University of Minnesota researchers issue an open letter of apology to the Linux kernel community
After deliberately introducing vulnerabilities, the entire university was banned from participating in the development of the Linux kernel; the relevant researchers at the University of Minnesota — Assistant Professor Kangjie Lu and Ph.D. students Qiushi Wu and Aditya Pakki published an open letter to the Linux kernel community apology letter.
The open letter stated that the research team sincerely apologized for any harm it caused to the Linux kernel community. “we are very sorry that the method used in the “hypocrite commits” paper was inappropriate. As many observers have pointed out to us, we made a mistake by not finding a way to consult with the community and obtain permission before running this study.” They also stated that they had made the mistake of negotiating with the Linux community and obtaining permission before conducting the research. But the letter also explained that because they knew that they could not ask for permission from the maintainers of Linux in advance, otherwise they would draw the attention of the maintainers to these patches, which would affect the results of the research.
The letter also emphasized that the other patches from UMN.edu are kind and sincere. “All the other 190 patches being reverted and re-evaluated were submitted as part of other projects and as a service to the community; they are not related to the “hypocrite commits” paper. These 190 patches were in response to real bugs in the code and all correct–as far as we can discern–when we submitted them.”
The open letter finally pointed out that the members of the research team are sincerely sorry for the extra work that the Linux kernel community needs to undertake. In addition to their pain, they have also learned some important lessons about research with the open-source community from this incident. “We can and will do better, and we believe we have much to contribute in the future, and will work hard to regain your trust.”