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Jim Zemlin Declares 2017 the Year of the Linux Desktop

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted September 11, 2017


LOS ANGELES — Open Source Summit, the event formerly known as LinuxCon North America, kicked off today with a series of announcements and a strong message about the power of open source.

"2017 has been a pretty incredible year in open source," Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Year of LinuxFoundation, said in his opening keynote. "Open source is growing exponentially."

To illustrate his point, Zemlin noted that 2,000 lines of code are changed daily in the Linux kernel as the pace of change accelerates.

"Every market that Linux has entered, it hasn't just done well; it has come to completely dominate," Zemlin said.

One area where Linux has dominated is in the mobile space with Android. Zemlin noted that in March of this year, Linux-based devices became the majority of clients on the internet, thanks to Android, surpassing Microsoft Windows.

"Say it with me now," Zemlin encouraged the audience. "2017 is the Year of the Linux Desktop."

Paradox of Choice

Zemlin noted there are so many open source projects that it has led to a paradox of choice. The paradox of choice is a condition where people get anxious because there are too many choices available.

"The real question we ask at the Linux Foundation is of the millions of open source projects, which are the ones that really matter, which are the ones that will provide the security, agility and code base that meets by requirement," Zemlin said. "We think the answer is projects with sustainable ecosystems."

Zemlin added that success in open source projects depends on members, developers, standards and infrastructure to develop products that the market will adopt.

The Linux Foundation has done a solid job of backing projects that impact the market. Among the ones highlighted by Zemlin is Let's Encrypt, which is now the world's largest SSL/TLS certificate authority.

The Automotive Linux project is also progressing with Zemlin noting millions of cars will be on the road in the coming years that run Linux. In the cloud, Zemlin said venture capitalists have poured $3 billion in funding into Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) projects.

"Open Source is big," Zemlin said. "But let's think bigger; let's do more."

CHAOSS Emerges to Help Encourage Participation

To help make open source bigger, the Linux Foundation announced new efforts to help encourage participation as well as a new project to help measure diversity and activity. The new project is called Community Health Analytics OSS or CHAOSS.

"If we can't measure it, we can't change it," Zemlin said. "2017 has been an amazing year of open source, and we're just getting started."

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

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