Last week, Linux kernel worker Qu Wenruo reprimanded another code donor, Zhen Lei, for wasting kernel maintainers’ time on unnecessary patches.
in the An entry to Zhen Lei and the rest of the Linux kernel mailing list, Wenruo said he recently found a patch Remove an out of memory debug error message from a Self test used by btrfs, a filesystem supported by the Linux kernel.
“There’s nothing special about doing some little cleanup from a kernel newbie,” wrote Wenruo. “But the email address makes me wary, ‘@ huawei.com’.”
This is not the first time that similar harmless “cleanup” patches have come from Huawei, said Wenruo, who stated that these corrections were also “useless”.
“I wonder what is really going on here,” he wrote, noting that a quick search found a number of patches to “clean” error messages from memory or correct misspellings.
Wenruo’s theory is that Zhen Lei submitted this irrelevant patch for crediting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – to do something that is recognized as meaningful work by an employee performance measurement system.
Wenruo said that it was okay for new developers and students to submit these types of patches, noting that he started his kernel contributions the same way and that he hopes these small patches will result in long-term contributions.
“But what you’re doing is really gripping KPIs,” he said. “I’ve seen several maintainers arguing with you about such ‘cleanups’ and you always defend yourself to try to pull these patches together.”
“You are sending the patch that represents your business by doing this, you are really only damaging an already broken reputation.”
Wenruo’s answer may seem too harsh – we asked a Linux maintainer whether the allegations were compatible with the Linux Code of Conduct, but we didn’t hear anything. However, in April the Linux kernel community had a bad experience with researchers at the University of Minnesota who submitted “hypocritical commits” – shoddy code – to test whether the maintainers were paying attention. The backlash highlighted how much work volunteers do and how annoyed they are when their time is wasted.
The registry Zhen Lei to comment, but we did not hear anything.
In an email to The registryWenruo said, “Some Chinese tech companies are really pushing too hard by setting almost impossible KPI goals. I think that’s the main cause.”
“That drives their employees to do things without using their common sense. And obviously a toxic corporate culture like 996 (9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days a week) and destructive competition. “
“I hope there will be fewer and fewer incidents like this, but without fixing the cause, it’s just a time of the problem to hit the next one.”
Wenruo said, as for him, the University of Minnesota affair didn’t matter.
“The Minnesota incident is at least harder to spot as these ‘fixes’ look like real fixes at first glance, only when you dig deeper it shows some problems,” he said. “But with the Huawei incident, it’s pretty simple, all of the ‘cleanups’ are just generated by
Wenrou said he found the author’s response annoying and wished the author had just saved the maintainers time by making it clear that the ‘cleanup’ commits are just warnings from
Zhen Lei has react, but on the mailing list, defends past kernel posts and promises that subsequent posts to the Linux community will be more consistent.
And In answer Wenruo offered a list of projects that would be more helpful.
The participation of Huawei that published its own Linux distribution and has become an IT policy hotspot in the US and Europe over supply chain integrity concerns and government espionage, has made this dispute a topic of concern for software developers in China.
On Chinese Q&A site Zhihu, a person pretending to be a Red Hat engineer analyzed the mailing list exchange. As far as the discussion can be deciphered through algorithmic translation, the person writing the post argues that Huawei shouldn’t even intervene in the discussion as such commits and concerns about them are constant. Those who responded to the post argue that if a Google employee were to make a similar commitment, that person would be adored.
We also contacted Huawei, one of the top two Contributors to the Linux v5.10 version alongside Intel to ask whether the Telekom-Equipment-Titan counts commits for the KPI evaluation of the employees. A US spokeswoman said she would look into it but warned the need to communicate with global teams could preclude an immediate response. ®