Who gives most to open source?

Open source's top developers are an increasingly disparate bunch.

Tech Culture

I like l2admin's list of the Top 10 contributors to open source because it remembers that not all open sourcerors are developers, and additionally reminds us that important as corporations are to open source, code is written by individual developers, not corporations.

While l2admin's list does include hard-core developers like Linus Torvalds, it also includes people like Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, whose contributions to open source have been as much marketing as code.

Ditto for Richard Stallman. Yes, he's written some great software like Emacs, but his real contribution is in raising the profile of free and open-source software in the world, and holding the line on freedom in software. I often think he's dead wrong on these issues, but it's good to have someone defining and holding to strong ideals so that the rest of us can navigate according to these "polar stars."

Incidentally, one thing is very interesting to me in the list: the longer open source has been around, the less its stars revolve around the Linux sun and the more pragmatic they seem to become. Open source is increasingly concerned with getting things done, not proving ideological points.

This is definitely progress.


Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

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