Leading kernel developer (and Novell employee) Greg Kroah-Hartman is not a particularly big fan of Ubuntu and its lead commercial sponsor Canonical. In fact Kroah-Hartman recently delivered a stinging keynote address (which he has now posted online) in which he layed out the contributions that Canonical has made, which in his view are much less than they should be.
“To place Canonical’s contribution into perspective, that means they
did 00.10068% of all of the kernel development for the past 3 years,” Kroah-Hartman claimed.
That means that Canonical ranks 79th on the list of companies that contributes to Linux and their contribution count ranks 195th over all. When ranked against other Linux distributions by contribution count Canonical came up 80th. Not quite a ‘leading’ voice when it comes to actual kernel.org Linux contributions.
In Kroah-Hartman’s final analysis :
Canonical does not contribute to Linux plumbing.
Coming from a man as respected and as well versed in the intricacies of Linux kernel development as Kroah-Hartman, we cannot simply dismiss his accusations as being fueled by his employer (Novell). Certainly Canonical will argue different.
“There were, let’s say, a few elements of it which I found objectionable,” Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman blogged.
While it is certainly true that animosity amongst Linux distribution is a proud tradition in Linux dev circles (that’s why we have so many distros after all – everyone thinks they can do it better), taking specific aim at Canonical in such a public fashion has not been done before. No doubt Ubuntu has gotten more than its fair share of interest in recent years and no doubt they have built their distribution on “the shoulders of giants”.
There are other avenues to contributions than just kernel.org itself and Ubuntu is definitely active in many. That said the numbers are the numbers – and if in fact Canonical is not contributing to the kernel in a robust way than I suppose it’s a good thing that Kroah-Hartman has called them out publicly.