Saturday, October 20, 2007

How Linux Is Testing The Limits Of Open Source Development

As the latest release of the Linux kernel emerged this month, it reflected a dizzying number of changes. Kernel 2.6.23, coming just three months after the last update, incorporated business-friendly features, including better virtualization support and an update to the all-important scheduler, as well as the usual new device drivers and bug fixes.
The sheer number of changes coming every two to three months from Linus Torvalds' "code tree" is a sign of accelerating kernel development.

Some think the kernel, clocked at 86 lines of new code per hour, is exceeding the software development speed limit. A key maintainer, Alan Cox, has warned that some device driver changes should get more testing before being incorporated into the kernel. Andrew Morton, a skilled programmer dubbed "the colonel of the kernel" after Torvalds tapped him as a general manager, has been outspoken on the problem of unfixed bugs in Linux. "I would like to see people spending more time fixing bugs and less time on new features," Morton says. "That's my personal opinion."

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