Linux at 25: An Ecosystem, Not Only an OS


InfoWorld celebrates the 25th birthday of Linux — and the new generation of open source projects Linux enabled. Today Linux has expanded far beyond its conquest of the server market. If you include Android, which is built around the Linux kernel, not to mention embedded Linux devices from TVs to network switches, you’re talking billions of instances.

Over the years, Linux has grown in another way: The sheer scale of its community development operation. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, recently offered me some awe-inspiring stats:

There are 53,000 source files in the Linux kernel, 21 million lines of code. There are 3,900 developers from all around the globe, 10,800 lines of code are added, 5300 lines of code are removed and 1,800 lines of code are modified every single day in the Linux kernel. It changes seven, eight times an hour on average, every day, 365 days a year. That is a prolific, tremendous scale that is just unparalleled in the history of software development.

That’s the kernel alone. Zemlin reminds us that the versioning and repository system Git, on which GitHub is based, was created by Torvalds to help manage this massive development effort.

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