According to a study by researchers at the University of Oviedo (Universidad de Oviedo) in Spain, the estimated total value of the2.6.30 Linux kernel, released in June of 2009, is more than €1 billion. Using the kernel development history from version 2.6.11 to 2.6.30, the researchers calculated the costs by using the Constructive Cost Model 81 (COCOMO 81) and taking the average annual salary for a developer in 2006 in the European Union as a parameter. According to EUROSTAT, that was approximately €31,000. The Linux Foundation published a similar study in October of 2008.
The COCOMO algorithm calculates the value of software using a number of specific metrics, specifically the number of lines of code written. The study looks at the estimated annual research and development (R&D) costs of the kernel releases and shows that the annual Linux kernel R&D cost increased significantly in 2008. Between 2005 and 2006, annual R&D was estimated at between €72 to €94 million, however, in 2008, that number rose to more than €228 million.
The two researchers responsible for the study, Jesús García-García and Mª Isabel Alonso de Magdaleno, will be be presenting their findings at the Concord 2010 conference on corporate R&D taking place on the 3rd and 4th of March, 2010 in Seville, Spain.
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