Every year, the Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth of the Linux platform, compiles an annual development report that details the Linux kernel development process. The report covers the work completed through the Linux kernel 3.2 release.
This year’s report contains some interesting revelations about who’s working on the Linux kernel and the number of changes being made to the platform. While the report itself is definitely worth looking over, here are some of the key findings that make up the report.
Since 2005, the Linux Foundation has been tracking the number of developers and companies that have contributed to the Linux kernel. This past year has seen an incredible number of 7,800 developers from almost 800 companies contributing to the Linux kernel. The report says this is an increase of 1,000 developers and 200 companies from the last report.
A previous report said that more and more companies are hiring developers proficient in Linux. Those numbers seem to match up with this report that says over 75 percent of Linux developers are paid for their work now. This is because many professional products like Android, cloud computing and Xen are all based off of the Linux kernel.
Like with every report, the Linux Foundation reveals the top 10 organizations that are sponsoring Linux development. The top 10 organizations this year are Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IMB, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. The big surprise this year in regards to organizations sponsoring Linux development is at number 17 though. Microsoft was revealed as being in top 20, with the software company working with Linux’s collaborative development model to “support its virtualization efforts and its customers.”
The last major news from the report finds the number of changes coming to the Linux platform is increasing between reports. There is a new kernel release every two to three months and each release sees between 8,000 and 12,000 patches going into it. That’s almost 6 new patches per hour between reports according to the Linux Foundation.
“Linux is the platform for the future of computing. More developers and companies are contributing to the advancement of the operating system than ever before, especially in the areas of mobile, embedded and cloud computing,” said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer services, The Linux Foundation. “The increasing participation represents the power of Linux to quickly adapt to new market opportunities, lower costs, and provide sustained long-term support.”
You will want to check out the full report here. It contains a break down of all the companies making contributions to the Linux kernel based on number of changes made and number of signoff lines.
Alongside the release of the report, the Linux Foundation has also made a short video detailing how Linux is built. It’s pretty impressive to see an open source project like Linux take the world by storm. It gives people like me hope that more open source projects can compete with commercialized software.