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Ch@nnelWeb: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It - Q&A with Red Hat's Bob Young

Jan 30, 2001, 18:20 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paula Rooney)

"CRN's Paula Rooney interviews Red Hat Co-founder and Chairman Robert Young about Linus Torvalds' leadership of the Linux kernel, the state of the industry and challenges for Linux in 2001."

"CRN: Do you think there should be a formal advisory board or organization set up to oversee the Linux kernel?

Young: It's a good question, but I'm not sure if anyone can give you a solid answer. On the face of it, it looks like it benefits [the kernel]. But if it's not broken, don't fix it. There may be a better structure for building the kernel, but we don't perceive there is a problem as it is currently being built. There's a more formal structure than it appears from the outside. While it's perceived as a Torvalds kernel, it's much more structured. Linus [Torvalds] works as a chairman, but over a fixed core of team members. Linus may be the only guy not working full-time, given his responsibilities at Transmeta. There are scenarios under which [a formal body] might work, but the model works well today, and Linus being a part of chip design [at Transmeta] is a good thing because it gives him insight as to what the hardware guys need."

"CRN: Over time, don't you think it's likely top officials in the Linux industry will have to bow to companies such as IBM, which is investing the most--and taking the greatest risk -- in making Linux a commercial success? Do you really think IBM won't try to apply pressure to Torvalds and his team?

Young: Yes it will happen, and Linus will forward the e-mail to VA Linux Systems and say, 'Is this a good idea?' The Linux community won't cater to the needs of IBM. IBM will have to figure out what they want to add to the kernel. Linux has so much momentum and a number of companies are building products and marketing using open source--and that marks the success of this model. Red Hat, Intel and others are working like dogs to make sure none of those bad things happen."

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