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Who Wrote, and Paid For, 2.6.20 238

Posted by kdawson
from the names-and-companies dept.
Corbet writes "LWN.net did some data mining through the kernel source repository and put together an analysis of where the patches came from. It turns out that most kernel code is contributed by people paid to do the work — but the list of companies sponsoring kernel development has a surprise or two." The article's conclusion: "The end result of all this is that a number of the widely-expressed opinions about kernel development turn out to be true. There really are thousands of developers — at least, almost 2,000 who put in at least one patch over the course of the last year. Linus Torvalds is directly responsible for a very small portion of the code which makes it into the kernel. Contemporary kernel development is spread out among a broad group of people, most of whom are paid for the work they do. Overall, the picture is of a broad-based and well-supported development community."
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Who Wrote, and Paid For, 2.6.20

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  • SCO? (Score:4, Funny)

    by fluch (126140) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:00PM (#18195644)
    ...did neither contribute nor pay?! Strange...
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:02PM (#18195674) Homepage Journal
    TFA: "It is not uncommon to see Linux referred to as a volunteer-created system, as opposed to the corporate-sponsored, proprietary alternatives. There has been little research, however, into how much work on Linux is truly 'volunteer' - done on a hacker's spare, unpaid time. In general, the assumption that Linux is created by volunteers is simply accepted."

    Thing is, even though some of those changes were done by programmers in the course of their paid jobs, isn't the work still being "volunteered," albeit by the company rather than an individual? As companies, Red Hat, IBM, Novell, or Big Roy's Heating and Plumbing don't need to help improve the kernel, nor are they directly paid for their work on it. They simply do so because a better Linux kernel does benefit them directly or indirectly, as do many individual volunteers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:10PM (#18195792)
      They mean "volunteer" in the sense that's completely obvious from the context, not in any sense derived from Pointless Nerd Hairsplitting.
    • Thing is, even though some of those changes were done by programmers in the course of their paid jobs, isn't the work still being "volunteered,"
      No because large corporations like Oracle, and in particular IBM do little or nothing which does not benefit them somehow. So the work is not volunteered, it is a component of an agenda.
      • by krlynch (158571) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:22PM (#18195958) Homepage

        So the work is not volunteered, it is a component of an agenda.

        Doesn't the same argument apply to non-monetarily-compensated "volunteers"? Don't they have an agenda as well?

        • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:29PM (#18196066) Homepage Journal
          Exactly. Most of the driver development in the early days were done by people who -- gasp, shock -- had that particular piece of hardware and needed it to work with the Linux kernel. Much driver development is *still* done that way, although some driver work is now sponsored by companies who develop the hardware (i.e., Broadcom)

          Most everyone working on the kernel has an agenda and that's okay -- open source isn't about communism or pure philanthropy, it's more of a libertarian or anarchocapitalist philosophy.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mark3748 (1002268)
            Companies that provide new code and patches to the open source community are in no way obligated to provide them.... they can keep the changes to themselves and never release them to the community. The work that they do and give back to the community is therefore "volunteered".

            Most everyone working on the kernel has an agenda and that's okay -- open source isn't about communism or pure philanthropy, it's more of a libertarian or anarchocapitalist philosophy.

            This is quite possibly the best explanations of

          • by xappax (876447) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @03:41PM (#18197978)
            Most everyone working on the kernel has an agenda and that's okay -- open source isn't about communism or pure philanthropy, it's more of a libertarian or anarchocapitalist philosophy.

            Lots of geeks are anarchocapitalists, so it makes sense that they'd want to claim the successful and popular open source movement as their own, but I don't think they're as similar as you assert.

            Anarcho-capitalism is about profit and individual property as the central pillars of society. Open source is not about profit, and it's definitely not about private property.

            Open source is a tradition that was established to fight back against those who sought to profit from proprietary computer code. It was introduced as a way to foster cooperation and support between those programmers who didn't seek to profit from their code, but did want to share it with other like-minded people. Open source has become so successful that entire profit-making industries have come to depend on it, but at its core Open Source is designed as a sort of "non-profit cooperative" for people who code for free. Open source is a gift economy - sure everyone gives gifts for different reasons, but they're still gifts.

            The open source philosophy is also clearly against private property. Of course, the only form of property that open source involves is intellectual property, which many anarcho-capitalists claim is a special case, but I think the point should still be made that nobody owns open source code, and nobody can own it. Since private ownership of everything is a central tenet of anarcho-capitalism I can't see where the similarity is.

