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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How can you employ developers when you are not making money?

Debian, Gentoo, Mandriva and others contribute developers and patches to many projects, and they all manage.

I think this is the core issue. I saw a figure of 130 people at Canonical but last I heard (from sebastian; he who packages gnome) there are only about 10-15 developers working at the distro.

If that's really true then Canonical has no future whatsoever as any organisation, let alone a commercially viable one. What on Earth are the other 115 hangers-on doing in an organisation that Shuttleworth set up to try and move open source software, and the desktop more specifically, forwards?

How do you expect them to contribute the same as Red Hat or Novell?

No one does. People are just questioning why they contribute less than Gentoo, Mandriva and other organisations versus their marketing exposure, the funding they have and the number of people they employ.

That's why there's an increase in the enterprise aspects of Ubuntu. Let's see how that goes.

With 115 to 120 people not directly contributing to code that will make the enterprise market sit up, take notice and think "Wow, we have to have that" then I can't see them being successful ever. They're going to sign off with a whimper in a couple of years as no one can continue to bankroll that. I blame Shuttleworth if that's true. All they're doing is packaging Gnome and all the same software as other enterprise vendors are doing, with nothing that differentiates them.

If Shuttleworth wants to make money he needs to stop jacking off over Mac OS and start creating a competitive alternative to Windows Server out of open source software with none of the administrative and licensing overhead. If Canonical does that then people would crawl across broken glass with their flies unzipped (too much Red Dwarf) to get a copy of Ubuntu and give them their bank details when they got there.

From there, the desktop is a whole lot clearer and there's money to be made on the way there. Any Linux vendor who does that really will have Red Hat and Novell worried.

Edited 2008-09-22 21:58 UTC

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