efficiently leverage open source, FINOS supports its members every step of the way starting with its Open Source Readiness Project, providing guidance and tools for financial services participants new to open source. 

In addition to providing reference guides and policy templates that financial organizations may use in adopting open source software, FINOS provides tools that include frameworks and underlying shared code for creating the foundational backbone & infrastructure, middleware, data and application layers for open source financial applications. 

To assist in the consumption of these tools, FINOS also runs regular readiness meetings to help financial services organizations discuss common challenges, share successful experiences and more broadly prepare for the adoption of open source software.

Why Does the Financial Services Industry Need Open Source Software and Organizations Such as FINOS? 

As with other vertical industries, the financial services industry can realize the same benefits by adopting open source technologies. This is achieved by reducing overall total cost of ownership by sharing the development of common software components and underlying technology infrastructure through mutualization — this allows financial services and fintech firms to quicken their time to market for their services and product offerings and improve overall software quality. 

Having a broader pool of developers working on open source financial software enables financial services companies to attract and retain talent from a larger pool. Embracing open source software also allows IT stakeholders and decision-makers in financial services organizations to de-risk software investments by reducing vendor lock-in, and fostering internal and external re-use of software components. 

Additionally, open software and open standards can dramatically simplify workflow integration and improve interoperability between financial institutions, counterparties, and even regulators. This increases firms’ ability to meet rapidly changing client and regulatory needs more quickly and seamlessly.. Ultimately, FINOS seeks to create a “build once” approach to many aspects of financial technology solutions and leverages its community experts and active board-level engagement  from a wide range of prominent leaders within finance. 

Finally, it enables financial and technology firms working in this space to learn about high-value and industry-wide business challenges that can inform and validate product and project roadmaps.

FINOS Project Highlights

The value of FINOS is expressed through its many programs and services, which include, but are not exclusive to these open source software and open standardization projects:

The FINOS open source software project landscape. Image Credit: FINOS

The FINOS open source software project landscape. Image Credit: FINOS

FDC3: Launched in 2017 by OpenFin in collaboration with major industry participants, FDC3’s mission is to develop specific protocols and taxonomies to advance the ability of desktop applications in financial workflows to operate in a plug and play fashion, without prior bilateral agreements. Under the neutral FINOS umbrella, and now the Linux Foundation, FDC3 is now widely adopted and has received contributions from several banks, buy-side firms, consultancies, and financial technology vendors.

A sample FDC3 application.

A sample FDC3 application. Image Credit: FINOS

Plexus: Contributed to FINOS in 2017 by Deutsche Bank and developed in the open as part of its production Autobahn platform, Plexus defines an open standard for desktop application interoperability with a container-agnostic reference implementation. This enables seamless workflows between independent apps developed by different organizations in different technologies. The project aims to be a fully documented open standard and open source platform designed to connect thousands of different applications from across the financial services industry, enabling banks’ and clients’ systems to talk to each other. 

Perspective: Initially developed by JP Morgan’s trading business, Perspective is an interactive Web Assembly based data streaming and visualization component for large, real-time datasets. It comes with a suite of simple context-aware visual plugins for D3FC and Hypergrid, an integration with Jupyterlab, and runtime modules for the browser, Python, and Node.js. Perspective is a mature, production-ready library with a highly engaged community that is now increasingly used in production environments and is contributed to by FINOS institutional member organizations.

A sample Perspective application.

A sample Perspective application. Image Credit: FINOS

Alloy: Set to be contributed to FINOS by Goldman Sachs later in 2020, the Alloy workbench and the underpinning Pure language offer an advanced modeling environment to explore, define, connect and integrate data into financial business processes. Although it can help firms address internal challenges the greater benefit comes from the huge potential for the industry to share, collaborate and standardize on common data models for trading, instrumentation, regulatory reporting and more. A pilot is currently ongoing among major banks and documentation is available at alloy.finos.org.

