Linux Foundation

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Formation2000 (2000)
Type501(c)(6) organization
PurposeOpen-source software
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Membership 1,000+ corporate members
Employees 150

The Linux Foundation (LF) is a non-profit organization established in 2000 to support Linux development and open-source software projects.


The Linux Foundation started as Open Source Development Labs in 2000 to standardize and promote the open-source operating system kernel Linux. It merged with Free Standards Group in 2007. The foundation has since evolved to promote open-source projects beyond the Linux OS as a "foundation of foundations" that hosts a variety of projects spanning topics such as cloud, networking, blockchain, and hardware. The foundation also hosts annual educational events among the Linux community, including the Linux Kernel Developers Summit and the Open Source Summit.


As of September 2015, The total economic value of the development costs of Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects was estimated at $5 billion.

Project Name Description
AllJoyn AllJoyn is an open-source software framework that allows compatible devices and applications to find each other, communicate, and collaborate across the boundaries of product category, platform, brand, and connection type.
Automotive Grade Linux Automotive Grade Linux is a collaborative open-source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car that can serve as the de facto standard for the industry. Although initially focused on In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI), the AGL roadmap includes instrument clusters, heads-up displays, telematics, and autonomous driving. The goals of AGL are to provide:
  • An automotive-focused core Linux operating system stack that meets common and shared requirements of the automotive ecosystem
  • A transparent, collaborative, and open environment for Automotive OEMs, Tier One suppliers, and their semiconductor and software vendors to create in-vehicle software
  • A collective voice for working with other open-source projects and developing new open-source solutions
  • An embedded Linux distribution that enables rapid prototyping for developers new to Linux or teams with prior open source experience
Carrier Grade Linux Carrier Grade Linux is a set of specifications that detail standards of availability, scalability, manageability, and service response characteristics which must be met for Linux kernel-based operating system to be considered carrier grade.
Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry is an open-source, multi-cloud application platform as a service governed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
Cloud Native Computing Foundation The Cloud Native Computing Foundation was founded in 2015 to help advance container technology and align the tech industry around its evolution.
Continuous Delivery Foundation The Continuous Delivery Foundation is an open-source community improving the world's ability to deliver software with security and speed.
Core Infrastructure Initiative The Core Infrastructure Initiative was announced on 25 April 2014 in the wake of the Heartbleed security vulnerability to fund and support free and open-source software projects that are critical to the functioning of the Internet.
Data Plane Development Kit The Data Plane Development Kit provides a set of libraries and network interface controller polling-mode drivers to accelerate CPU architecture-running packet processing workloads.
EdgeX Foundry EdgeX Foundry is a vendor-neutral open-source platform providing a common framework for industrial IoT edge computing.
FinOps Foundation The FinOps Foundation is dedicated to advancing people who practice the discipline of cloud financial management through best practices, education, and standards.
FRRouting FRRouting is an IP routing protocol suite for Unix and Linux platforms.
Hyperledger The Hyperledger project is a global, open-source effort based on advancing cross-industry blockchain technologies.
IoTivity The IoTivity is an open-source framework created to standardize inter-device connections for the IoT.
JanusGraph JanusGraph is an open-source, graph database supporting global graph data analytics, reporting, and ETL.
LF AI & Data The LF AI & Data Foundation is a project of The Linux Foundation that supports open-source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and data open-source projects.
Linux Standard Base The Linux Standard Base was a joint project by several Linux distributions to standardize the software system structure.
ONOS Open Network Operating System is an open-source community to brings software-defined networking to communications service providers to make networks more agile for mobile and data center applications.
OpenAPI Specification OpenAPI Specification is a specification for a machine-readable interface definition language for describing, producing, consuming and visualizing web services.
OpenBMC The OpenBMC project is a collaborative open-source project whose goal is to produce an open-source implementation of the Baseboard Management Controllers (BMC) Firmware Stack.
OpenChain The OpenChain Project aims to define effective open-source software compliance in software supply chains. A key output is the ISO/IEC 5230 standard.
