LWN.net has a fascinating report on who’s contributing code to the Linux kernel. I was most interested in how much of the code is contributed by volunteers and how much was contributed by programmers paid to work on the Linux kernel. Here’s a breakdown:

Either way, the results come out about the same: at least 65% of the code which went into 2.6.20 was created by people working for companies. If the entire “unknown” group turns out to be developers working on a volunteer basis – an unlikely result – then just over 1/3 of the 2.6.20 patch stream was written by volunteers. The real number will be lower, but it still shows that a significant portion of the code we run is written by developers who are donating their time.

I’d love to know how many of the people paid to work on the Linux kernel started out by contributing code as volunteers and were later hired to continue the work they were already doing for free.

Almost 2000 different people contributed patches that were accepted last year. That’s impressive.