Cloud Service Certification: Originally contributed to FINOS by JP Morgan who was working internally on building infrastructure as code controls to meet its own cloud deployment regulatory requirements, the Cloud Service Certification was created with the rationale that most banks were undergoing similar efforts — thus the benefits of mutualization could be extended to not only technology implementation, but also on regulatory interpretation, as well. The overall goal of the project is to build commonly interpreted BDD-style tests to verify regulatory compliance of cloud services for Cloud Service Providers (CSP) in order to build test implementations that can be used to prove the regulatory worthiness of cloud services on an ongoing basis. Several firms involved in the Cloud Service Certification include JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Red Hat, Wipro and ScottLogic, and FINOS is actively recruiting new banks and vendors to participate.

Waltz: Developed by Khartec Ltd and FINOS Platinum Member, Deutsche Bank, Waltz was created to help large organizations understand their application environment in a consistent, well-documented, easily digestible format, and to address complex enterprise architecture data organizational issues often encountered in their overall technology landscape. Waltz shows where applications reside, what they do, and how they are connected. Waltz has been used to assist with key performance metrics, data lineage, regulatory responses, and application rationalization/migration programs. 

A sample Waltz data model for a large enterprise environment

A sample Waltz data model for a large enterprise environment. Image Credit: FINOS

Why is FINOS Joining the Linux Foundation?

FINOS has grown significantly in the last two years, bringing greater awareness of open source to the financial services industry and in turn increasing the level of collaboration amongst industry participants. Joining the Linux Foundation will help FINOS accelerate this engagement even more. With common core values and highly compatible systems of governance FINOS will be able to take advantage of increased scalability and mutualization that only being part of a much larger foundation can provide, particularly through the Linux Foundation’s extensive support program offerings including but not limited to training, certification and events management. 

As with the Linux Foundation which acts as a neutral party for open source projects of all types, FINOS provides a neutral space for fintech firms to build open solutions with its projects and platforms in a neutral forum. At the Linux Foundation, FINOS will be able to continue sponsoring projects with strong disruption potential in a traditionally locked-in and proprietary industry, and will continue to permit frictionless engagement between financial services developers who are actively contributing to FINOS in full compliance. 

FINOS currently uses a governance by contribution model which enables them to be operated transparently and independently under the oversight and steering of its board of directors. This is in direct alignment with the Linux Foundation’s “do-ocracy” model where responsibilities are attached to people who do the work rather than elected or selected by some identified decision-maker. Likewise, the Linux Foundation’s projects also operate transparently and independently, and each community develops its own operational guidelines that serve to create a working technical collaboration. 

As with the Linux Foundation, FINOS has projects that are organized into thematic programs which provide easy discoverability, and federated governance over its community. 

FINOS already hosts over a hundred collaborative projects that are contributed to by its members, external companies and individuals. 

As its communities continue to scale, FINOS will need additional support staff and the abilities of an experienced, larger umbrella organization to help it achieve its goals. The toolsets and procedures, fundraising support, and overall entity management which FINOS will inherit as a result of joining the umbrella of the Linux Foundation will help them continue to scale their programmatic efforts for many years to come.

“In less than two years FINOS has become the go-to foundation for open source collaboration in financial services. With this sector’s focus on technology-driven solutions, we feel the time is right to bring our two communities together to enable the next stage of innovation for our projects,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with Gab, the FINOS team and its members as we together chart the future of global financial services collaboration.”

“FINOS has achieved tremendous growth across our project portfolio thanks to our 35 members and wider community,” explained Gabriele Columbro. “The FINOS community’s passion and dedication to applying open source practices to address concrete, pressing topics — in areas such as cloud computing, financial modeling, desktop interoperability, messaging, tooling, and data technology — has established the transformative potential of open source within financial services. We are thrilled to join forces with the Linux Foundation to accelerate this growth and welcome an even more diverse set of members and projects under the FINOS umbrella.”

In the last few years we have witnessed the unprecedented growth of open source in all industriesfrom the increased adoption of open source software in products and services, to the extensive growth in open source contributions and the releasing of proprietary technologies under an open source license. It has been an incredible experience to be a part of.

