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19 August 2009, 11:15

Linux Foundation updates Kernel Development study

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Linux Foundation logo The August 2009 update of the Linux Foundation's study into the development of the Linux Kernel, provides the latest statistics on who is writing and working on Linux. The snappily titled Linux Kernel Development: How Fast it is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It: An August 2009 UpdatePDF has been compiled by Greg Kroah-Hartman of Novell, Jonathan Corbet of LWN and Amanda McPherson of the Linux Foundation. The details of contributors are generally unchanged from the previous report, but the reports authors are amused that since that version, Linus Torvalds has fallen out of the top 30 list of people who have made code changes.

They do note though that their statistics do not include "merge commits" where changes are merged with other code. As Torvalds does a large amount of reviewing and signing off on code, if those had been included he would have appeared in the top 30. Looking at who is reviewing code, Torvalds comes 9th in a chart headed by Andrew Morton.

In the chart of companies who contribute to the kernel, independent developers topped the list contributing 18.2 per cent of changes, followed by Red Hat at 12.3 per cent, "Unknown", IBM and Novell at 7.6 per cent each.

The top 30 contributors are –

Companies sponsoring changes
Company Percentage of total changes
Independent devs. 18.2
Red Hat 12.3
Unknown 7.6
IBM 7.6
Novell 7.6
Intel 5.3
Consultant 2.5
Oracle 2.4
Linux Foundation 1.6
SGI 1.6
Parallels 1.3
Renesas Technology 1.3
Academia 1.2
Fujitsu 1.1
MontaVista 1.1
MIPS Technologies 1.1
Analog Devices 1.0
HP 1.0
Freescale 0.9
Google 0.9
linutronix 0.9
Astaro 0.8
NetApp 0.7
Marvell 0.6
Nokia 0.6
Simtec 0.6
QLogic 0.6
Movial 0.5
AMD 0.5
Sun 0.5

Beyond the top thirty listed companies, the study notes there is a "long tail" of 500 companies also making significant changes. The report concludes that there are enough companies participating in kernel development to fund the bulk of the development, but expects that more companies and individuals will participate as the Linux markets expand.


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