The two academics, Jesus Garcia-Garcia and Isabel Alonso de Magdaleno, estimated the cost of replacing the kernel at current European prices using the Constructive Cost Model 81 algorithm, often used to estimate the cost of traditional commercial software projects.
According to their calculations, it would take almost 1,000 developers approximately 14 years to recreate the open source operating system, at an average salary of just over 31,000 euros. Interestingly, the cost of development has risen sharply in recent years, growing from around 100m euros in 2005 to 225m euros in 2008. This reflects both the growing complexity of kernel development, and the general rise in software development costs throughout the Eurozone.
The researchers end with the claim that the thought experiment is not intended to determine the actual value of the software, but to give policymakers a greater appreciation of the potential benefits of community-based collaboration.
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