25 Years Of Linux — The Most Successful Software Project Ever Has 21 Million Lines Of Code

linux kernel development 25 years
Images: The Linux Foundation
linux kernel development 25 years
Images: The Linux Foundation

Short Bytes: Outlining the progress made by Linux kernel in recent years and its current state, The Linux Foundation has released the latest kernel report. The document tells that over the course of last 15 months, a staggering amount of code–3 million lines–has been added to the kernel. The report also stresses on the fact that now only 7.7 percent Linux developers are unpaid.

Linux is not a young project and we are celebrating its 25th birthday this week. Compared to what Linux was 25 years ago, it has grown much bigger and established its place as one of the most influential software projects. Today, from Android smartphones to supercomputers, Linux is powering them all.

Outlining the progress made by this open source project, The Linux Foundation has released the latest kernel report named Linux Kernel Development – How Fast It is Going, Who Is Doing It, What They are Doing, And Who is Sponsoring It. 

The report mentions that Linux kernel is changing at a very fast rate with more than 10,000 patches going into each kernel release. Each kernel is a result of the hard work of more than 1,600 developers spread across more than 200 corporations. Since the 3.18 release in December 2014, about 115,000 changes have been merged from 5,062 contributors representing about 500 corporations.

The most active companies over the 3.19 to 4.7 development cycles were Intel, Red Hat, Linaro, Samsung, SUSE, and IBM.

linux kernel contributors

You’ll be surprised to know that in the last 15 months, more than 3 million lines of code has been added to the kernel. Overall, the Linux kernel has grown from 10,000 lines of code to more than 21 million.

Interestingly, the number of contributions from the unpaid developers has slowly declined. Compared to 14.6 percent unpaid contributors in 2012, this number has fallen to 7.7 percent. Wondering why? Probably because Linux kernel developers are in short supply. So, anybody who can get his/her code into the mainline, doesn’t face a difficulty finding job offers.

Linux creator Linus Torvalds himself takes care of the kernel development as an employee of The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization.

Over the past years, the development cycle of Linux kernel has been smoother and the overall release cycle is timely, with a new version landing every 9 or 10 weeks. However, the numbering scheme remains a tricky business to predict.

Here’s what The Linux Foundation chief, Jim Zemlin, had to say at LinuxCon this week:

“Thousands of developers creating billions of dollars of software value. Linux goes beyond the code, it has also become the world’s most widely adopted software. It dominates almost every field ranging from small IoT devices to the high performance computing market. In a nutshell, Linux runs the global economy quite literally.”

You can download the complete report by visiting this link.

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Also Read: Your Ubuntu Linux Terminal Experience Is About To Get A Whole Lot Better

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