IBM developerWorks: An interview with Jon “maddog” Hall, Part 2 – Size and diversity in Linux distributions

[ Thanks to Alberto
for this link. ]

Jon “maddog” Hall shares his thoughts with developerWorks’
Alberto Tomita on the increasing size of Linux distributions, the
virtues of Linus’ iron-hand rule over the kernel, the Linux
Standard Base project, and what would happen if Microsoft went open

“It’s been a year since developerWorks’ previous interview with
maddog on Linux software development and the latest from Linux
International. In this second interview, we asked maddog for a
rough outline of what he thinks is in store for the growing group
of Linux distributions and their relationship to the kernel. If
only because of his thirty-odd years on the job, maddog has a
pretty solid shot at prophesying the future of Linux.”

“Linux has come a long way since its floppy disc days.
Distributions are now big enough to fill a CD-ROM or even a DVD.
How do you see this growth?”

“Hall: First of all, it depends on what you call “Linux.” Linux
is in reality the kernel of the operating system. And although the
Linux kernel has become bigger, it still can be tailored down to be
very small. The bulk of the kernel consists of device drivers. So
you have people looking at Linux for embedded systems, where they
can get the kernel down to 100 KB, which is extremely small.”

“Most of what you’re seeing on the CD are things like
application programs, people putting in graphical programs to do
systems administration work, an accumulation of various open source
projects. Things like Gimp and Wine (see Resources later in this
article), all of which are causing the expansion of Linux in terms
of size.”


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