Jim Zemlin

Executive Director, Linux Foundation

The New Era of Linux
25 minutes, 11.6mb, recorded 2007-07-22
Topics: Open Source
Jim Zemlin

Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation reflects on the end of the first stage of Linux and the beginning of a new era. He uses parodies of the popular Mac-PC television ads to contrast the internal and external view of Linux, and highlights the positive changes Ubuntu is making. The first stage of Linux was all about leveraging openness and a superior development methodology to create a competitive product. Hobbyists and companies have both contributed, and the rise of the internet has undermined the PC monopoly.

Now that Linux has matured, its second stage will be a battle between openness and opposing closed platforms. The openness that characterizes Linux and other open source projects produces faster releases that closed platforms can't compete with. The proprietary platforms' strengths are control over internal standards and huge amounts of money that can fund marketing for their products and negative publicity for competitors.

The Linux Foundation is trying to address some of the weaknesses of the open source model by hosting collaboration forums and coding sessions, and providing travel grants for key contributors. Ubuntu is contributing other benefits by providing predictable releases, speed and quality of testing, and support. These contributions will be crucial as Linux enters its next phase.


Jim Zemlin, formerly executive director of the Free Standards Group, is the executive director of the Linux Foundation. Zemlin previously served as vice president of marketing for Covalent Technologies, the leader in products and services for the Apache web server. Prior to that, he was a member of the founding management team of Corio, a leading enterprise application service provider that had a successful initial public offering in July 2000. Widely quoted in the press on open source and commercial software trends, Zemlin has also been a keynote speaker at industry and financial conferences including Gartner's Open Source Conference, Linux World and OSCON. Zemlin also has a regular column in Enterprise Open Source Journal and is an advisor on open source strategy to various companies and governmental groups including Hyperic, Zmanda and the Chinese Open Source Promotion Union.

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