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Who's writing Linux today? Capitalists


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OK I am not a Linux guy. Sure I can run it, anyone can, if they use a Windows like GUI version. You don't even have to know what GUI means to either. Linux has been a revolt from the start in Linux being of the people (volunteer developers,) and for the people - free. That meant that it was anti - establishment, which then meant anti-MS! All the cost for computers challenged had a cause, and the geekier could become volunteer developers. That was and is the premise of freeware, not adware or paid software. Looks like things are changing

 

The Linux Foundation has released its 2015 report "Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They Are Doing and Who is Sponsoring It."

 

Excerpt:

 

"If there's anyone left on the planet who thinks Linux is written by undateable guys in their parents basement, the latest Linux Foundation report, Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They Are Doing and Who is Sponsoring It, should put an end to that delusion.

 

True, 19.4 percent of all Linux kernel development done since September 2013 appears to have been done by individual developers, but the rest has all been created by corporate programmers. Leading the way were Intel employees with 10.5 percent of Linux code to their credit. Following Intel was Red Hat, 8.4 percent; Linaro, 5.6 percent; Samsung, 4.4 percent; IBM 3.2 percent; and SUSE, 3 percent. In short, as the Linux Foundation report observes, "well over 80% of all kernel development is demonstrably done by developers who are being paid for their work."

 

This report covers work completed through Linux kernel 3.18, with an emphasis on releases 3.11 to 3.18. Looking closely at the contributors, it's clear that x86 Linux is still the heart of Linux kernel development community. The presence of Linaro and Samsung also point out that ARM and Android respectively are getting their fair share of programmer time as well."

 

For more info and links to the reports go to the much larger article here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/whos-writing-linux-today/?tag=nl.e539&s_cid=e539&ttag=e539&ftag=TRE17cfd61

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As Linux Torvalds says, kernel developers tend to get hired quickly. They still work on the Linux kernel but they're paid. Even Torvalds is paid to work on the kernel.

 

But that's just the kernel. Apps are a completely different story. Virtually all volunteers until they manage to take the product to the next level.

 

WDR

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Getting involved in Linux kernel coding is pretty easy, getting your name on a few patches isn't hard. Stepping up to the next level where you are fixing something hard or adding something non-trivial isn't too difficult either. Sticking your submissions information into your resume makes a big difference in where you get sorted into the applications pile and seems to be one of the most productive things you can do if looking for a development job.

 

A good certification and some experience still seems to be the ticket to getting a system admin job.

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Stan, that's very true... My last 14 years prior to retirement were spent as a systems analyst/administrator for a small multi-national manufacturing company. While my pre-hire experience and education pre-dated Linux, I can say that in my later working years, Linux kernel coding involvement on a resume was a sure way to get my attention when we were looking for new hires, and was a significant factor when hiring my own replacement.

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It's not difficult to understand why a company would like someone with kernel coding experience. The proliferation of "the Internet of things" means that almost all of them are based on Linux. And outfits like Intel, Red Hat and Oracle have their own reasons for contributing to the open source community. And then there are the super-computer outfits that want to make sure that the Linux kernel can support huge clusters (and that their cluster management systems are compatible at the lowest possible level).

 

Still, nearly 20% done by individual developers is a significant number (and larger than the largest corporate contributor). Pretty much indicates to me that even kernel coders have families to support.

 

Wikipedia estimates that the numbers of coders who actually have worked on the kernel itself is around 12,000 total over, say, 22 or 23 years so that pool is pretty small. As opposed to the numbers of coders who have worked on distributions (Debian, SuSE, Slackware) which is probably significantly higher. Since the kernel is controlled by Linus himself, that's a hurdle - from distribution to kernel - that probably isn't easy to jump. I've been involved in Linux since 1993 and have only known one actual kernel coder in all those years. But I've known a lot of coders involved in various distributions and applications.

 

So even though a Linux kernel coder works for IBM, that doesn't mean that IBM has a big influence on the code (as the title of the thread seems to imply).

 

Dutch's remarks about his own replacement reflects the thought I've had for years: How is Linux going to select his own replacement?

 

WDR

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Dutch's remarks about his own replacement reflects the thought I've had for years: How is Linux going to select his own replacement?

