Tag: kernal

Torvalds f**** off on holiday

torvaldsnvidia-640x424Open Sauce’s Mr Sweary Linus Torvalds might delay the release of kernel 4.1 because he is going on holiday.

Torvalds posted over the weekend that version 4.1-rc5 looks like it’s well and truly on track and would be ready for release .“if it wasn’t for the fact that the timing looks like the next merge window would hit our yearly family vacation.”

While Torvalds decides, he suggests Linux kernel devs “please keep testing”.

“So we’ll see how that turns out,” he adds. “I might end up delaying the release just to avoid that (or just delay opening the merge window). I haven’t decided yet.”

Torvalds rarely has a break, he works on Sunday and posts to the kernel mailing list. It is fair to say other Open Sauce projects tend to drop down the loo when its organisers find more interesting things to do. This is the first time under Torvald’s rule that we have heard of anything being held up because he has something mundane to do like taking a break.

Indeed we expect, nay, demand that Linus tell the rest of the world to sod off for a couple of weeks and go somewhere nice and hot. Like Roma.

Some people shouldn’t code says Linus

Creator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds, said that some people do not need to learn basic programming skills.

The idea is being touted by those who think that programming should he taught alongside learning to read, write, and do basic adding up.

Torvalds said that the concept is silly and he did not think that everybody should necessarily try to learn to code.

The skill is reasonably specialised, and nobody really expects most people to have to do it. It’s not like knowing how to read and write and do basic maths, he said.

Getting some form of exposure to it would be good, since it would allow those who have an interest to be able to identify that interest and foster that and turn it into a skill, which could ultimately lead to a career in programming.

In that sense computer courses in schools are a great idea, even if he did not believe in the “everybody should learn to code” thing.

We guess he means that if you learn it at school you will hate it so much that you will never want to do it again. There is also the risk that what you learn in school will be so out of date that you might as well never have bothered. Sheesh my computer studies teacher insisted that we learn Pascal and most of my six form life was spent searching for missing semi-colons. 

Rock the Linux kernel module

A popular beat combo from the town which bought us Nirvana has released a debut album as a Linux kernel module alongside the usual formats.

Netcat, which shares its name with a networking tool of the same name, told the world+dog on its Facebook page that the world was ready for Linux kernel module music.

“Are you ever listening to an album, and thinking ‘man, this sounds good, but I wish it crossed from user-space to kernel-space more often!’ We got you covered. Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module.”

The album has the catchy title Cycles Per Instruction and the kernel module can be found on GitHub.

Reddit users are enthusiastic and some of them are planning to port it to a specialized raspberry pi image and build a strange dedicated Walkman to play it.

Oddly the band are also releasing it on cassette and we are surprised there are any of those still around.

Needless to say having music as code is always going to find an open sauce pedants who are going to complain. One moaned about the unnecessary intermediate compression of the audio, others who played it just think it sounds like shit.

We would have thought that it would have been better to have used Flanders and Swan as a test for it – a song like “I’m a Gnu… how do you do”.

What is strange is that while many bands pitch at the teenage girl market, Netcat appears to have thought that Linux programmers were a better bet.

Their website said that the group wanted to explore the intersection between “technology, complexity, and free improvisation.” This means bringing together conventional instruments and combining it with computer generated sounds and computer instruments, like the Chango, a novel synthesizer that is played with light.

It case you were wondering, the mixture of these ingredients is “textural, long-form structured improvisations” which requires you to “laying down on the floor with expensive headphones on and enjoying the solipsism”.

We are guessing that solipsism is not just a euphemism for being under the influence of hash… er the hash key. 

Torvalds gives the thumbs up to SteamOS

Linus Torvalds has given his approval to Valve’s Linux-based platform, SteamOS, and said it could boost Linux on desktops.

According to PC Pro, Torvalds praised Valve’s “vision” and suggested it could lead to game developers ditching Windows and taking Linux seriously.

Speaking at LinuxCon in Edinburgh, Torvalds said that he loved the Steam announcements because it was a an opportunity to really help Linux get onto the desktop.

Valve will make the system available to manufacturers to use on their own hardware.

