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Linus on Linux: The Linus Torvalds Interview Part 1

Apr 23, 2009, 16:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Don Marti)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"LM: Before Linux, nobody would have believed that the same kernel would be running supercomputers and cell phones. Do you think you'll always be able to maintain one codebase that works on phones and other tiny devices and on very large servers, and just let people configure it at build time?

"LT: Personally I wouldn't even say "before Linux". For the longest time "after Linux" I told people inside SGI that they should accept the fact that they'd always have to maintain some extra patches that wouldn't be acceptable to the rest of the Linux crowd just because nobody else cared about scaling quite that high up.

"So I basically promised them that I'd merge as much infrastructure patches as possible so that their final external maintenance patch-set would be as painfree to maintain as possible. But I didn't really expect that we'd support four-thousand-CPU configurations in the base kernel, simply because I thought it would be too invasive and cause too many problems for the common case.

"And the thing is, at the time I thought that, I was probably right. But as time went on, we merged more and more of the support, and cleaned up things so that the code that supports thousands of CPU's would look fine and also compile down to something simple and efficient even if you only had a few cores."

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