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Research scandal sees Linux Kernel ban all future contributions from University of Minnesota

- By joegande11
Publish Date : 2021-05-07 10:15:31
Research scandal sees Linux Kernel ban all future contributions from University of Minnesota

Anyone sporting a University of Minnesota email has been banned from posting on the open-source Linux Kernel Archives after a group of researchers from the institution knowingly submitted buggy patches in order to gauge community reactions for their research. 

Brought to our attention via a LinusTechTips forum post, it seems it all began with some researchers from the university utilising the Linux Kernel site to gauge its level of security. The way they went about this research, however, has been considered somewhat unethical by the site's standards, resulting in the blanket ban of future contributions from the university at large.

The researchers had been posting what the maintainer of the site, Greg Kroah-Hartman, identified as 'known-buggy' patches, after which—and without owning up to their machinations—they went on to publish a paper on the topic.

When the site maintainer confronted them, their response was gold:

"I respectfully ask you to cease and desist from making wild accusations that are bordering on slander."

They go on to claim the patches were sent in the hopes of getting feedback, and end with: "Obviously, it is a wrong step but your preconceived biases are so strong that you make allegations without merit nor give us any benefit of doubt. I will not be sending any more patches due to the attitude that is not only unwelcome but also intimidating to newbies and non experts."

Rather than admitting to their somewhat questionable methods, they managed to spin it back around. But Kroah-Hartman's response takes them down a notch, calling them out on a public admission to "sending known-buggy patches to see how the kernel community would react." 

Kroah-Hartman criticizes their "continuing to experiment on the kernel community developers" after the group submitted "a new series of obviously-incorrect patches." He notes that, rather than asking for help as most users would in the instance of being unsure about a patch, the group claimed these were legitimate fixes which they "KNEW to be incorrect."
Anyone sporting a University of Minnesota email has been banned from posting on the open-source Linux Kernel Archives after a group of researchers from the institution knowingly submitted buggy patches in order to gauge community reactions for their research. 

Brought to our attention via a LinusTechTips forum post, it seems it all began with some researchers from the university utilising the Linux Kernel site to gauge its level of security. The way they went about this research, however, has been considered somewhat unethical by the site's standards, resulting in the blanket ban of future contributions from the university at large.

The researchers had been posting what the maintainer of the site, Greg Kroah-Hartman, identified as 'known-buggy' patches, after which—and without owning up to their machinations—they went on to publish a paper on the topic.

They go on to claim the patches were sent in the hopes of getting feedback, and end with: "Obviously, it is a wrong step but your preconceived biases are so strong that you make allegations without merit nor give us any benefit of doubt. I will not be sending any more patches due to the attitude that is not only unwelcome but also intimidating to newbies and non experts."
 

 

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