Linux Foundation Expands Its Membership Roster

The Linux Foundation is growing and expanding into new areas of development. Gaming giant Valve is now firmly behind Linux.

The Linux Foundation—an organization aimed at helping build and grow both the technology and the market for the open-source Linux operating system—announced the addition of three new members to its organization: the HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) Foundation, Cloudius Systems and gaming giant Valve Software.

The addition of Valve Software to the Linux Foundation is an effort that began "a long time ago," according to Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.

"The news is part of the company's strategy around open gaming, which it has just begun to share broadly," Zemlin told eWEEK. "With Steam OS and Steam machines coming soon, Linux Foundation membership will help Valve maximize its investment in Linux long term."

Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve Software, was a keynoter at the Linuxcon USA event in September. During that event, Newell discussed how important Linux is to Valve and declared that it would be the base for the next generation of gaming. Valve is currently building a next-generation Linux-based gaming platform called Steam OS.

Steam is Valve's gaming client, which is already available for use on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X devices. The Steam OS concept will enable Valve to build its own Steam Box consoles that will compete against Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox.

The addition of Cloudius as a member of the Linux Foundation is also noteworthy in that the company is building its own operating system for the cloud called OSv. In an interview with eWEEK in September, Cloudius' founders explained what their company is all about. The company is founded by Avi Kivity and Dor Laor, both of whom were formerly at Qumranet, a virtualization startup that Red Hat acquired in 2008.

The OSv is an operating system that is written in C++ and designed to optimize the performance of a single application in the cloud, Zemlin said. "However, it is not Linux, nor even a Linux competitor or a new Linux distribution," Zemlin said. "It's a completely new kernel that Cloudius wrote from scratch. Cloudius has acknowledged that it's trying to replace Linux as a guest operating system."

OSv runs on top of Linux, which acts as the hypervisor with a Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), Zemlin added. As such, if an organization is a cloud on a KVM, then by default, it has OSv running on Linux.

"A cloud OS approach—and OSv is just one of many examples available today—is really only possible because of Linux-based technologies and wide hardware support for Linux and cloud computing," Zemlin said. "So, naturally, Cloudius is deeply entrenched in the Linux ecosystem.

By close affiliation, their membership benefits the overall Linux and open cloud communities."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.