In 2012, developers hacking LibreOffice code have been around 320, with a majority of volunteers and a minority of people paid by companies such as SUSE, RedHat and Canonical (plus a multitude of smaller organizations such as Lanedo, which is also a member of our Advisory Board and builds a significant part of its business by providing development related value added services on top of LibreOffice code).
The graphic visualization of the individual commits has the shape of a “long tail“. The pie is an explosion of the work done by the top 33 hackers with 100+ commits: 16 volunteers, and 17 paid developers (11 from SUSE, 5 from RedHat and one from Canonical). At TDF, we do not have “paid volunteers” because we love transparency and truth.
If you are not familiar with the importance of the “long tail”, especially for free software projects, you might get some interesting insights from the following TED speech, by Clay Shirky:
Clay Shirky has inspired the work of Chris Anderson on the long tail (article, book and blog) with his 2003 essay “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality“, which is a very interesting reading.