Kernel developers are 'unfriendly': Torvalds

Kernel developers are 'unfriendly': Torvalds

Summary: The kernel development community can be "unfriendly", according to Linus Torvalds. In this three minute video, the Linux guru talks about why it is getting more difficult to bring in new blood.


The kernel development community can be "unfriendly", according to Linus Torvalds. In this three minute video, the Linux guru talks about why it is getting more difficult to bring in new blood.

On the second day of in Sydney, Linus Torvalds talked about why attracting new kernel developers is getting more difficult as "obvious" flaws -- and solutions to those flaws -- fade away.

"It's a lot harder to enter the kernel development process today than it was five or 10 years ago. Over the years, one of the sad parts is we have got so much better that it has raised the bar. There are no problems that the person can see as an obvious problem and an obvious solution.

Linus Torvalds

"We have had other issues. Sometimes the kernel community is not the friendliest community and I don't like that. It sometimes scares away people. That said ... we do seem to have a lot of people who find it an exciting area and are not afraid of a bit of controversy on the kernel mailing list," said Torvalds.

Torvalds also revealed that he was surprised by the resilience of the 2.6 Linux kernel to "invasive" changes. Click here to watch the two minute video clip.

To all Linux users, this video is presented in Flash 8 and has been tested successfully for use with Linux systems running the latest Flash plug-in for Linux (ver. 9.0). Currently, this version is not available from Adobe for those running 64-bit Linux.

Topics: Open Source, Linux, IT Employment

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • video

    What, do I need Windows or a Mac to watch this video? I can not view it in Linux. Great, a movie about Linux that can't be watched in Linux.
  • ZDnet even more unfriendly than the kernel developers

    Full ACK to the previous poster: ridiculous to have the father of Linux saying something about Linux, and not being able to watch it on my own Linux system. Maybe it would work with Flash 9, released these very days, but dear ZDnet webadmins, believe it or not, I have reasons not to upgrade to each new proprietary "click-here-for-cool-new-features" software release.
  • video loop

    Why does the video loop? I would have thought most people only want to watch the video once.
  • Doesn't work for me either (IE7)

    I am using IE7, and the video won't load/play for me either.
  • Video working on linux

    This video will work for you on linux....

    With the beta version of the flash player v9 you get video without sound...if you go and get the just released fp v9 final you will see sound and video working perfectly.
  • Bad video streaming

    Please fix this...the thing can't be cached...This is is useless, as it is...;
  • Bad video streaming

    Please fix this...the thing can't be cached...This is is useless, as it is...;
  • Video

    No problems here....
    Maybe you need FlashPlayer 9.
    Just get it and watch the video....
    Read this:
  • video's format SUCKS

    AT LEAST it should be possible to cache the video ON DISK, for GOD SAKES!!!
  • i have that problem too ...

    I have a pure 64 bit AMD system and silly people keep sending me things like *.swf files - but Adobe has no support for Linux (unless you call the pathetic attempt on Linux/x86 'support').
  • No, it won't

    Sure, it works just fine for those of us stuck in the 1990's.

    Go buy yourself a real processor.
  • Can see

    Installed FlashPlayer for Linux (flash plugin 9.0.31) and everything is OK...
  • Wrong answer

    This should be done in Ogg Theora, which *everyone* (including Windows and Mac users) can use. It emphatically should *not* be in Macromedia Flash, some proprietary format specific to one manufacturer. I cannot watch this on any of the BSD's, or for that matter, any stock Linux distro outside of Freespire.

    ZDNet made a bad format choice here. Use Ogg Theora next time.
  • pig and elephant DNA just don't splice

    sorry Linus, as you'd know kernel development is serious business, and doing it *properly* instead of hacking it together is what it's all about. If there's any unfriendliness, its usually reserved to those arrogant of their own abilities who really don't have much of a clue at all - don't be an apologist for this soft emo culture! kernel development demans perfection.
  • the irony

    yeah yeah, can't edit parent, so bite me.
  • Closed format video

    Hear! Hear!

    This is a very bad choice - the video absolutely should have been encoded in an open format.

    Ogg-Theora is great and works great. Why did ZDNet choose flash?
  • I can't use ogg on XP

    Not on this machine anyway. Just won't work without installing extra software. Sorry, ogg isn't the answer either.

    Yes, that IS just as valid as "I can't view the video without installing the latest flash plugin."

    If you want to stick your head up your butt and complain that it's dark and smelly, so can I. I have no problems viewing this in my linux-only home (Kubuntu) OR on XP in the office. Sorry.
  • Ogg & XP

    If you can't get Theora to play on your XP computer, then your XP installation is broken. Theora is cross platform and without draconian licensing, and works on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • Flash Video

    I have Ubuntu Linux and have the Beta Flash 9 that has worked perfectly since release. Flash is an integral part of the internet today and one must get past the closed architecture of some software environments and just fire out how to make it work. At least Adobe is offering it as a full version for Linux. Linux has come a long way and we should be proud of that fact. I embrace Flash Beta and nVidia beta drivers for Linux and have never been happier. My video looks awesome and the internet is a beautiful place. Maybe some of you should try the forums available for you various distros to get Flash working correctly on your systems.
  • no working even on windows with flashplayer9

    both under firefox and IE .. wtf?