SSI Alliance

Seth Newberry, GM for the Joint Development Foundation, Linux Foundation

1. Please introduce yourself and explain your role at the Linux Foundation.

The Joint Development Foundation (JDF) is a part of the Linux Foundation that provides Standards Development support, services, and governance for projects across the technology spectrum. The JDF falls under the umbrella of a larger standards group in the Linux Foundation that looks after the worldwide standards efforts of the Linux Foundation.  While well known for its work in Open-Source software, the Linux Foundation, through the JDF is pushing forward standards for projects including 3D Printing, Green Energy, Quantum Computing, video codecs and more. As General Manager of JDF, I work with companies interested setting up new standards projects.  The JDF employs a “Standards in a box” approach that allows our members to spin up standards projects quickly using customizable templates based on time-tested principles. The Linux Foundation also supports other standards programs that are more highly customized that fall outside of the JDF program but within the scope of the Linux Foundation standards umbrella.

2. Why are Open Standards, governance and vendor neutrality so critical for innovation today?

Neutral governance is the cornerstone of any standards initiative.  At all standards bodies, Linux Foundation, Oasis, ETSI or 3GPP, neutral governance is the engine that drives a successful specification. The companies that participate collaborate around a technical problem where the specification is intended to solve that problem in a way that benefits all the contributors.  No one company owns the specification and therefore can’t dominate the process of developing the specification. When the specification is complete, the copyrights and source code are held in common by the specification body of which all the collaborators are members.

One of the other great benefits of Open Standards is the fact that companies can collaborate on the parts of the network or application that is common to all users and suppliers. Companies seldom. differentiate their product on the plumbing, they differentiate on performance and customer-facing attributes. So rather than have 20 companies deploy 50 engineers each to create 20 bespoke products that perform the same function, it is better to have 20 companies deploy 3 engineers each to define a set of common approaches.  This increases the total brain power applied to the problem and captures a broader set of requirements and creates greater assurance for interoperability.

3. The Linux Foundation is no stranger to sustainability initiatives having established the Green Software Foundation with Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft, and ThoughtWorks. What is the critical role that Open Standards and Open-Source play for sustainability?

The Linux Foundation reflects what its members value, and the sustainability topic is definitely one of those things we are seeing our members prioritize. It is obviously a core focus area for the Open19 Foundation with Data Center sustainability.  While the Linux Foundation does not create technology, it gives its members the ability to collaboratively solve complicated technical problems, one of which is sustainability. Our role is to provide expertise on setting up Open-Source projects and the tools and services they need to thrive.

The Open-Source DNA of the Linux Foundation promotes broad participation from the entire world of interested developers who may have amazingly innovative ideas to contribute. Regarding sustainability, the Green Software Foundation, LF Energy and its projects, and AgStack, just to name a few, reflect the tech industry’s increased focus on ESG.  And again, if you look at the “plumbing” example I gave above, Open Source and Open Standards make a lot of sense.  This enables companies to jump-start sustainability solutions that cross corporate boundaries, share developer innovation, and are neutrally governed.

4. Where can people connect with you and keep up with new initiatives at the Linux Foundation?

The Linux Foundation website is a great starting point. For more JDF specific information, people can visit the JDF website for more information about our programs and can reach out to or directly to me at