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This had been coming for some time. Torvalds hinted to me the day before in an exclusive interview that this move was coming. "It's been going on long enough that we just need to merge it because not merging it isn't helping anything. And it is going to happen."
We'll know later today if Rust makes it in. I expect that it will.
Torvalds also told me in our interview that another reason he wants to see Rust in the kernel is to encourage new developers to start working on the kernel. "Rust is one of those things that I think might bring in new faces," he said, and, "We're getting old and gray."
The dynamic Linux duo also talked about how the recently released Linux 6.0 was "Boring, but boring's good." It means, as Hohndel put it, we're not having "outliers where things go crazy." Torvalds added that to him, "The release numbers are just arbitrary placeholders. I wanted 6.0 to be boring."
Version 6.1, however, will be different. Even if Rust doesn't make it in, there will be significant improvements. Indeed, some of the oldest and most fundamental parts of the kernel, such as printk(), will be improved. Torvalds recalled that printk was, "Literally the first thing that we added to the kernel because the first thing you want to do is show things on the screen." Nevertheless, Wednesday at the Linux Plumbers Conference, "We had a room full of people excited enough to raise their voices and talk over each other about printk."
To the unspoken question, "Yes," Torvalds smilingly agreed, "Kernel developers are a little strange."
This led to a discussion of processors in general. Torvalds recalled how decades ago, Intel tried to convince him that the Itanium CPU would be the processor. He told them, "No, that's not going to happen because [there's] no development platform. ARM got it right."
Of course, more work for Linux-friendly ARM development platforms needs to be done. Another problem, Torvalds said, is that ARM processors are like a "Wild West of crazy hardware companies that do custom chips for different jobs." Still, he said, while "that was a huge issue when the initial iron was new, today there are enough standards around to make porting kernels to ARM processors easy."