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Who writes Linux?

Posted September 18, 2013

The Linux Foundation today released a report called “Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They Are Doing and Who is Sponsoring It.”

According to the report Red HatSamsung, Linaro, Google and SUSE are among the top 10 sponsores of the Linux kernel since 2012.

Linux is one of the largest collaborative project of Earth which is driven by an amazingly open development model under the leadership of Linus Torvalds and is protected by equally amazing free software licence like GNU GPL.

This year’s report covers work completed through Linux kernel 3.10, with an emphasis on releases 3.3 to 3.10. The last report was released April 2012 and focused on 2.6.36 to 3.2.

Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, said, “Linux represents the future of how new software and technologies will be built. Understanding how it’s developed is important to the industry.”

Key findings of the reports are:

  • 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 Linux kernel 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.
  • 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 list for the first time in 2012,Microsoft notably dropped off the list entirely this year. A complete list of the top 30 organizations sponsoring this work is included in the paper.
  • The rate of Linux development is unmatched. 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.

The report is co-authored by Jon Corbet, Linux kernel developer and editor of; Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux kernel maintainer and Linux Foundation fellow; and Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer services at The Linux Foundation.



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