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Linux kernel solid, but what will become of Novell contribution?Jay Lyman, December 8, 2010 @ 12:26 pm ET
The Linux Foundation has just released its annual Kernel Development Report, tracking the amount of changes and contributions to the Linux OS kernel. Similar to last year, there are no real surprises on this year’s report, which provides a good check on who is developing the core of the OS and what they are doing. However, I do have one big question for the kernel and Linux contributions after reading the report: what will become of the Linux kernel work from Novell now that it has been acquired, along with the SUSE Linux technology and business?
We do see consistency again this time on the top kernel contributors, particularly Red Hat, Novell, IBM and Intel. While Red Hat continues toward its goal of a billion dollars in annual revenue (helped along by its cloud computing and PaaS play), the fate and future of Novell and SUSE Linux is less certain. While we do believe the OS itself will live on thanks largely to big enterprise users and developers that are part of the SUSE Linux and OpenSUSE communities, and Novell acquirer Attachmate has signaled continued support, the kernel contribution from Novell developers is really another matter. We will be watching closely to see whether the kernel support continues, but we may see Novell fade on the top kernel contributor list as others, such as Oracle, SGI, Fujitsu, Parallels, Nokia, Google and others may rise.
It is also interesting in the kernel report to see yet more mobile and embedded contributors — including AMD, Freescale, Cavium Networks’ MontaVista, Renesas Technology and others — something we started seeing with last year’s kernel report and expect will continue to grow.
In conclusion, Linux fans should be encouraged by the quality, diversity and new directions of the Linux kernel development community. While there is cause for some concern regarding Novell’s contribution, overall, Linux development seems to be charging ahead.
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