Samsung Open-Source Group Reportedly Shuts Down
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 27 October 2018 at 08:45 PM EDT. 38 Comments
FREE SOFTWARE --
If you are looking for new open-source talent for your organization, check out LinkedIn but it's under unfortunate circumstances for the availability of a sudden surplus in skilled Linux/FLOSS developers... Samsung has apparently shut down the Samsung Open-Source Group (Samsung OSG) as a blow to the wider free software ecosystem considering the group's prolific contributions over the years from low-level open-source projects to desktop/user-facing code-bases.

Samsung's Open-Source Group had been structured within Samsung Research America. Samsung OSG was formed back in 2012 and has employed dozens of developers over the past number of years. Samsung OSG was akin to Intel OTC (Open-Source Technology Center) albeit with not nearly as many developers nor as many original open-source projects brought up by the Intel software crew. The Samsung OSG stated purpose has been to "enhance key open source projects through upstream contributions and active involvement with open source foundations."


Samsung OSG has contributed very heavily to the development of Wayland as well as some X.Org components, Cairo, Enlightenment EFL, the LLVM Clang compiler, GStreamer, FFmpeg, the Linux kernel, and other related code-bases that helped benefit Samsung's open-source/Linux needs across their wide portfolio of products from smart watches to refrigerators.

This may be especially hard-hitting for Wayland considering they were heavily contributing upstream and OSG employees often served as release managers. Here's a look at overall commits by domain to Wayland's Weston compositor:


And to Wayland itself with these statistics as of this Saturday afternoon:


Samsung OSG developers often were among the top five contributors each year to these code-bases.

Beyond Wayland/graphics, Samsung OSG in recent years represented around 5% of the annual corporate code contributions on a commit-basis to the Linux kernel.

Samsung OSG had also been employing a number of key Enlightenment contributors. (Separate from this incident, it also turns out that Carsten Haitzler "Rasterman" who founded and led the development of the Enlightenment window manager left Samsung OSG earlier this year to join ARM where he is now a technical director.) OSG developers have also frequently presented at all of the common Linux/FLOSS conferences around the world.

It's not immediately clear if Samsung is letting go of all their former OSG developers, if they still intend on contributing to upstream just under a different group / corporate structure, or what all is happening, but there are now at least a number of these former OSG developers looking for new Linux/open-source employment and it's clear the US open-source operations at least are impacted.

Presumably this won't have any direct impact on Samsung's Linux/Android/Tizen based products as the OSG team has traditionally been focused on the upstream/public code contributions and separate from their internal software development teams.

More information as it becomes available...

UPDATE (31 October 2018): Samsung US and Korea have commented on the open-source restructuring that they attribute to a corporate restructuring and not a shutting down of the OSG.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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