Bonum Certa Men Certa

Good Advocacy by the Linux Foundation Stresses the Jobs Effect, But Should Mention GNU Also

Summary: Skills involving BSD, GNU, and other toolsets deserve coverage (at least by name) in the context of Free/Open Source software

THERE was recently a lot of coverage about jobs in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and days or weeks later the Linux Foundation weighed in with its press release [1] about a study it had funded to frame this as a "Linux" boom. The Linux Foundation is run and managed by branding experts like Zemlin (they don't always do branding right) and marketing people, so this should not be shocking. The only problem is, they rewrite history to make it look as though only Linux counts (the big lie which gives the Linux Foundation power at the expense of camps like GNU/FSF). I am not an opponent of the Linux Foundation; I am a big fan of Linux, but I also care about accuracy and truth in reporting -- something which the marketing community is unable, by definition, to care about.



Looking at the sort of headlines generated by the Linux Foundation's latest marketing drive (e.g. 2-8]), it's all about "Linux" but not about the rest of the stack (FOSS). The Linux Foundation is not the only entity which does this by the way. But what they call "Linux skills" often means command-line skills and basically familiarity with GNU utilities, not Linux (the kernel does not have many utilities of interest). Some tools, like OpenSSH, are from BSD. If we mislead the public by collectively referring to all those small programs as "Linux", then we not only do a disservice to other projects but we also reinforce the philosophy of Linux, which does not stress or insist so much on freedom.

To give example of better actions from the Linux Foundation (as of late), it shared a story about a Pennsylvania high school adopting GNU/Linux and it generated some good headlines [9]. Its marketing staff issued a somewhat provocative, stereotypes-reinforcing (connoting Linux with scarce social/love life) Valentine's post [10], not to mention today's Facebook promotion [11] (people have openly complained about the Linux Foundation's support for surveillance like Facebook for years). On the other hand, the Linux Foundation sets up new conferences that are named only after the kernel [12] (even when the conferences cover things beyond it [13]), which is another matter worth mentioning.

Ultimately, it would be fair to stress, not only the Linux Foundation calls/labels "Linux" a much broader system, exploiting a common misunderstanding/misconception. The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) too is doing that [14]. It often teaches GNU, but students are led to believe that it's all "Linux". We can do better than that.

Related/contextual items from the news:


  1. 2014 Linux Jobs Report: Demand for Linux Expertise Drives Hiring Priorities


  2. Hiring managers desperately hunt for Linux talent: Report
    With hiring managers beefing up their plans to bring aboard talent with Linux skills over the next six months, a bright future awaits those professionals who know Linux.

    Tech recruitment firm Dice and The Linux Foundation have released the 2014 edition of the Linux Jobs Report. The two found that the growing demand for Linux talent is “driving salaries for Linux above industry norms.”


  3. gNewSense Reviewed, Thanking Packagers, and Linux Jobs
  4. Linux skills helping professional move forward - 2014 Linux Jobs Report


  5. Keep Learning Linux—It's The Future


  6. Linux professionals are in high demand in technology job market
    Today in Open Source: Download the free 2014 Linux Jobs Report.


  7. Demand for Linux Professionals is Growing


  8. Demand for Linux skills rises


  9. Pennsylvania high school adopts Linux, rolls out laptops to students
    Penn Manor High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania will embrace the open source Linux platform, installing it on more than 1,700 laptops. Every student at Penn Manor HS received an Acer TravelMate laptop powered by the Ubuntu 13.10 OS - and the student body was encouraged to explore the OS and push its limits.


  10. What Does Your Linux Candy Heart Say?
    How does the penguin community celebrate February 14 every year? Is it with a box of chocolates? Maybe if it’s sitting next to our keyboards alongside multiple coffee mugs. What about little Necco Sweethearts? Those “luv you” messages seem a little too general to fully express the amorous thoughts of those with Linux already seeded deep in their hearts.


  11. Leaked: Linux’s Look Back Facebook Video
    After trying to conceal its Facebook posts from the world for nearly a decade, Linux’s Look Back Facebook video leaked today.


  12. Linux Foundation Announces Schedule for Annual Collaboration Summit


  13. Dive into the world of Linux and free software at SCALE 12x this weekend in Los Angeles


  14. Linux certifications closer to Kosovo
    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organisation, announced that Master Affiliate for the Western Balkans Region LPI-Greece recently appointed CACTTUS as LPI Sub-Affiliate for Kosovo, a company which has a strong experience in the market of Kosovo in technology and trainings.


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