OSDL Cuts Linux Programmers

There’s been a lot of coming and going at the Open Source Development Labs lately. In the past month two new companies have joined the organization and, more recently, nine staff members have departed. OSDL has cut nearly a sixth of its 57-person staff and contractor positions, the group revealed.

Specifically, OSDL has reduced staff in sales, marketing, business development and programming, according to OSDL spokesperson Jennifer Cloer. Linux leaders Linus Torvalds, Andrew Morton and Chris Wright retained their positions in the recent shakeup.

Cloer told LinuxInsider the Lab’s mission has changed in the past year. OSDL, therefore, has decided to realign its investments accordingly. That meant cutting staff.

“There is more demand for global activities with new offices in China and Europe and the Labs had to invest more in IP issues sooner than it had planned. OSDL is solid financially,” Cloer said.

Global Advancement

Cloer mentioned China in particular, as OSDL hopes to make additional headway there in the near future. According to IDC, Linux software revenue in the Asian market outside of Japan will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 82.5 percent between 2004 and 2008. Revenue will leap 78.6 percent in 2005 alone.

Maybe that’s one reason why OSDL added Frank Fanzilli, Jr. to its board of directors in March. Fanzilli’s job is to translate his Wall Street, venture capital, and global IT enterprise expertise to help OSDL drive Linux initiatives around the world. As the former managing director and global CIO of Credit Suisse First Boston, OSDL has high hopes.

”As a former CIO, Frank brings important end user expertise and key insights to the OSDL Board,” said Ross Mauri, OSDL Chairman and general manager of e-business on demand at IBM. ”We look forward to his contribution to OSDL’s mission as a board member and advisor.”

LinuxWorld Just Ahead

With the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo kicking off today in Italy and in New York tomorrow, OSDL could gain additional global momentum as companies gather to show off their latest Linux developments.

“OSDL’s membership continues to grow, and Linux continues to advance, with IDC projecting the 2004 market to grow from US$14 billion to more than $35 billion in 2008,” Cloer said.

OSDL calls itself the “center of gravity for Linux.” But Greg Kroah-Hartman, a well-known Linux programmer, is speaking out against the layoffs and OSDL’s positioning in his blog.

“OSDL recently just laid off some very talented, and experienced Linux kernel developers and testers,” he wrote. “These are subsystem and driver maintainer level kernel people who really understand the community and how to get stuff done in the kernel and have loads of experience doing just that.”

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