Torvalds touts Linux's advances in power, ARM and cell phones

Torvalds touts Linux's advances in power, ARM and cell phones

Summary: Linux founder Linus Torvalds, the founder and lead developer of Linux, has always been a man of few words and yesterday at LinuxCon 2012 he was no different. Still, the Linux creator hailed advances the kernel has made in the way of ARM support and power management, its progress on the cell phone front, and the fact that the kernel group has maintained its independence from manufacturers


Linus Torvalds rarely appears in public these days, and has little to say when he does.

"There’s nothing interesting about me,” Torvalds asked, when asked along with his fellow panelists to name something interesting about himself that no one knows. “I’m in a bathrobe reading email. I read email and answers and merge code written by others.”

His appearance at LinuxCon 2012 in San Diego yesterday was no different, but he did reveal a few interesting factoids after being questioned by the audience.

The Linux 4.X kernel probably won’t appear for another three years.      

“We are definitely not going to go to the mid 30s ... we’ll do 4.0 in three years when sub numbers have grown into the 20s and our feeble brains can’t handle it."

What makes the Linux founder and top maintainer the happiest about Linux’s progress over the past year or so?

The progress of ARM and power management.

“Over the last year, ARM has gone from a constant headache every merge window to an outstanding citizen in the Linux community,” Torvalds said during the live webcast yesterday, quipping that he'll do just about anything -- including instant messaging if it simplifies his merge tasks. “It sounds sad but true. I’ll ignore every merge windows rule and if you remove 6,000 lines of code, I’ll do IRC.”

“Power management took us a long time in general ... all power management we mostly do correctly,” he said, noting that power issues started in the embedded world and have become paramount in the corporate data center.  “Now all the server people are talking about it.”

He acknowledged some of the ongoing challenges getting Linux to run on cell phones – especially with the current cast of dual and quad-core phones – but noted that both platforms are evolving in step.

“It runs better on cell phones today than it did 10 years ago,” he said in response to one question from the audience about the issues. “Cell phones grew up to where they needed a real operating system ... cell phones forced us to do things in different ways.”

Torvalds is also proud of the processes the Linux kernel community has in place to resolve problems.  Manufacturers still try to push kernel maintainers around but they never get him to budge.

And Linux, he said, is still the most special open source project in the world.

 “The biggest problem is politics, where different companies hope they could push whomever is a new maintainers in different directions and they’re getting used to the fact that I’m hard to push around,” he said during a panel yesterday afternoon at the annual kernel summit .

“So there’s some politics going on [but] the kernel project is of all the open source projects very, very special. I’ve talked to other project maintainers andthere’s groups of 4 people or groups of 20 ... we have 3,000 people.”


Topic: Linux

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


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Kudos Linus Torvalds

    Its all about choice, Great job Linus.
  • I agree with Mr. Torvalds

    Linux is the most special and successful open source project in the world.
    I really appreciate the good work, God bless you Linus Torvalds.
  • I agree with Mr. Torvalds

    Linux is the most special and successful open source project in the world.
    I really appreciate the good work, God bless you Linus Torvalds.
  • 15,000,000 Lines Of Source Code...

    ... 1,000 active contributors, Linus merging 11,000 lines of changes per day (about half of that new code), and managing a major new stable release about every 3 months.

    It is, quite simply, the most productive software project the world has ever seen.
  • Yeah!

    And you can notice how well Linux OS has developed when you can have it in use from smartphones (Android use it) to supercomputers and everything between them.

    When most people don't even know that they have Linux in use, it has successfully infiltrated to every ones daily life to make it easier.
  • Allí my respect

    All my respect and admiration to Linus and Linux.

    A macuser.
  • Torvalds touts Linux's advances in power, ARM and cell phones

    Sorry but linux has nothing to do with advances so Mr. Torvalds should keep his mouth shut. Advances happen without linux all the time, I can't believe he is trying to take credit for this. Maybe he should have another hissy fit about it since that is all he knows how to do.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Mr. Torvalds has a right to say anything he damm well pleases

      It's you who should keep his stupid mouth shut.
      Cylon Centurion
    • Funny story

      PLENTY of advances have happened without Windows too.

      Advancing technology is platform agnostic.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Loverock Davidson for someone who can't hold a candle to Linus in

      inteligence or in any other way shape or form, you have once again proven what a shmuck you really are.

      PS Loverock..... go play with your Surface, that's if the battery hasn't failed already on you and don't forget to check the crazy glue to see if its holding your keyboard togather.
      Over and Out
  • All hail Linux

    Open source is the future
    • God bless you my son

      Cylon Centurion
  • the most special...

    >>And Linux, he said, is still the most special open source project in the world....

    Absolutely, it is the best Open Source project, and it exemplifies what Open Source can do.... It has certainly levelled the field of play... it is an inspiration.... I started my career as a great proponent of the paid Software world... and Linux and the Spirit of that project has taught me new lessons....

    How many new companies has evolved by utilizing OR having Linux at its heart??? Google is the very best example...
    And I believe ARM owes its success majorly to Linux...

    Just Amazing!!!
  • Quality ...

    The really surprising thing to me about Linux is the quality. Years ago I never would have thought that open source code would be of such high caliber. I'm usually a big believer in the "you get what you pay for" principle. I was wrong.

  • It's been a great ride.

    Eleven years for my family and the latest entry into our homes is Mint 14.1. It's definitely evolving. Linux Torvalds and Richard Stallman show what happens when greed is taken out of the equation. It's something definitely needed to be practiced by the Corporate world here in the U.S.