SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft entered the top 20 in the list of Linux kernel contributors, coming in 17th place ahead of Linaro and Canonical.
Microsoft, a firm that many Linux users believe tried to kill off Linux through SCO, is the 17th most active contributor to the Linux kernel project since version 2.6.36. According to figures released by the Linux Foundation, Microsoft submitted 688 changes, one per cent of the overall changelog.
Microsoft's contribution in the grand scale of Linux is tiny, with Red Hat, Intel, Novell and IBM accounting for almost 25 per cent of all changes. Microsoft however is very keen to make Linux distributions work well with its Hyper-V hypervisor, so its kernel contributions are not entirely selfless.
Whether Microsoft's actions are self-serving or not is really beside the point, as the top contributors, including Red Hat and Intel, pitch in for the good of their respective organisations. One name missing from the top 20 list is Canonical, primary sponsor of the Ubuntu Linux distribution.
Last week Scott Crenshaw, VP of Red Hat's cloud business unit told The INQUIRER that Canonical doesn't write a lot of code, effectively calling the firm nothing more than a packaging outfit. The Linux Foundation's figures seem to back Crenshaw's claims, and while Canonical has done a lot to promote Linux, these figures will only increase the perception that it isn't contributing as much as it might to the Linux community.
Microsoft's work on Linux suggests the firm might have softened its stance on the operating system. While it's unlikely that Microsoft will ever embrace Linux, the fact that it recently contributed one per cent of Linux kernel code submissions might suggest to some observers that the company wants to work with the Linux community rather than against it.
That might even be the case, on some level. µ