The list of members supporting the Linux Foundation continues to grow. With over 150 corporate members, each assist in their own way to help advance the growth of Linux. Depending upon time, money, and commitment, the members are all divided into three groups. Silver, gold, and platinum make up these groups, and HP has just made the investment and commitment necessary to move from being a gold member to being a platinum member. (Hopefully, we will see Linux as the default OS on some future consumer HP product.)
HP will join Fujitsu, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle, and Samsung on the Linux foundation's board of directors. As a result, HP will now be directly involved in decisions and events and can now maximize its investment in Linux. Not too long ago HP's Linux-based webOS was released and upgrading its membership could help the system get a little push to get going, along with the open cloud.
Many of HP's products already run Linux including servers, printers, and networking equipment. However, it is not yet clear as to why HP is so interested in its investment with Linux. Being a platinum member requires companies to pay an annual membership fee of $500,000 whereas being a gold member requires a $100,000 annual fee. Other large tech companies such as Dell, ARM, Adobe, Yahoo!, Motorolla, LG, and many more which use Linux extensively maintain gold memberships.
HP's vice president of cloud and open source, Eileen Evans stated, “Linux is a strategic asset for all major technology companies. With our Linux Foundation Platinum membership, we will have a variety of ways to maximize our investment in Linux and collaborative development that advances our own business, as well as, greater industry innovation.” There are rumors spreading around that HP may be planning to re-enter the smart phone market. In addition, HP did just start a division called Gram, which is looking to integrate open source webOS with cloud services to create new technologies. Whatever HP is planning with their Linux investment will probably end up shaping their future products.