The University of Minnesota Department of Computer Science and Engineering announced that it's looking into a ban on contributing to the Linux kernel that was issued after its research attracted the ire of the stable release channel's steward.
That ban was issued on Wednesday by Greg Kroah-Hartman, a Linux kernel developer responsible for the stable channel's release due to a project that intentionally added bugs to the Linux kernel in the name of security research.
"We take this situation extremely seriously," UMN computer science and engineering head Mats Heimdahl and associate department head Loren Terveen said in a statement, adding that they "immediately suspended this line of research" after the ban was announced.
Leadership in the University of Minnesota Department of Computer Science & Engineering learned today about the details of research being conducted by one of its faculty members and graduate students into the security of the Linux Kernel. pic.twitter.com/QE9rrAyyMXApril 21, 2021
The project was supposed to show how bad actors can introduce vulnerabilities to open source projects—of which Linux is the most prominent example — by using "hypocrite commits" that hide malevolent intent behind seemingly benign code.
Heimdahl and Terveen also said the CS&E department will "investigate the research method and the process by which this research method was approved, determine appropriate remedial action, and safeguard against future issues, if needed."
Their plan is to "report our findings back to the community as soon as practical." The question, then, is whether or not any remedial action will be enough for the University of Minnesota to be welcomed back into the Linux community.
When asked about the situation yesterday, Kroah-Hartman suggested we speak to the university instead. The University of Minnesota didn't respond to a request for comment, but tagged Tom's Hardware on Twitter to make it aware of its response.