Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Red Hat, Novell, IBM Among Top Contributors to Linux Development

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-12-08 Print this article Print
Red Hat, Novell, IBM Among Top Contributors to Linux Development

Red Hat, Novell, IBM Among Top Contributors to Linux Development

by Darryl K. Taft
The Linux kernel is a resource used by a large variety of companies. Many of those companies never participate in the development of the kernel; they are content with the software as it is and do not feel the need to help drive its development in any particular direction. However, an increasing number of companies are working toward the improvement of the kernel. The Linux kernel is the lowest level of software running on a Linux system. It is charged with managing the hardware, running user programs and maintaining the overall security and integrity of the whole system. It is this kernel which, after its initial release by Linus Torvalds in 1991, jump started the development of Linux as a whole. According to the Linux Foundation, since 2005, more than 6,100 individual developers from more than 600 different companies have contributed to the kernel. The Linux kernel, thus, has become a common resource developed on a massive scale by companies that are fierce competitors in other areas. This slide show looks at the top contributors to the Linux kernel. The top 10 contributors, including the groups "unknown" and "none," make up nearly 70 percent of the total contributions to the kernel. It is worth noting that, even if one assumes that all of the "unknown" contributors were working on their own time, more than 70 percent of all kernel development is demonstrably done by developers who are being paid for their work.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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