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8/3/2005
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Fewer Defects Found in Latest Linux Kernel

Although the size of the code increased over a six-month study, one company said it it found a significant decrease in the number of potentially serious defects in the core Linux kernel.

An analysis of the latest Linux kernel has found that it contains fewer critical defects than the previous version, despite an increase in the amount of code, a source-code analysis firm said Wednesday.

Six months ago, Coverity Inc. found six potentially critical defects in the core file systems and networking code of Linux kernel 2.6.9. A follow-up analysis, however, of the latest kernel of the open-source operating system, kernel 2.6.12, has shown that all critical defects have been fixed, the San Francisco company said.

"Although the size of the Linux kernel increased over the six month study, we noticed a significant decrease in the number of potentially serious defects in the core Linux kernel," Seth Hallem, chief executive of Coverity, said in a statement. "Although contributors introduced new defects, these were primarily in non-critical device drivers."

About 6 million lines of software were analyzed in the study, Coverity said. Defect density decreased slightly by 2.2 percent to 0.16 defects per thousand lines of code in July from 0.17 defects in December 2004.

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