Canonical, maintainer of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, has joined the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux.
By joining, Canonical can both contribute to and benefit from the foundation that features many of the Linux community’s leading companies as members, Canonical and Linux Foundation officials said.
“Joining the Linux Foundation is an indication of our growing presence within both Linux and the wider open-source community, particularly in the enterprise space,” said Andrew Rodaway, director of marketing for Canonical. “We believe that Ubuntu is gaining traction in enterprise deployments at the server level as well as on the desktop, and it’s good for us to have ways to communicate this.”
Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at the Linux Foundation, told eWEEK, “I think it is significant that Canonical is joining the Linux Foundation. They have been involved closely with us since the inception of the foundation. They participate in the Linux Standard Base, for instance; they attend our Collaboration Summits, and Mark Shuttleworth [founder and CEO of Canonical] is on the board as an individual member. By officially joining they are putting resources behind our work, and, more than anything, showing they value that work.”
Not only is Canonical the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, but the company supports several other open-source projects, including Bazaar, Storm and Upstart. However, Ubuntu has become a popular choice for the server and desktop as well as for the rapidly emerging areas of “netbooks” and mobile Internet devices.
What does Canonical bring to the Linux Foundation table? “We have a huge, global user base and tremendous backing from our community, who ultimately make Ubuntu possible,” Rodaway said. “These people have a strong voice and their advocacy around the world is driving Linux adoption at all levels, from mobile devices to the cloud.”
Moreover, “Membership gives us a voice within a key influencing organization and visibility to the growing corporate membership of the foundation,” Rodaway said. “We see acceptance of Linux in major corporations and public sector organizations accelerating, and the Foundation is doing a great job in supporting that.”
Matt Zimmerman, CTO of the Ubuntu project at Canonical, chairs the Ubuntu Technical Board and leads all engineering efforts for the distribution.
“The Linux Foundation occupies a critical, noncommercial function in the use and popularization of Linux around the world. We’ve always seen the Linux Foundation’s value and are pleased to now become an official member and support its activities,” Zimmerman said in a statement. “We look forward to working with them to continue the march of Linux in all areas of computing.”
Ubuntu community members have been active participants in a variety of workgroups at the Foundation, including the Linux Standard Base, Desktop Architects and Driver Backport groups. With Canonical’s support, user interests for both commercial and community versions of Ubuntu will be represented.
“There is no question that the Ubuntu distribution has advanced the state of Linux on the desktop,” McPherson said. “Their focus on usability and branding is being felt throughout the industry. We’re very pleased to work more closely with them on neutral, industry and communitywide initiatives. “
Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said in a statement, “Canonical is an important new member for the Linux Foundation. Matt and his team have created an exciting distribution that has taken the world by storm. They have rallied the cause of cross-industry, cross-community collaboration for years. We are extremely pleased to work even more closely with Canonical as we push Linux to the next stage of growth.”