LINUX UBER-GEEK Linus Torvalds stunned his fellow open sourcerers by admitting that the Linux kernel has become bloated.
Speaking at LinuxCon in the US, Torvalds said that Linux has gotten a bit porky despite having been developed as an alternative to bloated Windows ware.
He said that while the open source community has long pointed the finger at Microsoft Windows as bloated, it appears that with success has come added heft. Heft that makes Linux "huge and scary now," according to Torvalds.
This appears to mean that when Microsoft or Apple make operating systems, bloat is a bad thing. However when free software developers do the same thing it is a result of success.
Torvalds said, "We are definitely not the streamlined, hyper-efficient kernel I envisioned when I started writing Linux."
However at the time he had the idea of a limited purpose and function kernel. Now Linux is powering everything from corporate data centres to small embedded devices and is used in half of all new smartphones shipped.
To be fair to Linux, what makes it different from proprietary operating systems is that you don't have to suffer all the bloat.
It is fairly modular and can be stripped down during kernel compilation. Of course you have to be an operating system expert to do that yourself and most computer users are the sorts of people who think the DVD drive is a coffee cup holder.
But this modular approach shows up in the wide variety of Linux distributions that are out there. However you could say that the uClinux distribution is the slinky catwalk model of the Linux world while Ubuntu is the chip-munching, beer-swilling couch potato.
However Linus's comments indicate that even with the best intentions everyone in the software industry ends up being like Microsoft. Although the Vole might be bad, most people unconsciously seek to emulate it and end up doing much the same things. Google and Apple are prime examples of this, managing at times to exhibit Volish antics that even Microsoft would not dare to dream up.
However Linux with its developer driven model was supposed to make better design choices and break the mould. Perhaps all developers secretly do want to work for the Vole and dance the Monkey Boy dance. µ