On Contributions – The GNOME Affair

Posted 2010-07-30

The discussion is quite on the roll after Dave Neary gave some insight into who commits how much code to the GNOME project.

As [The discussion is quite on the roll after Dave Neary gave some insight into who commits how much code to the GNOME project.

As](http://gregdekspeaks.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/red-hat-16-canonical-1/) by Greg de Koenigsberg, Red Hat has outperformed Canonical on a 16:1 ratio according to the Census. You can imagine that some of the Ubuntu fans don’t like to hear this.

So after Jeffrey Stedfast puts out his reply, we now also have Jono Bacon stepping in.

Jono’s main argument is that Canonical does a lot on top of GNOME, but on their own, using their own tools and build environment. And he calls this “contributing”.

I beg to differ.

A contribution in my view is something that ends up in the upstream project. Something that is developed outside of the project is NOT a contribution TO the project. It merely stands on the shoulders of giants, in this case the GNOME project, but it doesn’t add to the upstream project itself.

This is like kernel modules that are developed outside of the linux tree – they may run on Linux, but you cannot consider them to be PART of Linux.

So if you accept that contribution means “adding something TO the upstream project so that it is an integral part of it” the argument of Greg still holds strong. So far Red Hat has contributed 16x more to GNOME as Canonical.

Just wanted to make this clear.

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