            I know socialism is a bad word on Slashdot, because it means red commie soviets who are going to take away all our civil rights and make us live like in 1984, but personally, I see the open source movement as an example of voluntary socialism, or anarcho-socialism - programmers have decided that the existing market forces are abusing their property rights to producing crap software for ridiculous prices. So, they have voluntarily formed a network which allows them to share their resources in a non-market environment.

            The reason open source software is so good is precisely because it's not driven by profit-oriented market forces, but by the diverse motivations and interests of many people and organizations. Obviously they're not doing it out of pure generosity, but in general when people develop open source code they're considering how to make good code primarily, not how to make lots of profit primarily.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by grcumb (781340)

              I know socialism is a bad word on Slashdot, because it means red commie soviets who are going to take away all our civil rights and make us live like in 1984...

              This disdain seems especially ironic these days, now that the capitalist West is proving that it can produce gulags and a 1984 surveillance society much more efficiently than the those nasty old Soviets. 8^)

              ...but personally, I see the open source movement as an example of voluntary socialism, or anarcho-socialism - programmers have decided that t

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by TekPolitik (147802)

                Before you can call it a socialist system, you'd need to demonstrate that a command economy is possible.

                Socialism, properly so called, does not involve a command economy. Read up a little on Marx and Engels' positions (particularly Engels) and you'll find they actually claim that once socialism is correctly implemented and entrenched the State will wither away because it will have no purpose - that there will be no reason to have an all-encompassing power to make rules for people. Stated that simply it s

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by stephanruby (542433)
              "[Open source] was introduced as a way to foster cooperation and support between those programmers who didn't seek to profit from their code, but did want to share it with other like-minded people."

              I'm sure open source was introduced for many different reasons, sometimes even conflicting reasons, but for me open source means that I can profit from my labor, my reputation, my tacit understanding of the code, etc. That is what I get when I invest my time and my money into open source.

              And to me at least, t
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jvkjvk (102057)
          Let me refine this a little further and then re-ask the question.

          Certainly one can lump every part of a set into another set if you broaden the definition of the container. So, if you equate a corporate agenda with a volunteer's agenda then yes, the same argument applies.

          I believe that part of the distinction between volunteers and paid workers is the distinction between agendas. Part of a corporate agenda is mandating someone at your company do X,Y and Z. Even if they want to do the work, they are not v
      • by prelelat (201821) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:25PM (#18196014)
        I don't agree with your standpoint. I do think that IBM Oracle and other companies benifit from this kind of program. On the other hand most people benifit in some way from contributing code to linux in the first place. People use it for experiance to get a job, to make the OS that they run better, to be apart of something and make themselves feel better. Just because a company is volenteering programmers to the cause because its benifiting them doesn't mean its not volenteering. Its like saying donating to linux because you want it to work better for you so that you can produce more money is not really a donation.

        Most people donate, volenteer for something because they know it will benifit them in the end(how many people at Harvard who have volenteering on their application to the school volenteered because it was something they wanted to do, I would guess half does that make their time in a soup kitchen less valuable or appreciated?). This doesn't mean that its any less noble in the end.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by CodeBuster (516420)
          Most people donate, volenteer for something because they know it will benifit them in the end

          This is what economists call utility [wikipedia.org] whereby actions that result in no clear economic gain for those giving of their resources are explained in that they increase the giver's amount of utility. This is really just a fancy way of saying that people give of their resources (up to a point), despite the fact that they do not directly benefit, because it makes them happy or they derive enjoyment equal to the value of
          • by prelelat (201821)
            okay, but would you disagree with it being volunteering? Which I guess was my original disagreement.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Volunteer does not HAVE to mean without compensation, it means without coercion, of their own free will. Many volunteers are not compensted for their efforts, but others are. The people who join the U.S. military are volunteers, but they do get paid during their term of service and they do get other benefits. No less volunteers, just compensated volunteers.
        • by linguizic (806996)
          Why am I not a volunteer at my current job then? I'm not challenging your definition, I think it's an interesting point. I just think it needs to be refined a little.
          • by timeOday (582209)
            You are right. I don't think "volunteer" army is a represantive use of the term. It has taken on special meaning in that case because it is common for soldiers to be not only paid, but compelled to fight. The only difference between a volunteer army and an army of mercenaries is what's in their hearts :) When you get right down to it, most of the demonization of the "other guys" who don't fight fair, fight for money, use fragmentation (i.e. shrapnel) weapons, etc etc doesn't add up to much but propagand
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bad_fx (493443)
      Is it sad that I actually went carefully back through the article to see how much "Big Roy's Heating and Plumbing" had actually contributed.....? :-/
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Thing is, even though some of those changes were done by programmers in the course of their paid jobs, isn't the work still being "volunteered," albeit by the company rather than an individual?

