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Who Writes Linux in 2012?

  • April 10, 2012
  • By Sean Kerner

The Linux Planet isn't a force of nature that exists on its own; it's a force powered by developer contributions big and small. This past week the annual, "Who Writes Linux?" report from the Linux Foundation highlighted the Linux Collaboration summit, providing details on who is contributing to Linux.

1. Who Writes Linux?

Many different people and organizations write Linux. For the Linux 3.2 kernel, 1,316 developers represented 226 organizations that contributed code. Since the 2.6.11 release, 7,944 developers have represented 855 different organizations that committed code to Linux.

The top 10 corporate contributors to the Linux kernel from the 2.6.36 to the 3.2 kernel release were: Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google.

Looking a little further down the list, coming in at No. 17 is none other than Linux arch-nemesis Microsoft. Microsoft contributes code to Linux to enable its Hyper-V virtualization technology.

"Of course, some might believe that Microsoft's position is a surprise; though, we've been aware of their work and motivations for some time now," Amanda McPherson, VP of marketing and developer services at the Linux Foundation said.

McPherson also noted that the new report shines a light on the increasing number of mobile and embedded companies contributing to Linux.

"What's most interesting is that the work is moving beyond driver support to include advancements on core components of the Linux kernel, advancements that are useful for contributors in all industries," McPherson explained. "These companies are highly invested in the platform."

2. What Bugs Kernel Devs

During the Linux Collaboration Summit last week, a panel of kernel developers gathered on stage to discuss a number of issues. Among them was the topic of top pet peeves. Well-known kernel developer James Bottomley used the panel as an opportunity to take aim at poorly written changelogs. Bottomley's biggest pet peeve is changelogs that don't actually tell you what has been changed.

"I get a lot of changelogs that describe the change as doing this and that, but they don't tell you why they are doing it," Bottomley said. "I want to know what the user visible effect of the change is."

3. Open Source Cloud Rumble

This past week, the sky full of open source clouds began to rumble. Citrix, which had been a key partner in the OpenStack initiative, decided to go its own way. Instead of fully supporting OpenStack, Citrix has submitted own CloudStack effort to be an Apache Project.

Not to be outdone, OpenStack debuted its Essex release last week. Essex includes new Dashboard functionality for managing clouds as well the Keystone identity project for access control.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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