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Greg Kroah-Hartman Gripes About Microsoft's Linux Contribution; MS Renews Effort 213

Posted by timothy
from the public-growing-pains dept.
dp619 writes "Microsoft's developers were missing in action after the company donated GPL-licensed drivers to the Linux kernel community in July, leaving significant work to the Linux community, according to Linux driver project lead and Novell fellow Greg Kroah-Hartman. The company rekindled its involvement after Kroah-Hartman published a status report this week. Kroah-Hartman said that other companies were also laggards in Linux development, and that Microsoft's lack of involvement was nothing out of the ordinary."
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Greg Kroah-Hartman Gripes About Microsoft's Linux Contribution; MS Renews Effort

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  • Not shocked... (Score:4, Informative)

    by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:45PM (#29384037) Homepage
    From the blog,

    "hv (Microsoft Hyper-V) drivers. Over 200 patches make up the massive cleanup effort needed to just get this code into a semi-sane kernel coding style (someone owes me a bit bottle of rum for that work!) Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 release. So sad..."

    In other words, there is some coding to do. Did the Kernel devs coordinate with the managers at MS to ensure resources would be available to work on these patches? (200 patches is not a lot in my opinion. I have a minor patch coming out on the 21st for my in-house system with 2000+ users and it has over 300 fixes.)

    I wonder if there was a minor miscommunication... ...hmm - hyper-v in Linux?

    Cool!
    • Hit and run. (Score:3, Insightful)

      From the blog,

      "hv (Microsoft Hyper-V) drivers. Over 200 patches make up the massive cleanup effort needed to just get this code into a semi-sane kernel coding style (someone owes me a bit bottle of rum for that work!) Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 release. So sad..."

      I'm not shocked. M$ reputation is so bad that this kind of behavior is not a surprise.

      Was is a bit of a shock is that GKH actually wasted one minute longer than rejecting the fake drivers with a missive to "hold off on re-submission of the code until it actually works" What happened to the idea of showing something that works? There used to be pretty strict guidelines about coding style and what is and isn't acceptable, including having some working code first.

      Anyway, what are these so-called devel

  • Kinda funny. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:45PM (#29384039) Homepage Journal
    I don't get it. Microsoft donates code to the community, licensed under the GPL. Anyone is free to do whatever they like with this code (well, within the constraints of the license), and people are actually bitching about this? I've released quite a few pieces of software under various OSI licenses, and I don't actively maintain the code. If somebody else wants to, fine. Would everyone be happier if Microsoft weren't releasing anything at all?

    I use Debian for almost all my server needs, and I'm a big fan of Ubuntu on the desktop. That said, I'm certainly not going to bitch at someone or some company because they aren't slaving away maintaining code I got free of charge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Desler (1608317)
      Because it's Microsoft and no matter what they do these people will still criticize them regardless.
      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:49PM (#29384093) Homepage Journal

        Wow, did you not even read the summary? Greg KH bitches about everybody.

        • by Desler (1608317)
          I was talking about the point in general. Yes, I did read the summary and know that he's bitched at other companies. Though it seems that he has the generosity to not publicly flame them unlike Microsoft.
          • Re:Kinda funny. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:55PM (#29384159) Homepage Journal

            No, you're wrong. Whereas everyone else sees contribution of code as a nice bit of corporate philanthropy, Greg KH sees something completely different. He sees it as corporations dumping their code on the community so they can off-load its support. As such, he often calls on corporate contributors to step up and fund a developer or two to work on the kernel full time. This flame is no different.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Welcome to crowdsourcing, my friend! The new corporate model where pathetic geeks will be exploited by the big moguls, and just see promises of profit sharing. After you make my code work, I will close the source, become richer than I already am, and you will go back to watch online pr0n and play WoW...

            • by drsmithy (35869)

              Whereas everyone else sees contribution of code as a nice bit of corporate philanthropy, Greg KH sees something completely different. He sees it as corporations dumping their code on the community so they can off-load its support.

              Which seems rather odd, given that one of the most common arguments put forth from the OSS community is that by open-sourcing their code, commercial vendors will save money because the community will keep them maintained.

          • Flame (Score:5, Informative)

            by gd2shoe (747932) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:08PM (#29385701) Journal

            You think this constitutes "publicly flame"ing Microsoft? He's just asking them to step it up and contribute. He's much harder on others in that list. It also doesn't seem like he went out of his way to be interviewed. It sounds like he just responded to a few questions that a reporter put to him. "Unfortunately" and "so sad" do not, of themselves, constitute a flame.

