David A. Wheeler's Blog

Tue, 12 Oct 2004

New essay: “Linux Kernel 2.6: It’s Worth More!”

In response to a posting by Jeff V. Merkey, Ingo Molnar used my tool SLOCCount to estimate the effort it would take to redevelop Linux kernel version 2.6. Molnar’s rough estimate found it would cost $176M (US) to redevelop the Linux kernel using traditional proprietary approaches. I thought it was an interesting way to respond, but I knew that the defaults in SLOCCount are probably not the best for the Linux kernel itself. After all, an operating system kernel is much more complicated and difficult to implement than most programs, and although there are ways to account for that, SLOCCount by default doesn’t do so. By using a more detailed cost model and much more information about the Linux kernel, I created another effort estimate that refines Molnar’s work. Bottom line: I believe the current Linux kernel 2.6 would take closer to $612M (US) to redevelop.

For more information, including some comments on what it all means, see my essay Linux Kernel 2.6: It’s Worth More! Feel free to also look at my related paper More than a Gigabuck: Estimating GNU/Linux’s Size.

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