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Software Linux

Novell Rises to Second Highest Linux Contributor 135

Posted by Zonk
from the putting-yourself-out-there dept.
eldavojohn writes "Which companies contribute the most to the Linux kernel? Well, The Linux Foundation released their results and Novell's contributions have gone up 250% (from 3.6% of all contributions to 14.4% of all contributions) to put them at #2 behind Red Hat. This chart also illustrates just how widely Linux is modified by the community and not just a handful of developers/companies. You can find more coverage on blogs and the original report."
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Novell Rises to Second Highest Linux Contributor

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  • by Dionysus (12737) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:29PM (#22942524) Homepage
    Linus and the kernel hackers are free to reject any and all code that comes from Novell. If you (or any other person in the community) want the power to reject kernel code, become a kernel hacker. Until then, nobody but the kernel hackers and the submitters have a say in the matter, really...
  • by cgranade (702534) <cgranade @ g m a il.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:33PM (#22942584) Homepage Journal
    I see a lot of posts here treating Novell with suspicion (maybe even well-deserved) about their contributions. For my part, however, I would like to thank Novell as one of the many users directly benefiting from their support. It's no good to vilify Novell, then demand that the support open source, and decry them when they do. If it turns out later that there was something foul going on, then we can go back to vilification. For now, though, they have done well and helped us all out. Hence, once again, thank you, Novell.
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:39PM (#22942642)
    Good, bad..they're the ones with the code.
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:40PM (#22942658)
    for instance, here's a statement with no basis in fact, and based on pure distrust and speculation:
    Then there's the super fun idea that Novell is putting in source code from Windows that Windows "accidentally" gave Novell

    Pure paranoia only serves to hurt everyone, and doesn't help anyone (except maybe Microsoft).

    These arguments are starting to sound like a "who's the alien shape shifter?" speech by the guy who's lost it in your average bad sci-fi show.
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:42PM (#22942670) Homepage
    Where is Canonical on that list? Or rather, are they represented there at all? I would think that at the very least they would get money from Dell to fix a few things. Slashdotters often like to bash RedHat for shedding their free desktop division, but the love for Canonical seems endless.
  • Where's Google? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skydude_20 (307538) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:48PM (#22942724) Journal
    Or do they keep all their advances to themselves?
  • by cerelib (903469) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:49PM (#22942748)

    Novell produces one of the most popular linux distros [novell.com] out there. Is it really surprising to anyone they contribute a lot of changes?


    It is not surprising that the two are connected, nor is it neccessary, but it should be applauded when such a correlation appears. If we look at Ubuntu/Canonical for instance, by your standards, they should be pretty high on the list, right? In fact, they do not even appear on this list. Even Mandriva makes an appearance at 0.4%. Note that I do not know if Debian or Ubuntu developers fall into the Other or Unknown categories, but Debian exists as an organization and Canonical is a company, so I would expect them to be represented somehow, at least a footnote, if their contributions were of a sufficient size to make this list. I do not expect that every distro should employ kernel hackers. Ubuntu is more focused on user experience than kernel level features. So they do play a key role in the development of Linux as a complete operating system. My point here is that distributing a popular distro does not mean you develop a proportional share of the Linux kernel, or any linux software. Luckily, open source software enables and encourages such contributions back to the community. So don't say, "Well, given their size and profits, Novell should be doing that", instead say, "Kudos to Novell for giving back proportionaly to their success".
  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:49PM (#22942750)
    A)There is almost certainly code in Linux that Microsoft has patents to. The simple reason being that software patents are so inane and ambiguous that there's certainly code in ANY large piece of software that Microsoft has patents to.

    B)It would only affect jurisdictions that recognize software patents.

    C)It would be a very high-risk way to achieve your goals since you have to trust a third party which could potentially reveal your clandestine operations, if Microsoft wanted to do this it would be easier to make the contribution as a random individual, thus making it harder to track it back to Microsoft.

    D)Hurting Linux would hurt Novell eventually. They may have been stupid to sign that agreement with Microsoft, but they do know VERY well what happened to SCO. Since the patents would only gain them anything in countries that recognize them, and as they have a potential to lose their business everywhere that does not, it would be an extremely high risk move.

    E)IBM, RedHat etc doesn't need to prove Microsoft was behind the scheme to retaliate. Should Microsoft use software patents against Linux, either directly or by proxy, they could sue Microsoft over other patents ( and as per "A" they certainly do have the means to do so ). It would be enough that they strongly suspect Microsoft is in the background to trigger mutually assured destruction, and Microsoft knows this.

    Essentially, the day Microsoft decides to use software patents against Linux is the day you know they are so desperate they have nothing left to lose. So far they are mainly using patent FUD, but when the empire eventually does crumble they will certainly try, other companies will retaliate, and the collateral damage will be huge.

