'

Is Linux really worth $10.8 billion?

That $10.8 billion figure is for the full Fedora 9 distribution, sponsored by Red Hat. For the kernel alone, the figure is $1.4 billion.

Amanda McPherson of the Linux Foundation
How did the Linux Foundation come up with a value of $10.8 billion for the code in Linux?

Very conservatively.

Amanda McPherson (right), the group's vice president-marketing and developer programs, said they used the Cocomo Model to estimate how much it would cost in labor to replicate the code base.

"We took a community distribution as released, downloaded the source, and ran it through a tool to count it, then put it into the Cocomo model that Wikipedia has.

"Open source is about the code, it's not about putting people to work. There are so many people, it's so complicated, but the one thing that's real is the code. We looked at it and analyzed the code and used a well-regarded tool.

"I was surprised it was that big a number."

That figure is for the full Fedora 9 distribution, sponsored by Red Hat. For the kernel alone, the figure is $1.4 billion.

This is the same methodology David Wheeler used in 2002 to come up with a value of $1.2 billion for the entire code base, giving you some idea how much it has grown since.

Makes you wonder what Windows is worth, but McPherson can't find out.

"I haven't seen this done with proprietary software because you can't download the code." Another advantage of code visibility is value visibility.