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Novell Rises to Second Highest Linux Contributor 135

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 eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:21PM (#22942444) Journal
    I am reminded of the $350 Million that Microsoft paid Novell last year [] and must wonder if the 200% increase in sales that Novell reports can be linked to that?

    I also must wonder if Novell's only intent is to stay a key part of Linux to maintain this Microsoft partnership?

    Or if Microsoft is urging them to become an even bigger player so that Microsoft can feel like and threaten people that Microsoft owns even more of the Linux kernel, not just the vague patent threats? One of the articles mentions this notion of not 'owning the source code' but rather 'owning the source of the code.' Could this be Microsoft's new target?

    Then there's the super fun idea that Novell is putting in source code from Windows that Windows "accidentally" gave Novell which does several things at once. It justifies Novell's payment for protection from Microsoft litigation, it hobbles their competitors in the Linux realm and it gives Microsoft the power to go after any user or company using Linux with the 'stolen' code. It would also tie up Linux for a bit until that mess was sorted out.

    I mean, since Novell's already demonstrated they're Microsoft's bitch and admitted it [] what is preventing any of the above whacked out theories from being true?
  • by 10scjed ( 695280 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:31PM (#22942554) Homepage
    Never gonna happen, here's a quote from Stafford Masie [] (now with Google, I believe, but at the time he was the guy defending the Microsoft-Novell deal) regarding Novell's mixed source philosophy...

    ...Y'know, we're a Linux company, we do identity management, but we're a Linux company. Identity management, there's so much happening there to open source alot of the APIs, which we've already done, the only thing we haven't open-sourced in the identity world is kinda our directory, and I can tell you what, we probably won't, because again - the same reason alot of proprietary vendors wont take their big software and unwrap it, like I've always said- if you unwrap this baby its ugly, people will run away, ok, there's certain proprietary software that you never want anyone to look at...
    Inspires confidence, no?
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @02:54PM (#22942808) Journal
    Right. And Linus has explicitly said that he will not be taking any steps to prevent the poisoning that the GP described. He makes big speeches about it. Solaris anyone?
  • by edxwelch ( 600979 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:04PM (#22942948)
    Number one is some company called "none", followed by "unknown" and Red Hat is 3rd
  • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:05PM (#22942952) Homepage Journal
    I'd just like to point out with some minor amusement that for those RMS followers who love to prepend "GNU/" to the front of the Linux OS's name, this is one case in which it's inappropriate no matter which side of that fence you fall. We're talking about Linux kernel contributions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:10PM (#22942992)
    The standard doctrine of unclean hands would protect Linux from any such suit, should the crazy conspiracy of Novell injecting Microsoft written code into linux be actually true.
  • Novell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:27PM (#22943160)
    I think it's kind of a shame that Novell is doing so poorly. They actually had *negative* income in 2007, and are still largely making their money from selling *netware* despite all their Linux investments.

    A lot of the stuff they are working on is pretty cool, especially Mono.

    However, I think it's clear that there just isn't room in the market place for another distro.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2008 @03:49PM (#22943426)
    If Sun were to re-license opensolaris under the GPL version 3, I'd switch all my systems to it in a heartbeat.
  • I'm not certain that this is a bad thing. Not certain. It might be a good thing. Perhaps.

    OTOH, it makes me more interested in OpenSolaris, and it makes me wish the Hurd people would stop starting over from scratch. It also makes me more interested in BSD, even though I prefer the GPL.

    Sun has talked about releasing OpenSolaris under GPL3. If they do, I'm going to be VERY interested.

    If Linux were under GPL3, I wouldn't be worried about Novell. It isn't. The language of the GPL is equivocal in terms of what it means WRT patents. I think it means that if you can't distribute something legally and allow those who receive it to also distribute it, then you don't have the right to distribute it. Unfortunately, it's not totally clear about this. It was written before software could be patented, and it certainly didn't contemplate patents like a patent on adding 2 + 2 in Basic. (That particular one is harmless...but it's a magnificent example of the kind of foolish stuff that's allowed to be patented.) So the writing of the GPL frequently used general terms. Terms which apply with equal force to trademarks, copyrights, and patents, even though all are very distinct in their limitations and powers. As a result, it allows patents to be used in most places that it allows trademarks to be used. UGH!!! A sensible interpretation of the GPL would, indeed, mean that the GPL3 was unnecessary. I don't feel like I can count on the courts coming to a sensible interpretation in any reasonable amount of time.

    So I trust GPL3 code coming from Novell. Other code...leaves me hesitant.

    This is sort of like how I feel about Mono. I'm not certain it's booby-trapped, but I can't tell, so I'd rather avoid it. I'm risk averse. I know it. I've always been risk averse. To me, trusting Novell looks like excessive risk. I *hope* their code is being thoroughly vetted by those who know better than I do what's dangerous. I fear it isn't.
  • by pjbass ( 144318 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:43AM (#22948972) Homepage
    Another big portion is companies like Novell contract themselves to other companies to do their kernel development for them. AMD, for example, pays Novell to do their kernel work for them. This isn't an uncommon practice, since RedHat also gets money from other companies to do their development work in the kernel. But when it comes down to it, the actual "originator" of the code or concept may not be Novell or RedHat, but they're the email address getting merged on the Signed-off-by: lines, which isn't a big deal.

    I don't see this as anything evil or underhanded, being a network stack hacker myself. The kernel maintainers and core contributers are far from stupid and gullible, and will *not* accept anything if they see proprietary undertones. I'm also sure they're putting a bit more scrutiny into reviewing patches from Novell just because. But the bottom line is more people are working on the kernel, trying to make it better, which is the end-goal. It really, in my mind, doesn't matter who is doing it, just as long as it's getting done and done well.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison