Microsoft Cracks Linux Top 20 Contributors List

Posted on Apr 4 2012 - 8:09am by Editorial Staff

The Linux Foundation has announced the immediate release of its latest report “Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing and Who is Sponsoring It,” for the first time, Microsoft is one of the 20 largest contributors to the Linux kernel. The software giant which kept its distance from the open source movement and at one point, CEO Steve Ballmer even referred to Linux as a Cancer, although now it itself contributing to high-profile open source projects, including Hadoop, Samba, and Linux. The company added one percent of the kernel’s new code between 2010’s 2.6.36 release and the 3.2 version released in January (the newest stable version is 3.3.1).

“Linux is the platform for the future of computing. More developers and companies are contributing to the advancement of the operating system than ever before, especially in the areas of mobile, embedded and cloud computing,” said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer services, The Linux Foundation. “The increasing participation represents the power of Linux to quickly adapt to new market opportunities, lower costs, and provide sustained long-term support.”

Key findings include:

  • More than 7,800 developers from almost 800 different companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since tracking began in 2005. Just since the last report, more than 1,000 developers representing nearly 200 companies have contributed to the kernel.
  • Seventy-five percent of all kernel development is done by developers who are being paid for their work. Long believed to be a basement community of developers, the Linux community is a worldwide, professional network of the best software talent in the world. This army of developers together builds the foundation from which innovations such as Android, cloud computing, KVM, Xen, and more are born and succeed.
  • The top 10 organizations sponsoring Linux kernel development since the last report (or Linux kernel 2.6.36) are Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. Mobile and embedded companies have been increasing their participation in recent years, not only adding more hardware support to the kernel but also taking responsibility for the advancement of core kernel areas.
  • For the first time, Microsoft appears on list of companies that are contributing to the Linux kernel. Ranking at number 17, the company that once called Linux a “cancer,” today is working within the collaborative development model to support its virtualization efforts and its customers. Because Linux has reached a state of ubiquity, in which both the enterprise and mobile computing markets are relying on the operating system, Microsoft is clearly working to adapt.
  • The rate of change since the last report is high and increasing, with between 8,000 and 12,000 patches going into each recent kernel release every two to three months. That’s nearly 6 new patches per hour since the last release of this report.  The top 10 organizations sponsoring Linux kernel development.
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