Linux kernel development going corporate: Survey

Linux has long been associated with the model of free and open-source software development and distribution. However, a recent report indicates that as the rate of change of the Linux kernel continues to accelerate, large corporations such as IBM and Intel, rather than volunteers, are increasingly making their presence known in the Linux kernel development.

According to the latest survey released this week by the Linux Foundation, the top six companies contributing to the kernel were Intel, Red hat, the Linaro Group, Samsung and Suse.

Just as in the 2013 survey, Microsoft Corp, failed to make it to the top 20 list which included Cisco, Google, Oracle and a bunch of major chipmakers.

Coders that claim no company affiliation accounted for only 16.4 per cent of the total number of contributions to the kernel and consultants accounted for 2.5 per cent.

Of course it is not yet certain if the declining number of independent or individual contributors to the kernel is actually bad for Linux.

Companies contributing to the Linux kernel are also helping expand the development community. The report cites that Freescale, Google, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Linaro, Marvell, Nvidia and Texas Instruments have been bringing new developers to the fold.

There are 18,997 line of code in the latest version of the latest version of the Linux Kernel (version 3.18) before the survey was compiled. The figure represents a 0.7 per cent increase since version 3.17 and a 12 per cent increase from version 3.10.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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