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Who Writes Linux? There Are a Lot of Unknowns

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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 percent.

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.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.

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