Open Source

Battle of the bulge: Will Linux 'bloat' begin to rival Microsoft?

Linus Torvalds simultaneously cheers the Linux development model and decries its bloat at LinuxCon. What is he up to? What's your opinion of the current Linux kernel? Take our poll.

Linus Torvalds' remarks at LinuxCon 2009 have been making the rounds. Never one to mince words, he had a few constructive criticisms to make about the Linux kernel:

"We're getting bloated, yes it's a problem," Torvalds said. "I'd love to say we have a plan. I mean, sometimes it's a bit sad and we're definitely not the streamlined hyper-efficient kernel that I had envisioned 15 years ago. The kernel is huge and bloated."

Strong words make good headlines, but practically in the same breath, he also said that he was basically happy with the Linux development cycle, didn't think that too many features were being added too fast, and that, in fact, "the development model seems to be working, and it's working better than it did even six months ago."

Is Torvalds simply playing his role of Linux watchdog by warning the community that they shouldn't try too hard to compete with Microsoft — in such a way that it becomes the thing it deprecates? What's your opinion?

Considering the flame wars that routinely spring up around the whole Linux vs. Microsoft debate, I thought these further remarks from Torvalds were kind of amusing and prove that the flaming is pretty much built into the kernel as well:

"I really enjoy arguing, it's a big part of my life — are [sic] these occasional flame threads that I love getting into and telling people they are idiots..."

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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