Linux Kernel Development Has Levelled Off

In nuclear weaponry, there’s a concept for a weapon using fission of Critical Mass, the mass needed to make a spontaneous sustainable nuclear reaction. A bit more mass or better geometry and bad things happen quickly.

Fortunately nothing bad has happened to Linux kernel development. Things are happening at an amazing rate but the average rate of change of patching has levelled off after 2.6.25. Maybe Linus has reached his capacity… 😉 Until 2.6.25, the rate of patching was rising exponentially. 2.6.23 was released in 2008. Now */Linux is the world’s OS and the world is humming using */Linux.

The Linux Foundation has documented the production:

  • many thousands of developers have contributed over the years but now 1000 have contributed to the last release alone,
  • developers from 200 companies are actively contributing to the Linux kernel,
  • 75% of contributors to the kernel are paid employees of businesses,
  • the top ten businesses contributing recently are huge, global corporations: Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google,
  • even M$ is contributing to make sure its OS works well with Linux for virtualization, and
  • the average rate of patch-submission is one more patch every ten minutes… 11881 patches were included in Linux 3.1. There are 15 million lines of code in Linux.

see The Linux Foundation – Who Writes Linux 2012 – Linux Kernel Development

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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33 Responses to Linux Kernel Development Has Levelled Off

  1. oiaohm says:

    Phenom in fact really. Time frame for the open standards to be locked in for good is 2014.

    Looking at just today and what has been passed. Is important. So ISO OOXML will be enforced by then if OOXML is staying in the game.

  2. Phenom says:

    Lot of EU countries are pushing for open standards.

    Really? Check out the sites of EC and the many sites of EU / EC projects. Too many documents are available solely in MS-specific formats.

  3. oiaohm says:

    aardvark
    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Microsoft-Word-1058/text-spacing-word-document.htm

    Really what world do you live in. The alignment screw ups of MS doc and docx files happen on the time a few google searches and you start finding out that its glitch central aardvark bit of effort I could find a few 1000 about it across all versions of MS Office.

    The raw printer metrics stuff is where most problems Alastair is talking about in that link comes from. How many links do you want.

    ODF does not show any of this behaviour aardvark even when being used with MS Office. This is clearly a internal format issue with doc and docx and sometimes rtf.

    Basically aardvark you incompetent and inexperienced novice go pull you head in.

    Anyone who has worked with MS Office for enough time has seen documents go south due to what people blame on magical damaged document. Corrupted is the correct word. Corrupted because the formats does not have safe guards against particular issues this include changing printers or changing printer drivers that change printer metrics. In fact Libreoffice can recover some documents that MS Office has Corrupted good enough to recover the data in the document. Ok formating lost but MS Office will not open some because the formatting leads to a divide by 0 error. MS Office crash Libreoffice go on.

    ODF does get damaged but those you get a error message about since the document will not checksum but true damaged MS Office documents happen way less than most people think. The MS Office making the document doing stupid things is far more common.

    Yes true sad fact is that .doc and .docx are screwed up formats. Yet people want to make them defecto standards are they nuts. No lead by nose by peer group pressure so not checking out the technical correct state of affairs.

    Lot of EU countries are pushing for open standards. OOXML the approved standard MS Office current does not produce either. Lot of the highly suspect stuff of OOXML did not pass ISO process either. So hopefully MS Office 2012+ that MS promised would be able to write to ISO OOXML spec will at long last produce documents that work. Not the current trash I have to put up with.

  4. aardvark says:

    Mr Oiaohm:

    “In fact the true sad fact of the matter is nothing not even MS Office can read .doc or .docx 100 percent dependable unless you are opening the document on the same machine it was created with with the same printer connected at the time.”

    Proof, or it never happened.

    Not once.

    I’ve seen you come up with some unbelievable assertions recently, Mr Oiaohm, but this one beats the Easter Bunny into a cocked hat.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    Ever heard of the Times of India?

