In-depth

Has Linux gained too much weight?

Linus Torvalds is unhappy with just how big Linux is getting. Is he onto something or is it just a load of hot air?

The godfather of Linux, Linus Torvalds, has never been one to hold his tongue. In July, he called the OpenBSD group "masturbating monkeys" for hyping security issues too much and "[making] heroes out of security people," according to a report on CIO.com.

However, now Torvalds has attacked his baby, Linux.

Advertisement - Article continues below

This week at the LinuxCon conference, he criticised Linux's kernel for being overcrowded. He believes that as more and more features plump it up, the kernel has moved further away from its origins.

A report on internetnews.com quoted Torvalds saying: "We're getting bloated, yes it's a problem."

"I'd love to say we have a plan [to slim it down]. I mean, sometimes it's a bit sad and we're definitely not the streamlined hyper-efficient kernel that I had envisioned 15 years ago. The kernel is huge and bloated."

Overweight or just under appreciated?

It could be said that nobody knows a system better than its creator. Conversely, it could be argued that the point of open source is to be shared so it continues to grow and evolve. Is Linux flourishing or has it just eaten one feature too many?

Clive Longbottom, service director of business process analysis at Quocirca, believes that operating systems always start off small and then they change and grow as and when required.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"Linux, like all operating systems, has to adapt to the market forces around it," he said.

"Anyone coming to the market with a new operating system can put together something that is relatively slim, because there is nothing that has gone before that needs to be supported."

As a system grows and matures, obviously it can't stay small forever. Times and things change.

"We also now have to deal with 15 years of Linux since it's 1.0 release (or a lot longer, if you go back to all the 0,x releases)," Longbottom added. "This causes 'bloat' as it becomes difficult to drop functions that were needed in previous releases and may still need to be supported in newer releases, even if only for a few people."

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/business/policy-legislation/356256/uk-invested-about-ps500m-in-wrong-gps-satellites
Policy & legislation

UK gov buys "wrong" satellites in £500m blunder

29 Jun 2020
Visit/mobile/5g/356349/uk-to-remove-huawei-from-5g-networks-imminently
5G

UK to ban Huawei from 5G networks 'within weeks'

6 Jul 2020