Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Kernel Changes Draw Concern

Filed under
Linux

Members of the open-source community are expressing concern over rapid feature changes in the Linux 2.6 kernel, which they say are too focused on the desktop and could make the kernel too large.

Sam Greenblatt, a senior vice president at Computer Associates International Inc., in Islandia, N.Y., said that while the kernel is evolving for the desktop, server and embedded markets, more and more technology is being included, and the kernel is "getting fatter. We are not interested in the game drivers and music drivers that are being added to the kernel. We are interested in a more stable kernel."

Morton, who works for Open Source Development Labs Inc., in Beaverton, Ore., said there is no formal road map for an enterprise Linux feature set since the development of those technologies rests largely with vendors such as Red Hat Inc., IBM, Novell Inc. and CA.

"We are pumping feature changes into the kernel at an enormous rate," said Andrew Morton, the current maintainer of the Linux 2.6 kernel.

Still, Morton took issue with Greenblatt's contention, saying that most new features are optional and that their use is at the discretion of organizations compiling their builds of the kernel.

Morton said new features should continue to be added to the stable 2.6 tree rather than forming a new 2.7 development tree.

Critics of the development process point to growing competition among vendors to get code for new features accepted. But Morton maintains that the competition is healthy because it helps top-level kernel developers understand what subfeatures are required and what other users need.

On the enterprise front, Morton said he expects to merge code from Cambridge University's Computer Laboratories' Xen virtualization technology into the Linux kernel within the next few months. Xen "does the right thing technically," unlike other technologies, which are mainly workarounds for the fact that the operating system is not appropriately licensed, Morton said.

But CA's Greenblatt disagreed, saying that other virtualization technologies, such as one from VMware Inc., in Palo Alto, Calif., currently fill the virtualization role.

"We would be happy to see a true hypervisor [an application that allows multiple operating systems to run concurrently on the same physical server]. We think [Xen] is great innovation, but its concept of virtualization is still not to the point that we want to see in there," Greenblatt said.

Ian Pratt, a Xen project leader at Cambridge University, in England, said that Xen is indeed a true hypervisor.

"It runs on the bare metal and provides protected virtual environments for guest operating systems running on top of it," Pratt said. "Because of the paravirtualized approach, where we make some modifications to the guest operating systems, we've been able to allow the hypervisor and Linux to work in a more cooperative fashion."

On the issue of adding more clustering technology to the kernel, Morton said he hopes that clustering teams are working on factoring out common components for a merge into the mainline kernel.

InfiniBand, a channel-based, switch-fabric architecture from Topspin Communications Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., which was acquired last week by Cisco Systems Inc. , has already been moved into the kernel, Morton said, adding that the other InfiniBand stakeholders "seemed fine" with that decision.

Pratt said the Xen team is working with InfiniBand vendors to ensure that InfiniBand channels can be extended into guest operating systems running over Xen in an efficient yet fully protected manner.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

more of today's howtos

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

Microsoft Begs, Bugs, and Bug Doors

  • Don't install our buggy Windows 10 Creators Update, begs Microsoft
    Microsoft has urged non-tech-savvy people – or anyone who just wants a stable computer – to not download and install this year's biggest revision to Windows by hand. And that's because it may well bork your machine. It's been two weeks since Microsoft made its Creators Update available, and we were previously warned it will be a trickle-out rather than a massive rollout. Now, Redmond has urged users to stop manually fetching and installing the code, and instead wait for it to be automatically offered to your computer when it's ready.
  • Microsoft Word flaw took so long to fix that hackers used it to send fraud software to millions of computers
    A flaw in Microsoft Word took the tech giant so long to fix that hackers were able to use it to send fraud software to millions of computers, it has been revealed. The security flaw, officially known as CVE-2017-0199, could allow a hacker to seize control of a personal computer with little trace, and was fixed on April 11 in Microsoft's regular monthly security update - nine months after it was discovered.

FOSS Licensing (and Lack Thereof)

  • Portugal to harmonise usability of govt portals
    All of the code, information and tools are made available for reuse.
  • JRC: ‘Releasing code without a licence hinders reuse’
    Projects that publish source code without a licence weaken the reusability of their code, warns Stefano Gentile, a copyright and trademark specialist working for the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). Currently just 20 % of all projects published on GitHub, one of the most popular source code sharing platforms, have selected a licence for their work - down from about 60% in 2008, Gentile said, quoting numbers published in 2015 by GitHub.
  • React to React
    The Additional Grant of Patent Rights is a patent license grant that includes certain termination criteria. These termination criteria are not entirely unprecedented when you look at the history of patent license provisions in OSI-approved licenses, but they are certainly broader than the termination criteria [or the equivalent] in several familiar modern licenses (the Apache License 2.0, EPL, MPL 2.0, and GPLv3).
  • BetConstruct declares the source code for its front-end as open source
    The project is distributed under MIT license.