Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Andrew Tridgell Finally Breaks Silence on Bout with Torvalds

Filed under
Linux

A RIFT over development procedures has exposed fractures at the highest level of the Linux community and raised questions about the future direction of the open-source operating system.

For the past month, the biggest topic of discussion in the tight-knit Linux world has been a major fallout between Linus Torvalds, who created the popular OS, and Andrew Tridgell, the Australian developer of Samba, a well-regarded and widely-used tool for getting Linux and Windows systems to interoperate.

While Linux enthusiasts have always engaged in technical arguments, the latest dispute is more reminiscent of the personality-driven wars often found in the commercial software industry between rival technocrats such as Microsoft's Bill Gates, Oracle's Larry Ellison and Sun's Scott McNealy.

The dispute centres on Mr Tridgell's work to develop a free software client for BitMover's BitKeeper, a commercial software package that Mr Torvalds has used since 2002 to track changes and patches to the Linux kernel.

BitKeeper acts as a source code management (SCM) tool, helping Mr Torvalds to track the contributions and code suggestions submitted from developers across the world and maintain multiple builds of the kernel.

Many in the Linux community have been uneasy about using a proprietary closed tool for such work, arguing that open source software should be developed with open source tools.

Mr Tridgell used his keynote speech at the conference to make his first public comment on the dispute. He described much of the commentary on it as "trivial and crazy". But he showed no signs of backing down.

He demonstrated how BitKeeper's online help made it relatively simple to deduce its basic data format.

Later, he released the first version of the SourcePuller code online during the conference.

In the release notes for the software, Mr Tridgell called for an end to the dispute, writing: "There have been enough flames over this issue already."

"Kernel development, to a great extent, has come to a halt over the past few weeks," said Jonathan Corbet from LWN.net, a Linux news site.

"It's only Linus who is directly affected by the BitKeeper business," Andrew Morton, the Australian co-maintainer of the kernel, said at the conference.

"Torvalds and Morton could both be hit by the same bus and we would recover somehow," Mr Corbet said. "It would hurt, but it wouldn't kill the kernel."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Linux/FOSS Events

  • The Linux Foundation Announces Session Lineup for ApacheCon(TM) Europe
  • OpenShift Commons Gathering event preview
    We're just two months out from the OpenShift Commons Gathering coming up on November 7, 2016 in Seattle, Washington, co-located with KubeCon and CloudNativeCon. OpenShift Origin is a distribution of Kubernetes optimized for continuous application development and multi-tenant deployment. Origin adds developer and operations-centric tools on top of Kubernetes to enable rapid application development, easy deployment and scaling, and long-term lifecycle maintenance for small and large teams. And we're excited to say, the 1.3 GA release of OpenShift Origin, which includes Kubernetes 1.3, is out the door! Hear more about the release from Lead Architect for OpenShift Origin, Clayton Coleman.

Security News

  • Report: Linux security must be upgraded to protect future tech
    The summit was used to expose a number of flaws in Linux's design that make it increasingly unsuitable to power modern devices. Linux is the operating system that runs most of the modern world. It is behind everything from web servers and supercomputers to mobile phones. Increasingly, it's also being used to run connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including products like cars and intelligent robots.
  • security things in Linux v4.6
    Hector Marco-Gisbert removed a long-standing limitation to mmap ASLR on 32-bit x86, where setting an unlimited stack (e.g. “ulimit -s unlimited“) would turn off mmap ASLR (which provided a way to bypass ASLR when executing setuid processes). Given that ASLR entropy can now be controlled directly (see the v4.5 post), and that the cases where this created an actual problem are very rare, means that if a system sees collisions between unlimited stack and mmap ASLR, they can just adjust the 32-bit ASLR entropy instead.

Raspberry Pi PIXEL and More Improvements

Trainline creates open source platform to help developers deploy apps and environments in AWS