The founder of Linux, Linus Torvalds, who is working on Linux for more than 30 years now, shared his thoughts about the open-source operating system and various other topics at the Open Source Summit event. He also mentioned the negative impact of COVID-19 and new improvements planned for the operating system. Torvalds also admits that the first months of the lockdowns boosted the productivity of the development because they have always worked over email and most people were already working from home.
Not a dead project
The Linux Kernel development process is pretty much unchanged, especially for the last 15 years, after Torvalds created the Git version control system. Although the process is boring and predictable, Torvalds also said after 30 years of working on the project, he is still surprised and pleased with the many new things. Torvalds said,
« We’ve had the same process and the same release schedules and in that sense kernel development has been very calm and not exciting from a process standpoint, and that’s actually exactly what I think you want. You want to have a stable process so that people don’t get upset about how all the infrastructure is changing. One of the things that I, personally, enjoy the most is that we’re not a dead project. »
Torvalds also announced some changes he plans to implement into Linux soon. Most significantly, the open-source programming language, Rust might be included in the next release. Torvalds stated that Rust will be introduced in a limited way. Torvalds reminded the attempt to introduce the C++ programming language 25 years ago, which didn’t go as expected. Compared to C, Rust is better at utilizing and protecting resources.
Layers of security
One of the key themes of the Open Source Summit event was security. Torvalds said the Linux Kernel will not be 100% secure and bug-free ever. However, he also stated that Linux Kernel is only a layer of a stack and inside it, there are multiple layers of security designed for different parts of the process. He said that every layer in a stack should have some concept of protection if there is a bug in the layer above or below the application code. Torvalds said,
« Bugs will happen, if they don’t happen in hardware, they will happen in software and if they don’t happen in your software and they will happen in somebody else’s software. The only way to try to do security right is by having layers of security. Anybody who thinks you can get to 100% security is living in some dream world that is just not this reality. »