On August 25, 1991, Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, claimed that the operating system was just a hobby. However, fast forward 25 years, the infamous kernel is now far bigger and more successful than ever imagined.
A Lesser Known Super Processing Partner
Contrary to popular belief, Linux isn’t just an exclusive operating system. The kernel development, which started two and a half decades ago, supports the substantial framework of the Internet’s infrastructure, corporate data hubs, websites, stock data, smartphones, and supercomputers.
Despite the Linux Foundation’s failure in competing against the fame of Microsoft and Apple, Linux is a preferred operating system among tens of millions of professional developers and programmers. One of the top features of Linux is its compatibility with almost every other system language, making it a universal platform IT development.
From Voluntary Development to Generous Compensation
Most open source platforms often only have hobbyists and volunteers to rely on the development. But, the continuous and steady success of Linux has benefitted the vast majority of its developers who were previously working pro bono.
According to the Linux Kernel Report, “The volume of contributions from unpaid developers has been in slow decline for many years. It was 14.6 percent in the 2012 version of this paper, 13.6 percent in 2013, and 11.8 percent in 2014; over the period covered by this report, it has fallen to 7.7 percent.”
With the influx of technologies and different devices, the commercial software simply can’t sustain the demand. Therefore, Linux has been on the sidelines to support every open opportunity. “There are many possible reasons for this decline, but arguably, the most plausible of those is quite simple: Kernel developers are in short supply, so anybody who demonstrates an ability to get code into the mainline tends not to have trouble finding job offers.”
On Imbibing a Productive Culture of Professional Volunteers
Torvalds himself knew that it would be tremendously difficult to expect any sustainable development through free work alone. That’s why he personally oversees the trail of funding and contributions going in and out of the Linux Foundation.
“Even if one assumes that all of the ‘unknown’ contributors are working on their own time, well over 80 percent of all kernel development is demonstrably done by developers who are being paid for their work,” the report said.
Linux is an integral part of any technology company despite the size, since it supports the very roots of the system. “A small number of companies are responsible for a large portion of the development, but more than 400 companies ‘made significant changes’ in the period covered by the report. Though volunteer developers are declining, 2,355 developers contributed for the first time, out of about 5,000 overall. Most of the new developers contributed on behalf of their employers.”