1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Where to get Linux source code?

Discussion in 'Linux / Unix Discussion' started by tech291083, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. tech291083

    tech291083 Bit Poster


    i have just started learning linux with a recent installation of fedora 5. i am wondering if some one can tell me more about how linux source code is managed and by who. how one can download it and modify it. what is the approximate number of programmers involved in developing it around the world. who checks the developed code by community and who checks for bugs etc. thanks. i hope it is not a stupid question and i apolosize if i have posted the question in a wrong forum. every body using windows knows about its development and marketing ie the company microsoft behind it all, but people like me would surely like to have a bit of info on how linux is managed and developed etc. thanks my friends.
  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    This is a big subject. First - exactly how/who etc depends on the distro. And there is a lot of cross-fertilization between the distros.

    In terms of numbers of people - probably in the hundreds of thousands or more - but there is no way of doing a count.

    Strictly - Linux really means the core kernal itself, and AFAIK Linus still controls that. But many think of Linux as more than that, and include all the GNU stuff and other contributed packages.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  3. Sandy

    Sandy Ex-Member



    By the people who's distro it is.

    it is sat on your PC all you need to do is VI the file or use your favorite editor. Yes you can modify it. We do it all the time.

    I've no idea how many "offical" programmers there are but everybody can do it. We all report bugs and stuff.

    The only stupid question is one that is not asked.
  4. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    Well, this isn't true in most cases. Yes, the source code is on all machines for the scripts installed on that machine, but not for the installed binaries. The only Linux distro that I know of that compiles all apps from source code on the local machine is Gentoo, so they are the only distro I know of on which it's most likely possible to find the source code for all software on the machine by default. Most distro's install only the binaries when you install software from their reposititories using their package management tools, but it's also possible to download the source code for everything right down to the kernel for all software except for things like Nvidia and ATI drivers, programs like Adobe Reader, Skype, etc... that are proprietary software written for Linux.

    As to the source code itself each distro has it's own developers, but they mainly make sure the software will run in their distro. They aren't, many times anyway, the actual developer who wrote the software to begin with and who maintains the original code. These developers are called the "upstream" developers who are the ones that add features, patch vulnerabilities, etc... to the program itself such as the Firefox developers.

    Take, for instance, Firefox, as released by Debian. It has some changes made to the source code so that it will abide by Debian rules. Then it is compiled and a .deb file is created using the binary created from compilation. That's what is installed on a Debian box when Firefox is installed. If you want the source code for Firefox you have to install that separately.

    It's a misunderstanding of the GPL to say that all source code is on a Linux machine. The GPL says that source code has to be freely available if you're distributing binaries from that source code, not that the source code must be distributed at the same time as the binaries are.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1

Share This Page