Today, the blog Chromium Notes, which is written by a developer who works on the open source project (that Google Chrome is built on top of), posted a very interesting graph: one that shows the number of code commits to WebKit. Notably, it appears that Google has overtaken Apple as the organization that contributes the most commits to the open source project.
Now, the author is quick to point out the caveats of the graph (and does so for four paragraphs), and notes that he was hesitant to even publish it because of how easy it is to misinterpret. The graph, while it shows commits, doesn’t weigh more important ones versus less important ones. Nor does it in any way measure the ways in which companies or individuals contribute to WebKit in other meaningful ways. That said, it does clearly show that in late 2009, Google surpassed Apple as the company that now contributes the most (again, in terms of commits) to the project.
WebKit is the open source web browser engine that both Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome browsers (among others) are built on top of. As such, it should be obvious why both are so heavily involved in the project (others on the graph include Nokia and BlackBerry maker RIM).
The graph ranges from 2007 to the present. According to it, on November 15, 2009 Google surpassed Apple in number of commits for the first time. Google has been ahead ever since, and the gap between the two appears to be growing. That said, the two big spikes for Apple came during major releases of Safari, so when Apple releases another version, it could spike up ahead of Google once again.
I’ve included a picture of the graph below (Apple is the blue line, Google is green, “Other” is purple, Nokia is gold, and RIM is light blue). But be sure to check it out on Chromium Notes’ site as you can drill-down to see more detail there. The author has also posted the code for the graph on github.