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Linux's Colonel Of The Kernel Andrew Morton: 'Fix More Bugs'

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Interviews

Andrew Morton, sometimes referred to as the colonel of the kernel, is Linus Torvalds' right hand man when it comes to getting out new kernel releases. Morton screens patches that are candidates for being merged into the kernel. He distributes them to kernel maintainers, watches discussions and feedback from key kernel developers and in general applies a layer of organization to a sometimes chaotic process. In this interview with InformationWeek editor at large, Charles Babcock, he talks about recent kernel development including an assessment of recent patches and tools.

INFORMATIONWEEK: Which is the goal these days in developing the kernel... rapid development of new features or minimizing possible bugs and defects?

Morton: We try to do both, of course. It's not a direct trade-off. If you apply patches faster, you can find bugs and fix things faster... There are many layers of back up behind us. There are hundreds and thousands of testers who help us find new bugs. As the kernel goes into the leading edge products, [Red Hat] Fedora and [Novell (NSDQ: NOVL)] OpenSuse, it goes out to many thousands of additional testers. It's a year old or more by the time it gets added to an enterprise version of Linux.

INFORMATIONWEEK: Do you emphasize one side or the other in the debate over new features?

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