Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 24th Jan 2010 16:22 UTC, submitted by Dale Smoker
Linux LWN.net founder and kernel contributor Jonathan Corbet offered an analysis of the code contributed to the Linux kernel between December 24 2008 and January 10 2010. 18% of contributions were made without a specific corporate affiliation, 7% weren't classified, and 75% were from people working for specific companies in roles where developing that code was a major requirement. "75% of the code comes from people paid to do it," Corbet said.
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RE: How is this a bad thing?
by strcpy on Sun 24th Jan 2010 17:35 UTC in reply to "How is this a bad thing?"
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20

How is this a bad thing? Linux hasn't lost developers, it has only gained. It now has scores of paid developers in addition to unpaid contributors.

I think its fantastic that the corporate sponsorship in many different sectors is so great that their contribution dwarfs that of unpaid contributors. This only shows how sucessful Linux has become; quite a feat for it's humble beginnings as a hobby.


It is not a bad thing, it is more of a "bad" thing.

It undermines the community. Random hacker has increasingly difficult time into getting in, regardless of her possible talents. It is already more difficult to get anything in without having @intel or @redhat in your email address.

It makes the kernel more of a corporate playground. In the long run it means first and second class contributors. It chews the spiritual foundation of Linux. Thus the "bad" here is more of a cultural thing, but it may also influence the technological decisions (the old good 81288123 core supercomputer servers vs. desktops comes to mind here).

EDIT: This is also why many talented but unpaid hackers look for alternative operating systems to develop. It is much more rewarding to do unpaid work for say Haiku than it is to do unpaid work for Linux kernel.

Edited 2010-01-24 17:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: How is this a bad thing?
by vivainio on Sun 24th Jan 2010 18:37 in reply to "RE: How is this a bad thing?"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

It undermines the community. Random hacker has increasingly difficult time into getting in, regardless of her possible talents.


Well, the random hacker may be unable to keep on maintaining the contributed code.

Apart from that, if you can hack kernel code, chances are good that someone is willing to hire you to do exactly that.

Reply Parent Score: 5

boudewijn Member since:
2006-03-05

Exactly. It's probably really hard for the remaining group to remain amateurs and not become players.

I'm not a kernel hacker, but I've just gone through a similar transition. Three years ago I was writing Borland C++ code for a closed-source application for a living. Then I went to work for Hyves, where I worked on a mostly free software application. All the time, since 2003, I've been working on KOffice in my spare time.

Then I founded a company with some friends from the KOffice project, and now the company can pay me so I can hack full-time on KOffice and be paid for it! I'm not sad, I'm elated :-).

Reply Parent Score: 6

strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


Well, the random hacker may be unable to keep on maintaining the contributed code.


Except that you need someone from the same company to maintain the code contributed by the same company due to the all NDA shit you have there.

Sorry for my french.


Apart from that, if you can hack kernel code, chances are good that someone is willing to hire you to do exactly that.


Sure, nothing wrong in that. As I said, this is more of a cultural thing. And this might even be a disincentive for companies to release code as open source if it implies that they have to maintain it by themselves. Just look at something like OpenOffice.org.

Of course, ups, I did bad again, I criticized Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 2

strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


Apart from that, if you can hack kernel code, chances are good that someone is willing to hire you to do exactly that.


You seem to imply that everyone who contributes are either unemployed or want a software engineering job.

News flash: many people in open source are employed in totally different fields, but hack with the code for other reasons than money. As an example, Con Colivas is a anesthesiologist by trade, and I doubt he'd want a full-time job doing the Linux kernel.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: How is this a bad thing?
by cb88 on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:16 in reply to "RE: How is this a bad thing?"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

You assume (or perhaps not) that haiku developers don't get paid when some have for instance summer of code (google has paid for development and haiku directly as well through their own summer of code)

Also there are corporations interested in developing/supporting haiku the difference isn't in payment bu that haiku has clear target goals and integration unlike the Linux kernel which is just a building block that other things must be tacked on for it to be of any use.

The corporations will doubtless become very friendly with haiku once R2 rolls around IMO very similar to how Android is catching lots of attention at the moment on cell phones

Reply Parent Score: 1

strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


The corporations will doubtless become very friendly with haiku once R2 rolls around IMO very similar to how Android is catching lots of attention at the moment on cell phones


Sorry, but I remain highly skeptical.

Reply Parent Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

It undermines the community.


Bullshit. Making money on writing FLOSS does not undermine the community. Any random hacker can download the sourcecode, hack it and release the modified version. Whether anybody else will use the modifications is irrelevant. What matters is that all of us can still do it.

It is no more difficult today for random hackers to get code accepted in the original base than it was 10 years ago. All they have to do is to come up with good code. Find a bug in your sound driver, fix it well, and release that fix. You donĀ“t have to write drivers for random embedded device only used by a scientist living on the backside of the moon.

Now stop spreading FUD (or Communism (money is evil boohoo), they are equal).

Reply Parent Score: 3

strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


Bullshit. Making money on writing FLOSS does not undermine the community. Any random hacker can download the sourcecode, hack it and release the modified version. Whether anybody else will use the modifications is irrelevant. What matters is that all of us can still do it.


Ah yes. Quite like the MySQL that is just one happy community at the moment.

Reply Parent Score: 2