The open source community fired its latest shot over the bow of the SUSE-loving SS Microsoft today, announcing that the two leading bodies of Linux proponents -- the Open Source Development Labs and Free Standards Group -- have been folded into a new, seemingly corporate-sponsored organization that promises to "promote, protect, and standardize Linux." Christened The Linux Foundation, the new consortium will not develop or distribute any products, but instead is tasked with three primary objectives: to enable the independence of select developers by funding their work, while at the same time providing legal support and advice for members of the community; to act as a neutral forum for collaborative projects or for members to air their grievances; and to help Linux gain market share with respect to Windows. All of the commercial interests which previously belonged to the OSLD and FSG will also play a leading role in the newly-formed body, leading some critics to argue that it was actually heavy hitters like IBM, HP, Fujitsu, and Hitachi pushing for this merger in the hopes of growing the $14.5 billion infrastructure that has reportedly developed around Linux. Still, none other than Linus Torvalds himself has thrown his weight behind the foundation -- which now pays his salary, mind you -- suggesting that the original goals of the OSDL and FSG had largely been met at this point, and that standardization is a laudible pursuit. Both groups' memberships still need to approve the proposed merger, but if all goes according to plan, you can expect to see the LinFo begin its work sometime in early February.

Read- Press release [Via TG Daily]
Read- NY Times coverage [Via ZDNet]

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The Linux Foundation forms, issues call to arms