And anyone can use the penguin.
Zemlin comes to this work from the software industry, having worked at Covalent and then the Free Standards Group before the latter merged with OSDL today to create the Linux Foundation. He's not a veteran of the trade association game, groups like the Consumer Electronics Association which have grown enormously wealthy and influential through sponsoring trade shows like CES.
What he wants to do is run both face-to-face technical forums and online groups, as the founding organizations have been doing, and represent the industry as it tries to fight the FUD.
"We'll continue to be a member funded organization," he said. "The important thing is to keep offering high quality services that can be used by a broader set of constituents, so more people underwrite the organization."
Those services do include ongoing work on the Linux Standards Base, and the interoperability challenges meant to unify versions of Linux so it runs applications more like its proprietary rivals.
Zemlin's goals as industry spokesman are similarly modest.
"Acting as a spokesperson to counter FUD, absolutely. We're going to correct factual errors in defense of this platform. Are we going to act as a spokesman for open source community members? There are some extraordinary people in this movement. I wouldn't even begin to speak for these people."
So the big story of The Linux Foundation turns out, in a way, to be smaller than it appeared this morning. It's a technical group whose legal and publicity assets belong to the community that sponsors it, and not to any small group of members.
If in three years you know it as well as you do Mozilla or Apache, Jim Zemlin will be pleased. No one is trying to take over the open source world, he says.[poll id=28]