AMD vs. Intel Contributions To The Linux Kernel Over The Past Decade
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 23 January 2020 at 09:30 AM EST. 20 Comments
HARDWARE --
Driven by curiosity sake, here is a look at how the total number of AMD and Intel developers contributed to the upstream Linux kernel during the 2010s as well as the total number of commits each year from the respective hardware vendors.

These numbers were obtained by looking at the Linux kernel commits in Git from AMD.com and Intel.com addresses. Granted, sometimes developers from both companies will use their personal email addresses rather than the corporate ones, but for this comparison is looking solely at the Git commits from the respective corporate domains.


When it comes to the number of unique email addresses from each corporate domain over the years, both companies have ramped up their Linux efforts during the 2010s... Intel peaked at 449 developers in 2016 while receded a bit in recent years. There had been some minor Intel open-source layoffs that could explain the decline over the past three years. Intel is also reportedly going through some layoffs currently including in their software/SSP group, so we'll see if the 2020 numbers end up lower this time next year.

AMD's number of developers committing to the upstream Linux kernel has really went up in recent years. The AMD increase has largely been on the graphics side since the AMDGPU driver matured a lot and became the basis for not only their open-source driver stack but also their Pro (closed-source) Radeon Software Linux driver too. There are also a lot of commits flowing into AMDGPU from new faces in recent years as a result of the DC (formerly DAL) code that is shared with their proprietary Windows driver. All of the DAL code churn has really ramped up the number of new developers and overall commit counts.

On the CPU side, their Linux team is still running quite a tight ship ever since the shutdown of the AMD Operating System Research Center over a decade ago. AMD also relies upon their partners at SUSE and elsewhere for some of their upstream open-source work. But given AMD's recent successes, hopefully we'll be seeing more kernel activity from them with time and ideally more developers.


When it comes to a total commit count by domain, on the Intel side it peaked in 2016 when they also had their record number of kernel developers contributing. Intel overall though remains one of the biggest companies contributing to the upstream Linux kernel. AMD's commit count has been roughly the same for the past three years, again largely driven by their AMDGPU graphics work. It will be interesting to see how 2020 plays out thanks to all of the work Intel is doing on their Xe Graphics as well as enabling other new hardware platforms that are coming up. On the AMD side, their developers remain very busy as well and hopefully will be a record-setting year for them.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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