Cox Wont Be Maintainer of 2.4 Linux Kernel

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2001-11-05 Print this article Print

Linus Torvalds' right-hand man says kernel developer Marcelo Tosatti will become the head maintainer of the 2.4 Linux kernel when Torvalds hands it over in a few weeks to concentrate on the 2.5 development tree.

Alan Cox, the right-hand man to Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux open-source operating system, has told kernel developers that he will not be maintaining the current 2.4 Linux kernel when Torvalds hands it over in a few weeks to concentrate on the 2.5 development tree. In a recent posting on the Advogato Web site, Cox said that kernel developer Marcelo Tosatti will become the head maintainer over the 2.4 stable kernel tree.
In an effort to downplay the significance of the move, Cox said it was "not the giant change it may seem from the outside. The stable kernel management was and is a group effort. Marcelo and many others have been active in 2.2 and 2.4 stabilization work. Ill be helping Marcelo with advice when he asks it, and working on feeding him the 2.4 relevant bits of the -ac tree," he said.
This is the first sign of real fallout from the very public tussle between the two men over exactly which Virtual Memory manager to include in the stable 2.4 kernel and the new 2.5 development tree going forward. In his posting, Cox said all the discussion and rumors about the progression of the 2.4 stable kernel meant it was "time to put the entire roadmap out and make it clear. Linus will be releasing a 2.4.14 and probably a 2.4.15 finishing off the VM stability work and other rough corners. "At that point the 2.5 kernel tree will be opened. There is a lot of stuff queued for 2.5. It isnt going to be possible or sensible to throw it all into 2.5.0. One of the tasks is to put changes together in the right order," he said. While Cox said he would not be "disappearing from the scene, I might be a little less visible at times. There are various kernel projects I will be working on as well as spending more time concentrating on Red Hat customer-related needs. Im hopeful that spending more time closer to customers will help provide more insight into where 2.5 needs to be going," he said. "David Weinehall did a great job on 2.0.39 when he took over 2.0 from me. Im very confident that Marcelo will do a great job on 2.4," he added. The news is not completely unexpected, as Cox had shown a marked reluctance to take over the role of maintainer of the 2.4 kernel, saying for some weeks now in postings on the Linux kernel mailing list that he was unsure he wanted the role. In an e-mail exchange with eWEEK last week, he also said, "There is at least one person I think would do the job better than I would. So its quite possible Ill be mentor to the 2.4 maintainer, not a 2.4 maintainer."
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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