Sep 23 2013

Linux Is Growing Strong Thanks to Tech Industry Contributions

The open-source kernel has gone from niche software to mission-critical technology.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire technology industry to raise an open-source operating system. Linux, a UNIX-derived open-source OS, is often held up as the standard of open-source software’s possibilities, as the OS represented 20.7 percent of all server revenue in 2012, according to findings from an IDC report.

The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit consortium responsible for fostering the growth of the Linux kernel, released a new report stating that the latest kernel (3.10) is “seeing the most developer contributions ever.”

Big-name technology companies are diving into the Linux ecosystem with Red Hat, Intel, Texas Instruments, Linaro, SUSE, IBM, Samsung, Google among the top 10 sponsors of the kernel’s development, according to the foundation. Google’s contributions are up considerably, which makes sense since Android, the company’s mobile operating system, is based on the Linux kernel.

In fact, “contributions from the mobile and embedded industries” have seen an increase as they accounted for 11 percent of the kernel changes covered during this report compared to 4 percent in the last report.

“Linux represents the future of how new software and technologies will be built. Understanding how it’s developed is important to the industry,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “This year’s Linux development report represents exponential growth in the community and its pace of development, illustrating how collaboration advances innovation. We are inspired by the work of these thousands of developers and companies that sponsor that work and know they are fueling the future of the technology industry.”

Some of the major companies that have run or currently maintain Linux environments include Tommy Hilfiger, Omaha Steaks and Burlington Coat Factory.