Linux reaches out to hobbyist developers

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.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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 ksummit-2013-discuss@lists.linuxfoundation.org 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!

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