GNOME Census

11:15 am General

(Reposted from Neary Consulting)

Today at GUADEC I presented the results (Slides are now on slideshare) of the GNOME Census, a project we have been working on for a while. For as long as I have been involved in GNOME, press, analysts, potential partners and advisory board members have been asking us: How big is GNOME? How many paid developers are there? Who writes all this software, and why?

By looking at the modules in the GNOME 2.30 release, made last March, we aim to answer many of those questions, and give deeper insight into the motivations of participants in the project.

The GNOME heartbeat - pre-release peaks and GUADEC boosts

Here are our key findings:

  • GNOME has a rhythm – there is a measurable increase in activity before release time, and after the annual GNOME conference GUADEC
  • While over 70% of GNOME developers identify themselves as volunteers, over 70% of the commits to the GNOME releases are made by paid contributors70% of GNOME participants are volunteers
  • Red Hat are the biggest contributor to the GNOME project and its core dependencies. Red Hat employees have made almost 17% of all commits we measured, and 11 of the top 20 GNOME committers of all time are current or past Red Hat employees. Novell and Collabora are also on the podium.
  • A number of top company contributors are consultancy/services companies specialising in the GNOME platform – Collabora, CodeThink, Openismus, Lanedo and Fluendo are in the top 20 companies. As many of these companies grew initially through work on Maemo, this is a sign of the success of Nokia’s strategy around the GNOME stack.

Company Commits Percentage
Volunteer 101823 23.45
Unknown 73558 16.94
Red Hat 70790 16.30
Novell 45349 10.44
Collabora 21684 4.99
Intel 11160 2.57
Fluendo 10218 2.35
Lanedo 10090 2.32
Independent 8922 2.05
Sun 8862 2.04
Nokia 6183 1.42
Openismus 5303 1.22
Codethink 5276 1.21
Eazel 4734 1.09
Litl 4620 1.06
Canonical 4487 1.03
Movial 2988 0.69
Mandriva 2504 0.58
The Family International 2130 0.49
Entropy Wave 2056 0.47
(Academia) 1894 0.44
Mozilla Corporation 1040 0.24

One of the interesting things that we have done for the census is to look at who is maintaining modules by looking at commits over the past two years, and use this data to identify areas of the platform which see lots of collaboration, areas where the maintenance burden is left to volunteers, and areas where individual companies assume most of the maintenance burden.

There are a number of modules in the platform which see a considerable amount of co-opetition, including Evolution, Evolution Data Server, DBus and GStreamer. Most modules in the platform, however, are either maintained to a large extent by volunteer developers, or see the vast majority of their contributions from one company.

I see this information being useful for companies interested in using the GNOME platform for their products, companies seeking custom application development, potential large-scale customers of desktop Linux or customers buying high-level support who want to know who employs more module maintainers or committers to the project.

GNOME platform maintenance map
The GNOME maintenance map, with modules coloured according to the company maintaining them

Update: Two significant omissions in the maintenance map were pointed out to me. After correctly associating a number of commiters to a company, Lanedo is responsible for 16.5% of the commits in GTK+ over the past two years, and volunteers are also responsible for at least 17%. Red Hat are still the largest contributor, with 32% of all commits to the module. libsoup is maintained by Dan Winship, who left Novell to join Red Hat in 2007, where he developed and maintains the module.

Update 2: As I announced in this post, the report is now available as a free download via neary-consulting.com licensed as Creative Commons by-sa 3.0

71 Responses

  1. Kenneth Christiansen Says:

    I didn’t see BlueZ and WebKit in that last maintenance map.

  2. Xav Says:

    Eh, Canonical contributed to gcalctool. Way to go !

  3. BB Says:

    “Eh, Canonical contributed to gcalctool. Way to go !”

    What a shame! They’re even attending GUADEC… I would wear a mask, at least.

  4. Corsac Says:

    And don’t forget default-icon-theme

  5. eagle Says:

    > the success of Nokia’s strategy around the GNOME stack.

    Didn’t they switched to Qt like Intel and others too?

  6. Andres G. Aragoneses Says:

    This is great!

    Why other modules are not present? Such as totem or banshee.

    Thanks!

  7. GNOME CensusSafe as Milk | 9nd.pl Says:

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  8. m4 Says:

    totem is in upper left corner;) maintained by redhat

  9. Tweets that mention Safe as Milk » Blog Archive » GNOME Census -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sankarshan and Cody Russell, Zuissi. Zuissi said: Planet Gnome: Dave Neary: GNOME Census: (Reposted from Neary Consulting) Today at GUADEC I presented the results (… http://bit.ly/d4UDeF […]

  10. Ubuntu Linux Tricks Says:

    Graph tells us how important is to be a part of GNOME Project and to understand its important in our life cycle.

