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Opinion: Looking ahead to Linux Kernel Summit 2007

By Jonathan Corbet
August 29, 2007 12:00 PM ET

LinuxWorld - For the past several years, the annual, invitation-only kernel developers' summit has been held immediately prior to the Ottawa Linux Symposium. This year is different, though; the summit is instead happening just after LinuxConf Europe in Cambridge, England. As usual, I will be there and report from the event.

The preliminary agenda has been posted, as has the list of attendees. So it is possible to look forward and get a sense for what is likely to be discussed.

A few months ago, a discussion of interesting topics was held on the 2007 summit list. Many of the usual topics came around; there is always plenty of interesting development work going on in the kernel community. Andrew Morton objected to many of the topics under discussion, though, saying that the summit was not the appropriate venue to talk about them:

My overall take on kernel summit: We spend far too much time talking about technical stuff. There is little benefit in doing this: we conduct technical discussions over e-mail and we do it well, and there are many very good reasons for doing it that way. . . We fly halfway around the world to yap on about dentry cache scalability? Spare me, we'd get more done by staying home.

Andrew's conclusion, which was seconded by a number of other developers, was that the process-oriented discussions are always more interesting and useful than the deep technical sessions. Discussions of virtualization, memory management or device drivers will always be uninteresting to a significant part of the group, and they do not necessarily add much over what can be done with e-mail. But the process-oriented talk affects everybody and is much harder to do electronically.

So this year's agenda is more high-level than in previous years. That does not mean that there will be no technical talk, though. Some of the more technical sessions will cover:

Reports from mini-summits: The kernel is a big program, and developers often find that subsystem-specific questions are better addressed in smaller groups. At the summit, attendees from some recent mini-summits -- covering power management, file systems, storage and virtualization, at least -- will report back to the larger group.

Real-time and scheduler issues are on the agenda because there are some big decisions to make. While much of the real-time tree has found its way into the mainline, some of the more disruptive chunks, including sleeping spinlocks and threaded interrupt handlers, remain outside. Also outside of the mainline is the syslets/threadlets patch set. Hopefully some decisions will be made on whether these features should be merged and, if so, what needs to be done to get them into shape.

Reprinted with permission from LinuxWorld.com. Copyright 2012 IDG.net, an IDG company. All rights reserved.
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