The linear character of the polarization of the luminescence in porous Si is studied experimentally, and the corresponding luminescence characteristics in quantum wires are studied theoretically using a quantum cylindrical model in the framework of the effective-mass theory. From the experimental and theoretical results it is concluded that there is a stronger linear polarization parallel to the wire direction than there is perpendicular to the wire, and that it is connected with the valence band structure in quantum confinement in two directions. The theoretical photoluminescence spectra of the parallel and perpendicular polarization directions, and the degree of polarization as functions of the radius of the wire and the temperature are obtained for In0.53Ga0.47As quantum wires and porous silicon. From the theory, we demonstrated that the degree of polarization decreases with increasing temperature and radius, and that this effect is more apparent for porous Si. The theoretical results are in good agreement with the experimental results for the InGaAs quantum wires, and in qualitative agreement with those for the porous silicon.