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Q&A with Jim Zemlin

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Linux
Interviews

Today marks the start of the fourth annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, which is “an exclusive, invitation-only summit gathering core kernel developers, distribution maintainers, ISVs, end users, system vendors and other community organizations for plenary sessions and workgroup meetings to meet face-to-face to tackle and solve the most pressing issues facing Linux today.” All the names you’d normally expect at a Linux event are going to be there — IBM, Google, Hewlett Packard — along with companies jumping on the MeeGo bandwagon — Nokia, Intel, and more. The agenda lists some interesting topics, but the Summit itself raised a number of questions for me. I exchanged emails with Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, about the Summit, and the state of Linux in general.

CG: As Linux gets more “productized” in the mainstream, where is the sense of community that was such a fundamental part of early Linux success? Everywhere we look we see more and more people using Linux for their embedded solutions, but fewer and fewer people seem to be actively engaging with the open source development communities. There are exceptions (the folks at PogoPlug, for example, seem to be doing a good job cultivating a community with their user enthusiasts), but I think the bulk of Linux deployment is following the Google model: use it for hosted solutions, and only share a tiny fraction of your customizations. Will Meego only exacerbate this? How are the big mobile companies adopting Android and Meego “giving back” to the larger open source community?

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