            Here are a few other choice passages: (these may be interpreted as weak flames)

            heci A wonderful example of a company throwing code over the wall, watching it get rejected, and then running away as fast as possible, all the while yelling over their shoulder, "it's required on all new systems, you will love it!" We don't, it sucks, either fix it up, or I am removing it.

            me4000 and meilhaus They work on the same hardware, and they duplicate the existing COMEDI drivers. Someone thinks that custom userspace interfaces are fun and required. Turns out that being special and unique is not what to do here, use the COMEDI drivers instead. These will be removed. Heck, I'll go remove them for .32, there is no reason these should still be around, except to watch the RT guys squirm as they try to figure out the byzantine locking and build logic here (which certainly does count for something, cheap entertainment is always good.)

            rspiusb A weird, very expensive camera, from a company that does not want to release the specs, and wants custom userspace interfaces. The code hasn't built since the 2.6.20 days. I'll go delete it now from .32, it doesn't deserve to live as no one cares about it, least of all, the original authors of the code :(

            In other words: "Though it seems that he has the generosity to not publicly flame them unlike Microsoft." is pure hogwash... on both counts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shentino (1139071)

      MS only gave it because they got caught with their hands in the open source cookie jar and nanny GPL made them sit in the sharing corner.

      • Re:Kinda funny. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Desler (1608317) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:52PM (#29384123)
        Well then they released what they were supposed to so either take it or shut up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pembo13 (770295)

          I think the point is, that kernel contributions in general, even if it's MS, don't get included just because they exist. In fact, it is my understand that patches more often get rejected than accepted. If this contribution less public, and not not from MS, it might have been rejected outright.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by palegray.net (1195047)
        I have to admit, that's one of the funniest ways I've heard such a process described :). All the same, they have released the code. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, and it certainly won't be the last. I'd just like to see more positive reinforcement, lest their devs lose any inclination to release code voluntarily in the future.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by symbolset (646467)

          I'd just like to see more positive reinforcement, lest their devs lose any inclination to release code voluntarily in the future.

          This code supports Linux guests in Hyper-V. In other words, it takes the legendary speed, security and stability of Windows and fuses it to the famous app compatibility and user friendliness of Linux.

          It's fair to say the world is better off without it. I'd just as soon people didn't encourage such foolishness.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by petrus4 (213815)

        MS only gave it because they got caught with their hands in the open source cookie jar and nanny GPL made them sit in the sharing corner.

        I know this has been modded insightful, but am I the only one who's noticed how chronically juvenile it also sounds?

        • Yes you are. You might not like it but slashdot is an internet phenom and as such many different persons from many different countries post here. So you really need to take that into consideration when doing character asassinations.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          It's modded insightful because it is insightful.

          What's "juvenile" is Microsoft's utterly facile claim that they had been "working towards" releasing the source - which they were required to do immediately by their acceptance of the GPLv2 freedoms - for two months before Greg got in touch with them to ask "Where the source at, bitches?"

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Seeing the number of folks that are calling shenanigans on the above post I'm taking the courtesy of proving my point.

        It was even mentioned in a slashdot article.

        http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/07/28/0045229 [slashdot.org]

        http://www.sdtimes.com/link/33641 [sdtimes.com]

    • Re:Kinda funny. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:53PM (#29384135) Journal

      A good point. Anyone is free to do what ever they like with the gpl donated code that doesn't violate the gpl. That includes not including it in a future official Linus sanctioned Linux kernel. But, I think GKH is trying to get companies to stay active in development of their own donated code,using the carrot of inclusion in the Official Linus Kernel. That's not a bad idea. Someone has to fund the ongoing maintenance costs of the drivers.

      As the drivers usage primarily benefits Microsoft, why not them?

    • Re:Kinda funny. (Score:5, Informative)

      by clang_jangle (975789) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:54PM (#29384155) Journal
      As was mentioned earlier, MS got caught infringing [slashdot.org] and so *had* to "donate" the code in question. They did the minimum they could get away with, no big surprise there...
  • by harmonise (1484057) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @07:04PM (#29384221)

    Quote from the article:

    It did take over 200 patches to get their code into reasonable shape, which is a bit excessive

    GKH also said:

    If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 release.

    If the driver was in such poor shape and didn't follow the kernel coding guidelines, then how did it make it into the kernel in the first place? I was under the impression that the kernel maintainers had pretty strict guidelines about coding style and what is and isn't acceptable.

    • by Chirs (87576) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @07:20PM (#29384357)

      This is for the drivers/staging tree, which is specifically set aside for drivers that don't meet normal code standards but where the intent is to bring them up to par for merging into the "real" tree.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lennie (16154)
      It only got accepted after the cleanup, done by GKH.
    • It's still in "staging". from the article:

      Here's a summary of the state of the drivers/staging/ tree, basically what will be coming in the 2.6.32 merge, and what the status of the different drivers are so far.

      First off, drivers/staging/ is NOT a dumping ground for dead code. If no one steps up to maintain and work to get the code merged into the main portion of the kernel, the drivers will be removed.

      Further examples:

      asus_oled This only needs minor cleanups to get merged properly into the main tree. If someone wants an easy project, this would be it.

      phison What? I thought I asked for this to be merged a while ago, sorry about that, no reason it should still be in staging anymore, it's just so small it slipped through the cracks...

