Linux Foundation Advocates for a Big Tent to Improve Open Source

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation lays out a plan in open up open-source.

The annual Linux Foundation collaboration summit kicked off today with the promise of improving the state of open source software development. The opening keynote of the event was delivered by Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, who advocated for the idea of a Big Tent approach to open source that is more inclusive.

"Open source gives us an opportunity to make the world a better place," Zemlin said. "While we are winning, we have not won yet, it's too early to declare victory for open source."

The reason why Zemlin is not yet ready to declare victory has to do with the nature of participation and inclusiveness in open-source today and tomorrow. He noted that it's imperative to reach and teach a new generation of developers, most of whom that have been self-taught, about open source licensing. Zemlin emphasized that while the Linux Foundation already has 500 members, there is also a need to reach new organizations.

"Open source needs a bigger tent," Zemlin said.

It's a tent that can include everyone that believes software openness is essential to freedom and Zemlin said it can also include companies that think open-source is a good way to make products, add value and innovate. Zemlin emphasized that the open source Big Tent can and should include everyone that builds and uses software.

"The secret to a bigger tent is humility and mutual respect," Zemlin said.

Another secret to the Big Tent is education, which is where the Linux Foundation is investing heavily. Zemlin noted that educational efforts at the Linux Foundation have expanded to help enable any firm to leverage the power of open source, efficiently and responsibly. The Linux Foundation is also investing in free training and professional services to enable better participation in open source.

Additionally as of today, the TODO group, which is a multi-stakeholder effort defining webscale best practices that including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Netflix among others, is now becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

"It will bring more code to the party," Zemlin said.

Going beyond just enabling participation, Zemlin noted that the Linux Foundation is also investing in reducing what he referred to as legal friction, by making the process of open source legal obligation and code sharing easier.

"Our job is to accelerate open source not change it," Zemlin said about the Linux Foundation. "We want to bring more code to the party, that's why we're doing all the things we're doing."

Jim Zemlin

Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tags: open source, Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin

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