Actually, suggesting that they contribute considerably to GNOME in comparison to other companies instead of the Kernel is _actually_ a smoke screen. Companies like Novell and Red Hat employ significantly more developers to consistently work on GNOME and KDE, so if you did a graph with those contributions comparing the different downstream projects, I doubt there would be much difference at all. For example, SUSE have significantly more developers working on OpenOffice.org alone than entire desktop team at Canonical
Greg KH's speech was quite simply that Ubuntu are not the upstream innovators. Critics who complained that he didn't consider the GNOME projects still do not change this fact, and critics who suggest that Canonical is a smaller company are side-stepping the issue. Launchpad is part of the problem, but one of the main problems IMO is one of erroneous attribution. For example I have seen many Ubuntu users suggesting to others that they created Compiz -- a project that actually cost Novell thousands of dollars.
Companies like Red Hat and SUSE should be getting tremendous credit for consistently paying free software developers to work on the Linux server/desktop day-in-day-out, and this so frequently does not happen.