Greg Kroah-Hartman: Android and the Linux kernel community
Posted Feb 4, 2010 15:34 UTC (Thu) by rich0
In reply to: Greg Kroah-Hartman: Android and the Linux kernel community
Parent article: Greg Kroah-Hartman: Android and the Linux kernel community
Forks aren't always great, but I honestly don't think of forks as being
a bad thing and I've tried to instill in Google the same ethic.
The big problem with this sort of approach is that projects on the scale of
something like Chrome or Android can turn into entities unto themselves
with almost no connection to the projects they were derived from.
The last time I downloaded the chromium source the tarball was around 0.5GB
- almost all of it from forked dependencies. The resulting build is
unnecessarily long, and it ends up losing any benefit from upstream
improvements in any of those dependencies. If zlib or whatever fixes a
security flaw I need to download and rebuild another 0.5GB tarball to
incorporate the fix.
A company the size of Google can sustain this, I guess, but it makes the
resulting project unwieldy. There may not ever be a community-based
version of chromium as a result, just as there is no practical community-
based version of android out there now (I'd define community-based as a
fork with no corporate sponsorship). On the other hand, that need-not
remain the situation permanently, and there are signs that Google has been
trying to integrate with upstream/etc (but they've dug themselves into a
bit of a hole).
Sure, forks aren't always a bad thing, but they can be counterproductive
and they can lead to isolation. When there is no reason to persist with a
fork it behooves us all to work together if we truly value the open source
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