Marcelo Tosatti, the 18-year-old hacker commandeering the 2.4 kernel tree of Linux, reckons a cool head is what's needed to develop the open source operating system.
He claims that too many developers, even Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox, get bogged down in politics or let their moods decide on the direction Linux will take.
In an interview with www.Linux-mag.com, the teenaged kernel hacker revealed that people skills are just as, if not more, important than technical skills.
He maintained that infighting is one of the biggest problems with developing Linux. "I do not start ego fights. I set a target and I try to achieve it," he said. "You'll see people on the Linux Kernel List fighting for ego reasons: you know, 'I'm better than you'."
Another hassle is dealing with the numerous bug reports and the submission of the resulting patches.
"Most bug reports you get say: 'You have a bug', and not much else," said Tosatti.
And when it comes to patches Tosatti points out that patience is the virtue that Torvalds and Cox have often been accused of lacking.
"I think I am less likely to ignore any patch. I read and reply, saying: 'Hey, please be more specific' or 'Explain more'," he said. "I guess I ignore fewer people than Linus. Actually, I try to never ignore people."
"Sometimes I annoy developers by saying, 'Hey, I'm just waiting for a fix from you to release the kernel'. I guess Linus and Alan didn't do that," he added.
Torvalds also copped some flak for dropping the original Virtual Memory (VM) system on a whim and switching to another with the release of the 2.4.10 kernel.
Tosatti explained: "With VM, he just got one VM and then he switched it to another. Boom! He didn't think about all the issues involved with this.
"Something about Linus that is a problem is that a lot of things come from his mood. He'll just say: 'Oh, this is good: apply. This is good: apply.'
"He should not accept some of the patches he does. He accepts some patches too early, without thinking too much about them. He does not have the time to really care about some stuff."
In Tosatti's opinion, VM is going to be the most problematic part of his development of the kernel because it has to work the same across the board, from servers with 32Gb of memory to embedded systems.
Torvalds's right hand man Alan Cox also got a slap from Tosatti for using Linux as a vehicle to make political statements.
At the end of October last year Cox censored some security patches in the change log of the 2.2 kernel to take a shot at the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
"This is Linux development; politics is something separate," said Tosatti. "I think that if there's some political issue in Linux, like the one Alan raised, it shouldn't be raised that way ... but in some other way that is not dependent on the kernel development."
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