Open Container Initiative In 2015, Docker & CoreOS launched the Open Container Initiative in partnership with The Linux Foundation to create a set of industry standards in the open around container formats and runtime.
OpenDaylight Project The OpenDaylight project is an open-source platform for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) that uses open protocols to provide centralized, programmatic control and network device monitoring. It aims to accelerate the adoption of SDN and Network Functions Virtualization in service providers, enterprises, and research networks.
OpenJS Foundation OpenJS Foundation hosts projects and funds activities to support the long-term sustainability of the JavaScript and web ecosystem as a whole.
Open Source Security Foundation The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) works towards a collaborative effort to improve the security of the open-source software ecosystem.
Open Mainframe Project The Open Mainframe Project is a Collaborative Project to encourage the use of Linux-based operating systems and open-source software on mainframe computers.
OpenPrinting OpenPrinting develops IPP-based printing technology for Linux- and Unix-based operating systems.
Open vSwitch Originally created at Nicira before moving to VMware (and eventually the Linux Foundation), OvS is an open source virtual switch supporting standard management interfaces and protocols.
ONAP The Open Network Automation Platform is the result of OPEN-O and Open ECOMP projects merging in April 2017. The platform allows end users to design, manage, and automate services and virtual functions.
OPNFV The Open Platform for Network Function Virtualization (NFV) "aims to be a carrier-grade, integrated platform that introduces new products and services to the industry more quickly." In 2016, the project began an internship program, created a working group and an "End User Advisory Group"
Overture Maps Foundation In mid-December 2022, the foundation announced the launch of a new mapping collaboration, the Overture Maps Foundation. Its founding members were Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft and TomTom. It is intended to be complementary to the crowdsourced OpenStreetMap (OSM) project and the foundation encourages members to contribute data directly to OSM.
RethinkDB After RethinkDB announced its shutdown as a business, the Linux Foundation announced that it had purchased the intellectual property under its Cloud Native Computing Foundation project, which was then relicensed under the Apache License (ASLv2). RethinkDB describes itself as "the first open-source, scalable JSON database built from the ground up for the realtime web."
RISC-V The RISC-V International association is chartered to standardize and promote the open RISC-V instruction set architecture together with its hardware and software ecosystem for use in all computing devices.
seL4 seL4 is the only microkernel in existence which has been developed using formal verification techniques. It belongs to the L4 microkernel family and was, like the other L4 microkernels, designed to attain great security and performance.
Servo Servo is a browser engine developed to take advantage of the memory safety properties and concurrency features of the Rust programming language. It was originally developed by Mozilla and later donated to the Linux Foundation.
Software Package Data Exchange The Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) project was started in 2010, to create a standard format for communicating the components, licenses, and copyrights associated with software packages. As part of the project, there is a team that curates the SPDX License List, which defines a list of identifiers for commonly found licenses and exceptions used for open source and other collaborative software.
Tizen Tizen is a free and open-source, standards-based software platform supported by leading mobile operators, device manufacturers, and silicon suppliers for multiple device categories such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, in-vehicle infotainment devices, and smart TVs.
Xen Project The Xen Project team is a global open-source community that develops the Xen Hypervisor, and contributes to the Linux PVOPS framework, the Xen® Cloud Platform, and Xen® ARM.
Yocto Project The Yocto Project is an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools and methods to help create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products regardless of the hardware architecture. It was founded in 2010 as a collaboration among many hardware manufacturers, open-source operating systems vendors, and electronics companies to bring some order to the chaos of embedded Linux development.
Zephyr Project Zephyr is a small real-time operating system for connected, resource-constrained devices supporting multiple architectures. It was developed as an open-source collaboration project and released under the Apache License 2.0. Zephyr became a project of the Linux Foundation in February 2016.
Open Mobile Hub Open Mobile Hub (OMH) ecosystem initiative launched in September 2023 is an open-source services framework platform designed to simplify and enhance mobile app development across diverse environments. OMH streamlines app development by providing a single set of APIs that can support any Android, iOS, HarmonyOS and Oniro OS device with OMH plugins to support account login systems, mapping services systems, and wide range backend services creating greater compatibility and interoperability of apps by developers.

