Some people are still under the delusion that Linux is written by unwashed hackers living in their parents' basements whose only social life is playing D&D and having flame wars over IRC (Internet Relay Chat) about whether vi or EMACS better and debating Picard versus Kirk. Nothing, nothing could be further from the truth.
Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It." This comprehensive study of the last three years of Linux kernel development, from version 2.6.11 to 2.6.24 releases, reveals that the average Linux developer is being paid by a major corporation to develop Linux.
To be exact, between 70 and 95 percent of Linux developers over the last three years have been paid to work on Linux. According to the report, "More than 70 percent of total contributions to the kernel come from developers working at [such companies as] IBM, Intel, The Linux Foundation, MIPS Technology, MontaVista, Movial, NetApp, Novell and Red Hat."
Over the years, the number of Linux developers has been increasing. Version 2.6.11 had only 483 programmers whose code actually made it into the kernel. The latest kernel, 2.6.24, had 1,057 developers. Over the last three years, 3,678 programmers have had their work included in Linux's core.