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Thread: Linux is 75% corporate

  1. #1
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    Linux is 75% corporate

    Quite an interesting article here. Based on a presentation from a kernel hacker at Linux.conf.au recently.

    Analysing contributions to the kernel itself, 75% comes from full-time devs working for the big corporates. Possibly not surprising, as the hobbyist devs are unlikely to be hacking away at the kernel, but it does put some perspective on the inter-relationship between the Linux ecosystem and corporate supporters like IBM and Intel.

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Not to be picky, but there is a difference between 75% of all contributions in a certain timespan coming from paid-developers (Which is what was looked at) and 75% of the kernel as a whole being from paid developers (Which is what the article title suggest).

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Without having been at the actual presentation it's impossible to say whether that statistic is weighted for the size of each contribution or not.

    Still, even as a ballpark figure it's still interesting. It goes to show how much Linux is actually an alliance of corporate and community development. I think a lot of Linux users seem to forget how important the former is.

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    It goes to show how much Linux is actually an alliance of corporate and community development. I think a lot of Linux users seem to forget how important the former is.
    Indeed, it is amazing to see corporations donating something completely for free, with not even the expectation of publicity. Even their competitors can benefit from these contributions. If you had suggested that this would be possible only short time ago you would have been laughed at. How inappropriate that the article exhorts us to "forget lofty ideals"! This is good news for the idealists, made possible with the GPL.

    Within that field, Red Hat topped that chart with 12%, followed by Intel with 8%, IBM and Novell with 6% each, and Oracle 3%. Despite the clear commercial rivalry between those players, central kernel development worked well, Corbet noted.

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyporeal View Post
    Indeed, it is amazing to see corporations donating something completely for free
    I doubt they'd see it that way. It's no coincidence that the top contributors are all big players in the server market. Making sure their stuff works with Linux is crucial to their bottom line.

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    lwn publish detailed breakdowns for each kernel
    http://lwn.net/Articles/363456/

    remember that the kernel is only a small part of a running system. also this only shows who is writing the code, there is just as much work to test and debug it.

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    Without having been at the actual presentation it's impossible to say whether that statistic is weighted for the size of each contribution or not.

    Still, even as a ballpark figure it's still interesting. It goes to show how much Linux is actually an alliance of corporate and community development. I think a lot of Linux users seem to forget how important the former is.
    I agree. As much as the thought may pain some users, corporate support of OSS enables the operating system to have a "foot in the door" so-to-speak for business use. With that being said, it is imperative that business interests do not eclipse the voluntary contributors and spirit of Linux, as it were.
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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    I doubt they'd see it that way. It's no coincidence that the top contributors are all big players in the server market. Making sure their stuff works with Linux is crucial to their bottom line.
    Exactly. Corporate sponsorship of an open source project in no way amounts to charity, any more than local broadcast television is charity. Yes, contributing code gives your competitors access to the same improvement, but this is no different from any other business expenditure, and if the contributor didn't believe it would pay off, they wouldn't do it.

    Google's Android is a good example of a corporation using Linux and other GPL code as part of a larger business plan. Yes, they've contributed lots of valuable code to the community, but they have done that as a way of cornering the market on the delivery of services, as well as creating a rich platform on top of which to develop and sell proprietary applications.

    It would be bad for business to turn away from a good idea simply because it may also benefit your competitors.
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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    I doubt they'd see it that way. It's no coincidence that the top contributors are all big players in the server market. Making sure their stuff works with Linux is crucial to their bottom line.
    Of course. They must give to receive - a foundational principle of a gift economy.

    p_quarles correctly points out that this isn't charity. But the literal truth is that the source code was given to us for free, with no prior arrangement for compensation or publicity other than benefits directly resulting from the gift.

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    Re: Linux is 75% corporate

    this is old news, isn't it ?

    and the spin of "coorporate vs. community" is lame retoric, it's a false dichotomy : there has pretty much always been coorporate participation in free software, open source and linux communities pretty much from the beginning --
    eg : Linux started in 1991-1992. Redhat was founded in 1993, Cygnus in 1989, ...

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