[PLUG] Microsoft - Key Linux contributor!

Rahul Sundaram metherid at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 12:07:55 PDT 2012

On 04/05/2012 08:14 AM, Mayuresh wrote:

> You might patch a thing n times just because it broke n times, does not
> make you a better contributor than someone who contributed fewer times
> though with better quality and functionality. Just the count is not a
> measure of intent.

Patching something n number of times doesn't increase code count.  For
most part, the hyper-v driver code they contributed is now much less
lines of code due to the amount of revisions that has happened in the
staging area over the last several months.  This is quite common for
drivers written in house by commercial organizations contributing newly
to Linux kernel. So instead of a inflated count, what you are actually
seeing is a lowered count.

> They are unlikely to be doing it to help Linux/OSS prosper or something.
> They contributed to areas where they had a business interest. Hence I
> called it an illusion.

I don't think calling it illusion is appropriate. All commercial vendors
who contribute to Linux, do it out of a business interest.  It is not a
charity or donation. In the case of Microsoft, their primary work is
adding Hyper-V driver to support Linux systems as a guest in their
virtualization platform and since the kernel is GPL, they are legally
required to publish patches anyway and merging them does make it easier
to use their solutions.  Does it advance their own interests?
Absolutely. Does it benefit Linux on the whole?  Yes, to the extend any
driver benefits Linux. It is rather similar to say driver support that
HP or Broadcom contributes because it sells their hardware more.

Having said that, I don't expect them to show up high in the stats in
the upcoming years because maintenance work in such drivers isn't that
high typically.  What it does, is a change in approach within MS in some
ways and that there is demand from MS customers who want to run Linux as
a guest.


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