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Google’s Chris DiBona sent me this e-mail, which I post verbatim:
If you did follow apache or the linux kernel closely, you’d see googlers posting patches. That is why I called you lazy for not noticing this. I’m not really interested in outing engineers as working for google, but I know of at least 4 people in the linux credits file who work for us (with signifigant work, not for small things). These projects are not difficult to find.I also think that Greg Stein wouldn’t mind being ‘outed’ as a googler. (Greg is the Chair of the Apache Software Foundation and is the co-developer of subversion and a great amount of code for apache) The open source world is quite large, I don’t expect you to know everyone in it. But if you plan on accusing us of parasitism….then you should do further research into our role.Also, one other thing: You say I called you ignorant, but I did not say that. Ignorant is too strong a word…I chose to call you uninformed because only recently has google started to inform the public at large of our contributions to open source software development.Please note my email address if you have any further questions about google and open source. Feel free to post this message in its entirety (but preserve the anti-spamming stuff, thanks!)
An occuring theme in bloggers vs. journalists wars is lack of profesionallism on the part of bloggers. I’m going to do my part in raising the bar among bloggers by doing some fact-checking.
I can’t fact-check Google’s contribution to Linux kernel, because, as I understand it, 4 people involved prefer to remain anonymous.
Greg Stein is indeed an established open source persona, ex-Microsoft and ex-collabnet employee, now working at Google. Judging by mailing list postings for 2004, he is still actively involved in Apache project, both in his role as the Chair of Apache Foundation and ocasionally as a developer.
Regarding Python, In my research I only found a reference to the fact that Greg wrote httplib, which ships with Python. A scan of python-dev mailing list archives did not show up posts by him in 2004 (I admit that the methodology used, i.e. eyeballing, isn’t too reliable). So I’ll assume that those days he’s not an active contributor to Python.
Regarding Subversion, Greg’s past contribution there are undeniable (he was one of the architects and core developers) but I wouldn’t call him an active contributor during his Google days. No posts to Subversion dev list in 2004, around 30 posts to subversion-issues and subversion-cvs lists. Generously, that’s about few days of work.
Greg started at Google around April 2004 (shortly after, in May 2004, he applied this patch adding Apache mime type mapping for Google-endorsed Atom syndication format. I don’t really know why I mentioned that).
Starting date has relevance here since I’m looking for contributions while being employed by Google, not before or after.
I’m not sure if the reference to Apache project is only referring to Greg or to more people. Not knowing their names, I can’t fact check it.
So that’s 6 people so far, 4 anonymous Linux kernel developers, Greg and Jeremy Hylton (a core Python developer).
In case you were wondering, Google has 1,900+ employees. Google’s market capitalization is 52.71 billion (compared to Microsoft’s 290.49 billion, yhoo’s 51.80 billion and Red Hat’s 2.45 billion).
Last quarter earnings were $805 million, $52 million of it being a profit.
The profit would be $125 million if it wasn’t for a patent dispute with Yahoo. From which we can learn that software patents are a good way to transfers large chunks of money from one company to another, with hefty provision for lawyers and partially supported by me and you (tax money used to pay for courts, judges salaries etc.) although I don’t quite get what is benefit for me from that. Will Yahoo! service will be any cheaper because they won patent war with Google? If yes, doesn’t that mean that Google’s service will more expensive? What do I, as a consumer, gain from this battle over patents?
I gathered most of this information using Google’s free search engine. Market data retrieved thanks to free Yahoo! finance. I was able to stay up till 5 A.M. thanks to tea which is not free but of negligible cost.
And all of that has nothing to do with me being bitter about Google not hiring me. Word.