I wonder if the Linux Foundation is prepared to go to task for us, the Linux users, the Linux supporters, the Linux developers and the Linux Foundation members? I wonder if they are our National Rifle Association (NRA)? I wonder if the Linux Foundation is prepared to meet the challenges of the future for Linux as it transforms and conforms into something totally new (GNU?).
I wonder if any of us are up to the task?
The NRA gives its members a membership card (Ever hear of a card-carrying member of the NRA?), a newsletter and insurance. Insurance against accidents caused by the very thing they support: Guns.
Does the Linux Foundation protect us from the very thing that we support?
"And why would we need protection from Linux?," you ask.
It isn't protection from Linux but from those who perceive Linux as such a threat to them that they'll try anything to remove it from store shelves, data centers and even your hard drive. Paranoia, you say? Is it really?
And, no, this isn't another anti-Microsoft rant from some Linux nut. Microsoft isn't the only adversary of which you should be wary. Remember SCO? Remember Microsoft's suit against TomTom? Here's one take on that lawsuit.
What we need is a formidable force in front of and behind the Linux Community like gun owners have with the NRA. Business owners are looking for safety and they're also looking for ways to save money without risking their businesses, personal assets and the livelihoods of their employees.
Would-be Linux converters need insurance, assurance and ensurance that their collective voices will be heard if something bad happens. These lawsuits cost millions of dollars, squash innovation and create wider rifts between companies who could work together. The mere threat of legal action is enough to turn many away from what would be a magical cure for their money pit.
Is there anyone who'll stand up for us and tell the deep-pocketed greed mongers that we have a choice and are free to exercise it without the threat or possibility of legal action?
I'm not making a suggestion that you join, or even like the NRA*, but we need a political and legal voice as well as a feel good community. I know I'm asking a lot of The Linux Foundation. I'm not sure their original charter included carrying swords but everyone and everything must evolve to meet current needs and expectations.
The Linux Foundation does provide some of these benefits to its members and the community-at-large:
Employing key Linux fellows, including Linus Torvalds, to ensure they can focus 100% of their attention on maintaining and furthering the Linux platform.
Administering and defending the Linux trademark to protect the investment in the brand “Linux.”
Facilitating crucial administrative, technical and legal functions for the Kernel developer community to enable them to continue to advance the platform.
Serving as the neutral voice for Linux with press and analysts to ensure that Linux is defended against competitor threats and remains a successful, thriving and growing operating system.
Increasing the number of applications on the Linux platform through its developer services.
Serving as a proxy between the community, industry and end users to ensure everyone’s needs are best understood and that collaboration solutions are optimized.
Holding neutral collaboration and legal events to ensure the platform is advanced and protected.
Providing a neutral forum for technical collaboration and standardization.
I'd like to be able to tell would-be converters that they're protected and that their innovations are protected as well. We need a voice to protect us. The NRA is fortunate that they have the 2nd Amendment to reference in their battles but unfortunately we have no such declaration.
Let's discuss how we can protect Linux and our innovations for the common good of all who wish to have Linux as a choice. Whether it is the Linux Foundation or some other group--we need it.
* I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the NRA.