      If my large copy jobs are routinely late and I call Officemax and tell them they need to get their heads out of their asses, fire the guy responsible, and get me my stuff on time; am I volunteering my free consulting services to Officemax? It is all a matter of perspective. The term "volunteer" in our culture generally carries implications of altruism rather than self interest. The important point to take away from this is that despite the common perception otherwise, most Linux development is done for pr

      • by VWJedi (972839) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:40PM (#18196212)

        The term "volunteer" in our culture generally carries implications of altruism rather than self interest.

        If you put it that way, no one is a "volunteer developer" for linux. They write / change code for their own benefit (to add features, improve functionality). Once they've finished, they usually give their code to "the linux community", but the reason they do the work in the first place is because they want to fix / improve the way their system runs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iabervon (1971)
      For Red Hat and IBM, it's not really any more "volunteer" work than any corporate development work. Nobody pays Microsoft to write new versions of Office; they write them so that they can try to sell them. Big Roy's H&P and Google are unusual in contributing changes they made for internal use.
    • Outside of the fantasy land of the naîve peter pan type, most "volunteering" is corporate base. Even situations that seem obvious. For exmaple, many people the to the corporal entity that is the church, not out an obvious sense of volunteering, but to receive the tenfold reward. I doubt that United Way would not receive anywhere near they money they get, and built their many corporate branches in many major cities, without the pressure of local employers upon the employees, all fearful of losing the
      • by timeOday (582209)

        Outside of the fantasy land of the naîve peter pan type, most "volunteering" is corporate base.
        That is your assumption. The idea that people are motivated exclusively by selfish motives (whether turning a buck, going to heaven, or feeling warm and fuzzy inside) is difficult to disprove, but equally difficult to prove.
  • Linux doesn't support floppy tape anymore... ftape got removed...
    • by larien (5608)
      I'm sure both people who actually used it are gutted...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by skoaldipper (752281)
      Call me a number crunching freak, but I personally found this the most interesting aspect of the article:

      Jeff Garzik comes out on top of this particular measurement by virtue of having deleted the long-unmaintained floppy tape subsystem.

      garnishing a 6% slice of "shovel and shuck duty" for that one, and then couple that metric with the one following showing Jeff atop the leaderboard with 12.4% for "most lines removed". That tells me this guy is blood and guts knee deep in the trenches. After porting a lega

  • It was pretty interesting reading this article, I was rather shocked to see that there was no mention of code contributed to M$ (joke for you ms fan boys)

    Actually in all seriousness, I didn't realise how much of the code was contributed by companies, I was fairly suprised to see broadcom had donated so much code, since I have had quite a few problems with getting their hardware working on linux in the past. I don't know if this is a new thing for them to be contributing code to get their hardware working b
    • by liliafan (454080) *
      Correction, by M$, must remember to use the preview button.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:19PM (#18195908) Homepage Journal
      Why is it shocking. Red Hat, IBM, and Novell hope to make a lot of money from Linux.
      Then you have the expensive systems that use Linux
      Intel and HP are still hopping that the Itantium will work out in the end and frankly Linux is the big OS for the Itantium. Not to many hobbiest have an Itantium sitting around so Intel and HP probably contribute a lot of code for the Itantium port.
      IBM sells a lot of Power systems that run Linux so they probably contributed a lot of code to support the new Power6. Not to mention the the 360/370/Zmachine port.
      Then you have Mips contributing for the embedded market.
      Linux is now big business.
      • by liliafan (454080) *
        :o) The shocking part was just about Microsoft.

        I was just suprised that more code seems to come from companies than from individuals. I can understand the reasoning for it, I just didn't realise just quite how seriously some of these companies were working on Linux.

