|By Nicholas Petreley||
|February 6, 2002 12:00 AM EST||
(LinuxWorld) -- Linux is in greater demand every day. People want to run Linux on everything from wristwatches to mainframes. Thankfully, the core kernel developers aren't burdened with the responsibility of making Linux run on a wristwatch, but they do have to deal with desktop and server demands. People want the kernel to accommodate more processors, different hardware architectures, more types of I/O, more robust and complex network support and filtering, not to mention emerging hardware peripherals ranging from InfiniBand special-purpose high-speed network adapters to cheap digital cameras.
Talented programmers addressed these issues. They submited patches, which they felt were dropped into a black hole. They felt ignored, and, in some cases, they are right. Some ISVs feel as if the core kernel developers are an exclusive club that resents and rejects contributions from outside the inner circle, especially from organizations where capitalism is involved. I don't know if that's true (I doubt it), but the perception can be destructive.
Many people have offered various suggestions on how to improve the process of accepting and integrating kernel patches. I don't have space to tackle them all, and I doubt if my endorsement would make any difference. I do have a bit of advice for those who have more influence on the process. (If you're interested in reading up on all the ideas being tossed around, visit one of the many Linux kernel mailing list archives. You can find links for two of them at http://www.kernel.org/.)
Free advice for free softwareMuch of the discussion is politically motivated, and some of the antipathy is based on personality conflicts. Some of the suggestions are purely logistic in nature, for example, that kernel developers should use a more intelligent means of submitting and applying patches than the patch and diff utilities.
It appears Linus Torvalds is doing just that. Earlier this week he announced he started using BitKeeper, a distributed source management system. He wrote in his weekly kernel update, "...I've spent about a week trying to change my working habits and scripting bitkeeper enough to (a) import a good revision controlled tree into it from the 2.4.x and 2.5.x patch-archives and (b) try to actually accept patches directly into bitkeeper."
This is good news. BitKeeper isn't an instant panacea, however. "Quite frankly, so far it has definitely made me slower -- it took me basically a week to get about 50 patches applied, but most of that time by far was writing scripts and just getting used to the thing," Torvalds writes. "I expect to be a bit slower to react to patches for a while yet, until the scripts are better."
As great as BitKeeper might be and as wonderful as Torvalds has proven, we need to keep these two facts in mind:
- Linus Torvalds is not God
- The Linux kernel is open source, and it is licensed under the GPL
It is difficult for me to criticize the way Linus Torvalds folded patches into the Linux kernel in the past. Anyone who is tempted to do so should remember how much we Linux users owe to the talent and years of hard work of Torvalds.
Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, allow me to assume the worst. Suppose Linus deliberately ignores patches from some people, and in so doing occasionally works against the best interest of all Linux developers and users. Suppose Linus rejects some patches, not because the patches are without merit but because they come from IBM or HP employees, and he doesn't want those companies to have any influence on the kernel.
Or, how about this? What if BitKeeper is using the worst tool for collecting patches, evaluating them, and applying them? What if BitKeeper is perfectly fine but Torvalds uses it incorrectly? What if he never "gets used to the thing"?
I seriously doubt the situation is nearly as bad as these worst-case scenarios, but it is likely that there is an element of truth to at least some of these claims. Why? Because Linus Torvalds is not God. He has a finite ego, IQ, energy level, attention span, and suffers to some degree from all of the other human limitations you and I share. He is predisposed to handling things one way and not another. It is possible that his way was the best way when the kernel was smaller and more manageable, but it is no longer the best way. In other words, it may be true that regardless of the source management tools he uses, the Linux kernel has outgrown Linus Torvalds.
If so, there is still one more thing you can do. Remember that the Linux kernel is open source.
If you can set up a system that manages the progress of the Linux kernel better than Linus can, then go for it. Linus Torvalds may be able to stop you from calling your kernel "Linux," but he can't stop you from taking the kernel as it exists today and doing a better job advancing it. If you're worried that kernel developers simply won't cooperate with you out of a sense of loyalty to Linus, then keep reminding them that Linus Torvalds is not God. Eventually it will sink in.
Okay, now. Any takers?
If not, then I have one last bit of advice. Keep on making suggestions on how to improve the process. In the meantime, try to work with Linus the way he prefers to do things, whether you think he's right or not.
PostscriptIn case you're wondering, here's how I feel about the current branches of development on the Linux kernel. I haven't been very happy with the Linus-managed 2.5 branch as of late. It usually doesn't even compile on my system. Dave Jones is aggressive about cleaning up the problems with the 2.5 branch and merging fixes and features from other branches. Jones' patches usually compile for me (although they make it difficult, but not impossible, for me to use the NVidia accelerated driver). You have to be pretty daring to mess with any of the 2.5 branches, whether they're from Linus or Dave. I run the unstable branch of Debian, so I tend to take risks in order to learn more about Linux, but I'm not comfortable running any of the 2.5 kernels yet except as a short experiment.
I miss the frequency with which Alan Cox improved and experimented with the 2.4 branch, so I was very happy to see Alan post some patches to the 2.4.18-pre tree. I'm currently running 2.4.18-pre7-ac2, which has been working great.
Whenever Linus reaches a reasonably stable point in his kernel branch, I usually find myself going back to one of his versions. Whether I do so in the future is uncertain, which is as it should be. It all depends on who does it best.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Jul. 5, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,103
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and high availability solutions, leveraging the cloud and the benefits of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS...
Jul. 5, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 523
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Jul. 4, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 321
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 4, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 328
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Jul. 4, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 336
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is corr...
Jul. 4, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 398
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
Jul. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 300
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 4, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 445
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Jul. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 288
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,104
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Jul. 4, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 254
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Jul. 4, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 295
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 4, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 238
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 3, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,301
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,236
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jun. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,570
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jun. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,060
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jun. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,536
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jun. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,649
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,692