Community stewardship

For the Linux kernel community, the Linux Foundation hosts its IT infrastructure and organizes conferences such as the Linux Kernel Summit and the Linux Plumbers Conference. It also hosts a Technical Advisory Board made up of Linux kernel developers. One of these developers has been appointed to sit on the Linux Foundation board.

Goodwill partnership

In January 2016, the Linux Foundation announced a partnership with Goodwill Central Texas to help hundreds of disadvantaged individuals from underserved communities and a variety of backgrounds get the training they need to start careers in Linux IT.

Community Specification

In July 2020, the Linux Foundation announced an initiative allowing open-source communities to create Open Standards using tools and methods inspired by open-source developers.

Core Infrastructure Initiative

The Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), is a project managed by the Linux Foundation that enables technology companies, industry stakeholders, and esteemed developers to collaboratively identify and fund critical open-source projects in need of assistance. In June 2015, the organization announced financial support of nearly $500,000 for three new projects to better support critical security elements of the global information infrastructure. In May 2016, CII launched its Best Practice Badge program to raise awareness of development processes and project governance steps that will help projects have better security outcomes. In May 2017, CII issued its 100th badge to a passing project.

Community Data License Agreement (CDLA)

Introduced in October 2017, the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA) is a legal framework for sharing data. There are two initial CDLA licenses:

On March 3, 2009, the Linux Foundation announced that they would take over the management of from its previous owners, SourceForge, Inc.

The site was relaunched on May 13, 2009, shifting away from its previous incarnation as a news site to become a central source for Linux tutorials, information, software, documentation, and answers across the server, desktop/netbook, mobile, and embedded areas. It also includes a directory of Linux software and hardware.

Much like Linux itself, plans to rely on the community to create and drive content and conversation.

Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH)

In 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Linux Foundation announced the LFPH, a program dedicated to advancing and supporting the virus contact tracing work led by Google and Apple and their Bluetooth notification systems. The LFPH is focusing its efforts on public health applications, including the effort's first initiative: a notification app intended for governments wanting to launch their privacy-focused exposure notification networks. As of today, LFPH hosts two contact-tracing apps.

LF Climate Finance Foundation

In September 2020, The Linux Foundation announced the LF Climate Finance Foundation (LFCF), a new initiative "to encourage investment in AI-enhanced open source analytics to address climate change." LFCF plans to build a platform that will utilize open-source open data to help the financial investment, NGO, and academia sectors to help better model companies’ exposure to climate change. Allianz, Amazon, Microsoft, and S&P Global will be the initiative's founding members.

LF Energy

LF Energy is an initiative launched by the Linux Foundation in 2018 to improve the power grid.

Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon North America 2016

Training and certification

The Linux Foundation Training Program features instructors and content from the leaders of the Linux developer and open-source communities.

Participants receive Linux training that is vendor-neutral and created with oversight from leaders of the Linux development community. The Linux Foundation's online and in-person training programs aim to deliver broad, foundational knowledge and networking opportunities.

In March 2014, the Linux Foundation and edX partnered to offer a free, massive open online class titled Introduction to Linux. This was the first in a series of ongoing free offerings from both organizations whose current catalogue of MOOCs include Intro to DevOps, Intro to Cloud Foundry and Cloud Native Software Architecture, Intro to Apache Hadoop, Intro to Cloud Infrastructure Technologies, and Intro to OpenStack.

In December 2015, the Linux Foundation introduced a self-paced course designed to help prepare administrators for the OpenStack Foundation's Certified OpenStack Administrator exam.

As part of a partnership with Microsoft, it was announced in December 2015 that the Linux on Azure certification would be awarded to individuals who pass both the Microsoft Exam 70-533 (Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions) and the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam.

In early 2017, at the annual Open Source Leadership Summit, it was announced that the Linux Foundation would begin offering an Inclusive Speaker Orientation course in partnership with the National Center for Women & Information Technology. The course is designed to give participants "practical skills to promote inclusivity in their presentations."

In September 2020, the Linux Foundation released a free serverless computing training course with CNCF. It is taught by Alex Ellis, founder of OpenFaaS.

Among many other organizations with similar offerings, The Linux Foundation has reported a 40% increase in demand for their online courses in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting social-distancing measures.

Patent Commons Project

The patent commons consists of all patented software which has been made available to the open source community. For software to be considered to be in the commons the patent owner must guarantee that developers will not be sued for infringement, though there may be some restrictions on the use of the patented code. The concept was first given substance by Red Hat in 2001 when it published its Patent Promise.

The Patent Commons Project was launched on November 15, 2005, by the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL). The core of the project is an online patent commons reference library aggregating and documenting information about patent-related pledges and other legal solutions directed at the open-source software community. As of 2015, the project listed 53 patents.

Open Compliance Program

The Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Program provides an array of programs for open-source software licensing compliance. The focus of this initiative is to educate and assist developers (and their companies) on licensing requirements, to make it easier to create new software. The program consists primarily of self-administered training modules, but it is also meant to include automated tools to help programmatically identify license compliance issues.


Funding for the Linux Foundation comes primarily from its Platinum Members, who pay US$500,000 per year according to Schedule A in LF's bylaws, adding up to US$7.5 million. The Gold Members contribute a combined total of US$1.2 million and Silver members contribute between US$5,000 and US$20,000 based on the amount of employees, summing up to at least US$6,240,000.

As of June 2024, the foundation collected annual fees worth at least US$14,940,000.

Use of donations

By early 2018, the Linux Foundation's website stated that it "uses in part to help fund the infrastructure and fellows (like Linus Torvalds) who help develop the Linux kernel."

See also


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External links