    Well, now that you raise the question, no. Is that where you think people will discover things about Linux that will cause them to switch to using it in lieu of Windows?

    I would class that in the “Frail Reed” category, Mr. Pogson. In any case, I wish you a happy Easter day!

  6. This is not a witch-hunt. There really are thousands of new and established businesses using FLOSS. In emerging markets like India, start-ups just skip M$ altogether. They get everything they need from GNU/Linux and because they are not locked-in they certainly have no reason to pay more for IT and switch to M$. Real businesses are using small cheap computers rather than Wintel on big things. Countries like Kenya are skipping wiring as much as possible and going wholesale for wireless networking. There’s just no need to do things the way M$ did them 10-20 years ago. One concrete example is Dell buying Wyse. Businesses are buying thin clients running GNU/Linux. One less paid licence per seat is attractive. A bunch less is a no-brainer.

    Ever heard of the Times of India? Here’s an ad from that widely used news source (circulation 3 million):

  7. oiaohm says:

    “It seems to me that MS Office file formats are generally read by the FOSS clones such as Open Office. Presumably Libre Office could do so as well.”

    In fact the true sad fact of the matter is nothing not even MS Office can read .doc or .docx 100 percent dependable unless you are opening the document on the same machine it was created with with the same printer connected at the time.

    Both .docx and .doc formats stupidly will use raw printer metrics then not record what the printer is at times. Then when opened on a machine with a different default printer use the default printers metrics so ruining the documents formating.

    This lack of miss behaviour when moving documents around is noticed when anyone moves over to Libreoffice or Openoffice and starts using ODF internally. This is one of many format design glitches inside .doc and ooxml.

    You cannot read something perfectly when the format it self is stuffed.

  8. Clarence Moon says:

    For an example, see Contractual Restrictions on the Top 80 ISPs…

    What is the significance of this document.? For one thing, the totals are well in excess of 100% and the “so what?” of it all is lost on me.

    It’s a case of being locked in with file formats that are designed to work only with M$’s stuff.

    Surely you jest, Mr. Pogson. A file format should be usable by anybody’s “stuff”. It seems to me that MS Office file formats are generally read by the FOSS clones such as Open Office. Presumably Libre Office could do so as well.

  9. aardvark says:

    “There must be 50 ways to leave M$.”

    And yet none of them seem to work very well, as you explained in your previous paragraphs. If Libre Office was actually worth spit, for example, businesses would set up a single central server that did nothing except accept .doc documents and spit them out in .odf. Of course, there’s the little matter of writing future documents out in .docx (an open, as in openly-documented, format), which seems to be beyond Libre at present … unless you count your earlier example of completely trashing the input file as a success.

    I don’t know how many businesses start up from scratch per year in Canada alone, but let’s say the number is 100,000. Given the advantages you imagine, at least 20% of them should be smart enough to save money and use Gnu/Linux. After all, they’re starting from scratch. That would be 20,000 Gnu/Linux based businesses.

    I’m betting the figure is nearer to 57.

  10. Writing of FLOSS v non-FREE software, aardvark wrote, “Could it simply be a case of perceived value?”

    Uh, no. It’s a case of being locked in with file formats that are designed to work only with M$’s stuff. A business that has a ten-year backlog of files needs to make an effort to reformat them. LibreOffice can do that but they may not be “perfect” and require labour. The wise operator will realize that the mistake was made years ago heading down M$’s path. They are the early adopters of GNU/Linux. Other will follow. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is using a web application to process documents or a terminal server. There must be 50 ways to leave M$.

    There’s absolutely no value in paying again and again for what M$ promised years ago. That’s one of the reasons LibreOffice is doing so well. Businesses would not be contributing so much to LibreOffice if it were not what they wanted. Businesses can make LibreOffice fit their plans, not M$’s plans.

  11. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “Businesses tend to pay M$ a lot more than $50 to M$ for that other OS, M$’s office suite and SQL, inActiveDirectory etc.”

