Who’s Writing Linux Kernel Code? More and More People, Says Linux Foundation
More people than ever are contributing code to the Linux kernel, more of them are professionals who are paid to do it and more of them are women. That's according to the latest survey of development trends for the open source operating system from the Linux Foundation.
More people than ever are contributing code to the Linux kernel, more of them are professionals who are paid to do it and more of them are women. That’s according to the latest survey of development trends for the open source operating system from the Linux Foundation.
The survey, titled “Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They Are Doing and Who is Sponsoring It,” was released by the Linux Foundation Feb. 18. It’s the latest edition of the nonprofit consortium’s “Who Writes Linux” report, which the group has released on an close-to-annual basis for the past several years. The last report appeared in September 2013.
Major findings from this year’s survey, which focused on contributions to versions 3.11 to 3.18 of the Linux kernel, include:
- Half of the programmers who contributed code to the kernel since the last report were first-time contributors, showing that the Linux kernel developer community continues to grow.
- More than 80 percent of code contributors during the period of time that the current report covers were paid for their work. That reflects a decline in the number of volunteer contributors, but a rise in those who work on Linux as part of their jobs—which ultimately reflects growing interest in Linux expertise among major companies, the Linux Foundation suggested.
- The FOSS Outreach Program for Women ranked as No. 13 on the list of organizations with the most code contributions. It also provided 1.5 percent of total code patches to Linux kernel 3.11 alone. That’s a newsworthy finding in light of recent debate on “diversity” in the Linux and open source ecosystem. It doesn’t necessarily mean women do not remain underrepresented within the kernel development community, but it suggests they may be playing a bigger role than leading developers recognize—especially since the FOSS Outreach Program for Women is hardly the only major contributing organization with female members.
The Linux Foundation issued the report at its Collaboration Summit, which is taking place this week in Santa Rosa.