The Linux Foundation’s Response To Leadership Controversy Is Plain Disappointment

linux foundation jim zemlin linus torvals
Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin and Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon (Image: GeekWire)

linux foundation jim zemlin linus torvalsShort Bytes: The Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin has issued an official response to the recent controversy that raises questions over organization’s decisions to cut the independent board seats. He labels such change as a necessity “to be in line with other leading organizations in our community and industry”. 

In response to the recent leadership controversy, the Linux Foundation has come up with an unsatisfactory response. Linux Foundation chief executive Jim Zemlin has written a blog post on the Foundation’s website and talked about irrelevant aspects of the issue.

In our last article on this issue, fossBytes listed clear points telling why the latest change in community representation is a bad news for Linux and open source. Up until recently, the organization allowed the individual community members to elect two board members and ensure that the voice of Linux users is present at the board decisions — now this clause has been erased from the bylaws.

Zemlin chose to ignore the concerns and started his response with an irrelevant line: “First, The Linux Foundation Board structure has not changed. The same individuals remain as directors, and the same ratio of corporate to community directors continues as well.”

His reply ignores facts and lacks some gravity. How can the ratio remain same when Linux community is now not allowed to choose its directors?

“And that the process for recruiting community directors should be changed to be in line with other leading organizations in our community and industry,” he continues. Claiming to keep up with the other open source organization, Zemlin fails to list the names of organizations he is trying to copy.

It should be noted that the change in community representation was being seen as way to sabotage the ambitions of Karen Sandler, the head of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Coincidently, everything happened after she announced her plan to stand for the Linux Foundation board membership under the community leadership program. It’s a known fact that Karen is a supporter of GPL and SFC is funding a GPL enforcement lawsuit against VMWare, a silver member of the Linux Foundation.

In the later part of his update, Zemlin talks about the abuse directed at Karen and the “‘flame wars’ that too often erupt in developer communities.”

I support every word Zemlin has to say against trolling and unacceptable online behavior of the community members. But, Zemlin chooses to drift from the central point of discussion — Is Karen still eligible to run for the board? What about the current situation of the community representation in the Linux Foundation board?

Over the past years, Linux and other big names in the open source world have embraced the support of corporate executives. This recent step is another move away from the community of many individual bright programmers. I hope the Foundation makes room for common Linux users and restores their voting rights and faith.

What are your views on the increasing corporate control over the Linux Foundation? Feel free to express yourself in the comments below.

Also Read: Why Is Linux Foundation’s Latest Change A Bad News For Linux And Open Source?

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
More From Fossbytes

Latest On Fossbytes

Find your dream job