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That's a good point, but the Linux development community also has a practice of very aggressively refactoring Linux internally / breaking internal APIs whenever it makes sense, and they update all code that's in Linux mainline but don't provide patches or migration guides for anyone else. I've definitely seen the perspective that this is not only done for technical reasons but to put pressure on people to incorporate their code into mainline when possible.

Newer versions of Linux get steadily better at performance, so it seems likely to me that Google is primarily incorporating their changes upstream to save effort over maintaining a local fork (and not risk that fork getting out-of-date), and not so much because they find that open-sourcing their code is inherently worth doing.






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