        I can see the interest in it for Redhat, Novell, et al. I know than IBM has a very deep interest in linux succeeding, it was some of the other companies on the list that I found interesting such as SGI.
        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:50PM (#18196334) Homepage Journal
          SGI is interesting but I seem to remember that they dropped IRIX and are going to Linux everywhere. They also have some really nice expensive systems that I doubt that many hobbyist have sitting around.
          In fact if you go to their home page you will see them right on the front page and yes they run Linux.
          People want to run Linux on their servers and HPC clusters. If you want to sell servers and HPC clusters that run Linux you better make sure that Linux supports all the cool stuff that sets you apart from a bunch of Intel white boxes.
          The fastest way to do that is to write it yourself.
    • by mbrod (19122) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:50PM (#18196342) Homepage Journal
      Having recently switched over my M$ box to pure Ubuntu, no dual boot. I was thinking there had to be serious money and talent behind everything now as opposed to about 7 years ago when I last messed with Linux much. Everything just works so good now and requires minimal configuration. Mucho thanks to all those individuals and companies who contribute in any way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I didn't realise how much of the code was contributed by companies

      Reading the changelogs, and the files in the source Documentation directory, on a semi-regular basis provides enlightening insight into the diversity and number of people who regularly make contributions to the Linux kernel. It truly is a sign of the success of GNU/FSF mindset.

      I was fairly suprised to see broadcom had donated so much code

      Many companies have different motivations for donating code. Sometimes a company may donate alpha code in the interest of testing its applicability and integratability. Sometimes a company may donate old code in order to appease

    • "I was fairly suprised to see broadcom had donated so much code, since I have had quite a few problems with getting their hardware working on linux in the past."

      That's the reason they've been contributing so much, to make those problems go away.

  • Funding... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Needs Food Badly (995632) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:05PM (#18195716)
    It's really quite interesting the amount of funding that is sent in the direction of the devs working on the Linux kernel. I'm curious what would happen if the funding was spontaneously cut. Linux was built from scratch and supported for free back in the day, but would the main developers continue to work or even be interested at all if they weren't being paid?
  • Quite a paradox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L. VeGas (580015) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:07PM (#18195746) Homepage Journal
    ...the list of companies sponsoring kernel development has a surprise or two.... a number of the widely-expressed opinions about kernel development turn out to be true.

    So... the surprise is that there is no surprise?
    • by hey! (33014)
      Sure it is. It can well be a surprise that something is true, even though there are people who believe it.

      My wife attended a board meeting of a government agency some years ago in which the IT people were trying to convince the board (who had all been appointed with an agenda to cut costs) that the agency had to buy this new category of software called "anti-virus". The board grilled the poor guys, and finally turned them down, stating that "There is no danger, because the integrity of the systems will pr
    • The surprise is how twisted this study is. The author ignored the opinion of authors to concentrate on email addresses and the main conclusion is that 65% of kernel developers have a job. That people able to contribute to the Linux kernel would have a job is not much of a surprise. Ignoring the opinion of those you are trying to study is.

      So, let me quote all the relevent sections to back up what I have said.

      Finding an answer to that question is somewhat trickier than looking at who wrote the patches,

      • The statistics are all very nice, but the conclusion is forced.

        "Forced"? I thought it was an interesting study. At least the author went trough the all the trouble of quantifying individual contributions, calculating against the overall kernel codebase, etc. What have you done for Linux lately other than obviously bitch and FUD about "M$" on Slashdot all day with all your sockpuppet [slashdot.org] accounts [slashdot.org]?

        code is still not being written on behalf of companies.

        No one understands it that way, except obviously yourself

  • GPL vs. BSD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:07PM (#18195752) Homepage Journal

    Overall, the picture is of a broad-based and well-supported development community.

    It is just confirmation of old statement that GPL(v2) provides better (at moment best) ground for cooperation between vendors.

    Many companies are willing to control what OS does with their software and hardware - and Linux gives them that chance on cheap. But even more so, GPL allows Linux to "merge" back possible code base "forks". That's next to impossible with BSD licensed code most tend to keep closed.

    Let's just hope Linux would be able to go on surviving the "snowball" effect of the merges.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sancho (17056) *
      Why can't you merge changes back to BSD-licensed code? A BSD-licensed driver which makes it into the kernel is probably going to stay BSD-licensed, isn't it? Wouldn't that mean that changes to that driver could remain BSD?

      If someone's been taking BSD-licensed code and changing the license to GPL when it goes into the kernel tree, that's kinda lousy, in my opinion.
      • Re:GPL vs. BSD (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:24PM (#18196000)
        Why can't you merge changes back to BSD-licensed code?

        Because when Microsoft makes ftp.exe using BSD-licensed code, all they have to do is tell people that it had BSD-licensed code, not give them the code nor the changes they made. Or, take a look at the various commercial forks of postgres that add replication, live backups, or whatever. Sure, it'd be nice if they gave these features back to the postgresql database server, but the developers chose the BSD license knowing that the people who do stuff with the code don't have to give back.

