Linux Foundation Brings New Vendors into Linux Fold

As Linux adoption grows, so too does the Linux Foundation as it continues to add new members to its ranks. So far in 2011, the Linux Foundation has added at least three new members companies including Broadcom, Timesys and Protecode.

The new members so far in 2011 follows a year in which the open source group dramatically expanded its membership roster. In 2010, the Linux Foundation added at least 23 new members to its ranks. In contrast, only 8 organizations publicly announced that they had joined the Linux Foundation in 2009.

Currently the Linux Foundation has approximately 78 member companies, as organizations big and small continue to embrace Linux.

"We're thankful to be in a stable position and that new companies from new industries and older companies, too are interested in joining the Linux Foundation," Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs, The Linux Foundation told "We have expanded programs to shift with the shifts of Linux."

McPherson added as an example the Linux Foundation added training when that became a need, and more embedded work as that grew in importance. She noted that being a non-profit organization means that the Linux Foundation always has to have an eye on the future and the bottom line.

The Linux Foundation's growth comes after only three years of existence. In January of 2007, the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) merged with the Free Standards Group (FSF) to create the Linux Foundation.

One of the things that the Linux Foundation has been able to do from the very beginning is to add in new member companies that previously were not part of the OSDL. One such company is silicon vendor Broadcom which is officially joining the Linux Foundation this week. Broadcom recently open sourced some of its Wi-Fi drivers which has helped to improve wireless access in the recent 2.6.37 Linux kernel.

McPherson noted that the Linux Foundation has been talking and working with Broadcom for some time.

"With their move last September to open source select Wi-Fi drivers, Broadcom signaled the importance of Linux and open source to its business and its commitment to collaborative development," McPherson said. "Officially joining the Linux Foundation was a natural next step."

As a member of the Linux Foundation, McPherson expects that Broadcom will participate in existing workgroups, events and programs.

"It's definitely easier to work more closely with them as a member in a variety of ways," McPherson said. "We are here to help bridge community and commercial concerns to advance Linux. Having Broadcom and their important product portfolio more closely aligned with the kernel development community through our programs will help Linux users."

Moving forward into 2011, the Linux Foundation will continue to expand in an effort to help further enable the entire Linux ecosystem. McPherson noted that she suspects that embedded and mobile companies will continue to join the Linux Foundation.

"We just want to ensure we are reaching the right companies who are making a difference in Linux or who need the most help in bridging the waters between the community and commercial interests," McPherson said. "We feel that any vendor using Linux can benefit from membership so encourage them to contact us to find out more details."

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