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Who Writes Linux? Microsoft?!

There are a lot of different people that contribute code to the Linux kernel. In fact, according to the 2012 Linux Kernel Development report from the Linux Foundation, more than 7,800 developers from nearly 800 different companies have participated in Linux kernel development.

Not all of those companies and developers participate in every kernel release. According to the report, for the recent Linux 3.2 kernel release, some 1,316 developers contributed, representing 226 different companies. While there is lots of participation, over the last five years the top 30 developers have contributed 20 percent of the total code.

When it comes to companies that sponsor kernel developers, the top company affiliation is Red Hat, which has contributed 11.9 percent of kernel code. Novell follows at 6.4 percent, Intel at 6.2 percent and IBM at 6.1 percent. Supposed "Linux nemesis" Microsoft cracks the list this year as well with 1.0 percent kernel code contribution. Surprisingly Ubuntu and its corporate sponsor Canonical are not in the report's list of the top Linux kernel development firms.

"Of course, some might believe that Microsoft's position is a surprise; though, we've been aware of their work and motivations for some time now," Amanda McPherson, VP of marketing and developer services at the Linux Foundation told InternetNews.com.

Microsoft's contributions, however, are not about helping to advance Linux but are more about enabling support for their own technologies, as well as ensuring legal compliance. Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman confirmed to InternetNews.com that Microsoft's Linux contributions are all Hyper-V related items.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Who Are the 'Unknown' Linux Kernel Developers?

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.