• United States

Linux creator joins OSDL

Jun 17, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

As Linux continues to make inroads into enterprise data centers, the developer of the freely available software has joined Open Source Development Labs, a consortium focused on developing the Linux operating system for corporate use.

Linus Torvalds, who created Linux in 1991 when he was a university student in Finland, is taking a leave of absence from chipmaker Transmeta, where he has worked as a Transmeta Fellow, to move to OSDL where he will focus exclusively on Linux, the consortium announced Tuesday. Torvalds will become the first fellow of OSDL, which is a nonprofit organization formed in 2000 to accelerate the growth and adoption of Linux in corporations. Its members include HP, Computer Associates, IBM and Cisco.

Stuart Cohen, who took over as CEO of OSDL in April, says Torvalds’ decision to join OSDL lends credibility to the organization that is aiming to be the center of Linux development in the enterprise. Last year, OSDL launched the Data Center Linux project to strengthen Linux as an enterprise-computing platform.

“This will create an even tighter relationship between the developer community and the end user community,” Cohen says. “We are moving to become the recognized center of gravity for the Linux industry.”

At OSDL, Torvalds will work exclusively on leading the development of Linux, guiding thousands of Linux developers around the world. He will also help set priorities and direction for the lab’s different initiatives.

“It feels a bit strange to finally officially work on what I’ve been doing for the last 12 years, but with the upcoming 2.6.x release it makes sense to be able to concentrate fully on Linux,” Torvalds said in a statement. 

While the manner in which Linux code is developed won’t change, the addition of Torvalds to the OSDL organization will provide more overall structure to the Linux community, says Bill Claybrook, research director at Aberdeen Group. 

“Torvalds moving over really moves the focal point of Linux to OSDL,” Claybrook says. “This will give [the development of Linux] more structure and people will know where they can come for information about Linux: roadmaps, when updates are coming out, new features, etc… That will help Linux in the enterprise.”

Linux already is seeing growth in corporate data centers. Recent IDC research noted that servers running Linux were “once again, the brightest spot in the worldwide server market.” The Linux server market was $583 million in the first quarter this year, a 35% jump compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Linux also has been at the center of a legal battle waged by SCO, which claims that IBM misappropriated protected Unix code to develop enterprise-worthy Linux software. Cohen says he is not concerned by the SCO litigation. 

“The momentum of Linux is very strong,” Cohen says.

As for Torvalds, he called his move to OSDL “big news” in an e-mail he posted Monday discussing his new position.

“I’ve decided to take a leave-of-absence after 6+ years at Transmeta to actually work full-time on the kernel,” Torvalds writes.

“Transmeta has always been very good at letting me spend even an inordinate amount of time on Linux, but as a result I’ve been feeling a little guilty at just how little ‘real work’ I got done lately. To fix that, I’ll instead be working at OSDL, finally actually doing Linux as my main job,” he writes.