In Wake Of SCO Ruling, Torvalds Sticks To Kernel - InformationWeek

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8/13/2007
09:45 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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In Wake Of SCO Ruling, Torvalds Sticks To Kernel

We've had responses from Novell, SCO, and even Groklaw's Pamela Jones to this weekend's legal ruling that Novell owns the Unix copyrights, but no one has heard from Mr. Linux himself. So what is Linus Torvalds up to? Apparently, he's doing what he does best, working hard on the latest upgrade to the Linux kernel.

We've had responses from Novell, SCO, and even Groklaw's Pamela Jones to this weekend's legal ruling that Novell owns the Unix copyrights, but no one has heard from Mr. Linux himself. So what is Linus Torvalds up to? Apparently, he's doing what he does best, working hard on the latest upgrade to the Linux kernel.Lord knows, everyone's tried to get Torvalds to comment on the SCO versus Novell ruling. I emailed him myself, as I'm sure dozens of other reporters did. The world had to make do with James Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, which is Torvalds' base of operations.

"This says that Linux is a safe solution and people can choose it with that in mind," Zemlin told The New York Times.

"This is an end to a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt in the marketplace," Zemlin told CNN Money.

Since Torvalds is not inaccessible, one must infer that he's chosen not to comment on the case, though he's been happy to weigh in on Novell's open-source pact with Microsoft. (He thinks it's a non-issue, which is interesting since many Linux supporters are real riled up about it.)

I've spent much of the past few days wondering why Torvalds has been conspicuously absent from the post-ruling debate. Perhaps it's because, at its root, the case is about money. Clearly, Torvalds, unlike 99.99 percent of the world, isn't only about money. He's demonstrated that from the way he's handled the Linux trademark. (Of course, one could make the counterargument that, if he'd been less community oriented and more cash-focused, Linux wouldn't be nearly as successfully.)

Whether that's right or wrong, a dive into the online bowels of the Linux community reveals just what Torvalds has been doing while he hasn't been troubling himself over the case. He's been working on release-candidate 3 of the latest upgrade to the Linux kernel, which will be designated version 2.6.23. (The current stable release is 2.6.22.2.)

The latest prepatches (equivalent to an alpha release) for 2.6.23-rc3 were released on Monday. Here's how Linus put it, in an email sent very early Monday morning to the Linux kernel mailing list, under the subject line "Linux 2.6.23-rc3."

"Either people really are calming down, and figuring out that we're in the stabilization phase, or it's just that it's the middle of August, and most everybody at least in Europe are off on vacation.

Regardless of why, -rc3 is out, and doesn't have the tons of changes that -rc2 did. But there's some scheduler updates, sparc64 and powerpc changes, and random driver updates (the lpfc SCSI driver kind of stands out in the diffstat).

Shortlog appended, I don't know what I can add to it.. Please do give it a good testing, unless you're on a beach sunning yourself (and who are we kidding: you're pasty white, and sand is hard to get out of the keyboard - beaches are overrated)."

Linus

I've deleted the "Shortlog," since it's not short. It describes all the fixes made to the kernel by some 125 contributors. (Linus's were "Revert genirq: temporary fix for level-triggered IRQ resend;" and "i386: Fix broken mmiocfg accesses.")

The final observation I've extracted from this decidedly quotidian scenario is that Torvalds is every day engaged in something far more revolutionary than anything Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or any other tech titan you can think of have even done.

Consider that Torvalds is a guy who's used his abilities to structure a setup that's not about generating cash, but about creating an environment where he can get up every day and go to work doing something he likes to do. Which is what you'll find him doing tomorrow.

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