If the SteamOS gain traction among gamers and developers, hardware manufacturers will have to extend driver support beyond Windows.

Torvalds has been having a long running spat with Nvidia for failing to support open-source driver development for its graphics chips. However with SteamOS is on the way, Nvidia has opened up to the Linux community, something Torvalds predicts is a sign of things to come.

He said that it will force different distributors to realise if this is how Steam is going, they need to do the same thing because they can’t afford to be different in this respect. They want people to play games on their platform too.

One of the reasons Linux hasn’t done well on the desktop, according to Torvalds, is because developers focus on useless features.

He said that the desktop Linux lot wasted too much time in-fighting about making the login screen look really nice. 

Valve: Linux is the future of gaming

Despite its tiny share of the market, Linux will be the future of gaming according to the co-founder and managing director of Valve, Gabe Newell.

According to TechcrunchLinux has less than one percent of the gaming market at present. However, Newell said that Valve is going to do its best to make sure Linux becomes the future of gaming by extending its Steam distribution platform to hardware designed for living rooms.

Talking at LinuxCon in New Orleans, Newell admitted that making such a statement at a Linux event was like going to Rome and teaching Catholicism to the pope.

Newell has promised to unveil a Linux-based “Steam box” to compete against gaming consoles sometime this year.  An announcement on the Steam box is expected next week.

He said Valve worked through a lot of problems in bringing Left 4 Dead 2 to Linux, hopefully showing the way to other developers.

Valve is also contributing to the LLDB debugger project and is co-developing an additional debugger for Linux, Newell said. Developers were always telling Valve to build a debugger to make Linux a better development target.

Newell continues to wade into Windows 8 being a “catastrophe for everyone in the PC space”. He said that closed platforms were going to lose to open ones that allow innovation.

Despite year-over-year declines in the PC market, Steam has seen a 76 percent increase in its own sales, according to Newell.  He said that systems which were innovation-friendly and embrace openness are going to have a greater competitive advantage to closed or tightly regulated systems.

Broken SSD stops the evolution of Linux

The development of the Linux kernel has been temporarily halted after Linus Torvalds’s SSD on his main workstation died.

Writing in his blog, Torvalds said that changes that were supposed to go up didn’t, although he had cleared a lot of them before the SSD gave up the ghost.

“Any people having outstanding pull requests or patches that they expected me to merge that are not in the current tree on git.kernel.org, you may want to re-send the email,” he said.

To be fair Torvalds had done his best. He had archived emails as he merged them, but he is worried that he may not have found all the ones that never made it out.

Torvalds is waiting until today to see if he can recover the disk, he said, but currently his machine refuses to even see the boot sector on and tries to boot from the network instead.

For the next few days he will attempt to run the entire Linux kernel development on his laptop.

“I was planning on finishing it off with anyway, since I have travel coming up. At least this didn’t happen at the very beginning of the merge window,” Linus wrote.

A broken SSD should not really halt the evolution of an operating system and the incident does highlight some of the problems Linux kernel development is having. It is a little too dependent on one person and is not exactly disaster proof. 

Linus Torvalds and Intel woman in sweary spat

An amusing spat has broken out in Linux-Land where an Intel developer has told Linus Torvalds he has to clean up his act and stop swearing.

Sarah Sharp is a Linux kernel developer who considers Torvalds’ trademark swearing a form of abuse.

She wrote in the Linux Kernal blog that violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable and Linus should “keep it professional” on the mailing lists.

While Sharp has the backing of some who think it would be good for Linux if its figurehead wore a suit and talked in Intelisms, such calls are unlikely to reform Torvalds.

In fact he has penned a rant, opening with a strategically placed “Bullshit” to vent his displeasure at requests to turn him into a Chipzilla-approved cardboard cut-out.

He claimed Sharp was playing the victim card and simply trying to enforce her particular expectations on others.

“It’s the old “think of the children” argument. And it’s bogus. Calling things “professional” is just trying to enforce some kind of convention on others by trying to claim that it’s the only acceptable way, ” Torvalds wrote.

“People are different. I’m not polite, and I get upset easily but generally don’t hold a grudge – I have these explosive emails. And that works well for some people. And it probably doesn’t work well with you,” he said.

