Phoronix: Silicon Motion Has Open-Source Driver, But Fails
For those that don't closely follow the various development lists, at the end of February a Silicon Motion developer came to the DRI list announcing he had "a kernel driver for all our graphics chips" that he was looking to mainline. It sounds nice, but in the end it's a let-down and the most you'll probably get out of it is a few laughs...
I understand this article regarding the licenses, but I find this type of article unrewarding to corporations who wish to get started contributing to the linux kernel, and in return to the linux community. Every developer has his expertise and workflow, and for one, I personally use git repo for anything i collaborate on, but to use the lack of training in a repo in a negative sense or the inexperience in kernel contribution is just plain nit picking on a n00b in the field. Instead of sharing such information in negative light we should point out ways in which they can contribute and sources on how to contribute, provide them with proper definitions used within the community etc etc. If we shed such things in negative light then the following can be expected in future:
* Proprietary Companies will not open source if their coding may or may not meet the standards of the community
* Proprietary companies will only contribute to the kernel if they hire someone experienced in kernel contributions, and why should they hire someone for such a specific task if they are just putting their feet in the water
I'm not saying we should give them soft cushions and baby walk them through the processes, but giving bad publicity for a good intentioned effort is not the way to go. Just a few pointers will do.
I do think the article was a little rough and the community was being more harsh than it should have been, but developers need to realize that just because linux is a relatively small community, it doesn't mean you can slack in quality and expect anything is "good enough". It also doesn't mean that you can get everything to change priorities just because you want them to.
This is exactly what this developer was doing - he was kinda being an ass (albeit, accidentally) about what he wanted and seemed insultingly uneducated.
Personally, I think that the devs where mostly quite helpful and very understanding. Reading that list-thread I didn't feel that they 'failed' or anything negative.
I got the feeling that they where trying, but didn't know quite where to start and what to do. It seemed they where just quite uninformed on what linux is and how the community behind it works.
Handholding, up to a point, why not. These are just people doing a job and maybe feeling overwhelmed. Maybe don't have the technical knowledge we'd expect. Also not speaking their native language.
Not to forget to mention that its out of their usual workflow. They obviously have a different style in house and different workflow, so this is new waters. I have nothing against how the mailing list responded, but this article just seems a bit of a slap on the wrist. I love phoronix, don't get me wrong. I just feel we should be pointing people in the right direction rather than slapping them on the wrist. If they are expecting to be baby stepped through then thats a different story.
I agree to everything written in this thread. He is mostly a newbie to linux driver writing, so this is to be expected. However especially newbies must be greeted and forgiven, or they easily get offended - even if it was misunderstanding. I appreciate his work, maybe he should study license deeper if they have no IP department, but its good he is actually participating in development and submitting patches no matter the quality. The thing with the copyright string - he owns the copyright, so it is just that he is new, lived it that way. This is really good anyway, more good devices are really welcome.
Last edited by crazycheese; 03-13-2012 at 12:03 PM.
Uh, well. Mailinglists on kernel are sometimes harsh, yes.
But then, the attempt was really bound to fail with such a lot of coding errors and lack of experience with the tools Kernel devs use. Maybe they should gift him a book explaining git and writing drivers for the Kernel.
Anyway, what makes me cringe somewhat is the thought that here we see the mistakes openly in the source. But what if companies (and they probably do) release such drivers as blobs? Or other software - not just drivers. Ouch.