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NewsForge: 2.4 kernel: How are decisions made on what goes into the kernel?

Feb 13, 2001, 07:24 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dylan Griffiths)

"The Linux kernel is the center of every Linux distribution. It is the foundation upon which the userland (the programs and environment you use to interact with the system) is built. The source code which goes into it is very special -- any bugs it has will affect every part of the system, perhaps even destroying the work of the user. How do changes happen inside of it? How are decisions made about the direction that the kernel will take?"

"The Linux kernel is split into many parts. The largest division is that of the core kernel code and the device drivers. The core kernel code is divided further into subsystems. Some subsystems contain architecture-specific code, whereas most device drivers are not architecture specific. By the kernel being divided in this way, many people can share the work of maintaining the kernel by watching over specific parts. Each device driver has a person who is responsible for it; each subsystem of the kernel core has a maintainer which monitors its development...."

"You may be wondering how a tree maintainer decides on a direction for the kernel; where their vision comes from. It comes from the users. The users ask for features, report bugs that interfere with their work, and generally provide feedback about what the kernel is doing for them. Based on this, and personal motivation, the tree maintainer decides on a set of concrete goals for the kernel. This is their vision."

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