Who writes Linux? Almost 10,000 developers

Who writes Linux? Almost 10,000 developers

Summary: In the latest report on who writes Linux, the answer comes to almost 10,000 programmers since 2005 and 1,100 in the last year alone.

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NEW ORLEANS: Who writes Linux? Perhaps the better question is who doesn't write it?

At LinuxCon, in New Orleans, The Linux Foundation revealed in its latest report "Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They Are Doing and Who is Sponsoring It." that the largest collaborative project in the history of computing is growing larger than ever with over 10,000 developers contributing to Linux in the last eight years.

Who Writes Linux Infographic Sept 2013

§  In particular, the Foundation found that: Nearly 10,000 developers from more than 1,000 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since tracking began in 2005. Just since the last report, more than 1,100 developers from 225 companies have contributed to the kernel. In fact, more developers and companies are contributing to Linux than ever before with Linuxkernel 3.10 seeing the most developer contributions ever.

§  Mobile and embedded companies are increasing their investments in Linux. Linaro, Samsung and Texas Instruments together increased their aggregate contributions from 4.4 percent during the previous version of the paper to 11 percent of all changes this year. Google’s contributions are also up significantly this year. In part that's because after years of fussing, Android is now completely integrated into mainstream Linux.

§  The Top 10 organizations sponsoring Linux kernel development since the last report include Red Hat, Intel, Texas Instruments, Linaro, SUSE, IBM, Samsung, Google, Vision Engraving Systems, Consultants and Wolfson Microelectronics.

After appearing on the top Linux developer list for the first time in 2012, Microsoft notably dropped off the list entirely this year. That's largely because Microsoft has done the work it needed to do to get Linux to work with Azure virtual machine technology.

§  The rate of Linux development continues to accelerate. The average number of changes accepted into the kernel per hour is 7.14, which translates to 171 changes every day and more than 1,200 per week.

 At that rate of change it's no surprise that while Linus Torvalds still directs Linux's development, he passed off a lot of the work of signing off on changes to the Linux kernel to his co-developers in recent years. Since the Linux 3.2 kernel, Torvalds has signed off on only 0.7 percent of all patches.  

"Linux represents the future of how new software and technologies will be built. Understanding how it’s developed is important to the industry," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation at LinuxCon. "This year’s Linux development report represents exponential growth in the community and its pace of development, illustrating how collaboration advances innovation."

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Topics: Enterprise Software, Linux, Mobile OS, Open Source, Software Development

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26 comments
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  • 10,000 Maniacs

    Huh. And all this time I thought that they were a rock band.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Where's the monthly releases

      In the vane of; it only takes 9 mothers a month to have a baby!
      greywolf7
  • The World's Most Productive Software Project

    The amazing thing is that they can manage a major new STABLE release every couple of months. And run on two dozen different processor architectures. And scale all the way from small handheld devices up to the world's most powerful supercomputers.

    No other OS in the history of the world can come close to that. Not even proprietary ones backed by companies with a hundred times the budget of the Linux developer community. This demonstrates the sheer power and flexibility of Open Source.
    ldo17
    • Um, I can think of at least one

      BSD... which is certainly running heavy iron supercomputers, and can be made to work on phones (iOS is nearly as related to BSD as Android is to Linux.)
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • BSD is still more limited in number of processor architecture.

        And their updates are slower.
        jessepollard
  • Do this poor companies need to save money?

    Why all those companies do not develop their own operating systems, instead of writing two lines of code in this bloated crappy kernel,
    They have money to spend, but, the open source community are doing a favor for them to save their money so the CEO can build a new swimming pool in his house!
    What is the open source for then? for saving money of the big corportions
    FadyNabilNashed
    • Because it is cheaper to share the development load.

      And it gets them a larger market immediately.
      jessepollard
    • Why reinvent the wheel?

      Not having to redevelop everything from sratch means they can spend research $ on making a better end product which benifits us all.
      timothyja
    • Re: bloated crappy kernel

      How can it be "bloated" when it runs just fine on a piece of ultracheap low-end hardware like a Raspberry π?
      ldo17
    • Contribute to the expands of its influence

      They need to understand the codes which contribute to the expands of its influence.
      zulfazlihussin
  • Who writes Linux? Almost 10,000 developers

    The better question is who is still writing for linux? The same 5 people who use it. Everyone else including its user base ditched it.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • In a word, no

      There are more Linux powered computing devices out there than there are for any other computer operating system.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • Everyone ditched it?

      Oh, except for the Android phones, most of the supercomputers, all of Google's servers, all the home routers, all the Tivo boxes, all the Chromebooks, hundreds of thousands of developer workstations around the world, the rendering clusters used by all the special effects companies for every major movie, the Samsung televisions, innumerable systems in cars, automation in most factories, the US Postal service, file servers in a majority of businesses world wide, ... yeah, everyone pretty much ditched it. Lol.
      torreyh
      • Which has some interesting rammifications

        Since Linux is becoming all things to all people ranging from a tablet/phone OS to Super Computers, it may be time for a number of questions to be faced by the controllers of Linux.

        At what point does it become a bloated OS (as Windows is) that has a great deal of unused code for say, the Super Computer Application that is absolutely required for Android?

        Perhaps some time in the near future there will be a split of the kernel into separate branches. One for super computers, one for desktops, one for servers, and one for tablets with perhaps many more lines.

        To keep the Linux kernel's lean mean reputation intact, splits may become a requirement in the near future.

        Please, no flaming on this one. Linux is successful in most environments, just not the desktop. Branching the kernel is simply a result of success in broad environments.
        Cynical99
        • Questions answered long ago

          There is no need to branch anything. The reason Linux is used from small scale embeded devices right up to super computing is because it is customisable by design. Its not bloated because its easy to only include the features you want in your build and leave everything else out. Its also easy to drop in or remove altenate subsystems designed for different purposes/platforms.
          timothyja
          • small scale embedded devices

            That is still relative. There are many small embedded devices that are way too small even for linux. When a device only has 64k of memory (8 and 16 bit controller) or doesn't use an ARM. 6502, Z80, PIC. Linux is much too large even if configured. There the world of small compiled-in RTOS reign. And believe me this domain is huge. Automotive, appliances, sensors, instruments, medical implants.
            DevGuy_z
    • Re: Who writes Linux? Almost 10,000 developers

      And just think: among ZDNet's coterie of Microsoft fanbois, this guy is the intellectual giant.
      ldo17
  • Some information about Free Software

    Many people don't know what Free Software is exactly.

    Here is a summary, I have written recently:

    http://freesoftwaredeveloper.blogspot.gr/2013/03/what-is-free-software.html
    cppdeveloper
    • You missed the part...

      where brain dead scum do volunteer work for billion dollar corporations.
      jackbond
      • You forgot that...

        its better to contribute to something that benefits all mankind, than to be brain dead scum paying hundreds of dollars to billion dollar corporations for something as elementary as an operating sytem.
        timothyja