More than 7800 volunteers involved in linux development

Only those developers who have contributed to the system base, the so-called kernel, since 2005 have been paid. In addition, there are several thousand developers who work on complementary linux software, such as the graphical user interfaces KDE and gnome.

The linux foundation, based in san francisco, is a non-profit consortium that has overseen linux development since its inception in 2000. Also the finish born linus torvalds, who founded linux in 1991, is part of it. Open source, as opposed to proprietary software from certain companies, means that the source code of the software is made public so that everyone can contribute to it.

The report shows that more than 1000 developers contributed to the linux kernel last year. These are predominantly no longer dedicated students or independent hackers, but 75 percent software developers who work in a company. "The linux community is a global, professional network of the world’s best software talent," the report states. Every two to three months a new kernel version is released; the current one is linux 3.2.

The linux development is financially supported by companies like red hat, intel, novell, IBM, oracle or google. They use linux for their own software, google for example for the smartphone operating system android. Microsoft, whose CEO steve ballmer in 2001 called linux a "cancerous oath" that "affects everything it touches in terms of intellectual property," appears for the first time in the list of supporters at number 17.

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