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: Rebuttals
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 21st Sep 2008 10:35 in reply to "Rebuttals"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Updated the item with links to the rebuttals for completeness' sake. Normally I would turn it into a new item, but there's no need for that now seeing how new the current one is.

Just so you all know.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Rebuttals
by GhePeU on Sun 21st Sep 2008 11:09 in reply to "Rebuttals"
GhePeU Member since:
2005-07-06

What a surprise. Someone points to a serious problem of Canonical/Ubuntu, which has been noticed by a a lot of developers from many projects, including X.org, gcc and, the kernel, and instead of acknowledging the problem the best they can do is to try to stir up the zealots and the nutjobs (like schestowitz of boycottnovel.com fame) with this "he works for novell!!! he is an enemy of the people!!!" crap.

If he attacked Canonical because he works for Novell, how comes that he repeatedly pointed up that RED HAT contributes many thing to everything? Canonical contributes less than Gentoo, a free community distro without a single payed developer...

Edited 2008-09-21 11:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Rebuttals
by Kroc on Sun 21st Sep 2008 11:30 in reply to "RE: Rebuttals"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Your enemy's enemy is your friend.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Rebuttals
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 21st Sep 2008 13:11 in reply to "RE: Rebuttals"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

The second linked article is a survey by the Linux Foundation. It also includes a graphic about where the kernel contributors come from: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/publications/images/table4-companies...
There are even some companies on the list, I've never heard from before, like Linutronix. Cannonical/Ubuntu is not on the list.
I don't know if the Linux Foundation is nowadays a competitor to Cannonical, but I don't think they are. ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Rebuttals
by qroon on Sun 21st Sep 2008 11:16 in reply to "Rebuttals"
qroon Member since:
2005-10-21

OT:

And I love this comment ;)

Mark Shuttleworth, with his playboy image and willingness to piss people off, is on his way to being Linux’s Steve Jobs. This is a good thing, as Linux has no pretty faces in the press (apologies to RMS, LBT, ESR and BP).

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Rebuttals
by AdamW on Sun 21st Sep 2008 17:44 in reply to "RE: Rebuttals"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"Mark Shuttleworth, with his playboy image and willingness to piss people off, is on his way to being Linux�¢�€™s Steve Jobs. This is a good thing, as Linux has no pretty faces in the press (apologies to RMS, LBT, ESR and BP)."

Wow, dunno where that came from, but am I to understand that whoever wrote it figures Steve Jobs is a pretty face?!

I'd rather wake up next to billg than that bear. *shudders*

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Rebuttals
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 21st Sep 2008 12:02 in reply to "Rebuttals"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

I find both reactions quite funny.

First: I don't think the keynote was held to bash Cannonical. Even if they do only small contributions, every contribution is welcome. I think the keynote targeted Ubuntu fanboys who see Ubuntu and Cannonical as the best things ever happened to open source. Cannonical's main contribution to FOSS is probably marketing. The term "Ubuntu" reaches out to people who have never heard of Free Software before. It's cool to reach the mainstream. However keep in mind that FOSS is nothing without its developers. Just don't forget where the developers come from.

Secondly: Some of the counter arguments are a shot in the own foot. Quote from the first one:

Greg considers the "Linux ecosystem" to be GCC, binutils, the Linux kernel, X.org, and a handful of other projects. He disregards most of the desktop stack (including GNOME and KDE), all desktop and server applications, and most anything else that is recognizable to an end user as "Linux".

Yeah, he shouldn't make that statement. I'm a KDE user and thus my main focus of interest is obviously there and only to a lesser extend GNOME. I don't count patches or anything but I'm closely following blog postings etc. So Cannonical has about 3 employees who work on KDE. That's Harald Sitter aka apachelogger, Jonathan Riddell, and maybe Celeste Paul aka seele. There's a page in Kubuntu's wiki that's not really conclusive: https://wiki.kubuntu.org/Kubuntu/Teams It lists one person, Eugene Tretyak, who's directly involved with KDE.

Compare that to openSUSE/Novell: http://en.opensuse.org/KDE_Team
Not counting the members from the community, Novell employs 18 people who work on KDE. That's more than a tenth of Cannonical's entire work force.

The second reaction compares Cannonical's company size with Ubuntu's success. Again, IMHO that's a shot on the own foot. It clearly states that Cannonical's work force didn't grow enough to keep up with its success. Cannonical does not have a work force of adequate size. One "LTS" release every two years that supports desktop components for three years. By comparison: Every openSUSE release (roughly every 6-8 months) is supported for two years. SUSE Enterprise for seven years. Red Hat's enterprise offerings are in the same league of support length.
I don't know how many people Red Hat employs to work on FOSS, but according to Wikipedia Novell employs over 500 free software developers. Cannonical's overall work force is just 130.
So IMHO when Cannonical want to be respected, their contributions to FOSS should keep up with their success. It's even for their own good. Why should a big company deploy Ubuntu on their workstations when they know that Cannonical can't offer them the support they need? They turn to Red Hat or Novell because they know: They don't need to upgrade their desktop PCs after three years, because they have seven years of support. How is Cannonical expected to be financially successful when the paying customers turn to somebody else?
It's not like Cannonical is a little startup with little money. Yeah, Cannonical is a new company, but founded by a billionaire. Cannonical/Shuttleworth has the financial resources to increase Cannonical's work force. It's time to do so or Cannonical's as well as Ubuntu's reputation will shrink.

Edited 2008-09-21 12:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 12

RE[2]: Rebuttals
by cdude on Sun 21st Sep 2008 13:38 in reply to "RE: Rebuttals"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

> Cannonical has about 3 employees who work on KDE

afaik they have only one employee, Jonathan. Others contribute independent of Canonical and are not related to that company. So, I would assume Greg's statistics are valid for KDE too.

Reply Parent Score: 4