Recommended reading: L.T. about the Linux kernel.

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


The story of the Linux kernel
Linus Torvalds explains what makes the Linux kernel great

In this excerpt from O'Reilly & Associates' newly-released book
"Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution," Linus Torvalds
explains some of the key architectural decisions he made in bringing
the Linux kernel to its present state. (5,000 words)

Keeping the kernel healthy

With a monolithic kernel such as the Linux kernel, it's important
to be very cautious about allowing new code and new features into
the kernel. These decisions can affect a number of things later on
in the development cycle beyond the core kernel work.

The first very basic rule is to avoid interfaces. If someone wants
to add something that involves a new system interface you need to be
exceptionally careful. Once you give an interface to users they will
start coding to it and once somebody starts coding to it you are stuck
with it. Do you want to support the exact same interface for the
rest of your system's life?

Other code is not so problematic. If it doesn't have an interface,
say a disk driver, there isn't much to think about; you can just add
a new disk driver with little risk. If Linux didn't have that driver
before, adding it doesn't hurt anyone already using Linux,
and opens Linux to some new users. 

The complete article is available online at


[Index of Archives]     [Linux for the Blind]     [Fedora]     [Kernel List]     [Red Hat Install]     [Red Hat Watch List]     [Red Hat Development]     [Gimp]     [Yosemite News]     [Big List of Linux Books]