Linus Torvalds says that becoming major contributor to the Linux kernel is like getting into a secret society.
You need to know the right people, you need to obey the rules and not try to make some bold moves too early. Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk , Torvalds said that, while it is relatively easy for coders and organizations to contribute small patches, the contribution of large patches, developed in isolation, could lead to both new and established contributors becoming frustrated.
Big contributions are harder because the kernel is quite complex and it inevitably simply takes time to learn all the rules. Newer developers have a tougher time, because it is a while before people start recognizing the name and start trusting them to do the right things. However, Torvalds claims it was fairly easy for people to ease into kernel development. Thousands of people have patches attributed to them in each release.