The new membership level, which requires HP to pay $500,000 in annual dues to the Foundation, puts the PC maker in rarified company. Only Fujitsu, IBM, Intel, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Samsung also participate at the Platinum level.
The Linux Foundation spends those dues in a variety of ways; among them by employing Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Its stated mission is to "promote, protect, and standardize the Linux platform" by providing "much needed services that are not easily offered by a single community member, entity or company."
In addition to allowing HP to become more directly involved in the Foundation's Linux advocacy activities, Platinum membership will give it a seat on the Foundation's board of directors.
Just what makes HP so interested in Linux, however, was not immediately clear. In a canned statement announcing the membership upgrade, HP's VP of cloud computing and open source Eileen Evans seems to suggest that it was just business as usual for one of IT's more prominent vendors.
"Linux is a strategic asset for all major technology companies," Evans said. "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."