Linux kernel community grows, but elite group remains

A report from the Linux Foundation details individual kernel contributions and suggests enterprise use is expanding

While Linus Torvalds' name is synonymous with the Linux kernel, Al Viro's may be one day, too.

Viro has contributed 1,571 changes to the kernel, which sits at the core of the Linux operating system, over the past three years, according to a new report from the Linux Foundation. That's more than any other individual developer, the report states. In contrast, Torvalds, the kernel's creator and steward, contributed 495 changes. Viro couldn't be reached for comment about the report.

During the past three years, the top 10 individual developers have contributed nearly 15 per cent of the changes to the kernel, while the top 30 developers have submitted 30 per cent, the report states.

But this group of coding superstars sails atop a roiling sea of newer community members, notes Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. Roughly 3,700 developers from more than 200 companies have contributed to the kernel since 2005, according to the report.

The statistic underscores the widespread penetration of Linux into enterprise computing. But the report was still necessary in light of lingering public perceptions, Zemlin said.

"I do think there continues to be groups of people out there who perceive open source and Linux as some kind of random hobbyist movement," he said. "It's amazing that after Linux is running the New York Stock Exchange, that people would still doubt it's ready for prime time. Yet, I hear it, in kind of mainstream conversations."

The report breaks up contributors into a number of categories.

The top-ranking one, with 13.9 per cent of the kernel changes, contains developers performing work on their own time, with "no financial contribution happening from any company," according to the report.

Coming in second was the "unknown" category -- developers for whom a corporate affiliation couldn't be found -- with 12.9 per cent. "With few exceptions, all of the people in this category have contributed 10 or fewer changes to the kernel over the past three years, yet the large number of these developers causes their total contribution to be quite high," the report noted.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?