    True, but we’ll start with your own figures. At the bottom end, $50 is $50, and it buys you either a Windows licence or support from the Linux Foundation.

    Now, as a business, do I need “M$’s office suite and SQL, inActiveDirectory etc?”

    Well, I’m not locked in on any of those. I can use Libre. I can use MySQL or PostgreSQL. I can use any number of LDAP flavours, and probably more etceteras than M$ can shake its puny pointed little stick at. I can use them on either OS platform.

    So, my question for you is: why do businesses make the rational decision to go with MSOffice, SQL Server, ActiveDirectory, SharePoint, and other M$ etceteras?

    Could it simply be a case of perceived value?

  12. Businesses tend to pay M$ a lot more than $50 to M$ for that other OS, M$’s office suite and SQL, inActiveDirectory etc.

  13. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “The most any member pays is $50 per employee, still a bargain compared to Wintel.”

    Um, well, according to your own figures (which ignore any possible bulk discount), $50 is what you’d be paying to Microsoft. (I’ve no idea what you’d be paying to Intel.)

    As bargains go, and even assuming the two products on offer are exactly equivalent, this one is hardly going to cause a stampede, is it?

  14. That’s revisionism if I’ve ever read any. M$ from top to bottom has been about messing with competition since the early days, not producing a good product at a good price.

    For an example, see Contractual Restrictions on the Top 80 ISPs

    95% “prefer IE” as a contractual requirement with M$. Is it ethical to have ISPs lie to consumers? Do you want to do business with people who lie routinely?

  15. Clarence Moon says:

    The same people who wrote the e-mails …

    Actually not. It would be the public statements of Steve Ballmer or Peter Klein that are intended to guide investors in regard to expected future performance. The DOJ mails were items that illustrated how conversations within Microsoft regarding tactics to be employed were discussed. Much of their content was never implemented as policy and simply provided grounds for continuing discussion.

    It is like the famous AARD incident wherein Microsoft tested a mechanism for detecting if the underlying DOS product was genuine MS-DOS when a Windows 3.1 beta version was being evaluated by third party testers. It was perhaps aimed at subsequently rejecting DR-DOS as an acceptable platform for Windows, but that never was implemented in the released product. Two people can legitimately discuss whether or not to rob a bank and arrive at a conclusion to not do so, I think. As long as they do not decide to rob it, there is nothing wrong with having the discussion.

  16. As long as they get their thumb off the balance for IT, I don’t care if they rip people off for playing games or sending e-mail. Let them do whatever they want in a free market where people have choice. People still don’t have choice in my local Walmart-like stores unless they buy a smart phone or a tablet.

    Clarence Moon wrote, “I would look to the company’s performance financially and pay attention to management’s narratives. That is what most people do that actually have a valid interest in the company. It is also the most accurate measure of performance in the world’s markets.”

    The same people who wrote the e-mails we read in US DOJ v M$ are still in charge. I would not trust them one bit.

  17. Clarence Moon says:

    That other OS is down to 73.38%.

    That would be a cause for concern if Microsoft’s revenues were down by a similar amount, Mr. Pogson, but, as of the last accounting, their revenues are up nicely for the year and seem destined to rise again at the next reporting period. You count some un-quantified share of hits on an informal information website. Microsoft does not sell such hits directly and it is not clear just how those hits on Wikipedia might correlate with revenues for what they do sell. Your analysis itself must make some great leaps of faith such as the English-speaking country bias you suggest is contained in the numbers in order to arrive at any conclusion favorable to your purpose.

    I am not personally invested in Microsoft stock, Mr. Pogson, but if I were I would look to the company’s performance financially and pay attention to management’s narratives. That is what most people do that actually have a valid interest in the company. It is also the most accurate measure of performance in the world’s markets.

