Linux Devs, Architects Talk Open Source at Collaboration Summit

Key kernel developers and more than 230 Linux leaders participated last week in the first Collaboration Summit hosted by the Linux Foundation to discuss solutions for the most pressing issues facing greater Linux adoption.

The nonprofit Linux Foundation, dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux — formed in February as a merger of The Free Standards Group (FSG) and Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) — held a three-day summit atGoogle’s Mountain View, Calif., campus.

The first event of its kind attracted a cross-section of industry leaders from the Linux and open source communities for a face-to-face discussion of problems involving technical development, legal issues, dealings with independent software vendors (ISV), porting, and end-user requirements. The Collaboration Summit was designed to accelerate cooperation and problem-solving in the Linux community by bringing key stakeholders together in a neutral setting, according to Linux Foundation planners.

“The Summit had all the right people in one room together. The greatest success was in gathering a cross-section of people from the Linux kernel community to listen and collaborate. It was pretty powerful,” Amanda McPherson, marketing director for the Linux Foundation, told LinuxInsider.

Growing Response

Acceptance of the Linux open source operating system has been rising for years. However, the last six to nine months have seen tremendous development of the Linux desktop, according to McPherson. That progress is remarkable, compared to the six years it took Microsoft to get from Windows XP to Windows Vista, she added.

The Summit marks a change in strategy for increasing acceptance of the Linux OS. Prior to the merger that produced the Linux Foundation, both the FSG and the OSDL would conduct numerous smaller sessions with target groups within the computing industry, McPherson said.

“We are extremely pleased with the results so far of our Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. We have seen a tremendous response for the Summit based on all the right people being in one place to drive meaningful change and improvement in the Linux platform,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “Linux is a result of thousands of individuals working together to improve the platform for everyone’s use. Because of that, collaboration events like this are crucial.”

Driving Support

Besides the strong support from the Linux kernel community, a major highlight of the Summit was the achievement of inroads with device driver vendors, McPherson noted.

“The Linux model for device drivers differs from that of proprietary products. We still have work to be done,” she said. “The community will write the driver code for free for any vendor who is interested.”

McPherson is seeing a big change in vendors’ attitudes regarding the exchange of proprietary drivers for freely developed open source replacements.

“Other OSes out there wish they had the kind of support for drivers that Linux has developed,” she said.

Summit Highlights

Representatives from the LF’s Accessibility Workgroup discussed standards to ensure that software applications are accessible to persons with disabilities across multiple platforms, not just Linux.

Linux developers and desktop architects discussed the increasing need for efficient power management in Linux. As a result of these meetings, the Linux Foundation is organizing a “Green Linux” initiative to improve power management functionality. Power management developers will meet next week in Ottawa, Canada, to continue work in this area.

The Linux Foundation Open Printing Workgroup announced the LSB Device Driver Kit to improve printing functionality in Linux. The new Device Driver Kit provides the tools and resources for printing manufacturers to easily support all Linux distributions with one driver package, greatly reducing the time and effort needed to support Linux.

The Linux Standard Base Workgroup presented to kernel developers, ISVs, upstream maintainers and system vendors the newly created LSB Test Framework and Testing tools as an aid to improving code quality in the decentralized community of developers.

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