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LinuxCon Brazil: Q&A with Linus and Andrew

Sep 14, 2010, 13:06 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Linus Torvalds rarely makes appearances at conferences, and it's even less common for him to get up in front of the crowd and speak. He made an exception for LinuxCon Brazil, though, where he and Andrew Morton appeared in a question and answer session led by Linux Foundation director Jim Zemlin. The resulting conversation covered many aspects of kernel development, its processes, and its history.

"Jim started things off by asking: did either Linus or Andrew ever expect Linux to get so big? Linus did not; he originally wrote the kernel as a stopgap project which he expected to throw away when something better came along. Between the GNU Project and various efforts in the BSD camp, he thought that somebody would surely make a more capable and professional kernel. Meanwhile, Linux was a small thing for his own use. But, in the end, nothing better ever did come along. [Andrew Morton] Andrew added that, as a kernel newbie (he has "only" been hacking on it for ten years), he has less of a long-term perspective on things. But, to him, the growth of Linux has truly been surprising.

"How, Jim asked, do they handle the growth of the kernel? Andrew responded that, as the kernel has grown, the number of developers has expanded as well. Responsibility has been distributed over time, so that he and Linus are handling a smaller proportion of the total work. Distributors have helped a lot with the quality assurance side of things. At this point, Andrew says, responsibilities have shifted to where the kernel community provides the technology, but others take it from there and turn it into an actual product."

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