Linux guru: re-merging of Android into kernel eases sysdev a bit

Summary: Linux kernel maintainer and Linux Foundation Fellow Greg Kroah-Hartman said the reintroduction of 7,000 lines of Android code into the Linux 3.3 kernel will make it somewhat easier for OEMs creating Android systems. App developers? Not so much

To many, the re-merging of Android code into the Linux kernel signifies Google's renewed commitment to open source.

To others, it also means the popular Android operating system for smartphones and tablets will not become a "fork" of Linux.

But to everyday programmers, including a leading Linux kernel maintainer, it's somewhat less dramatic.

The merge of a tiny 7,000 lines of code," said Linux kernel maintainer and Linux Foundation Fellow Greg Kroah-Hartman in an email, when asked about the news of Linux 3.3. "It's always been close, the Android kernel patch was always quite small and simple.  Less than the size of your serial port driver as an example."

I asked him if he was downplaying the significance of it.

"I'm not "downplaying" it, other than the fact that this is what we (kernel developers) do all the time, Kroah-Hartman added in a follow up e-mail. "We merge code from other groups every day.  The Android code just happens to be a bit "more" visible for some reason."

Isn't it reassuring to apps developers, Linux distributors and OEMs that Android will remain close to the overall Linux project?

"It makes it easier for people creating Android-based systems to use a standard kernel.org. kernel.  It also allows the Android code to get better, as a number of fixes have been made now that the code is easier to review and change."

"For application developers, I fail to see how this has any effect on them at all," he wrote.

"Linux distributors?  Only if they want to include an Android version of their distro, this makes it a few less patches than they would normally have to include," he added.

"Tablet OEMs?  If they are creating an Android tablet, same thing as I say for the distros, this means they have less patches to incorporate to get a working system."

Topics: Linux, Android, Google, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

About

Paula Rooney has covered the software and technology industry for more than 20 years, starting with semiconductor design and mini-computer systems at EDN News and later focused on PC software companies including Microsoft, Lotus, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell and other open source and commercial software companies for CRN and PCWeek. She receiv... Full Bio

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