As many have stated, Open Source is the New Normal, Open Source is Eating the World, Open Source is Eating Software, etc. all of which are true statements. To that extent, I’d like to add one more maxim: Open Source is Eating the Startup Ecosystem. It is almost impossible to find a technology startup today that does not rely in one shape or form on open source software to boot up its operation and develop its product offering. As a result, we are operating in a space where open source due diligence is now a mandatory exercise in every M&A transaction. These exercises evaluate the open source practices of an organization and scope out all open source software used in product(s)/service(s) and how it interacts with proprietary components—all of which is necessary to assess the value creation of the company in relation to open source software.

Being intimately involved in this space has allowed me observe, learn, and apply many open source best practices. I decided to chronicle these learnings in an ebook as contribution to the OpenChain project: Assessment of Open Source Practices as part of Due Diligence in Merger and Acquisition Transactions. This ebook addresses the basic question of: How does one evaluate open source practices in a given organization that is an acquisition target? We address this question by offering a path to evaluate these practices along with appropriate checklists for reference. Essentially, it explains how the aquirerer and the target company can prepare for this due diligence, offers an explanation of the audit process, and provides general recommended practices for ensuring open source compliance.

If is important to note that not every organization will see a need to implement every practice we recommend. Some organizations will find alternative practices or implementation approaches to achieve the same results. Appropriately, an organization will adapt its open source approach based upon the nature and amount of the open source it uses, the licenses that apply to open source it uses, the kinds of products it distributes or services it offers, and the design of the products or services themselves

If you are involved in assessing the open source and compliance practices of organizations, or involved in an M&A transaction focusing on open source due diligence, or simply want to have a deeper level of understanding of defining, implementing, and improving open source compliance programs within your organizationsthis ebook is a must read. Download the Brief.

LF Networking became a catalyst for the telecom industry by creating an umbrella project under which various players can contribute and enrich the technologies involved.

The telecom industry is at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution. Whether it’s connected IoT devices or mobile entertainment, the modern economy runs on the Internet.

However, the backbone of networking has been running on legacy technologies. Some telecom companies are centuries old, and they have a massive infrastructure that needs to be modernized.

The great news is that this industry is already at the forefront of emerging technologies. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, DTK, and others have embraced open source technologies to move faster into the future. And  LF Networking is at the heart of this transformation.

“2018 has been a fantastic year,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking at Linux Foundation, speaking at Open Source Summit in Vancouver last fall. “We have seen a 140-year-old telecom industry move from proprietary and legacy technologies to open source technologies with LF Networking.”

Now LF Networking has more than 100 members, which represent ~70% of the global subscribers of these telecom players. These members are actively participating in software development at LF Networking. They are collaborating on existing projects, and they are contributing their own in-house code to the foundation and releasing it as open source.

For example, AT&T contributed their own work on virtual networks as ONAP to the Linux Foundation. The project is now being used by in production by other companies, and AT&T in return is benefitting from the work the competitors are doing to improve the code base.

“Over $500 million worth of software innovation, in terms of value, has been created in the open source community,” said Joshipura. “We can now safely say that the telecom industry is going to use open source that is based out of Linux Foundation to build their next generation networks.

Telecom Transformation

What’s incredible about this transformation within the telecom industry is that unlike other industries where developers drive the change, here top leadership has advocated for change all the way down.

LF Networking became a catalyst to help the industry by creating an umbrella project under which various players can gather, contribute, and enrich the technologies involved.

The primary focus of LF Networking at the moment is to see more and more of these technologies in production. “But our next goal is to see how networking enables what we call cross-project collaboration, cross-industry collaboration, cross-community collaboration. How does blockchain impact telcos, how can telcos go cloud-native with Kubernetes… and so on,” said Joshipura.

