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Who's Writing Linux These Days? 63

Posted by timothy
from the thought-we-were-an-autonomous-collective dept.
cold fjord writes "IEEE Spectrum reports, "About once a year, the Linux Foundation analyzes the online repository that holds the source code of the kernel, or core, of the Linux operating system. As well as tracking the increasing complexity of the ever-evolving kernel over a series of releases from versions 3.0 to 3.10, the report also reveals who is contributing code, and the dominant role corporations now play in what began as an all-volunteer project in 1991. While volunteer contributors still represent a plurality among developers, over 80 percent of code is contributed by people who are paid for their work. ""
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Who's Writing Linux These Days?

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  • Re:Patrons (Score:5, Informative)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:08PM (#46151011)

    While volunteer contributors still represent a plurality among developers, over 80 percent of code is contributed by people who are paid for their work.

    This. I've said it before and will say it again. The open source projects with most bugs and slowest development time are the ones without proper sponsors. That's why I also use a lot of commercial closed-source software myself, but do not have any particular grudge against OSS either. Just pay the developers properly, because complex, properly quality-assured modern software is impossible without that.

    Before you get too comfortable with that assertion, recall that Linux Torvalds wasn't being paid to develop Linux in the beginning nor for long after. Nor were his earliest assistants.

    It's certainly easier to develop good-quality software if you aren't distracted by the need to earn a living doing something else, but it's not essential.

  • Re:Patrons (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:40PM (#46154229)

    Before you get too comfortable with that assertion, recall that Linux Torvalds wasn't being paid to develop Linux in the beginning nor for long after. Nor were his earliest assistants.

    It's certainly easier to develop good-quality software if you aren't distracted by the need to earn a living doing something else, but it's not essential.

    Linux moved very slowly (Glacially) while Linus was working for a living and building linux evenings and weekends. He was still in the University at the time if the initial release in 1991. He graduated in 1996 and took work with Transmeta, (Crusoe) which lasted till 2003. Transmeta gave him wide scope to spend significant time on Linux on the company clock.

    From 2003 on, he has been essentially paid, allowed, and encouraged to work on Linux with a free hand.

    So he spent 8 years at University (interrupted by a year of military service). How those years were financed is not public knowledge, but I suspect his Parents and the Finnish government played a part.

    From graduation in 1997 on, he was on the payroll of companies that had the good sense to let him do pretty much as he wanted.

    And that's not unusual. A lot of these early contributors were in the employment of companies that allowed and encouraged them to work on linux. You need only dig through early archives to see the email addresses used.

  • Re:Patrons (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pav (4298) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:24PM (#46156575)
    Apparently "glacial" development was still good enough to steal market share from the commercial Unix vendors.

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