Linux Foundation: We'd love to work with Microsoft

In an interview, Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director, talks about desire to interoperate and discusses the desktop outlook for Linux

Jim Zemlin is the executive director of the Linux Foundation. Formerly executive director of the Free Standards Group, Zemlin also has served as vice president of marketing for Covalent Technologies, providing products and services for the Apache Web server. Zemlin has also been a keynote speaker at industry and financial conferences including Gartner's Open Source Conference and Linux World.

InfoWorld: What's the role of the Linux Foundation?

Zemlin: We obviously are the home of [Linux founder] Linus Torvalds. We sort of focus on three main areas in terms of the platform. The first area is to promote Linux as a technology solution, and that's across embedded, mobile, server, desktop computing. We respond to competitive marketing on behalf of the platform, so when competitors are out spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about open source or if there is a general lack of understanding of open-source licensing practices or governance practices, our organization plays a role educating [the] industry and end-users on those issues. We protect the platform by allowing people like Linus Torvalds to work as fellows at the foundation so that they can be neutral actors in a mass collaboration project like Linux. We manage the Linux trademark. We have a legal defense fund for the platform. We work with the USPTO (Patent and Trademark Office) on patent quality issues. And we do that work to improve the quality of software patents and protect the platform. And then finally, we work on the standardizing the Linux platform.

InfoWorld: What kind of legal protection does Linux require? And has anything ever come of the Microsoft protest that there's Linux code that they patented or something to that effect?

Zemlin: What they were talking about were patents that Microsoft holds in a range of areas. They didn't actually disclose what those were, but in general felt that they overlapped with other technology. No, nothing ever became of it because everybody holds patents on everything out there lately in software.

InfoWorld: You have a legal defense fund. Should people have legal concerns about using Linux?

Zemlin: Just like any other major software platform, there'll be patent trolls or opportunists who try to harm the platform. new. In fact, the legal defense fund was created to assist in defense of the platform in the SCO lawsuit. And so that's a good example.

InfoWorld: What became of that?

Zemlin: SCO lost the lawsuit, it was found that there were no copyright infringements that were there in the Linux platform, and it was proven that Novell indeed owned the copyright to the software that SCO alleged was theirs. And SCO was de-listed from Nasdaq and is now in bankruptcy proceedings.

InfoWorld: Is there anything happening as far as using the GNU General Public license version 3 for Linux, or is that just not happening?

Zemlin: It's not happening today. In the future there may be, but I think it's unlikely at this point. Linus, who is fairly influential in the license decision, has publicly stated that he's not interested in GPL3 at this time.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?