    Rajesh Shah

  11. Canonical’s GNOME contibution » Omnia sunt communia Says:

    […] much to the Linux Kenel”. Mark Shuttleworth defended the company. In 2010 we see, in  GNOME census report, that only 1.03% of commits in GNOME come from Canonical employees. I think it’s not much […]

  12. Red Hat, 16%. Canonical, 1%. « Greg DeKoenigsberg Speaks Says:

    […] Posted in fedora by Greg DeKoenigsberg on July 29, 2010 In case you missed it: $SUBJECT is the percentage of contribution to the GNOME codebase.  Thanks, Dave […]

  13. El censo de Gnome [EN] Says:

    […] El censo de Gnome [EN] blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2010/07/28/gnome-census/  por jjm hace 3 segundos […]

  14. Open Source Pixels » Neary: GNOME Census Says:

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  16. El censo de Gnome [EN] | Noticias - d2.com.es Says:

    […] » noticia original […]

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  18. Links 29/7/2010: GNOME Census, Sales of Android Gear Almost Quadruple | Techrights Says:

    […] GNOME Census Today at GUADEC I presented the results (Slides are now on slideshare) of the GNOME Census, a project we have been working on for a while. For as long as I have been involved in GNOME, press, analysts, potential partners and advisory board members have been asking us: How big is GNOME? How many paid developers are there? Who writes all this software, and why? […]

  19. Grigorij Says:

    I only convinced that proprietary software is a best way of development. Maybe i’l go to hell for this, but good luck to Microsoft bandits and Apple thugs…)

  20. Andres G. Aragoneses Says:

    m4, that’s totem-pl-parser, not totem ;)

    I also miss Rhythmbox.

  21. Safe as Milk » Blog Archive » GNOME Census report released Says:

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  23. Andres G. Aragoneses Says:

    Hugh, I’m totally blind, totem is there o_O

  24. AdamW on Linux and more » Blog Archive » The success of Ubuntu Says:

    […] succint as I can, as this kind of thinking has gotten me in Big Trouble before, but commenting on Dave’s blog post got me thinking. Has Ubuntu, really, been […]

  25. zen Says:

    Comments about Canonical: You forget that Red Had has magnitude of more employees then Canonical. Canonical has about 200 to 300 employees. But don’t forget Canonical sponsored many conferences and also paid upgrade for Gnome outdated version control system – to better integrate into Lauchpad.

  26. Tollef Fog Heen Says:

    The graph incorrectly lists pkg-config as maintained by Collabora. While it’s true that I’m the maintainer of pkg-config and that I am employed by Collabora, it’s not my Collabora hat that does the maintenance. (I’m sure they’d be happy to let me maintain it during work hours, it’s just never come up.)

    If there’s a next time, it’d be useful to use the same approach as LWN uses, which is to ask each committer how they wish to be counted so you could have avoided this mistake.

  27. Talkers and doers « Larry the Free Software Guy Says:

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  30. Anon Says:

    Is this data over the lifetime of the GNOME repositories or just a snapshot of a few recent years? (I only ask because Eazel is on there and I thought they were most active around 2000)

  31. Jan Wildeboer » Blog Archive » On Contributions – The GNOME Affair Says:

    […] discussion is quite on the roll after Dave Neary gave some insight into who commits how much code to the GNOME […]

  32. Inge Wallin Says:

    Hi Dave,

    It would be interesting to hear what you use as a definition of Gnome. In the slides 12-14, I see a list of contributors to modules that I have to question if they are part of Gnome at all: swfdec, gstreamer, pulseaudio, libxml2, libxslt.

    As far as I know, these are all infrastructure libraries or plugins, and are used just as much by KDE and other desktop environments.

    In slide 22 you actually list some of these as external dependencies along with lots of other modules (including, interestingly enough, clutter).

    So what is the list of modules that in your mind makes up Gnome?

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  45. stenosis Says:

    Canonical contributed alot of new users to the linux world, don’t forget this value.

  46. Chris Says:

    From OMG ubuntu: “Jono Bacon agrees that more commits come from Red Hat but denies that Canonical don’t contribute to open source as a whole. He suggests that applications like Simple Scan, Computer Janitor and the Hardware Drivers tool “could bring real value to GNOME, but they have not been accepted.””

  47. More on the GNOME Census and the Long Tail | Leonardo Fontenelle Says:

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  48. A. Lurker Says:

    I don’t like Ubuntu and think a percent is a miserable portion of contribution of code.

    However, if you look at how many *users* have been contributed to Gnome then perhaps Canonical is in a better light, huh?

    I’m on FVWM and wouldn’t care, but I use a lot of Gnome apps and libs so the data is interesting. Just don’t be too wedded to it.

  49. Leonardo Ferreira Fontenelle: More on the GNOME Census and the Long Tail | Gnu Architecture Says:

    […] just read about Dave Neary’s presentation on the GNOME Census. Given the data, most of what I think is exactly what he wrote on the slides or the blog post. But […]

  50. Miguel Says:

    > Didn’t they switched to Qt like Intel and others too?

    Yep, Nokia and Intel switched to Qt. But they still have plenty of legacy gnome applications to support (the old Maemo and Moblin stuff).

  51. Censo GNOME « Carl Roberson's Says:

    […] Confira os gráficos e detalhes: http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2010/07/28/gnome-census/ […]

  52. Hub Says:

    Where can we download the slides ? (*hint* slideshare requires you to login to do so)

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  71. idol lips Says:

    what is this report for exactly