This question is similar to this one: What unique features has Ubuntu brought to the Linux community? but in this case it is directed towards what has Ubuntu contributed to the official Linux Kernel.

Many times I have heared about Intel contributing patches to the Linux Kernel like the RC6 latest patches and many more related to recent support for Sandy/Ivy Bridge. In another group, Android did an upstream patch and a lot of ARM patches have also come to the Linux Kernel.

I have seeing a small percent of companies and groups that have contributed to the Linux Kernel (http://kernel.org) but what I want to know is, since the beginning of Ubuntu till now, what has Ubuntu contributed to the Linux Kernel in regards to any aspect of the kernel.

For Kernel information I typically go to http://kernelnewbies.org and http://kernel.org

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    Lets keep this Question to facts please - no discussion about pro's and con's about canonical not "contributing this that or the other" etc - otherwise this will be subject to closure. – fossfreedom Mar 31 '12 at 22:35
  • How is the Ubuntu kernel different from Debian....this question is debatable – Ringtail Apr 1 '12 at 0:55
  • +1 fossfreedom. Thanks for the clear up. Yes this have to be concrete answers that involve facts that can be proved. Not pro/con stuff. – Luis Alvarado Apr 1 '12 at 2:04
  • It would be nice to see a list of ubuntu specific changes that later got adopted upstream...I'm entirely unsure of a good way to find that data though. – RobotHumans Apr 1 '12 at 10:13
  • This question is unanswerable, since you are not required to state which distribution you use when submitting a patch. – htorque Apr 1 '12 at 14:38

I'm not sure this is really the best way to measure Ubuntu's contributions to the free software world, but it's easy enough to look:

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    Amazing andrewsomething. THAT is what I was looking for. Ubuntu/Canonical or whatever anyone wants to call them patches that are from devs that develop in this ecosystem. Many thanks. I bet it took quite the work to find that. – Luis Alvarado Apr 1 '12 at 23:15

There's some data provided by Greg Kroah-Hartman in his talk "The Linux Ecosystem, what it is and where do you fit in it?" for the Linux Plumbers Conference 2008. While you can find a synthesis of the talk here, the slides are not available, so you can watch the video.

These are figures from 2008, but I'm sure these had not changed much:

    Amateurs: 17%
    Red Hat: 11.9%
    Unknown: 8.3%
    IBM: 7.8%
    Novell: 7.3%
    Intel: 4.4%
    Consultants: 2.1%
    Oracle: 1.9%
    Linux Foundation: 1.8%
    SGI: 1.8%

And, after a correction about the number of patches canonical has contributed, they appear with a 00.10068% of all of the kernel development, or 100 patches(remember, 2008).

AFAIK, every patch comes with an the author's associated email, which allows to know the origin of it (@canonical.com, @debian.org), so there is a difference between Debian and Ubuntu in this matter. Also, take this with a grain of salt, there's more than a way to measure contributions to the Linux ecosystem than just measuring the kernel.

  • Very good info Gerardo. I liked the video about hartman – Luis Alvarado Apr 2 '12 at 14:49

The following adds the perspective of Canonical's motives. Not a direct answer to the original question but IMO a vital piece of information. Let us hear what the main man, Mark Shuttleworth, has to say about this http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2168086/canonical-linux-kernel "Recently Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth told The INQUIRER that his company has no interest in contributing to the Linux kernel"

Rather silly statement considering the fact that the power regressionS (plural!) rendered most linux distros, including Ubuntu, practically unusable on many machines.

  • Just to comment on this for people that might not read the whole thing but you do know you are backfiring you own answer with that link and commenting only what "looks" like a bad rep for Canonical. If anybody reads the whole thing and not apply a tl;dr answer (And also read other sources) they would find that Mr Shuttleworth mentions this as a result of several things, one, the amount of developers in Canonical compared to Red Hat for example, and two, the objective of Canonical which is more of the end user side than the kernel. The comment below has 2 links that point to good information. – Luis Alvarado May 24 '12 at 21:04
  • Contribution to the Open Source: askubuntu.com/questions/117757/… Comparison of Ubuntu in Kernel Development (Spanish): usemoslinux.blogspot.com/2012/04/… One part stands out, Canonical employees: ~130. Red Hat Employees: ~2200. Lastly: muktware.com/news/3510/why-ubuntu-not-contributing-linux-or-it This is to clear up on the whole Canonical not contributing FUD that has been circulating. You can create your conclusions based on that so that it helps understand how canonical helps. – Luis Alvarado May 24 '12 at 21:10
  • My answer contains both - the motives (positive aspect of Canonical's work) and the culprit which is that Canonical didn't contribute even in the case of kernel bugs crippling Ubuntu experience for many. So in summary you get the positive - Canonical puts user experience and ease of use first - and the negative - in case of something bad happening in the kernel Canonical won't be there to help. Also, if you're in favor of the bigger picture, consider the time the kernel power regressionS were present. Wasn't it almost two years? One at least... – Bucic May 25 '12 at 8:59

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