“Linus Torvalds and other kernel developers sat down for a
question and answer session at the first LinuxCon Europe. Lennart
Poettering, creator of PulseAudio and systemd, served as moderator
for the panel, which consisted of Torvalds, Alan Cox, Thomas
Gleixner, and Paul McKenney. The four took prepared questions from
Poettering, as well as responding to impromptu audience member
questions on every topic from version numbers to the future of the
kernel project itself.
Torvalds added that he used to keep ancient binaries around
— including the very first shells written for Linux, which
used APIs that were deprecated within months — to test
against each new kernel release, just to make sure that old code
continued to run. API stability is important, he said, but it flows
out of not breaking the user experience. “No project is more
important than the users of that project,” he summarized.