Is a fork inevitable?

Summary:Regular readers of this space may remember Shelley Powers writing about doing a "fork" of Wordpress (which runs this blog) as part of her piece, No Ghost in the Machine. Forks happen all the time, she noted.

Regular readers of this space may remember Shelley Powers writing about doing a "fork" of Wordpress (which runs this blog) as part of her piece, No Ghost in the Machine.

Forks happen all the time, she noted. " I can grab a snapshot of the code and go my own direction, maintaining my own version of the code," she wrote.>

But what if Linux itself forked? What if there were two, increasingly incompatibleversions of the Linux kernel?

Well, it may be about to happen. In an otherwise-upbeat talkat the SDForumlast week, lead maintainer Andrew Morton of OSDL said a fork in the road may indeed be coming for Version 2.7 of the kernel.>

Morton said there are some folks with big patch sets the kernel just can't accomodate, because the changes would apply to a small subset of total Linux shops.

Naturally, this has some observers wondering if the sky is falling, comparing Linux to the Unix versions of the 1980s which couldn't get out of one anothers' way in the marketplace due to incompatibility. Hang together or Microsoft will hang us all separately.

But is that really the case? If a few people need some specific functions that are a subset of the total, can't they have them without tearing down the whole tower of Babel?

Or is the truth closer to that of my own favorite Yogi, Berra, who said "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Something to consider while carving your Thanksgiving turkey.

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.