Interview: Andrew Morton

Linux kernel 2.6 maintainer Andrew Morton shares some insights in this short interview in preparation to FOSDEM 2007.

What do want the audience to remember?

Help people understand what the kernel team are working on, how they do it, what'll be happening over the next year.

Which tools do you use in a typical "kernel maintenance" day?

My crufty old patch-management scripts:

How has your experience been in the SCO v. IBM lawsuit?

I am serving as an expert witness for the IBM side. I'm not supposed to tell you ;)

Last year, you warned about a possible decline in quality of the Linux kernel. What's your current opinion about this issue?

Basically unchanged. I see a large number of bug reports go past, quite a lot of them are recently-added bugs and I don't believe that we're putting sufficient effort into resolving them.

What kind of test procedure happens before a stable kernel version is released?

Public testing: Linus's kernel is available on the servers for about two months during the -rc phase of the release and thousands of people test it and report on any lems (we hope).

How do you see the Linux kernel evolve in the future?

Pretty much as it has over the past few years: steady, but rapid evolution.

What's the current state of the common parvirtualization interface that e.g. Xen depends on?

It's coming together. I'd expect support for Xen's "Domain U" function to be merged in 2.6.21 or 2.6.22.

How is your contact with the different "commercial entities" that have an interest in the Linux kernel?

Pretty good, I think. One of the reasons I retain a relationship with OSDL (Now the Linux Foundation) is that they facilitate contacts between myself and the industry.

Do you plan to work on something particular while at FOSDEM?

I'll only be in Brussels for a couple of days.

Kristian Høgsberg from Red Hat, who will also speak at FOSDEM, metioned that he is currently rewriting the FireWire stack. Do you agree that this is needed?

Firewire doesn't have a happy history - it's been fairly unreliable for quite some time. But Stefan Richter has been doing a wonderful job of maintaining it in the past year and I think things are getting better there.

You can't blame us for trying, but... what is special about Google's Linux kernel version?

Nothing magical. A lot of Google's machines run rather old kernels and the company is making an effort to update, and to stay closer to mainline.

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This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.