Who Writes Linux? Corporations, More Than Ever

Serdar Yegulalp | InfoWorld | February 3, 2014

Linux Foundation report shows for-profit companies provide 80-plus percent of kernel patches, with big role for mobile hardware developers

Here's an irony for you: the Linux kernel is now written, more than ever before, by for-profit corporations, many of which are in direct competition with each other. The total share of contributions by such outfits is rising year over year.

In the latest "Linux Kernel Development" report produced by the Linux foundation, the vast majority of the contributions to kernel development -- more than 80 percent -- are "demonstrably done by developers who are being paid for their work." Translation: The work is being done by programmers contributing to Linux in the service of some corporate paymaster, be it Red Hat, Intel, Suse, Samsung, or Oracle.

The report, now in its fifth edition since 2008, not only tracks who the major contributors are and who they work for, but some of the major trends in the evolution of the kernel. This year's highlights include forward-looking features like the flash-optimized file system F2FS, better automated testing for finding kernel bugs, and growing contributions from the mobile industry.