One of the most promising areas for the networking community is edge computing, as seen in the recent creation of the new LF Edge umbrella project. There is a lot of innovation happening in the space — 5G, autonomous driving, and so on.  “Our focus is on figuring out how do these projects come together and collaborate so that there’s more value to our end users, to our members,” he said.

The Linux Foundation has a wide range of projects, many of which are building code individually. Joshipura wants these projects to collaborate closely.  “We have the concept of VNF (Virtual Network Functions). How do we make them cloud-native? We created a project called CNF (Cloud Native network Functions), but we need to work with the ONAP community, networking community, and Kubernetes community to solve some of the problems that the networking community is facing,” he said.

With its current momentum and community support, LF Networking is on track to lead the way.

Watch the complete video at:

LF Edge is designed to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system.

Earlier today, we announced the launch of LF Edge, a new umbrella organization designed to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. The goal is to foster a unified, open framework that brings complementary projects under one central umbrella to create collaborative solutions that are compatible and support the ecosystem.

LF Edge is comprised of five anchor projects, which includes the existing Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, and Open Glossary of Edge Computing, as well as two new projects – Home Edge Project, and Project EVE, with seed code and initial architecture donated by Samsung and ZEDEDA, respectively. (More details on these projects are available on the new LF Edge website.)

Everyone is talking about Edge computing, but what does it really mean?

That is the million dollar question. Here’s how I like to define “Edge computing”: it’s a distributed computing paradigm in which computation is largely or completely performed on distributed device nodes known as “smart devices” or “edge devices,”  with between five and 20 milliseconds of latency (as opposed to primarily taking place in a centralized cloud environment). Edge represents a convergence of technologies that have recently matured or are coming to market, including: 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Analytics, and Hardware. Related, emerging edge applications and convergence of these technologies are also demanding and fueling lower latency and accelerated processing.

Another way to answer the “what is edge” question is: anything that is non-traditional video,or  anything that is not connected that moves (e.g., drones, cars etc). These emerging technologies are really driving the market.

All that said, there is a strong market opportunity for edge applications, and this spans industrial, enterprise and consumer use cases in complex environments across multiple edges and domains. Primary examples include industrial manufacturing, energy (oil and gas), retail, homes (including B2B2C use cases), automotive, with interest also from sectors such as  fleet/transportation, logistics, building automation, cities and governments, healthcare, and more.

Another leading use case for edge applications is video. Several months ago, IHS Markit interviewed edge computing thought leaders to discover which applications run on edge, deployment timing, revenue potential and the existing and expected barriers and difficulties of deployment. The survey found that 92 percent of the respondents cited video as the top edge application for edge computing, and that 82 percent of edge traffic will be occupied by video applications by 2020. (More details on this research are available in my blog post from September, 2018.)

LF Edge – Why Now?

The current edge market is heavily fragmented, with multiple proprietary stacks for each public cloud. Every application and hardware manufacturer has to certify for individual cloud platforms such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. The open source market for edge is also currently fragmented, with a proliferation of groups working in silos towards similar goals. By adopting the umbrella formula utilized by other existing LF projects such as CNCF and LF Networking, LF Edge will provide an open framework to address market needs for edge and IoT by combining new and existing stacks and consolidating them into one singular, customizable framework.

Additional benefits LF Edge brings to the ecosystem include the establishment of an edge framework that is independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system protocol and introduces location and latency differentiation to edge applications. LF Edge is well-positioned to collaborate across standards bodies and consortiums (e.g., IIC, AECC, OEC, TIP) by developing code that complements existing industry specifications. The project will also complement existing ecosystems such as AWS and Azure by introducing standard APIs.

In sum, LF Edge was established to create a common framework for hardware and software specifications and best practices critical to sustaining current and future generations of IoT and edge devices. This new community-forged organization will will help ensure greater harmonization to accelerate deployment among the rapidly growing number of edge devices slated to exceed 20 billion by 2020.

To learn more about LF Edge, read the press release and visit the new website, www.lfedge.org. You can also follow the project on Twitter at @lf_edge.

This article has also been published on Linux.com.