Feeds

Linus calls Linux 'bloated and huge'

No diet plan in sight

Seven Steps to Software Security

LinuxCon 2009 Linux creator Linus Torvalds says the open source kernel has become "bloated and huge," with no midriff-slimming diet plan in sight.

During a roundtable discussion at LinuxCon in Portland, Oregon this afternoon, moderator and Novell distinguished engineer James Bottomley asked Tovalds whether Linux kernel features were being released too fast, before the kernel is stabilized.

Citing an internal Intel study that tracked kernel releases, Bottomley said Linux performance had dropped about two per centage points at every release, for a cumulative drop of about 12 per cent over the last ten releases. "Is this a problem?" he asked.

"We're getting bloated and huge. Yes, it's a problem," said Torvalds.

Asked what the community is doing to solve this, he balked. "Uh, I'd love to say we have a plan," Torvalds replied to applause and chuckles from the audience. "I mean, sometimes it's a bit sad that we are definitely not the streamlined, small, hyper-efficient kernel that I envisioned 15 years ago...The kernel is huge and bloated, and our icache footprint is scary. I mean, there is no question about that. And whenever we add a new feature, it only gets worse."

He maintains, however, that stability is not a problem. "I think we've been pretty stable," he said. "We are finding the bugs as fast as we're adding them — even though we're adding more code."

Bottomley took this to mean that Torvalds views that the current level of integration is acceptable under those terms. But Mr. Linux corrected him. "No. I'm not saying that," Torvalds answered. "Acceptable and avoidable are two different things. It's unacceptable but it's also probably unavoidable."

Among techies, Windows usually gets the bad wrap for bloat, but as Linux expands it reach, roping in so many additional features and devices, it can't help but suffer the same fate. What's different is how such problems are tackled.

"Okay, so the summary of this is that you expect that 12 per cent to be back to where it should be next year, and you expect someone else to come up with a plan to do it," joked Bottomley. "That's open source." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.