View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
  2. Networks
February 19, 2015updated 19 Aug 2016 4:01pm

Corporations take on heavier Linux burden

Number of unpaid developers falls as programmers snapped up.

By Jimmy Nicholls

The number of unpaid contributions to the Linux kernel has fallen again since the last major update, as work on the open source operating system (OS) is increasingly borne by corporations.

The annual report from the Linux Foundation, which runs the project, showed that unaffiliated developers accounted for 12.4% of all patches during the fifteen months leading to December 2014, more than any single company.

However unpaid contributions fell to 11.8% of the total, having been as high as 14.6% just two years previously, which the foundation believes is yet more evidence that software developers are in high demand.

"There are many possible reasons for this decline, but, arguably, the most plausible of those is quite simple," the report said. "Kernel developers are in short supply, so anybody who demonstrates an ability to get code into the mainline tends not to have trouble finding job offers.

"Indeed, the bigger problem can be fending those offers off."

More than half of the updates to the Linux Kernel are handled by unaffiliated programmers and nine companies, including Intel which accounted for a tenth of changes on its own, as well as Red Hat, Samsung and IBM.

The report also noted that many of the top ten contributing companies were actively bringing in developers into the Linux community, with nearly half of the 4,000 developers contributing last year doing so for the first time.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester

"There are enough companies participating to fund the bulk of the development effort, even if many companies which could benefit from contributing to Linux have, thus far, chosen not to," the authors concluded.

"With the current expansion of Linux in the server, desktop, mobile and embedded markets, it’s reasonable to expect this number of contributing companies – and individual developers – will continue to increase."

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.