Linus Torvalds named most influential open source blogger

O’Reilly media founder Tim O’Reilly is “the most powerful voice” inopen source, followed by Linux chief architect Linus Torvalds, Googleexecutive Chris Messina, ex-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, and Gnome andMono founder Miguel de Icaza, according to a new ranking of influentialopen source personalities.

Torvalds was named the most influential bloggerin open source, however, despite ranking behind O’Reilly in the overallmetric, which includes various Twitter analysis tools and Google Trends.

Torvalds isn’t the most active blogger, with his most recent postcoming on Feb. 24, and many of his posts are about personal activities.But when he does speak about Linux or open source his words carry a lotof weight.

O’Reilly tweets many times a day and has more than 1.4 million followers.

Open source collaboration vendor MindTouch is releasing the ranking Wednesday in conjunction with the Open Source Business Conferencein San Francisco.  The vendor came up with a top 50 list after gradingabout 200 open source commentators on how much buzz is created by theirblog posts, tweets and other messages.

The list is clearly not a definitive ranking of which people influencethe open source community the most. Only executives devoted to Twitterand blogging are likely to make the cut. But at the very least,Mindtouch executives say the 50 people on the list are ones the opensource community should be paying attention to.

“We first set out to determine reach by examining the number offollowers and buzz an individual has on sites like Twitter and Google,”MindTouch vice president of sales and marketing Mark Fidelman writes ina blog postthat will be published Wednesday. “We then needed to determine how muchimpact an individual had with their followers and subscribers. We askedquestions like: How often were they retweeted? How much buzz is createdaround their blog posts, tweets, and other messages? How often is theindividual referenced in the blogosphere? Were they cited byinfluential people?”

MindTouch CEO Aaron Fulkerson was ranked 46th. Fulkerson said the listcontains several names from overseas that he didn’t recognize, and thathe was surprised to see de Icaza ranked No. 5. “I know he’s aninfluential person and vocal and active but I was surprised to see himat No. 5. He’s a good friend of mine so I’m happy to see that and headds a lot of value to the conversation.”

Fulkerson called it “a very credible list,” but MindTouch executives acknowledged some limitations.

“Tim O’Reilly emerged uncontested, as the most powerful voice in opensource by a large margin,” Fidelman writes. But “please note ourranking is not the final word on the subject but the beginning of adiscussion. For example, does Tim O’Reilly really have more impact onopen source than Linus Torvalds?”

O’Reilly does have more influence on Twitter, with 1.4 millionfollowers, whereas Torvalds has fewer than 6,000. But Torvalds’ blogposts create far more buzz than posts by O’Reilly and others on thelist, MindTouch says.

Fidelman said he was surprised about some names that didn’t make thetop 50, such as Zack Urlocher, Jim Zemlin, Matt Aslett, Paula Hunter,Steve Purkiss and Savio Rodriguez.

The full top 10 consisted of O’Reilly, Torvalds, Messina, Schwartz, deIcaza, ImageX Media owner Glenn Hilton, technology writer Glyn Moody,Canonical COO Matt Asay, Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, and Pythoncreator Guido van Rossum.

Simon Phipps, the recently departed open source chief at Sun, ranked 12th.

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