  18. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon
    “Of course people will someday be weaned of using Windows on personal computing devices, but that day is far, far away and it is not going to be Linux that causes that to happen.”

    This is under-way. This is your problem. More people are using there mobile phones and tablets for jobs there PC would have done. Android/Linux has started the road.

    New paradigm is under-way this is the problem. Linux desktop software is bending to able to exploit the new paradigm.

    Time to pull you head out the sand. Arm is aiming to end the x86 paradigm in all markets. Android has made MS standing in the market unstable. Android devices are expanding what they can do. Android will merge with the rest of the Linux desktop in time.

    Linux 3.3.x kernel can in fact load and run Android 4.0 run time non modified on a Virtual terminal from a chroot. 3.4.x and 3.5.0 will be about perfection.

    General public being converted by the Android race to bottom. Businesses and Governments are converting as well.

    Besides 3.4.x Linux kernel introduces something new. x32abi. 32 bit binaries and 64 bit binary in the same user-space mode. Say hello to faster programs.

    Android is a major change there is now hardware for normal consumer use made only for the Linux kernel.

    Microsoft now in a market where Apple, Linux and Microsoft have hardware made specially for them. This is a quite radical shift.

    There are battles in Ubuntu, Debian and many other distributions as well to at long last solve dependency hell because there is large enough number of desktop users to justify it.

  19. Clarence Moon wrote, “Of course people will someday be weaned of using Windows on personal computing devices, but that day is far, far away and it is not going to be Linux that causes that to happen.”

    “far, far away” is quite wrong. Today many individuals and organizations have been weaned from that other OS by GNU/Linux and there is no sign of that changing any time soon.

    e.g. Wikimedia stats: March 2011 */Linux = 5.05% = 3.46% Android/Linux and 1.59% GNU/Linux. That other OS is down to 73.38%. The stats from Wikipedia are heavily leaning to English countries, mostly USA, in fact. Imagine what the stats from Brazil or China would be where people can buy GNU/Linux PCs on retail shelves from major retailers.

  20. Clarence Moon says:

    There will be a day of reckoning even if governments failed to do their jobs to protect markets and consumers.

    Empty words, I think, Mr. Pogson. You are mostly alone in your attitude towards Microsoft and completely alone in your assessment of their violation of laws relevant to their marketing success. Of course people will someday be weaned of using Windows on personal computing devices, but that day is far, far away and it is not going to be Linux that causes that to happen.

    It will be something that creates a new paradigm, much like the iPod and iTunes is the death of the music CD. I don’t know what that might be although there are several good candidates.

  21. oiaohm says:

    Another thing that is missed Gnome Kde and most major GNU/Linux desktop applications support running on opengl ES 2.0 only this again means they match running on the same configuration as Android. Perfect match.

  22. Clarence Moon wrote, of M$, “will do the proper things to further their business. You cannot deny that they have been very good at doing that for the past couple of decades.”

    M$ has broken the law for decades. That is not good for anyone, including M$. When the downfall comes, it will more harsh because of the enemies they have made around the world. There will be a day of reckoning even if governments failed to do their jobs to protect markets and consumers.

  23. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon
    “Of course malfunction are reported often by those who migrate to Linux themselves.”

    Really yet you don’t have a lot of malfunction reports from android users.

    This is the problem GNU/Linux is already appearing in hybrid with there Android brother. This is your problem. Game has changed next release of android 5.0 series same kernel will most likely be in use between GNU/Linux and Android/Linux.

    The storm force is growing. Android basically destroyed the Microsoft CE market on Phones.

    Android bring hardware platforms that are build purely for the Linux kernel. So not solutions based on tech built for something else.

    Looking at GNU/Linux in isolation misses the storm force to market that is coming. Android is going to open up the market for GNU/Linux.

  24. Clarence Moon says:

    M$ still has monopoly pricing but their share is falling.

    Of course we continue to differ on what market share actually means, but it is much more important to know just what the revenue levels and profitability of a product are.

