OSDL Board Seeks Two-Way Communication With Vendors, Developers

The Open Source Development Labs on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Technical Advisory Board. The group’s initial goal is to improve communication among Linux stakeholders.

The OSDL is a non-profit global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux-based operating systems in the enterprise. The group sponsors Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel.

The advisory board includes leading Linux and open source software developers that will advise OSDL on technical requirements and issues important to the greater development community.

“It is important for OSDL to foster the Linux and open source development communities,” said OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen. “The Technical Advisory Board extends our involvement with the community beyond sponsoring Linus Torvalds, Andrew Morton and other key developers. We look to this new board to better help guide us in dedicating resources and people towards the most important issues and technical requirements facing the development community.”

A Diverse Group

The TAB members will be elected by Linux Kernel Summit attendees each July in Ottawa, Canada. Board members will serve two years, with half of the 10-member board up for election each year.

The inaugural members of the new OSDL TAB include a diverse group of industry veterans on the software and hardware sides of the table, such as James Bottomley, OSDL board member and vice president and CTO at SteelEye, and Wim Coekaerts, director of Linux engineering at Oracle. Novell’s SuSE Labs, Silicon Graphics, the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum, IBM and Red Hat are also represented on the TAB.

“The board offers a good balance of leading Linux-based vendors, whether it’s major distributions like Red Hat and Novell or system sellers like IBM and Silicon Graphics. It is curious that HP is not part of this but that could be just a temporary situation until the next election,” Tony Iams, vice president and operating systems analyst at Ideas International, told LinuxInsider.

A Fine Line

Balance is a good quality, especially since groups like the OSDL are tasked with walking a fine line between guiding the direction of Linux development and becoming too assertive, according to Iams.

“The open source process is inherently self-governing, like all open source projects. At the same time Linux is now becoming important enough that it would be helpful to provide some guidance on where it can go so it adds the value its users now expect,” he said.

The OSDL is charged with identifying some goals without counteracting the basic model of Linux development, which is a community-driven approach where the best ideas rise to the top on their own merit rather than because some committee made a decision, Iams continued.

Keeping Tabs on Linux

The TAB will meet monthly and initially focus on nurturing the Linux and open source development communities by improving communication between the community and vendors, increasing the participation of vendors in open source projects, and formalizing relationships across OSDL constituencies.

“OSDL has served an important role as an advocate for Linux and in bringing together users and vendors over the past five years,” said James Bottomley, chair of the OSDL TAB and CTO at SteelEye. “We’re pleased that the Technical Advisory Board can add more community developer involvement to OSDL, and I look forward to working with my fellow community members to provide OSDL with insight on how we can all better advance Linux and open source software.”

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