Another day, another 4,600 lines of Linux kernel code

The vast majority of contributions come from paid developers

The Linux kernel is improving faster than ever, gaining 7.8 patches per hour and 4,600 lines of new code every day.

That's according to a new report published Monday by the Linux Foundation and focusing on the state of kernel development. Entitled “Linux kernel development -- how fast it is going, who is doing it, what they are doing, and who is sponsoring it,” the report is the seventh the nonprofit has published on the topic in roughly as many years.

This year’s paper covers work completed through Linux kernel 4.7, with an emphasis on releases 3.19 to 4.7. The last report was released March 2015 and focused on versions 3.11 to 3.18.

Among the findings this year is that more than 13,500 developers from more than 1,300 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since the adoption of Git made detailed tracking possible back in 2005. Just since the last report, nearly 5,000 developers from 400 companies have contributed to the kernel, and almost half of them were doing so for the first time.

Things are clearly getting faster, too. This year's rate of 7.8 changes accepted into the kernel per hour on average is up from 7.71 in the last report. A new kernel comes out every nine to 10 weeks.

Intel, Red Hat, Linaro, Samsung, SUSE, IBM, Renesas, Google, AMD, Texas Instruments, and ARM were among the top organizational sponsors of Linux kernel development in this analysis. The Outreachy program -- which provides open source internships to underrepresented groups -- ranked at No. 13.

On the whole, however, the volume of contributions from unpaid developers fell from 11.8 percent in 2014 to just 7.7 percent in this report.

The Linux kernel was launched 25 years ago this Thursday. It now includes 22 million lines of code.

"The Linux kernel continues to be one of the most visible and prolific examples of open source software development," said Stephen Hendrick, a principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

The growing proportion of work being done by paid developers "demonstrates the strategic importance of Linux to the IT vendor community that largely drives its development," Hendrick said.

The fact that the Linux kernel is now celebrating its 25th anniversary, meanwhile, is a testament to the project’s ability to embrace change, he added.

"This change has made it easier for developers to participate and provides a more streamlined and efficient method to leverage contributions," Hendrick said. "Overall, there are lessons to be learned here on how to consistently keep important technologies relevant."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?