In other words, no company will put pressure on Torvalds to go in this direction or that for the simple reason that it would be counter-productive. He has shown over the years that he is own decision-maker - and he is not afraid to follow his own reasoning. So, let's get rid of this myth that the Linux Foundation is doing anyone a favour by employing him - indeed, there would be no visibility for people like Zemlin were it not for the Linux kernel.
And, heaven forbid, if worst came to worst, and Torvalds had to look after putting bread on the table by himself, Linux users themselves would put their hands deep into their own pockets for the man. I certainly would - and let me not play the altruist, I would do so for my own selfish reasons. As would everyone else.
The Foundation gets its funds from corporates who sign up as members - there is now a structure to determine membership costs, based on the size of a company. Membership starts from $US5000 - a far cry from the $US1 million that was common in the days of the OSDL. (Maybe the excess funds caused the organisation to lose its balance.)
There are some initiatives which the Foundation has under its wings, some of which seem in direct opposition to the whole direction which FOSS takes. One is the bid for a unified packaging solution for Linux. If anyone thinks that Debian will give up apt, dpkg and the like, or that Red Hat will diverge from its yum, well, then you will believe anything. And that isn't the end of it - Mandriva has its own system, Slackware will die rather than diverge from the .tgz packages... and the list goes on. Ubuntu is out on a limb as well and slowly growing more different from Debian by the day. And the Foundation is planning to unify these disparate distributions!!!
Then there is the Linux Standards Base - an effort to specify standards so that applications can be written for more than a single distribution at one shot. This again falls at the first hurdle - and I've listed a whole lot of these hurdles above.
Linuxprinting.org is another Foundation move - apparently to provide a plug-and-pray (yes, you read right, that isn't a typo) system which would identify a printer so that those running a distribution are able to download a driver for said printer.
I have said it before and let me say it again: the very fact that there are nearly 350 Linux distributions (and that's the last time I looked) is an indication that this crazy system thrives on difference. It lives on variety. It spreads like a virus due to the fact that it can be everything to everyman.
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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.