  • by pathological liar (659969) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @07:11PM (#29384289)

    Two thirds of the summary are lifted directly from the sdtimes link...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)
      So the editors are trying to trick us into reading the article by hiding it in the summary? Good thing it didn't work.
  • First I don't blame MS for doing what they did, I do thank them, though I don't use or benefit from their code.
    Second, how can anyone actually defend MS actions here. They got caught benefiting from public efforts and were forced to release the minimum code. They put little effort into the task and delivered crap (as usual). So Good on you MS, now can you please clean up the pile of $%# you left in the corner, thank you.

    astonishing
  • I fail to see why Novell should be doing the work for a competitor, but I suppose that's what they're best at these days.
    • Well, Novel has that whole "interoperability" advertising campaign going, I imagine this might have something to do with this...
    • by pembo13 (770295)

      I don't think Novell is a competitor with Microsoft at this point. This particular code only benefits Novell through their Microsoft partnership, and +200 patches by Mr. Kroah-Hartman must cost Novell a lot of money for someone of his position.

  • It's all good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steveha (103154) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @07:43PM (#29384579) Homepage

    Greg K-H's public comments about the code being abandoned had the desired effect: people at Microsoft got in touch with him again. The same thing happened with code contributed by several other companies:

    Although not hesitant to point a finger at Microsoft, Kroah-Hartman refused to name these other companies, claiming it would be "rude" to disclose private e-mail information.

    "But what's the big deal here?" he asked. "This is the normal development process happening, and a company learning how to deal with it. It happens every single day with all companies who are new to the Linux kernel development process. Sure, some do it better than others, but in the end, it's all good."

    This is Microsoft (and other companies) learning how to deal with kernel development. Greg K-H has a good attitude about it, so let's not build a mountain out of this. Perhaps Microsoft will do better next time.

    Not everything and everyone associated with Microsoft deserves abuse and scorn. Save it for their next DRM initiative or something.

    steveha

    • "Their code needed lots of work to get to normal Linux coding style acceptance, that's nothing new. It did take over 200 patches to get their code into reasonable shape, which is a bit excessive," he said. Microsoft did not contribute to the patching effort.

      Normal Linux coding style:
      10 START
      20 GET JOB DONE
      30 STOP

      Microsoft coding style:
      10 START
      11 IF $OS=Vista, Sleep 10
      12 IF $OS=XP, Sleep 5
      13 IF $OS=Windows 7, Sleep 2
      14 IF $Customer_Uses_Linux=true, Sleep 100 .. .. ..
      20 GET JOB DONE
      21 IF $OS=Windows, STOP
      22 IF $Customer_uses_Linux=true, CRASH
      30 Profit

      The same pattern repeated hundreds of times in all code. It takes a lot of effort to cleanup to Linux standards, no wonder!

    • Re:It's all good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:16AM (#29387001) Homepage

      Indeed - Microsoft were (eventually) fully in compliance with their GPLv2 "freedoms". They squatted down and strained and squeezed out a steaming dump of their actual source. There is no - zero - onus on them to make that source fit in with the Linux kernel zeitgeist, only to provide what was used to build their binary, everything that was used to build their binary, and only what was used to build their binary.

      Their "freedoms" ends with bundling source with the binary or making it available to "any third party", not to massage it until it fits the whims of any particular Linus-kernel Nazi. And thus ends the thread.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @08:08PM (#29384767)
    Ok, honestly, when VMWare released GPLed drivers LOOOOOOOOONG ago, how many blogs did we have talking about how VMWare is contributing code to Linux, and how many people needed to state that those were simply self-serving drivers for VMWare? Nooone... These are self-serving, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it, they wanted their virtualization stuff to be able to run GNU/Linux, and they released drivers. It is not an 'evil' move but simply a logical one. But for sure it is not a 'contribution' to Linux. It is nothing out of the ordinary and honestly, I am tired of having to read countless of stories about...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      VMWare was releasing their changes to the kernel and to X11 back when the technology was being developed at Stanford. When the company was formed that process continued. Of course, that didn't stop anyone from claiming they were violating the GPL and were bad to the community months ago. If it bleeds it leads.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by slimjim8094 (941042)

      They didn't attempt to violate the GPL, get caught, and then take a crap on the floor either.

      Had Microsoft gone and said "We have these drivers for you, benefiting us, that we want in the kernel. We've made a good-faith effort to do everything right, stylistically and otherwise, what do we do next?" everybody would be applauding them (as it is, people are still applauding them).

      What they did instead was try to sneak them out like a thief in the night, then get caught and need to hand the code over or risk a

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Microsoft cleverly got mor /. coverage by calling the GPL a cancer. And by being one hell of a big software company.
  • Kind of funny how today there was that other announcement here about Microsoft sponsoring CodePlex foundation to help bridge the gap between commercial developers and open source projects, which kind of seems to be what they should have done a bit more here right.

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