 

WDR

 

Linus is only 45, so I expect replacing him shouldn't be an issue for many years yet. I suspect there's some excellent candidates available among the pool of coders with intimate knowledge of the kernel though, hopefully some with the knowledge and foresight to continue advancing the kernel in the right directions when the need arises.

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When Linus goes, I'd anticipate the same crap that devolved at Open Office.org. There will be the know it alls trying to take control and the commercial bids to take it over and change the licensing by slow degrees starting with "sponsorship."

 

Look at what happened to what started as Intergalactic Digital Research company when Gary Kildall died in a motorcycle crash. (for those who don't know who he was, one of the greats, go here for a search list of information about him: http://www.bing.com/search?q=gary+kildall+important+facts&form=IE11TR&src=IE11TR&pc=DCJB )

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I think a lot will depend on what legal apparatus Linus has in place for an orderly transition at the time. I know of a number of "strong leader" businesses that have flourished due to a good succession plan. And others that have fallen by the wayside when they got bogged down with infighting for control.

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Dutch,

Good point! Are there any plans in place for a Linus free Linux to carry them forward? Those were corporations with rules ands corporate boards and CEOs to insure the investors were protected or had a voice. Open source pretty much has the iconoclast user who decries the for profit enterprises, and does not want to pay, or is economically challenged in keeping up with the fast pace of tech today in all arenas. Then there are the folks who are after the almighty dollar. All it will take to destroy any alliance is for the haves to regulate or freeze out the have-nots.

 

There are folks that just look at why something cannot work, instead of how to make it so. And others that want to take things over that were invented or built by others. We can see the differences in Apple without Jobs and MS without Ballmer. But they have billions in discretionary funds to stay the course through changes. Verizon and other are now building their own "gated" communities online, being both the Telco and entertainment provider much like cable took over from their original dial up, that they threw away from short sighted CEOs in the early 90s to around 2002. They thought cell data an end run and now we know that cell will never beat fiber or copper as it is today.

 

Like we saw with Oo.org and Libre and their so called sponsor, getting the open source community to act more establishment is contrary to the whole idea. They do well under a charismatic religious like leader they can get behind with a zeal rarely seen outside of churches. The Linus Torvalds and Steve Jobs of the world who generally are 180° from their public personas.

 

But Linus is still among us. Long live the king! Long live the King!

 

(Oops, sorry o mighty king Nadella, that was only an example, not apostasy! I will do a fresh install of Windows on my tablets you brought down from on high mountain of Richmond and rebuild my systems for days as penance. I renounce the Torvalds and will not take a bite of the Apple from the tree of knowledge)

 

Sorry, could not resist that folks.

 

Personally I think anyone other than Linus trying to lead the Linux pack will be worse than moderating a forum board. It will be like trying to herd cats!

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The Linux Foundation is actually in control, Linus is an employee so if he quits or gets hit by a bus there won't be a huge problem. I'd guess we'd skip a couple releases as things migrated to a new release master but since we already have several of them (Linus only does the current kernel) doing other versions of the kernel one of them could step up or a new person could be appointed.

 

Linus personal pages: https://plus.google.com/+LinusTorvalds/posts (great programmer, worst ever dive photographer)

 

The home of Linux: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/

 

This one directly addresses the question after the oh so typical Linus quote:

 

http://www.serverwatch.com/server-news/if-linus-torvalds-got-hit-by-a-bus-would-linux-die.html

 

 

As was the case in the beginning, Torvalds remains the leader of Linux and is responsible for maintaining the mainline kernel and pushing out its new leading-edge releases. One of the questions that has long been asked, and was asked again at the LinuxCon conference on Wednesday night, is the question of succession known as, "What if Linus gets hit by a bus?"

"I always have the same answer to that question," Torvalds said. "I won't care."
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A little insight into the management style of Linus Torvalds: http://openlife.cc/onlinebook/epilogue-linux-kernel-management-style-linus-torvalds

 

Written some time ago but it's still interesting. He is notoriously cranky when asked to do what he considers menial tasks or presented with what he thinks are stupid suggestions.

 

WDR

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