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Most sysadmins need to know lots of different config file syntaxes, protocols, security etc. As a result they are unlikely to be that familiar with C, also there is a massive learning curve with knowing how the kernel works and how to fix it (I've tried). People who know much about the linux kernels and the low level in gerernal are in increasing short supply as more and more students gradate only knowing high level languages and concepts and then following careers in that direction. Also when your employed to run 100 or 1000s of servers it's probably for something business critical, so the employeer pays lots to RedHat and other for support, which in turn pays for kernel devs.

In contrast, for example, a PHP programmer who probably does PHP day-in-day out and not much else is going to find it pretty easy to fix a bug in a PHP framework him/herself and therefore his/her employer doesn't need to pay a big support contract. If problems are found they are probably in the development phase and if the team can't work around them, I would expect any number of freelancers could pick up the problem and fix it.

Basically I'm saying it's supply and demand.

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