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:50PM (#22942756)
    The kernel is just one part of Linux, and that's all this report covers. One might as well divine the direction of the automotive industry by dissecting a transmission.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:51PM (#22942774)
    Canonical's contributions aren't to the kernel. All the good desktop/usability stuff they are doing happens outside the kernel. Their contributions are nevertheless important to FOSS.
  • by EXTomar (78739) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:00PM (#22942902)
    That is totally true but even because of the GPL you are not forced to accept any GPL code either. If there is a specific patch in the Linux kernel you don't want to have you can remove it for your own builds. This is one of the big benefits of GPL code. You are free to take it or free to leave it. Even if Novel is being nefarious, Linus and the other kernel hackers miss it, you are under no obligation to agree to use their GPL code.
  • by ischorr (657205) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:09PM (#22942986)
    True, though not terribly feasible if other changes have dependencies on the code you don't want. Especially when the changes themselves aren't easily compartmentalized, and the changes themselves are changed over time. You can't just say "I want to build a kernel that excludes these 1000 changes". You'll end up with something that won't compile, and won't be trivial to make work.

    If you want to create (and possibly maintain) a forked version of kernel without the offending changes, fine, but that may be an unfeasibly large amount of work, especially considering the number of changes they make.
  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:11PM (#22943002)
    I wish your post was labeled +5 "funny" instead of "interesting" which indicates that people take the idea seriously.

    The idea that Novell is going to seed "microsoft" code into Linux is ridiculous on the face of it. You can't just copy paste windows device driver code into Linux and expect it to work... and windows coding styles vs linux coding styles are so different that it would be obvious in an instant if such a thing happened.

    Seriously, not everything that Microsoft does is part of some big conspiracy to eat your babies. I think the reasoning behind their partnership is fairly clear.

    Linux *does* have a strong position in the server market, and for practical reasons Microsoft *has* to be able to interoperate with at least *some* Linux distros. This isn't a position that they are super happy to be in, and the fact that they made this deal to support operation with Suse should be seen as a *victory* by Linux in the marketplace.

    Microsoft is trying to do damage control by positioning some Linux vendors as partners instead of competitors. If Linux becomes any more successful than it is, you can expect to see Microsoft try to make deals with other Linux vendors like Red Hat, to try to insure that Linux is used in *conjunction* with Microsoft server products, rather than risk having Microsoft be cut out of the market entirely.
  • by Kashra (1109287) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:50PM (#22943446) Homepage
    Interesting...so what you're saying is that paying developers produces more usable code for the kernel? But I thought we were supposed to hate these companies that profiteer off our beloved egalitarian operating system.
  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:56PM (#22943536)
    What exactly does Novell have that you actually want to run on Ubuntu?

    Yast2 has been GPL'd, same for the Apparmor stuff which Ubuntu now USES in fact.

    I'm not entirely sure what your point is, most of the stuff Novell releases is GPL'd or otherwise open sourced.
  • by Vexorian (959249) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:58PM (#22943564)

    Linux *does* have a strong position in the server market, and for practical reasons Microsoft *has* to be able to interoperate with at least *some* Linux distros. This isn't a position that they are super happy to be in, and the fact that they made this deal to support operation with Suse should be seen as a *victory* by Linux in the marketplace.

    And you would be right, if you weren't totally wrong, this is no victory for Linux, if anything it is a point of shame, all the little interoperability Novell won by this was coming anyways after the recent fight the EU got with MS (ask samba) All Novell has made is make a deal that allows MS to portray themselves as owners of all the Linux IP and forces Linux (SLED) users to pay a MS tax, not to mention that Novell has mostly become MS' personal bitch after it. With all the Silverlight debacle and the OOXML debacle for which Novell is a big responsible for what just happened with ISO recently.

    Not to forget that the reason Novell helps Linux so much is because it gives them a free platform where they can build the MONO dependent OS they would love to see.

    Microsoft is trying to do damage control by positioning some Linux vendors as partners instead of competitors. If Linux becomes any more successful than it is, you can expect to see Microsoft try to make deals with other Linux vendors like Red Hat, to try to insure that Linux is used in *conjunction* with Microsoft server products, rather than risk having Microsoft be cut out of the market entirely.
    Novell apologetic is harming FLOSS like no other wrong attitude, the deal has only been negative for Linux, period. You may try to make it look like something good or proof of Linux success, as a matter of fact it does prove MS was really afraid of FLOSS, however the rresult of the deal has only been a negative effect after another. BTW redhat has multiple times stated they actually got dignity and they won't make such deals with MS.
  • Re:Novell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apokryphos (869208) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @04:40PM (#22944088) Homepage
    Actually, Novell reported huge increases quarter-over-quarter growth [reuters.com] in their Linux business. Something like 200% year-over-year in the SUSE Linux part. Even if some other parts of their business are doing badly, it's pretty clear that their Linux business is on the rise and has been for some time. Which is great for Novell and great for free software (as they have hundreds of engineers working upstream).
  • by Samrobb (12731) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @04:54PM (#22944294) Homepage Journal

    Its worth noting, however, that the Linux kernel as it stands simply doesn't work with any compiler other than GCC.

    May have been true once, but it hasn't been for a long time. I recall seeing news about using Intel's [intel.com] compiler to build a Linux kernel years ago. More recently, Rob Landley's been doing some work with tinycc [landley.net] to get it up to snuff for kernel compiles, with the goal of generating a system that can "...completely rebuild itself, under itself, without any gnu code on the hard drive."

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