The Linux Foundation points out Microsoft as one of the Top 20 kernel development contributors

The latest report by The Linux Foundation, for the year 2012, holds lots of surprises. The top surprise is of course, is that of the most unlikely contributor to Linux kernel development- Microsoft Corp. – at No.17, in a Top 20 list!  The financial figures reveal that up to one-percent of the development of Linux 2.6.36 to the latest version Linux 3.2 is funded by Microsoft. And this is after Steve Ballmer called Linux platform as a cancer.

Along with the report, a video on How Linux Is Built showcasing greater possibilities of open source projects being implemented as against commercial, expensive proprietary software, is also released.

While open source community is receiving this bit of news with the greatest pinch of salt, it is also an indication of the Power of LINUX in today’s technology dominated world. That it is driving new age computing through quick-adoption and fast approach to evolving quicker, faster and cheaper technologies and real-world problems, Microsoft’s finger in the Linux pie should not be surprising.

It has been The Linux Foundation’s practice to collate information on the actual number of people involved in developing the core- the Linux Kernel. It also notes on the contribution coming from companies as well. Hence, the latest report reveals that nearly 7, 800 developers belonging to nearly 800 companies are making a contribution towards the Linux kernel development. Hence, the report reveals that the increase in number of developers is nearly 1000 contributors and 200 companies from the year before.

While the trend towards hiring developers with core Linux skills had just begun, as per the previous report, this year’s report confirms that nearly all the Top 10 names in new-age mobile computing – Nokia, Samsung, Google as well as core-technology providers such as IMB, Texas Instruments, Novell and proprietary technology service providers such as Oracle or Broadcom are all direct contributors to Linux kernel development.

With Microsoft positioned at No.17 as a Linux developer partner, it is perceived that the interest in Linux Kernel is to develop and “support its virtualization efforts and its customers.”

Another key aspect, says The Linux Foundation, is that in the last one year each hour six new patches are released. Thus, the number of changes occurring in kernel development, now requires release each quarter year with as many as eight thousand to twelve thousand patches being included.

The vice president of The Linux Foundation, Amanda McPherson had this to say about the latest findings-

“Linux is the platform for the future of computing. More developers and companies are contributing to the advancement of the operating system than ever before, especially in the areas of mobile, embedded and cloud computing. The increasing participation represents the power of Linux to quickly adapt to new market opportunities, lower costs, and provide sustained long-term support.”