Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4219 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] SCO is toast... Novell go get em
  • From: "Greg Freemyer" <greg.freemyer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 14:28:25 -0500
  • Message-id: <87f94c370611301128k23694615r456693b537a07298@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On 11/30/06, M Harris <harrismh777@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Ok Suse fans I have a very serious question for yous guys (and please don't
tell me its off topic, cause it aint, so stay in your chair) .... I want to
know who puts code into the kernel... please don't laugh... I'm serious.

I don't know how it worked historically, but today:

Linus Torvalds is the ultimate kernel maintainer, so in theory he
accepts and reviews each and every patch. Realistically he can't do
that so he has a bunch of lieutenants. Specifically second in
command (Andrew Morton) typically accepts patches of a general nature.

Then for specific subsystems there is typically an assigned maintainer
that can accept patches for that subsystem.

Then at the specific driver level there is typically a maintainer for
the driver.

So in theory a patch has to get buy-in from all of the above for it to
get in, but that has little to do with copyright / patent issues. The
above is primarily technical buy-in and nobody is checking to ensure
the code is legal to put into the GPLed kernel.

The one exception is with each patch submission at any level the
submitter themselves is supposed to include a "Signed off by" line.
The purpose of this is to state that they know the origins of the
patch they are submitting and that it can be legally placed under the
kernels GPL license.

Obviously it is very hard to know how well that works. Especially if
the claimed violation is a patent issue where even independently
derived code that performs the same function could be a violation.

Greg Freemyer
The Norcross Group
Forensics for the 21st Century
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