The Linux kernel – the core of the Linux operating system – is the result of one of the largest and most successful cooperative software projects ever attempted

Linux is the world’s most dominant operating system. Launched in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, it’s the gold standard of user-led open source innovation, representing Linus’ desire for an OS that he could run on his personal computer. Since those early days, developers from large hardware companies to small emerging technology providers have contributed to Linux, building solutions that run on top of the open-source OS.

Between 2005 and 2016, more than 14,000 individual developers from more than 1,300 companies contributed to the Linux kernel project. In an industry that features fierce competition between companies, it’s amazing to see a project with common, shared resources developed on a massive scale. Regular two-to-three month releases deliver stable updates to Linux users, adding significant new features, enhanced device support, and improved performance. The rate of change in the kernel has been historically high, and continues to increase – more than 10,000 patches often go into each kernel release. Each release contains the work of more than 1,600 developers, representing 200+ companies worldwide. But this cooperation isn’t just limited to the Linux kernel. In 2005, the world saw the rise of the powerful Git revision control tool. When BitKeeper no longer met the Linux kernel community’s need for a distributed system, Linus Torvalds took the challenge into his own hands. Disappearing over the weekend to build a new tool, he emerged with Git, software that has ushered in a new level of social coding among developers. Git forms the basis of GitHub, the single largest open-source repository online today. Together, Linux and Git – both created by Linus Torvalds – are the two most highly rated open-source projects in history. But let’s step back to the early days of this project