In the beginning, there was Linus Torvalds, a single developer who put
together the original Linux kernel. Fast forward to 2008 and Torvalds is no
longer the lone Linux developer.
According to a new report published by the Linux Foundation, as of the
2.6.24 kernel, Torvalds’ code represents 0.6 percent of the changes made.
Torvalds’ Linux now has nearly 1,000 developers working on it, representing
over 100 corporations.
Though there are a lot of individuals involved, the report states that it is
the top 10 individual contributors that collectively have contributed 15
percent of kernel changes.
The study also found that over 70 percent of all contributions come from
developers working for companies. Leading the pack is Red Hat with 11.2
percent of the total number of changes. Novell follows at 8.9 percent, with
IBM coming in third at 8.3 percent. Other notables include Intel at 4.1
percent, Oracle at 1.3 percent, MontaVista at 1.2 percent and Cisco at 0.5
While the Linux Foundation report identifies a good number of companies that
are contributing, the single largest change contributor at 13.9 percent is
listed as ‘none’.
“The ‘none’ is descriptive of people who are on their own and are just
individual contributors,” Amanda McPherson, Linux Foundation marketing
director and co-author of the report told InternetNews.com. “You
don’t have to have everyone from companies.”
Perhaps more interestingly is the fact that the report also notes that
developers with unknown corporate affiliation represent 12.9 percent of
Linux kernel changes.