Linux reaches out to hobbyist developers

Linux reaches out to hobbyist developers

Summary: Linux is largely written today by programmers working for large companies, but, keeping in touch with its roots, the Linux Foundation is offering travel expenses to the next Linux Kernel Summit for Linux kernel hobbyist programmers.


Who writes Linux? Is it:

  1. Linus Torvalds and a waddle of penguins.

  2. Graduate students and hackers living in their parents' basements.

  3. Programmers working for major companies including Red Hat, IBM, and Microsoft.

The answer is ... number 3!

Over 75 percent of all Linux kernel development is done by developers who are being paid for their work. Of those, the top 10 corporate contributors to Linux code by percentage of accepted code additions and changes in 2012 were:

  1. No company affiliation: 17.9 percent

  2. Red Hat: 11.9 percent

  3. Novell/SUSE: 6.4 percent

  4. Intel: 6.2 percent

  5. IBM: 6.1 percent

  6. Unknown: 5.1 percent

  7. Consultant: 3.0 percent

  8. Oracle: 2.1 percent

  9. Academia: 1.3 percent

  10. Nokia: 1.2 percent

Microsoft? Yes, it's on the list as number 17. That's largely because of Microsoft's support for Linux into its Azure cloud and Hyper-V virtualization programs.

That said, The Linux Foundation is well aware that there are still programmers who are living on a student's scholarship or are still living in their parents' basement. So, the foundation, wanting to reach out to a younger generation of programmers, is looking for three good developers to send to the next major Linux Kernel Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Theodore "Ted" T'so, a leading Linux kernel developer, announced that, "The Linux Kernel Summit Program Committee would like to put out a call for hobbyists/ This year, we have up to three places to give to people who do Linux Kernel development as a hobby rather than a profession." The foundation's definition of "hobbyist" is anyone who doesn't get paid to work on Linux.

This year's Linux Kernel Summit will be held in Edinburgh from October 23 to 25. T'so continued, "Since most top kernel developers are not hobbyists these days, this is your opportunity to make up for what we're missing. As we recognize most hobbyists don't have the resources to attend conferences, we're offering, as part of the normal kernel summit travel fund processes, travel reimbursement as part of being selected to attend."

Interested? "Send a proposal outlining what you do, what you'd bring to the kernel summit and preferably what you think the current kernel processes should be doing to encourage more hobbyist contributions (or should not be doing because it discriminates against hobbyist contributions) to with the subject prefix [HOBBIST ATTEND] in the subject line of your email so we can easily find your proposal."

Want to get more attention? Descriptions of particularly cool hobbyist projects in the kernel that have been overlooked by the mainstream could help. Since the Kernel Summit is only two months away, the foundation looking to have proposals submitted by August 24.

So at-home or school Linux developers, here's your shot at the big time. Get to work! Now! Good luck to you!

Related stories:

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Software Development

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  • Linux reaches out to hobbyist developers

    Kudos to The Linux Foundation.
  • Support

    I'm still waiting for such company to jump into the linux bandwagon


    Wishful thinking ?
    • Re: Microsoft
    • Re: Microsoft
  • The change in Linux over the years is interesting

    In the beginning, there was NO corporate support for Linux and the Linux community was incredibly proud of that fact. It was a total pirate ship, run by the crew! The pride they took in this was one of the reasons Linux became functional.

    Except, to gain acceptance into the corporate world, Linux couldn't be a pirate ship any more. There had to be discipline. Specific projects to correct specific problems needed to be accomplished and done on a schedule so businesses could plan for the future.

    Over the years, companies gradually took control of Linux and the "Hobbyist" developer, for the most part, no longer participated. A few hung on, but most of the development is now handled by corporations.

    This makes sense, but the good old days of the pirate ship run by the crew and an elected captain are long gone. Linux grew up.

    Now, paying homage to the past, the Linux foundation is offering expenses so the people that really got it started might be able to attend a conference dominated by corporate types.

    Quite a change indeed.
    • Cynical99: "Linux grew up"

      The Linux kernel grew up. However, as soon as one moves up to various GNU/Linux distros, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise and Canonical Ubuntu excepted, display servers (Mir vs. Wayland vs. X.Org/X11), desktop environments (e.g., KDE 4.x, Gnome 3.x, Cinnamon, MATE), and applications (e.g., LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Calligra Suite, Gnome Office), Linux continues to be pirate ships of all shapes and sizes.

      And while Android is developed internally by Google, the various mods based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) are also pirate ships of all shapes and sizes.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • A single differentiation

        How do I want to say this - Linux is not the entire open source movement. The applications you speak of are open source, but not Linux. Does that make any sense?

        You are quite right that the Open Source movement is still a majority of pirate ships sailing their own direction, copying what they will with little innovation if any.

        Linux may have grown up, but the rest of the Open Source movement is still mired in same mud it's been for two decades. Lack of direction and release disciplines hold it back.
        • Cynical99, I also spoke of Linux distros

          Both GNU/Linux and Android are Linux-based operating systems. However, your point about applications is well taken and also applies to both display servers and desktop environments.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
    • "Linux grew up"

      Going by your measures, one could argue that it regressed.

      Look at Systemd, with tying in of systemd and cgroups, Mir, Gnome3 Shell, etc...

      It's not entirely clear that the heavy corporate involvement is some unalloyed Good Thing (tm).
      • bswiss: "heavy corporate involvement"

        For anyone unhappy with the large contributions that corporations make to the Linux kernel, there are some good open-source alternatives:

        o Debian GNU/kFreeBSD
        o FreeBSD
        o PC-BSD
        o OpenBSD
        o NetBSD

        And one can always choose to use an application, desktop environment and display server with little to no corporate involvement. In other words, open-source software that is managed and maintained by a community.
        Rabid Howler Monkey