The Linux Foundation has released the 2011 edition of its kernel development study. The report provides insight into the status of Linux kernel programming and the level of developer participation. It shows the volume of total growth, the relative number of contributions from major sponsors, and other relevant metrics.

The kernel has continued to see strong growth and developer engagement.

The top 10 organizations sponsoring Linux kernel development since the last report (or Linux kernel 2.6.36) are Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. Mobile and embedded companies have been increasing their participation in recent years, not only adding more hardware support to the kernel but also taking responsibility for the advancement of core kernel areas. 

Ranking at number 17, the company that once called Linux a “cancer,” today is working within the collaborative development model to support its virtualization efforts and its customers. Because Linux has reached a state of ubiquity, in which both the enterprise and mobile computing markets are relying on the operating system, Microsoft is clearly working to adapt. 

The Redmond giant first began contributing code to Linux in 2009 when it submitted patches to improve the performance of running virtualized Linux guest instances on Windows servers.

Readers who want to see the full report can download the PDF from the Linux Foundation's website.