The Linux kernel is the base platform on which desktop and mobile operating systems like Android are built on top of. It also runs on lots of networking gear and as IoT has entered our lives, even home appliances are running the Linux kernel.
Right now the Linux community is divided over an updated Code of Conduct. The biggest sticking point is the suggestion that code submissions would see politics, not absolute code-quality be the determiner of a successful or unsuccessful commit.
Being open-source, many developers and companies have taken Linux and build products (and businesses) on top of it, but hidden inside that kernel code, lies a kill switch in the form of developer’s copyright over their code. Contributed under a GPL 2.0 licence, if a developer chooses to revoke their code, they could, should a team of developers do that at the same time, it could break products and services that we all use.
The new Code of Conduct arrives as Linux founder Linus Torvalds has stepped down from the project.
An open letter posted to the Linux Kernel Mailing List encourages project contributors that have been banned under the new COC, to do just that, pull their code together. In doing so, this code could no longer be used, or those who do, would be open to being sued for doing so under Copyright law.
The whole controversy over the Linux Code of Conduct is complex, but FastGadgets has a great video on YouTube detailing what’s going on. You should also read the full post over at Lulz.com.
There has now been a revised Code of Conduct proposed. You can read it here. This removes some of the controversial parts of the COC.