Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Sun 21st Sep 2008 06:46 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Linux Greg KH, Linux kernel developer delivered a keynote in the Linux plumbing conference about the health of the ecosystem. His message was essentially that distributions that don't contribute to the ecosystem have to rely on the whims of others which is unhealthy for them. Here is an introduction the development model and some interesting statistics about the Linux kernel code. Update by TH: Rebuttals are appearing all over the web, like this one by Canonical's Matt Zimmerman ("He's refuting a claim which has, quite simply, never been made. [...] When this sort of thing happens on mailing lists, it's called trolling."), or this one by another Canonical employee, Dustin Kirkland.
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RE[5]: Comment by Kroc
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 22nd Sep 2008 10:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Kroc"
KAMiKAZOW
Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, isn't exactly how it should work?

No. Distro's developers should fix bugs and add features upstream and that's exactly what Gentoo, Debian, Novell, Red Hat, etc. do.
As I know KDE best, I give you examples from there: Stephan Kulow is in the top 3 of KDE bug fixers. See http://commit-digest.org/issues/2008-09-14/ (under Bug Killers). He's a Novell employee: http://en.opensuse.org/User:Coolo and http://news.opensuse.org/2007/08/09/people-of-opensuse-stephan-kulo...

Many SUSE-specific features that ship with the openSUSE 11.0 version of KDE 4.0.4 were integrated into KDE 4.1. They couldn't be integrated into KDE 4.0 because openSUSE's and KDE's release cycles are different. Contributing distributors like Novell/SUSE and Red Hat are not stupid. They know: Not committing their patches upstream just increases their work load. They know it because in the 1990s both companies tried to get in front of the competition by doing so.
Employing Free Software developers is a key element of the business of Novell, Red Hat, IBM, Apple, Sun, and so on. It decreases their cost: 5 companies employing each 2 developers and collaborating on projects is cheaper for one company than employing 10 and doing software on their own. Google doesn't contribute kernel patches because it's a nice company. Google uses Linux on its servers and needs to tweak it for performance or if a bug occurs.

Then there's Cannonical... a company that in theory wants to make money by selling support contracts for its Linux distro. Yet, Cannonical commits less Kernel patches than Google: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/publications/images/table4-companies...
You may not approve the keynote but the keynote is a symptom from a larger issue. Ubuntu is quite successful among the mainstream, but Cannonical's contributions to Free Software don't match their success (yet). Ubuntu's/Cannonical's not-so-active support for Free Software development starts to backfire, because the hard core aka the Free Software developers noticed it.
Many KDE developers switched to openSUSE, no matter if they are employed by Novell or not. Novell-sponsored services like the openSUSE Build Service make their developer life easier. Nowadays you often see the SUSE mascot Geeko in the lower left of KDE screenshots. Organizations and individuals who are not affiliated with Novell like ArsTechnica and Aaron Seigo advise openSUSE as platform with the best KDE experience.
Now openSUSE is on #2 in the DistroWatch charts.
You see: Actively supporting Free Software development not only helps the software the distributor wants to distribute but also gives it publicity.

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