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Linux Foundation study shows who writes Linux and who supports it

Posted on 20-Aug-2009 08:45 | Filed under: News

Linux Foundation study shows who writes Linux and who supports it
The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, is publishing an update to its April 2008 study on Linux kernel development.

The new report is written by original authors and kernel developers Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman, and the Linux Foundation's Amanda McPherson.

The August 2009 Update reprises the title "Linux Kernel Development: How Fast is it Going, Who is doing it and Who is Sponsoring it?" and is available today in pdf format.

This community paper illustrates a large and distributed developer and corporate community that supports the expansion and innovation of Linux.

The updated study finds that since April 2008, there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of developers contributing to each kernel release and that a net of 2.7 million lines of code have been added. This level of activity has resulted in an average of 5.45 patches being accepted per hour, an increase of 42 percent since the original study.

Some of the accelerated pace of development can be attributed to new demand for Linux in emerging markets, such as netbooks, auto and energy, as well as to the establishment of the new linux-next tree (a staging area for the next kernel cycle that enables the development process to scale more rapidly).

Corbet and Kroah-Hartman, also members of the Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory Board (TAB), reviewed the last six kernel releases, from 2.6.24 through 2.6.30, representing about 500 days of Linux development. The report goes into detail on how the Linux development process works, including who is contributing, how often and why.

The report answers questions such as "Who is Writing Linux?". Every Linux kernel is being developed by nearly 1,000 developers working for more than 200 different corporations. Since 2008, the number of individual developers has increased by 10 percent.

Another question answers is "Who is Sponsoring Linux?", with more than 70 percent of total contributions to the kernel coming from developers working at a range of companies including Red Hat, IBM, Novell, Intel, Oracle, Fujitsu, among many others.

A net of 2.7 million lines of code have been added since April 2008, with an average of 10,923 lines of code being added a day. On the other hand an average of 5,547 lines are removed every day.

"This paper shows that the pace of Linux development continues to grow, with more individuals and more companies supporting Linux kernel development with every release cycle," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. "With the increasing use of Linux in new markets and the dedication of the development community and corporate sponsors, the number of contributors will continue to grow, ensuring a vibrant ecosystem to support the platform."

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