Twitter joins Linux Foundation, angry developers unimpressed

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(—Twitter will join the Linux Foundation as a "Silver" tier member. The announcement is paired with news that a keynote by a Twitter manager will be part of the events at the LinuxCon conference in San Diego from August 29 to 31 in San Diego. In joining the Foundation, Twitter takes a membership role alongside corporate leaders such as. Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, NEC, Novell, Oracle, Samsung and other well-known businesses supporting the Foundation. The San Francisco-based nonprofit is focused on accelerating the growth of Linux, and was founded in 2000. Members of the Linux Foundation support the platform with their membership fees.

Silver-category members pay dues anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on size. Platinum members pay $500,000.

"Linux and its ability to be heavily tweaked is fundamental to our ," said Chris Aniszczyk, Manager of Open Source, Twitter. "By joining the Linux Foundation we can support an organization that is important to us and collaborate with a community that is advancing Linux as fast as we are improving Twitter."

Aniszczyk will deliver the keynote titled "The Open Source Technology Behind a ." Earlier this year, Twitter checked the numbers and said there are more than 140 million active users. The architecture that supports all their daily activity makes ample use of technology contributed by Open Source.

"Twitter is built on open source software, from the back-end to the front-end.," according to t he company. "Twitter engineers use, contribute to and release a lot of open source software."

Twitter also says that a good part of its Open Source software that is developed by Twitter is under the Apache License Version 2.0. and documentation is generally available under the Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Twitter engineers release numerous and contribute to their pet projects. Projects from Twitter released to Open Source include Bootstrap, a toolkit for developing web sites and applications, carrying CSS and HTML for typography, forms, buttons, tables, and grids; and Finagle, for building asynchronous RPC servers and clients in Java, Scala or any JVM-hosted language.

In April, Twitter became an official sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation. "We have a long history of contributing to Apache projects, " said the company announcement, including Mesos, Cassandra, Hadoop, Mahout, and Pig.

Meantime, while technology blogs and news sites hummed with the news of Twitter's membership entry, comments back from developers show a tension between how far they think a company should go between claiming they are "Open Source" in spirit and Open Source at a level that genuinely favors developers. More than one skeptic noted that Twitter makes ample use of Open Source programs for various tasks when practical but remains guarded about key proprietary software and is making moves that will make life difficult for smaller outside developers.

The anger directed at Twitter involves an announcement posted earlier this month, that there will be changes in Twitter's API rules and regulations. Changes affecting developers include required authentication on every API endpoint; a new per-endpoint rate-limiting methodology; and changes to Twitter's "Developer Rules of the Road," especially around applications that are traditional clients.

A typical negative response to the Linux Foundation membership headlines was that "They're just trying to gain some publicity after the really ironic move of making their own social network more closed and less open for developers."

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