October 2, 2015

Anniversary of First Linux Kernel Release: A Look at Collaborative Value

Linus-Torvalds-LinuxCon-Europe-2014 copy copyThe Linux community often recognizes two anniversaries for Linux: August 25th is the day Linus Torvalds first posted that he was working on Linux and said “Hello, everybody out there…” and October 5th is the day he released the first kernel.

To mark the anniversary of the first kernel release in 1991, we look at some facts and consider the progress that has been made since that early version.

  • Version 0.01 of the Linux kernel had 10,239 lines of code (source: Wikipedia).

  • Version 4.1, released in July 2015, has more than 19 million lines of code (source: Phoronix). 

The current Linux kernel is the result of one of the largest collaborative projects ever attempted.

According to the “Who Writes Linux” Linux development report published in February of this year: 

  • Nearly 12,000 developers from more than 1,200 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since tracking began 10 years ago.

  • The rate of Linux development is unmatched. The average number of changes accepted into the kernel per hour is 7.71, which translates to 185 changes every day and nearly 1,300 per week.

In recent years, the powerful growth of the Linux kernel and resulting innovation has inspired others to adapt the principles, practices and methodologies that makes Linux so successful to solve some of today’s most complex technology problems.

Just this week The Linux Foundation released a first-ever report estimating the worth of open source development with its Collaborative Projects as the sample size. The data is both interesting and impressive, surfacing that the collective value of Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects is more than $5B (using David A. Wheeler’s model).

According to the report:

  • As of last month, 115,013,302 total lines of source code were present in The Linux Foundation’s Collaborative Projects.

  • It would take a team of 1,356 developers over 30 years to recreate the code base in these projects.

  • The total economic value of this work is estimated at more than $5 billion.

We’ve learned so much from Linux and have no doubt that learning will continue. Please join us in celebrating Linux and all of its Distributed Genius. Follow our Linux Foundation Twitter feed and our event-specific feed for up to the minute information as we celebrate this anniversary next week from Dublin, Ireland at LinuxCon Europe.

 

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