The Linux Foundation Announces its First, Diverse Board of Directors

One of the more interesting projects I worked on this winter was the negotiation of the merger of the Free Standards Group and Open Source Development Labs, a task that came my way due to the fact that I was both legal counsel to, as well as a Board member of, the Free Standards Group.  A crucial element of that negotiation was ensuring that all parts of the Linux ecosystem would be appropriately  representated on the Board of Directors of the successor organization, to be called the Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation 

That ecosystem, of course, continues to become ever more diverse, and today includes not just individual and corporate developers (large and small), but service providers, end-users, the open standards community, and many other types of stakeholders as well.   With the merger now complete and the elections held, the Linux Foundation has just issued a press release announcing the new Board, including two At Large members that were elected by the individual community members of the Linux Foundation. 

One of these individual representatives is Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the wildly popular Ubuntu Project. And the other, I'm pleased to say, is me.

I'll be looking forward to representing the views of both the open source, as well as the open standards, communities on the Board, and to working towards the further success of Linux. I hope that you'll help me do the best job I can in that role, by sharing your thoughts and concerns with me in the year ahead, so that together we can help Linux achieve its full potential.

Here's the full text of the press release, which is going out over the press wire right now.

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Linux Foundation Announces a Diverse Board of Directors to Represent the Linux Ecosystem

New LF board includes Linux kernel community, vendors, distributions, users, and open source leaders

BEAVERTON, Ore. – March 27, 2007 – The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced its new board of directors, a diverse group that represents the key stakeholders from every corner of the Linux ecosystem: the Linux kernel community, Linux vendors, distributions and users, as well as individual open source leaders. 

The management team and founding members of the LF carefully structured the board so that the multiple voices of the Linux ecosystem are included in its governance structure. That means that all LF membership classes are represented as well as individual affiliates.
“It is essential that the Linux Foundation’s board bring every Linux constituency’s issues and opportunities to the table,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “With leadership from the kernel, legal, user, distro and vendor communities, the Linux Foundation synthesizes the top priorities of our diverse constituencies to provide services that move Linux even further ahead in today’s competitive market. We have ensured that a diversity of interests is represented on our board.”
The Linux Foundation board of directors includes: 

James Bottomley, Linux subsystem maintainer and vice president and chief technology officer at SteelEye. Bottomley is an active member of the open source community and maintains the SCSI subsystem, the MCA subsystem, the Linux Voyager port and the 53c700 driver. Bottomley is the LF’s Technical Advisory Board representative.
Wim Coekaerts, Linux VM tester and director of Linux engineering at Oracle. Coekaerts manages Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux strategy. His group is working on and contributing to the first Cluster File System to be accepted into the Linux mainline kernel in 2006.
Masahiro Date, general manager, Fujitsu. Masahiro Date is the general manager of Fujitsu and has been involved in operating systems at Fujitsu including development and development management of Fujitsu proprietary operating systems and Solaris and Linux. Mr. Date has been active in the Linux community for many years, including serving as director of OSDL and FSG.
Doug Fisher, vice president, Intel’s Software and Solutions Group (SSG) and general manager of SSG’s Systems Software Division. Fisher is a veteran IT executive with a rich history at HP and today at Intel. He leads a worldwide organization responsible for a wide range of software development, including Intel’s Linux and open source initiatives, and is the Intel corporate owner for virtualization.
Dan Frye, vice president, Open Systems Development, IBM. Frye is responsible for overseeing IBM’s Linux technical strategy and IBM’s participation in the open source Linux development community. He has also led IBM’s Emerging Technologies and Business Opportunities team and co-authored the original IBM corporate strategies for Linux and open source.
Tim Golden, senior vice president, Bank of America. For the past five years, Golden has worked exclusively with Linux and open source software and has led several enterprise-level solution architecture, risk management, and infrastructure lifecycle management initiatives. He is also affiliated with several community-based organizations, provides consultation to industry financial analysts and occasionally works for select clients as an Olliance Group senior consultant.
Hisashi Hashimoto, section manager, Hitachi. Hashimoto is responsible at Hitachi for both workstations and mainframes. He also works with the Open Source Software Technology Center and is responsible for collaboration with other vendors and the OSS community, including the work with the Open Source Software Promotion Forum in Japan.
Christine Martino, vice president of the Open Source & Linux Organization (OSLO), at HP. Martino is responsible for HP engineering, marketing, open source community participation and linkage, as well as HP’s Open Source and Linux indemnity and IP protection programs.
Marc Miller, open source software expert in the AMD Developer Outreach program. Miller is currently entering the seventh year of his tenure with AMD and is bridging a critical gap between industry-leading software development and cutting-edge microprocessor technology.
Brian Pawlowski, vice president and chief technology officer of Product Operations, NetApp. Pawlowski has been working on open protocols for storage since his earlier position at Sun Microsystems and was co-author of the NFS Version 3 specification.
Markus Rex, chief technology officer for the Linux and Open Source Group, Novell. At Novell, Rex is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the technology platform and providing insight and guidance to the product development organization.
Tsugikazu Shibata, senior manager, NEC. Shibata has an extensive background in the development and management of proprietary operating systems, including work with mainframes and super computers, and belongs to the Open Source Software Promotion Center of NEC where he works collaboratively with vendors and the open source community.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. Shuttleworth is founder of the Ubuntu Project, an enterprise Linux distribution that is freely available worldwide and has both cutting-edge desktop and enterprise server editions.
Andrew Updegrove, co-founder and partner, Gesmer Updegrove LLP.
Regarded as one of the most influential legal experts on open standards and how they relate to open source and IP, Updegrove has worked with more than 75 consortia, accredited standards development organizations and open source consortia, and has assisted many of the largest technology companies in the world in forming such organizations.

