[Bloat] [Cerowrt-devel] wireguard almost takes a bullet

Jonathan Corbet corbet at lwn.net
Wed Mar 31 12:55:50 EDT 2021

"David P. Reed" <dpreed at deepplum.com> writes:

> Regarding the organizaton of "Linux, Inc." as a hierachical control
> structure - I'll just point out that hierarchical control of the
> development of Linux suggests that it is not at all a "community
> project" (if it ever was). It's a product development organization
> with multiple levels of management.
> Yet the developers are employees of a small number of major
> corporations. In this sense, it is like a "joint venture" among those
> companies.

...where "a small number" == 225 for the 5.11 development cycle; the
biggest of those contributed just under 10% of the patches.


It seems rather less concentrated than many projects out there, and it
has become less so over time.

> To the extent that those companies gain (partial) control of the Linux
> kernel, as appears to be the case, I think Linux misrepresents itself
> as a "community project", and in particular, the actual users of the
> software may have little say in the direction development takes going
> forwards.
> There's little safeguard, for example, against "senior management"
> biases in support of certain vendors, if other vendors are excluded
> from effective participation by one of many techniques. In other
> words, there's no way it can be a level playing field for innovation.

I would be curious to hear whether you think there is evidence of
vendors being excluded?  No doubt something has happened somewhere, but
I am unaware if widespread use of "one of many techniques" and would
certainly appreciate being enlightened.

The biggest impediment to innovation in Linux, I think, is the massive
installed user base and the need to never break anything for anybody —
along with the increase in complexity overall.  Just look at what it has
taken (and is still taking) to get us past the year-2038 problem
relative to how some other systems have been able to just deal with it,
for example.

WireGuard, which started this discussion, is a good example to look at
it.  This was definitely an innovative development, brought in by a
developer previously unknown to the community and, as far as I know, not
in the thrall of any of the corporations contributing to the Linux
kernel.  Jason had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get it in, but
that wasn't the result of anybody trying to block it - we wanted it!
But it did need to fit into what we had already, and that took some



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