Canonical Contributing Too Little to Kernel Development?

Aug 24, 2009

This week the Linux Foundation published statistics of the people and companies behind the kernel development. Canonical is not mentioned at all.

"Canonical, where are you?" asks Sam Varghese of iTWire.com. Red Hat, IBM, Novell and Intel are all mentioned in the Linux Foundation Study, but not one word about the Linux distribution of the very popular Ubuntu can be found, he writes.

Similar criticism has already been voiced by Novell's kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman. Back in September of last year, he used his keynote at the Linux Plumbers Conference to attack Canonical over its level of contribution in kernel development.

Criticism on the criticism has again been quick in coming – one comment to the Varghese news points out that Linux does not only consist of the kernel, and Canonical has done some very positive marketing work for Linux.

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  • Really... who cares?

    Everyone in the linux community is on the same side... Yes canonical/ubuntu should maybe throw in more support to the effort but overall we are all on the same great side of just wanting a operating system used for the right purposes that runs great without problems and without the need to keep shoveling money out of your pocket for a new one although donating is still a great thing to do. So who cares, all should just get along and continue supporting linux/*nix as a whole.
  • Debian?

    "As for Ubuntu's kernel contributions, the same can be said for Debian since it has little to no contributions towards kernel. "

    Except Debian is not a company. Canonical is.
  • To Ubuntu

    Anytime you see a poster saying "fanboiis" you know a moron has just entered the fray and it is time to move on, ii is indeed sad to see jackasses like these coming on to create divisions and then accuse Ubuntu for creating divisions, left to people like these Linux would still be a crappy piece of software as far as the desktop is concerned. I remember the days when you would start an application and nothing happened or you would be using something and it just vanishes from in front of you, yes there were segfaults left right and center, that has changed and now some people the ones that like calling other users fanbois are jealous because others even none technical people can use Linux, note, you can go mess around any old distro you want, Ubuntu users will not stop you, in the meantime there are many that appreciate Ubuntu because they want to get things done not just show off how much geek they are by using Linux.
  • Ubuntu

    I think Ubuntu wouldn't be catching much flack if they didn't start it. It seems ever since Shuttleworth's post to the opensuse's mailing list trying to ninja developers because of the Novell-Microsoft deal Ubuntu's fanboiis have been on the attack. This is a response from the people actually writing the code trying to keep Ubuntu and it's fanboiis in check. Of couse they still be making excuses and saying Ubuntu is better than this distro or that distro and they bring marketing blah blah blah... some of us have been using GNU/Linux for years and don't really appreciate the divisions Ubuntu is creating. It's one thing to build yourself up but...

    Get your patches upstream boys & girls.

  • Re: Ubuntu contributions?

    As for Ubuntu's kernel contributions, the same can be said for Debian since it has little to no contributions towards kernel. But no one makes an issue out of that or for any of the other commercial distros like Mandriva, Mepis etc. Why? Simply because people need to find some silly points to criticize Ubuntu (jealousy of success?). There are valid points where Ubuntu should be criticized, e.g. below par QA process for release, so that they get their act correct but this is not one of them.

    Regarding this:
    It should also be noted until recently Conical didn't directly contribute to Debian either though they just announced they would be providing 10 or so developers which is both good and appropriate.

    That's incorrect. Canonical already employs a number of debian developers (actually some debian users criticize Canonical for having "poached" devs) and has done so since the start.
  • To whom much is given

    To Whom much is given, much is expected, Many people look at ubuntu in term of sive of the user base, but the important thing to look at is how much revenue does ubuntu make from Linux, Redhat, Novel, Mandriva all make lots of money from Linux, More money than canonical can ever think off hence its expected that their share of contribution to the Linux kernel should be bigger. Canonical as a small company and for its sive it has helped given huge momentum to the linux the use of linux as a desktop computer. for that i will be forever grateful..
  • Must be Xandros

    Bill and Carling, please be sensible, when a company pours money into a distribution and then gives it away, it is hard to see where such a company is taking more than it is giving. Good grief!!! what is wrong with you people? Maybe you are talking about Xandros.

