July 24, 2007

Linux Foundation names new CTO

Author: Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier

The Linux Foundation today announced Markus Rex will become its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and lead its Linux Standard Base (LSB) initiative and other standardization and technical initiatives for the foundation.

In an email interview, Rex said that he began using Linux in 1992. He joined SUSE in 1999 and ran engineering for five years before SUSE was purchased by Novell. After the acquisition, he served as vice president and general manager for SUSE Linux, and as CTO for Novell's Open Platform Solutions Group.

Rex has been involved with the foundation for some time. "For the last three years I was a member of the board of directors for both predecessor organizations, the Free Standards Group and OSDL, and up to today also a board member for the Linux Foundation. For many years I followed the standardization efforts in Linux, also by actively directing SUSE and Novell to always certify its products and make successful LSB certification a product requirement."

The primary job facing Rex is heading up the LSB. When asked about his plans for the LSB, Rex says one of his goals is "to increase the adoption of LSB by application vendors." He says that adoption by Linux vendors is "solid," but "ISVs are still looking for broader scope. I plan to provide that to allow more applications to be LSB-compliant."

To do that, Rex says that the foundation needs to "include additional libraries and interfaces, so more application use-cases are covered by the LSB.

"Our tools and documentation for developers need to increase in volume and scope, and we have to make it really easy to validate conformance. Our project with the Russian Academy of Science to create a sophisticated test framework is an important step in that direction and lays the foundation for other improvements."

Rex says that the LSB is vitally important. "We have to prevent Linux from fragmenting like Unix did, and the LSB is a critical component to help with that."

As CTO, Rex says that his job will be to lead "all technical initiatives for the Linux Foundation," which includes the LSB as well as efforts like the open printing workgroup. He also says he will be "the primary technical interface to LF members and the LF's Technical Advisory Board who represent the kernel community."

The CTO position has a limited tenure. Rex is slated to end his term in 2008 and return to Novell at that time, according to the release from the Linux Foundation.

Previous CTO Ian Murdock joined Sun Microsystems in March, and has been working on Project Indiana -- an objective to make Sun's OpenSolaris more like Linux.

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