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Questioning corporate involvement in GNOME development

Questioning corporate involvement in GNOME development

Posted Jun 2, 2014 18:14 UTC (Mon) by AdamW (subscriber, #48457)
In reply to: Questioning corporate involvement in GNOME development by raven667
Parent article: Questioning corporate involvement in GNOME development

"Well of course people who don't work there don't understand the internal machinations of the company, that's why they have to use their imaginations."

Well, there is another option, which is not to invent criticisms out of 'imagination', but stick to the facts. As the LWN article points out, if RH were in fact dictating GNOME development in its own interest, there would presumably be some kind of evidence of this, yet no-one seems to have provided any. The things people don't like about GNOME 3 don't seem to be things that are obviously helpful to Red Hat.

(note: I work for RH (though not as a GNOME dev), I am not at all unbiased on this. I'm still right, though. :>)

I think part of the problem here might just be that people aren't appreciating the history. Red Hat hires major contributors to projects like GNOME so they have a paycheck to work on them full time. This is a pretty established model by now, and other companies do the same thing for various projects (most obviously the kernel, where there's still a healthy ecosystem with dozens of employers involved). In the past, other companies would do the same for GNOME devs: Sun was a major employer of GNOME devs for a time, so was Novell at one time, Ximian when it was independent, and various others have contributed over the years. Since 2008-2009 or so, what's happened is all the *other* corporate sponsors of GNOME have sort of dropped out, leaving RH as the major corporate sponsor by default. In particular Sun more or less disappeared as an employer of GNOME devs when it was bought out by Oracle. RH hasn't been working on some Cunning Plan to become the major employer of GNOME devs. It's hard to see how it would be in anyone's interest for RH to pull out too, leaving very few full-time GNOME devs.

It'd be interesting to draw a graph of corporate vs. volunteer devs over time, with the companies separated. My guess is the *overall* proportion of corporate vs. volunteer contributions would be pretty consistent over time, and favouring corporate contributions - but back in the mid-2000s you'd see multiple corporate sponsors sharing the load, while from 2010 onwards you'd see mainly RH. But I don't think there's ever been a period where the majority of GNOME development was done by unpaid volunteers.


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Questioning corporate involvement in GNOME development

Posted Jun 2, 2014 19:47 UTC (Mon) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

> Well, there is another option, which is not to invent criticisms out of 'imagination', but stick to the facts.

Well sure but the point is that there could be internal discussions which are out of the view of external participants who by definition can't have all the facts. When you have a single dominant vendor then the conditions are right for these kinds of criticisms to start popping up like mushrooms, even though they are almost always baseless they still have some power.


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