As Open Source Continues to Grow in Popularity, Linux Foundation Shares a Peak Their Future Strategy

By Matthew Vulpis, Content Contributor  |  December 22, 2021

Enterprises today have a healthy appetite for embracing new hybrid cloud technologies, and they're doing so thoughtfully. New applications and re-factored legacy applications are going cloud-native where and when it makes sense, increasing the amount of pressure put on IT workers to make sure things are running well digitally. More IT leaders are turning to open-source software and community development approaches than ever before to keep up with this new volume of work.

The term open source refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible; therefore, open-source software has source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. This allows programmers who have access to a computer program's source code to improve a program by adding features or fixing parts that don't always work correctly.

While not new by any means, open-source software has seen a recent rise in use and collaboration. In fact, according to a RedHat report, 83 percent of businesses said enterprise open source software is instrumental to their organizations' abilities to take advantage of cloud architectures over the past two years. The same report found 29 percent of IT leaders say open-source software has better security, while 27 percent like it gives access to the latest innovations.

There are dozens of popular open-source organizations, most of which are not-for-profit and charitable organizations that are simply supporting the open-source software movement for the benefit of technological progress. Some are very well-known today for their variety of collaborators and projects, one of the most notable being the Linux Foundation (News - Alert).

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit organization designed for the world's top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption.

The LF is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Linux kernel this year. They recently released a report exploring their 750 open-source project communities, highlighting new initiatives around securing software supply chains, introducing their new LFX platform, and shedding some light on many new initiatives on the horizon.

Impressive Feats

The Linux Foundation amplifies some of the remarkable heights it reached over thirty years as an organization within the report.

"Over the years, more than 55,000 people have contributed code to improve Linux, and today, Linux can be found everywhere," the report reads. "Over 5.4 billion people rely on Linux as it powers the vast majority of smartphones, the world's largest cloud environments, and the world's fastest computers."

The report features some of the more remarkable stats from this past year. In just 2021 alone, through Linux Foundation projects, over one billion lines of code were used to help support the most business-critical and groundbreaking innovations, with over 29 million lines of code being added weekly. Furthermore, the report stated that an average of 80.6K successful builds were executed per month in 2021, with the total number of builds per day having increased by 68 percent over the past year.

Current Projects

The Linux Foundation highlights some of their most promising projects that are currently underway, such as MaterialIX, which originated at Lucasfilm in 2012, and has grown into the central format for material description at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and is used in production for movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the Magma Project, which powers private LTE (News - Alert) networks to allow tribal nations in North America to control their internet access, supporting critical communications, monitoring cultural resources, and enabling distance learning during the pandemic.

The report references the variety of the Foundation's other projects as well, including some of their newer projects to date.

"The Open-Source (News - Alert) Security Foundation (OpenSSF) was elevated to a funded project at the LF in October 2021," the report states. "The OpenSSF is a cross-industry collaboration that brings together leaders to improve the security of open-source software (OSS) by building a broader community, targeted initiatives, and best practices."

"Automotive Grade Linux (AGL (News - Alert)) was established to build a common open-source software platform to eliminate the fragmentation plaguing the automotive industry," the report reads. "AGL is the only organization with a mission to address all in-vehicle software, including infotainment, instrument cluster, telematics, heads-up display, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and autonomous driving."

What the Future Holds

The report, of course, also gives readers a look at what's still in store to come in terms of Linux's future endeavors. Enabling Linux in Safety Applications (ELISA) is a project started just over a year ago but is gaining momentum with the expected near future shift to automated vehicles. The project aims to create a shared set of tools and processes to help companies build and certify Linux-based safety-critical applications and systems whose failure could result in the loss of human life, significant property damage, or environmental damage.

The report covers all of Linux's upcoming and high-priority projects, on top of ELISA, such as The LF AI & Data Foundation and RISC-V.

"The LF AI & Data Foundation grows and supports an open community and a growing ecosystem of open-source AI, data, and analytics projects by accelerating development and innovation, enabling collaboration, and creating new opportunities for all the community members," the report states about the project. "The Foundation provides a neutral, trusted hub for developers to code, manage, and scale open-source AI and Data technology projects."

"RISC-V is the strategic foundation and catalyst for open computing across industries and geographies, technical innovation and adoption, community engagement and strategic investment," the report reads. "The organization is driven through open collaboration, enabling freedom of design across all domains and industries, and cementing the strategic foundation of semiconductors."

The full report goes into more detail about Linux's projects, both currently underway and expected for the future. To read the full report and gain insights about an open-source organization that has been going strong for three decades, click here.




Edited by Luke Bellos