He pointed out that not everyone has to get along or work well with each other and if it doesn’t work for Sharp it isn’t instantly made wrong.

“You think people need to act “nicer”. While I think it’s natural that people have different behaviour – and different expectations, ” Torvalds wrote.

Further advice from Torvalds included telling Sharp not everyone has to like you, or think they have to be liked by you, and that discussions should be about working together “DESPITE people being different”.

“I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll continue cursing,” Torvalds wrote. “To me, the discussion would be about how to work together despite these kinds of cultural differences, not about “how do we make everybody nice and sing songs sound the campfire”.

Torvalds said that if Sharp wanted him to “act professional” he was not interested.

“I’m sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I’m not going to start wearing ties, I’m also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords,” he wrote.

Acting professionally results in people resorting to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways, he said. 

Torvalds furious at latest Linux kernel

Linus Torvalds has made it clear that he is not a happy bunny at the latest release candidate for the Linux kernel.

Writing in his blog, he said that he wished things were getting better for the kernel but he would just be lying.

Torvalds is worried that Linux is getting too big. The latest Release Candidate 5 is much bigger than its predecessor. When RC4 came out. he was worried about how many lines were changed.

He said he is dealing with the problem by issuing a stern warning that if the developers don’t improve their coding he is going to swear at them.

“I’m going to have to start cursing again unless you stop sending me non-critical stuff,” Torvalds said. “So the next pull request I get that has “cleanups” or just pointless churn, I’m going to call you guys out on.”

Torvald said that he had a personal challenge to come up with new ways to insult developers, probably involving their mothers and their dead pet hamsters.

Rc5 changes are pretty much all over: almost half are drivers (networking, usb, gpu, mmc, sound..), with the other half being various other subsystems.

There had been some arch updates: MIPS, arm, smattering of ia64, microblaze, s390 and some x86. And networking (non-driver), xfs, fuse, gfs2, jfs.

He is telling developers to go out and test, and urging them not to strong arm him into cursing about them and their pets.

ARM support is a mess in Linux land

While hardware makers talk about ARM based servers, it seems that the software to run them is a long way from catching up.

As Linux has become the most common networking language, Arm chips need to work effectively in that operating system.

However according to IT World’s Brian Profitt, the Linux operating system for ARM is completely and utterly forked and only a specialised group of developers and manufacturers know what is happening.

It has got so grim that Linux kernel maintainer Linus Torvalds has publicly threatened to stop putting ARM-related changes into the mainline Linux kernel.

He thinks that a few years ago when ARM manufacturers first started adding Linux support on their devices they wanted to get embedded devices out quickly. All of them made shedloads of device-specific changes to Linux kernels and did not think twice about it.

They also ignored GPL v2 licence requirements for the changes to be released back upstream to the main Linux kernel.

When they did send their code in for Linus to look at, many of their changes were rubbish and could not work on other people’s devices. The Linux Kernal testing team could not keep up either.

As a result ARM support is a mess and those within the Linux community have been doing their best to bring it all together.

First they develped a separate Git tree for the ARM branch of the kernel, which let Torvalds  start directly patching the mainline Linux kernel himself.

But once he got involved, he started getting miffed about the state of the ARM community and the code it was turning out.

He publically moaned that “most of them are totally unmaintainable crap in the long run”. He was talking about the drivers and not the community.

Two months ago he warned that if the community did not make an effort to fix it, he could not be bothered checking it.

ARM manufacturers realise the state they have gotten themselves into. They formed the non-profit Linaro consortium to sort out the mess. Names connected to the consortium include Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, and ARM.

The plan is to form an ARM maintainer team for the Linux kernel. This is similar to what already exists for x86. Ironically it is the x86 people who are trying help the Linux people come up with things that will sort out the scaling problems of current Arm designs

Linaro Chief Technical Officer David Rusling said that something needs to be done, Each new release has 70,000 new lines of Arm code in comparison to 5,000 lines of new x86 code.

Before the situation gets better, Profitt predicts things will get ugly. The forks need to consolidate and as they do so pet software products will die.

However if they don’t, then Arm chips based around Linux will effectively become too difficult to administer.