The Linux Foundation Releases 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report

The Linux Foundation Releases 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report

It is important to note that the free and open nature of Linux and the GPLv2 license have made Android the open operating system we are familiar with. Android shares its kernel with the Linux kernel, even though Android is quite different from the GNU/Linux operating system. The Linux kernel has been a massive success in the world of open source, as it is prevalent in mobile, in servers, and has applications in most fields around the globe. With that in mind, the Linux Foundation has a schedule of releasing an annual report on Linux kernel development.

The 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report has now been released by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, with updated statistics on Linux kernel development. The report has analyzed the work done by 15,600 developers over more than ten years, as well as more recent trends in kernel development.

This is the eighth report that has been released on an annual basis. Linux is the world’s largest collaborative project in the history of computing, and the work that defines it has been briefly explained in the report. This year’s paper covers work completed through Linux kernel 4.13, with an emphasis on releases 4.8 to 4.13. The last kernel development report was released in August 2016 and focused on 3.19 to 4.7.

Key findings from the 2017 Linux kernel development report include:

  • Roughly 15,600 developers from more than 1,400 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel since the adoption of Git (which made detailed tracking possible). Since the last report, over 4,300 developers from more than 500 companies have contributed to the kernel. 1,670 of these developers contributed for the first time, comprising about a third of contributors.
  • The Top 10 organizations sponsoring Linux kernel development since the last report include Intel, Red Hat, Linaro, IBM, Samsung, SUSE, Google, AMD, Renesas and Mellanox.
  • The rate of Linux development continues to increase, as does the number of developers and companies involved in the process. The average number of changes accepted into the kernel per hour is 8.5, a significant increase from the 7.8 changes in the last report, which translates to 204 changes every day and over 1,400 per week. The average days of development per release increased slightly to 67.66 days from 66 last year, with every release spaced either 63 or 70 days apart, providing significant predictability.
  • The number of unpaid developers may be stabilizing, according to the report, with these developers contributing 8.2% of contributions, a slight increase from 7.7% in last year’s report.
  • Version 4.13 of the Linux kernel now has 60,538 files and 24,766,703 lines of code. The kernel now has almost three million lines more than it had at the time of the previous version of the report.

The 2017 Linux Kernel Development report is co-authored by Jonathan Corbet, Linux kernel developer and editor of, and Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux kernel maintainer and Linux Foundation fellow. It also features interviews with 12 Linux kernel developers and maintainers.

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, stated that the incredible rates of contribution and participation in the Linux kernel demonstrate the continued strength and scalability of the kernel community. He added that the kernel development report provided important information that helped show “how incredibly effective the collaborative development model can be for one of the most essential software projects in history.”

The paper was released on October 25 at the Linux Kernel Summit, which took place alongside Open Source Summit Europe, hosted by The Linux Foundation.

To download the full report, readers can visit its landing page.

Source: The Linux Foundation

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Idrees Patel
Idrees Patel

Idrees Patel is a smartphone enthusiast from India. He has been an Android user since the time he got the LG Optimus One in 2011. He has a bachelor's degree in Management Studies. The subjects in which he is interested are mobile processors, real-world UI performance, in-depth camera quality analysis, and many more. Contact him at [email protected]