Christy Wyatt, vice president, Ecosystem and Market Development, Mobile Devices, Motorola. Wyatt is responsible for building a healthy software economy around Motorola’s handset platforms and for taking Motorola’s platform strategy to carrier partners. She leads teams charged with carrier market development, software alliances and the MOTODEV developer program.

About the Linux Foundation 
The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. Founded in 2007 by the merger of the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group, it sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and is supported by leading Linux and open source companies and developers from around the world. The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms. For more information, please visit 

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Comments (4)

  1. Out of curiosity, why is Red Hat missing? It seems odd that only one enterprise distro (Novell) is represented (although you could count Shuttleworth, but he’s an individual member not an Ubuntu representative for this board).

    Did they opt out?

    • LF is structured like most consortia, in that there’s a balance in part between representation and finding someone to pay the bills.  As consortia go, LF has a very large budget, with unusual items like paying salaries for Linus and some others, funding the Legal Defense Fund, and so on.  Somebody has to pay the bills, and that’s not likely to be the community.

      So the companies that pay a very large amount of money to be members get a board seat (the "Platinum" members), up to a maximum of 9.  That’s how HP, IBM, Novel, and some others come to be on the board.  The next level of members ("Gold"
       members) also pays a lot, but not nearly as much.  They get to elect a few directors.  And then the class of members that pays quite a bit less ("Silver" members) elect one director.  The Technical Chair (James Bottomley) gets a seat, and the individual members – mostly well known members of the community – elect two members (Mark and me).  Several more seats will be filled later to represent other constituencies.

      So back to your question:  Red Hat is not a Platinum member, so they didn’t automatically get a seat.  I don’t remember whether they nominated anyone to run for director, but my guess is that they didn’t – but they could, if they wanted to, and obviously would be very well placed to have their nominee be elected.

        –  Andy

  2. It is my clear understanding that the Free Standards Group also worked on "open standards" that
    covered the *BSD consortia – FreeBSD, NetBSD, openBSD and DragonFly BSD.

    Whay happened in the merger that excluded these Open Source/Free Software technologies, for GNU/Linux only?

    W. Anderson

    • Yes – the Free Standards Group existed for the purpose of setting standards for open source, and particularly Linux.  FSG developed and maintained the Linux Standards Base, or LSB (now approved as an ISO/IEC standard as well), as well as other standards.  Recently, IBM contributed iAccessibility2 to FSG to maintain.  FSG developed and maintatined certification programs around the wolrd for the LSB.  The Linux Foundation has taken over, and will continue, to support all of these activities just as vigorously as did FSG

        –  Andy

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