Open Source enables individuals and organizations from all over the world to collaborate on creating modern technologies. Today, it has gone beyond just technology and has become a social, economical, and even political movement to bring our world closer. One of the organizations driving this adoption of open source is the Linux Foundation, regarded as “a federation of foundations” catering to a wide range of industries. Despite its global reach, the Linux Foundation is still a US-based organization with many challenges and limitations.
That’s changing with the formation of Linux Foundation Europe. Launched at the recent Open Source Summit in Dublin, this new foundation will focus on long-standing open source challenges and opportunities in Europe. It’s the only region in the world where nations have come together to create a Union that drives shared goals. “It defines very particular rules of the road for how collaboration between the states can happen, as well as how intellectual property flows across the member states,” said Gabriele (Gab) Columbro, General Manager of Linux Foundation Europe and Executive Director of the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS).
Europe is home to many leading open-source projects, including the Linux kernel. It has a massive grassroots open-source community. “According to an Open Forum report from last year, there are over 250,000 contributors in Europe,” said Columbro.
Europe is also a leader in the adoption of open source technologies and philosophy. Socially oriented policies such as GDPR have come from Europe which are now being embraced by US states such as California. That said, there is a huge gap between the public sector, private sector, and individuals.
The Linux Foundation Europe can become a catalyst and bridge that gap. Many European projects can benefit from Linux Foundation’s massive infrastructure. The Foundation can also collaborate with the European public sector and help projects with grants that are allocated only for that region.
One of the very first projects is the OpenWallet Foundation, which is designed to unify digital wallets. What better place for that project than Europe which prioritizes individual’s online privacy and rights.
That said, the Linux Foundation Europe will not operate in a silo; it’s a European entry point to the Linux Foundation federation. It will lead to even more collaboration, cross-pollination, and influence across the pond. “It’s like a springboard for European projects to start locally, and then leap at the global scale through the Linux Foundation,” said Columbro. Thus, the tagline “Collaborate locally, innovate globally.”
I barely scratched the surface of my discussion with Columbro during the Open Source Summit. Check out the full interview in the video above.