Facebook joins The Linux Foundation as a platinum member

For years, Facebook has relied on Linux and open-source software. Now it's taking a leading role in The Linux Foundation.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Most web-based companies are built on Linux and open-source software. Two-billion member social network Facebook is no different. For years, Facebook has not only relied on open-source, it's been an active contributor to major open-source projects. These include the React JavaScript library; the Open Compute Project, which open sources data-center hardware; and Linux's cGroup2 container software. Now Facebook is joining The Linux Foundation membership at the Platinum level. 

It's a natural move. While Facebook's open-source group has long been a member, the main company is finally joining the Foundation at its highest level. As a Platinum member, Facebook's head of Open Source Kathy Kam will join the Linux Foundation's board. Kam is a 20-year engineering, product management, and developer relations leader with vast open-source management experience. She'd previously worked at Google and Microsoft.

While Facebook has been criticized for how it deals with privacy and politics, it has impeccable open-source credentials. It was already the lead contributor of many Linux Foundation-hosted projects, such as Presto, GraphQL, Osquery, and ONNX. The company also employs many Linux kernel key developers and maintainers.
In addition to that, Facebook can boast of numerous important open-source projects such as: 

  • Facebook Connectivity and the open-source Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Foundation, which is bringing fast, reliable internet to underserved populations. The related Magma open-source project enables telecom operators to easily deploy mobile networks in hard-to-reach areas -- reducing the costs of building and maintaining telecom networks.  

  • Facebook created a unique dataset of over 100,000 videos and launched the Deepfake Detection Challenge in order to accelerate the development of new ways to detect deepfake videos. 

  • Facebook's Data for Good program enables geographic data to be shared with the aim of addressing some of the world's greatest humanitarian issues, including COVID-19.  

  • By creating and sustaining PyTorch, Facebook also accelerates machine learning's pace of innovation. 

Kam, for one, is very happy that Facebook is joining The Linux Foundation. She says the Foundation:

...supports the continued stability, flexibility, and scalability of Linux in nearly every aspect of modern computing. Linux also formed the backbone of some of Facebook's early infrastructure. This is why we're thrilled to be doing our part in sponsoring the LF at the highest level. The Linux Foundation has and continues to play a crucial role in the continued success of not only Linux but also in broader open source ecosystems as well. At Facebook, our mission focuses on building community and bringing the world closer together. Open source has been critical to that mission from day 1 and continues to play an important role in helping to bring opportunity and innovation to the far reaches of the globe. We hope that this sponsorship will further the goal of keeping Linux and all of open source thriving for years to come.

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