​Google doubles down on Linux and open source

Google is joining The Linux Foundation as a Platinum member. Google executive Sarah Novotny will become a Linux Foundation board member.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Google couldn't exist without Linux and open-source software. While you may not think of Google as a Linux company in the same way as you do Canonical, Red Hat, or SUSE, it wouldn't be the search and advertising giant it is today without Linux. So, it makes sense that Google is moving up from its Silver membership in The Linux Foundation, to the Platinum level.

With this jump in status, Google gets a seat on the Foundation's board of directors. This position will be filled by Sarah Novotny, the head of open source strategy for Google Cloud Platform. Novotny is a self-confessed geek. She has a long history of bridging the gap between the business world and the tech world. Before coming to Google, where she also heads the Kubernetes community, she was head of developer relations at NGNIX and program chair for the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCon).

Also: How Red Hat Linux is helping reclaim the fastest supercomputer title for the US

Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation's executive director, said: "We are honored that Sarah Novotny, one of the leading figures in the open-source community, will join our board -- she will be a tremendous asset." Zemlin added, "Google is one of the biggest contributors to and supporters of open source in the world, and we are thrilled that they have decided to increase their involvement in The Linux Foundation."

Novotny responsed:

Open source is an essential part of Google's culture, and we've long recognized the potential of open ecosystems to grow quickly, be more resilient and adaptable in the face of change, and create better software.By working closely with [The Linux Foundation], we can better engage with the community-at-large and continue to build a more inclusive ecosystem where everyone can benefit.

Sarah Novotny. Image: JulianCash.com

Over 800 organizations are Linux Foundation members. AT&T, Cisco, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm, Tencent, Samsung and VMware were already Platinum members.

In a related blog post, Google executives said:

Open clouds matter more now than ever. While most companies today use a single public cloud provider in addition to their on-premises environment, research shows that most companies will likely adopt multiple public and private clouds in the coming years. In fact, according to a 2018 Rightscale study, 81-percent of enterprises with 1,000 or more employees have a multi-cloud strategy, and if you consider [Software-as-a-Service] SaaS, most organizations are doing multi-cloud already.

Specifically, to Google the open cloud means:

  • The power to pick up an app and move it -- to and from on-premises, our cloud, or another cloud -- at any time. For example GitLab is moving its services from Azure to Google Cloud Platform.
  • Open-source software permits a richness of thought and continuous feedback loop with users.
  • Open APIs preserve everyone's ability to build on each other's work.

So, both in practice and in executive leadership, Google continues to show its commitment to Linux and open-source software.

Related Stories:

Editorial standards