    Bill, the onus is on you to show why you are under the impression that Canonical is taking more than it is putting in, Carling, I have heard this kind of argument about how much better other distributions are until you try them, yes they may be better at something but that is not the point. Ubuntu offers the best choice for most users it has become popular for a good reason, please appreciate what Shuttleworth is doing and has done for Linux and stop the nonsense, the kernel, while being the heart of the operating system is not all there is, why not encourage some people frustrated by the rubbish on windows to start using the Linux kernel? even Gnome and KDE and other desktops alone are not sufficient to have a good experience, everything from drivers to development tools to productivity applications and management tools combine to make a modern operating system comparable to the proprietary systems, this must be done for Linux get a good grip in the marketplace, hence accelerating its further development and acceptance, even increasing its usefulness to advanced users, Canonical has done a good job in spearheading this drive already.
  • Ubuntu

    "Yes when one builds a lucrative business up out of Free Open Source Software and gives nothing back to the development or community then it then it is time to stop supporting Ubuntu,"

    I'm not exactly sure how you can say Canonical is a lucrative business. So far Shuttleworth has done nothing but pour money into it. He doesn't have unlimited funds so their development has to go to what they deem is most important. Once they have the manpower, revenue and profits of Red Hat (which is on the small end of most of the top contributors yet dwarfs Canonical) then let's judge them by their contributions. As it is they are only now getting close to generating a profit. Like it or not he didn't start Canonical to funnel his hard earned money into Linux but to build a profitable and sustainable company and that's exactly what he's building. You don't do that by throwing money away but carefully picking and choosing where your resources are spent.
  • Why are kernel enhancements the only thing considered?

    As far as I know, Canonical is not a big company and has limited resources. They choose to invest what limited resources they have to improve the desktop experience for regular users. When you have limited funds and wish to make the funds last as long as possible, you spend money wisely and choose projects to invest in prudently.

    Ubuntu makes a great desktop distro for regular PC users - which is what I consider myself to be. I need a distro that is easy to use, maintain and upgrade. Ubuntu has worked for me flawlessly when others failed. That is a huge contribution to regular users like me.

    Ubuntu helps out the Linux ecosystem by being a great marketeer. This gets Linux into the hands of more people which ends up generating greater interest and support. This has to be good for all projects - including the kernel.

    Why bash them for not doing something? Why not praise them for doing what they are doing extremely well?

    It would be great if Canonical make kernel patches for improving the desktop experience but perhaps limited resources prevents that. Also would the kernel developers accept kernel patches that improved the desktop user experience? There was a letter from a kernel developer that quit in protest because he couldn't get his kernel patches that improved desktop user experiences approved and added to the kernel.

    They may not be producing kernel patches, but they are contributing to the overall end-user experience. And for that, I am appreciative.
  • linux kernel developers contributing too little

    to application development, packaging, user interface refinement, sales and marketing of linux distros.
  • Unbuntu

    I for one have stopped promoting Ubuntu, Yes when one builds a lucrative business up out of Free Open Source Software and gives nothing back to the development or community then it then it is time to stop supporting Ubuntu, Conical is only supporting Debian because there are big problems there and that support benefits Conical more than it does Debian It is a greate pity that all linux distributions don't get the same publicity from the Linux media

    Every time I bought a Linux Magazine it's all about Ubuntu, Suse or Fedora all the commercial supported distributions, there are better distributions out that leave these in the shade, Linux Mint and Sabayon are great distros, Over the weekend I downloaded Pardus Linux that blows all the commercials distributions away when it come to Speed, it's lightening fast, Yes Linux Magazine you are one that's always promoting the commercial Linux camps, that's the reason I have stopped buying your magazine I got to many Ubuntu. Suse, and Fedora DVD's over the last 12 months
  • Ubuntu contributions?

    Some say that since Ubuntu is a desktop product that they shouldn't be expected to be contribute to the kernel because it (the kernel) is more middleware oriented which is a bogus argument since the kernel is the heart and soul of a distro and since Ubuntu is trying to enter the server space so it can no longer be considered a desktop only distro.

    It should also be noted until recently Conical didn't directly contribute to Debian either though they just announced they would be providing 10 or so developers which is both good and appropriate.

    If someone would list Conical contributions to other projects I for one would be appreciative. Fyi I'm one of those who is under the impression that Ubuntu takes more then it give and would be happy to be proven wrong.
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