Greg Kroah-Hartman of SuSE Labs along with Jon Corbet of LWN.net and the Linux Foundation just published a very informative state of the union of the Linux Kernel development world.
The kernel is one of the largest collaborative software projects on the planet. According to this report, over 3700 individual developers from over 200 different companies have contributed to the kernel since 2005. That’s amazing!
I found a couple of very interesting facts in their report – the top 30 contributors and the top 30 organizations sponsoring kernel development.
The top 30 contributors include:
(Reference: Linux Kernel Development Report)
- Al Viro
- David S. Miller
- Adrian Bunk
- Ralf Baechle
- Andrew Morton
- Andi Kleen
- Takashi Iwai
- Tejun Heo
- Russell King
- Stephen Hemminger
- Thomas Gleixner
- Patrick McHardy
- Ingo Molnar
- Trond Myklebust
- Neil Brown
- Randy Dunlap
- Jean Delvare
- Jeff Garzik
- Christoph Hellwig
- David Brownell
- Paul Mundt
- Alan Cox
- Jeff Dike
- Herbert Xu
- David Woodhouse
- Greg Kroah-Hartman
- Linux Torvalds
- Dmitry Torokhov
- Alan Stern
- Ben Dooks
The top sponsors of Linux Kernel development are:
(Reference: Linux Kernel Development Report)
- None (developers who are doing work on their own)
- Unknown (anonymous contributors doing work on their own time)
- Red Hat
- Linux Foundation
- MIPS Technologies
- Monta Vista
- Academia (Universities)
- Linux Networx
- Analog Devices
And its pretty cool to learn from the report that 70% of all kernel developers are now getting paid to do what they enjoy the most!
Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst delivered the first keynote of the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco with a state of the union on Red Hat’s leadership in open source – $500 million dollars in revenues, millions of servers, thousands of customers. Whitehurst highlighted Red Hat’s leadership in the Linux market with 80 percent marketshare with RHEL and 30 percent of the application server market with JBoss. His speech sounded like it was being delivered to “shareholders” of open source.
The new CEO is not quite 90 days into his job. But he’s been all around the globe – meeting customers, heads of government and policy makers in China, Russia, and Europe. He feels that open source is gaining more popularity internationally due to anti-US sentiment.
Whitehurst explained that one of Red Hat’s key challenges is to bring the value of the open source community development model to enterprise customers. For example, the “oVirt” project for building management tools around virtualization is helping Red Hat engage enterprise customers as participants in building these tools together. Another challenge is for Red Hat to be the defining company of open source for the 21st century – by changing the way technology is developed through “iterative innovation”. Patent reform is one of the biggest issues that Red Hat is currently facing and he hoped to see a broader strategy of protecting the whole community instead of just focusing on individual companies.
Sun Microsystems announced today that it will buy MySQL for a billion dollars, paying off the MySQL founders and investors.
For only a billion dollars… Now, that’s a steal, don’t you think? If MySQL had gone IPO perhaps they could’ve raised 5 billion dollars or more – I believe they could have because the open source market is only growing stronger. On the same day, Oracle announced its acquisition of BEA for 8.5 billion dollars – just for acquiring market share. So a billion dollars for MySQL seems cheap.
How does this affect Linux? Sun has marketed open source initiatives such as OpenSolaris, Netbeans, GlassFish and OpenOffice. Now MySQL joins that list. MySQL is a key player in the Linux solution set. Linux could benefit if MySQL is provided with more resources to help build more powerful open source solutions. Linux could be hurt if MySQL becomes more encumbered and less free.
2008 promises to be an interesting year for open source. Let’s hope Sun will play to its strengths of great engineering and innovation and support the entire open source community. This means Linux too.
Some interesting comments on this acquisition:
1) Glyn Moody
3) Matt Asay
4) Motley Fool
An intriguing article by Fortune Magazine on Microsoft’s China strategy reveals how Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy officer was deployed by Bill Gates in 1999 to fix the company’s problems with the Chinese market and its government. Mundie turned around Microsoft’s strategy from short-term to long-term engagement – one from antagonism to partnership. Mundie even hired famous China lobbyist Henry Kissinger as advisor.
Bill Gates is quoted in the article, “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not… You can get the real thing, and you get the same price.” After walking hand in hand with China’s leadership, Microsoft’s alliance with officialdom is but a short term gain. Arrogance, Microsoft’s true partner, is the enemy of progress. In the long run it will only blind Microsoft to the paradigm shift that open source signifies.
In his keynote at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit at Google, Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth focused on the importance of collaboration. For Mark, collaboration inspires innovation and tools and processes that help collaboration are key to maintaining the edge of innovation in FOSS. I couldn’t agree with Mark more. Mark observed that barriers to collaboration include too many interfaces to communicate with, rigid community structure management, attitudes of “us vs. them”, poor project management, and insufficient standardization. He said that while there are many collaboration techniques and tools WITHIN global open source projects, there are not many ACROSS these projects. Many of his efforts try to connect islands of eyeballs through the tools the Ubuntu community is building – Launchpad, Bazaar, Rosetta, UbuntuForums. Otherwise, a lack of tools and standards across projects are hampering bug tracking, submission of translations & patches and testing. He cited the GNOME project as a great example of communication across projects especially in helping downstream developers.