    If people eventually all quit using Windows and start using something else, that will be the day that Microsoft ceases to offer Windows as a product. Until then, MS will simply continue to assess the results in the market and tailor their product promotion strategies to optimize those results.

    Microsoft understands marketing, I am confident, and will do the proper things to further their business. You cannot deny that they have been very good at doing that for the past couple of decades.

  25. Clarence Moon wrote, of that other OS, “It continues to produce some 20B a year in revenues and it will be a long time coming before it is defunct.”

    That may well be true but its share of the market will continue to drop for the foreseeable future and it may have to drop prices substantially within a few years to remain relevant. Of course there is a lot of room for M$ to lower prices. However slow or fast the process, it is good for the world of IT to avoid monopoly. At the moment, M$ still has monopoly pricing but their share is falling.

  26. Clarence Moon says:

    How many retail units shipping with GNU/Linux have the sound and graphics not working?

    I am sure that they all have sound and graphics working on the handful that are being shipped, Mr. Pogson, that is the task of the OEM who might sell one. Of course malfunction are reported often by those who migrate to Linux themselves. We could scan through the help groups and find poster children for this sort of problem and you could wax about how incompetent they were and how you have no problems yourself, but all that would be like water off the duck’s back in both directions.

    What is important to Microsoft is simply how viable sales of Windows OS remain as a business endeavor. So far it has been the most lucrative tech product in the history of man in terms of profitability vs investments. It continues to produce some 20B a year in revenues and it will be a long time coming before it is defunct.

  27. Phenom wrote, “The kernel is ok. Graphics and audio are not”.

    Quick, phone Pixar and tell them they have it all wrong… Phone me too… How many retail units shipping with GNU/Linux have the sound and graphics not working?

  28. Phenom wrote, “You can see, Mr. Pogson, no good big work happens for free.”

    I know most programmers work for a living. The support of Linux Foundation by big business means many big businesses would rather pay programmers than pay tolls to M$.

    Members Annual Membership Dues*
    Platinum US$ 500,000
    Gold US$ 100,000
    Silver US$ 20,000 (employee size greater than 5,000)
    US$ 15,000 (employee size between 500 and 4,999)
    US$ 10,000 (employee size between 100 and 499)
    US$ 5,000 (employee size <100)

    How many employees does IBM have, 400K? (400K*$50=$20million) What would it cost them to pay M$ per employee? See, FLOSS is cheaper because IBM nor anyone else has to pay the whole cost. The cost is shared like life insurance. IBM gets the best deal, $500K/426K = $1+ per employee. The most any member pays is $50 per employee, still a bargain compared to Wintel.

  29. Sorry, I had a long day so I took the evening off. I also slept late. It’s planting time here on the farm…

  30. oiaohm says:

    Phenom funny this shows why you are a twit.

    What else is graphics and audio dead critical to. Mobile Phones. This is why the merge of Android kernel back to Main Line is a major event.

    2.6.25 is explained and its not exactly a slow down.

    2.6.26 is the start of the internal locking clean up. That has grown into a larger code base clean up. To deal with these problems there have been side trees setup. So a lot of patches that would be crossing Linus desk are now diverted else where for testing.

  31. Phenom says:

    Pogson, would you please resurrect my next post?

  32. Phenom says:

    even M$ is contributing to make sure its OS works well with Linux for virtualization

    Actually, MS makes sure that Linux works well with Hyper-V.
    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/040312-microsoft-counted-as-key-linux-257916.html

    And something especially nice from the article:
    The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to further developing and maintaining the open-source Linux kernel. It is funded by companies that use Linux in their products and services, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Novell and Oracle
    (Emphasis mine)

    You can see, Mr. Pogson, no good big work happens for free.

  33. Phenom says:

    The kernel is ok. Graphics and audio are not. Puty they are a rather major requirement in the modern desktop. The days of text mode and silence died with the 80s.

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