What it Means to Join the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board

Last week, I was elected to the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board (TAB) during the Linux Kernel Summit in Seoul, South Korea. If anybody told me a couple of years ago, you are going to be elected to the TAB, I would have said “Are you kidding me?” Amazing things do happen!

What Do We Do?

The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board is responsible for advising the Linux Foundation board of directors on technical, social, and political issues regarding Linux and Open Source. The TAB consists of 10 voting members elected by a vote amongst all invitees of the Linux Kernel Summit for a 2 year term. The TAB members are elected by the Linux Kernel Community to represent the views of Linux developers and to foster constructive communication between the Linux Foundation leadership and the Linux developer community.

The TAB also acts in the background to identify and resolve issues for the Linux community before they become a problem. The TAB is intended to be composed of well-respected individuals who have good connections throughout the Linux community, and as a result, the TAB members know who to consult and work with when an issue needs to be resolved.

In addition, the TAB is directly responsible for a few projects.

  1. Ensure there is a planning committee for the Linux Plumbers conference every year.
  2. Run a ‘buddy’ program to help new Linux Foundation member companies learn how to be fine, upstanding Linux citizens.
  3. Respond to any issues of harassment or abuse within the kernel community.

For example, the TAB coordinated the response to UEFI Secure Boot to ensure that Linux would not be locked out of the consumer PC market, and has been active in helping member companies understand and be comfortable with the licensing obligations associated with Linux.

What Does it Take?

A good TAB member is well respected by the community, is a ready listener, is comfortable discussing both technical and social issues, and has a good understanding of how the Linux community works. Since the TAB deals with a wide range of issues, the ideal TAB candidate should be prepared to consider issues outside of their own area of expertise. Sometime the most important characteristic of a TAB member is recognizing when an issue is beyond their depth and to go searching for the right person to consult.

I am humbled and thankful for the trust my fellow Linux developers have placed in me by choosing me to represent them to the Linux Foundation. Developers are vital to the continued success of Linux, and encouraging and mentoring new developers to become successful contributors ensures the current and future Linux development needs are met. I plan to use my time on the TAB to mentor and help new developers become successful contributors.

I’d like to acknowledge Grant Likely (TAB Chair) for the information on TAB’s responsibilities in this blog. For more information on the TAB, please refer to The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board page.

Author: Shuah Khan

Shuah contributes to multiple aspects of the Linux Kernel, and she maintains the Kernel Selftest framework.