        This is why the GPL makes code Free, while the BSD license makes programmers Free.
        • by rho (6063)

          Or it makes programmers paid. If you spend the time and money to turn Postgres into a useful replicated RDBMS, it is useful to be able to capitalize on your work, if you so choose. It is harder to do so if you cannot protect your code. If you can make your business work just on consulting fees, great. Give the code back. Maybe you can't. So being able to keep your code proprietary is helpful.

          Neither way is perfect, so having both is a boon.

      • Re:GPL vs. BSD (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jimicus (737525) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @03:12PM (#18197524)
        Why can't you merge changes back to BSD-licensed code?

        Nothing. But if I merge changes into a piece of BSD-licensed code, there's nothing to stop my competitor 20 miles down the road downloading this piece of code complete with my changes, making a few minor tweaks to it, keeping those tweaks private and selling it - even though I provided a lot of the code which his product is based on.

        With the GPL, he can still make tweaks to it but he's got to make those tweaks freely available to anyone he distributes code to. Many choose to simply submit these tweaks as patches upstream rather than maintain their own fork of the software - not really a lot of point in being that anal when the license explicity allows your customer to do that anyway.

        What we're seeing happening now - particularly in the embedded space - is that manufacturers are taking the free stuff in Linux, tweaking the kernel and submitting changes where necessary but keeping the majority of their proprietary code logically separate in userland so they don't have to GPL it. Hence why you can have a router based on Linux which is technically open source, but the clever stuff (eg. removing the complication from configuring iptables with a web app, a means of holding firewall rules and some glue to turn these into iptables commands) remains private.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      It is just confirmation of old statement that GPL(v2) provides better (at moment best) ground for cooperation between vendors.

      Not even slightly. FreeBSD has plenty of vnedor support as well.

      But even more so, GPL allows Linux to "merge" back possible code base "forks". That's next to impossible with BSD licensed code most tend to keep closed.

      Not at all. Following the strictest of definitions of the GPL, you can easily create something that is difficult or near impossible to merge back into the base code.

  • by jZnat (793348) * on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:09PM (#18195772) Homepage Journal
    At this point, Linus is the head maintainer of Linux 2.6 [kernel.org], so the majority of the work he does is accepting patches, arguing in the mailing lists [lkml.org], and talking with the other main programmers and "sub-maintainers" (I don't know if they get a special name or anything).

    He doesn't need to write code for the kernel to be important at this point. Besides, he contributes code to other things like git (an SCM) [kernel.org] and GNOME [linux.com].
  • Anyone know who Secretlab is? Certainly a cool company name.
  • No Real Surprises (Score:3, Insightful)

    by giminy (94188) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:19PM (#18195900) Homepage Journal
    I work in government, and talk with RedHat and IBM all the time about linux. When the article summary touted "a few surprises," I thought, "RedHat and IBM aren't the biggest contributors?" Turns out there was no surprise, after all...they're the top attributable contributors. Is anyone else surprised by this?
    • by metamatic (202216)
      Well, I was slightly surprised by RedHat being listed above IBM, as I'm told IBM has more people working on improving Linux than RedHat has employees. I'm guessing that either a lot of IBM folk were in the "unknown" categories, or that lots of IBM work is now going into stuff other than just the kernel.

      [Opinions mine, not IBM's.]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SL Baur (19540)

        I'm guessing that either a lot of IBM folk were in the "unknown" categories, or that lots of IBM work is now going into stuff other than just the kernel
        I would guess the latter. When I was employed Linux kernel hacking for NEC we were mainly supporting kernel debugging tools and not making patches and the largest group of people we were working with was an IBM group in India.
  • ... that "corporate America" takes so much bashing on /., and Linux (which is deified in these same boards) is so dependent on those same evil capitalist entities for its very survival. This brings to mind the old catch-phrase "biting the hand that feeds you", doesn't it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I find it intriguing that "corporate America" takes so much bashing on /.,...

      The same could be said of government. Very few people would argue for entirely abolishing either government or corporations. Many people would argue for placing limits on the power of governments and corporations (checks and balances).

      This brings to mind the old catch-phrase "biting the hand that feeds you", doesn't it?

      Most people are extremely dependent on the government (roads, military, courts, etc.). Does that mean that they

    • You are using a logical fallacy (false dilemma):
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma [wikipedia.org]

      Corporations have positives and negatives in different degrees. Having one does not dismiss the other, unless you watched so many "The Real World" shows that you convinced yourself people are that uni-dimensional.
      • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
        I personally am that one dimensional, why wouldn't a number of others be?
        • I personally am that one dimensional, why wouldn't a number of others be?

