Linux Kernel’s Biggest Backers: Corporations

Corporations love Linux. That’s the conclusion of a new report released by the Linux Foundation, which suggested that some 11,800 individual developers from 1,200 companies have contributed to the kernel over the past decade.

“The Linux kernel, thus, has become a common resource developed on a massive scale by companies which are fierce competitors in other areas,” the report summarized. Intel is the top corporate developer by number of contributed changes to the kernel, followed by Red Hat, Linaro, Samsung, IBM, SUSE, and various consultants; Texas Instruments, Google, Freescale, Oracle, and AMD also place high on the list.

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Although the number of volunteer developers contributing to the kernel has slowly declined in recent years—from 14.6 percent of changes in 2012 to 11.8 percent in 2014—the evolution of the kernel itself has accelerated, with the most recent release alone featuring 10,000 patches.

“The decline in volunteer developers… is potentially a cause for concern,” the report added. “Many, if not most of the current development community started that way, after all; might a shortage of volunteers lead to a shortage of kernel developers in the future?”

Whether or not that decline is an ongoing trend, Linux itself seems to be going strong. The Linux Foundation offers up a handy infographic to go along with the report:

WWL_Infographic_v3

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Image: The Linux Foundation