          I'm trying to see your point, but it seems just beyond my grasp (almost as though it's just around some corner that I can't manage to see). :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      I find it intriguing ... that "corporate America" takes so much bashing on /., and Linux (which is deified in these same boards) is so dependent on those same evil capitalist entities for its very survival

      This may surprise you (intrigue you?), but Slashdot is not one person with one set of opinions. Even the editors do not collectively form one person. If they did, though, that person would probably have to wear a helmet at all times, and would constantly have drool running down its handi-capable face.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Daishiman (698845)
      There is no contradiction in critiquing the negative aspects of corporate power while praising its positive ones. The fact that most /.ers do not argue in favor of socialist revolutions imply that they see certain good in a market economy where corporations are bound to exist. That doesn't mean that we have to submissively accept everything that comes with that.
    • you forget that those evil capitalist entities, which fund linux development, directly profit from it. they aren't charities, you know.
  • by mooingyak (720677) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:23PM (#18195984)
    Your poster did not like the author's odd reluctance to use the word "I".
  • No more ftape? Say it ain't so?
  • What's interesting is the amount of code by corporate contributors such as Astaro, Tensilica, Secretlab, NetXen and others that we normally don't hear about. While certainly a bit of those are driver work - but I'm certainly happy to see the participation. And, yes.. even Sony dropped in some PS3 platform code.
  • Broadcom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oliverthered (187439) <olivertheredNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:35PM (#18196138) Journal
    It's a shame they didn't contribute the firmware for their wireless cards.
  • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:35PM (#18196148) Homepage
    From TFA

    Finding an answer to that question is somewhat trickier than looking at who wrote the patches, mostly because very few developers say "I wrote this on behalf of my employer." The approach taken by your editor was relatively simplistic, but, perhaps, the best that is practical. Any patch whose author's given email address indicates a corporate affiliation is assumed to have been developed by an employee of that corporation. So any patch posted by somebody with an ibm.com email address is accounted as having been done by an IBM employee.

    While I still find the result interesting, and while I also would like to know which organizations contribute the most to the kernel, I don't know that this method is really a good way to reflect whether the work was done in a "sponsored" fashion.

    That is, just because someone's email address shows that they're from IBM, doesn't necessarily mean that they were being paid by IBM to explicitly work on the kernel. For all we know, they might have "15 minutes of real, actual work" like this guy [wikipedia.org] and are just hacking away in their cube because they're bored. Maybe not, but still, for he purpose of determining which companies contribute most (or the individuals motivations to contribute), that seems like a shaky method of proving or disproving things.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      On the other hand, if you are using your work email address for things you are doing that have nothing to do with the company, you are just asking for trouble.

      I'm sure there are some that weren't 'sponsored', but for the most part, I think it's a pretty safe assumption to make.
    • Sure, it's not guaranteed accurate. In fact, the article actually mentions this caveat in the next paragraph:

      In many cases, the situation is probably more complicated than that; one assumes, for example, that a certain kernel hacker's employer has not directed him to hack on Battle for Wesnoth. When looking only at kernel code, however, crediting all work to the employer is probably relatively safe.
  • It seems they got paid for what they were asked to do.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @02:42PM (#18197046) Homepage
    ...The darkest secret that Microsoft and other software companies don't want the rest of the world to know.

    Companies are shelling out billions of dollars each year just to run some software that needs to be renewed, updated and purchased again and again and again.

    Some companies are investing their workers or their donations into the community software projects because in some way, it will truly benefit them in a way that will not expire the way proprietary software does. So when people start noticing that businesses do more than just "use" F/OSS, but they contribute to it in a way that makes it more usable for themselves. And depending on the way they contribute, they can also write off some on their taxes as part of a tax strategy.

    So companies can spend their software budget in a way the keeps them locked in and paying ridiculous annual fees and subscriptions, or they can actually pay to get the software they actually want in the way they want it, benefit themselves, benefit the public and even build a lot of good will in various communities.

    I am hopeful to see the rest of the F/OSS revolution in my life time...
  • I guess the work done by the NSA on SELinux is so secret that they are not listed... ;)
  • I couldn't help noticing that there don't appear to be any female names in TFA.

    Is the IT industry really so gender biased? And would Linux be better (less geeky perhaps) if more females were involved?

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