Page Two

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-01-19 Print this article Print

Looking toward 2.7, is there still not a lot of desktop work that needs to be done to the kernel or are you happy with where it is now? There have been several attempts to look at what the 2.7 feature set will look like, but I havent seen much concrete as yet. The kernel summit last July was supposed to be about 2.7 kernel features, and all that was talked about was 2.6. Nothing in my opinion has really solidified there, though there has been talk about allowing the kernel to use larger software page sizes, to get a clustering file system in there, additional clustering support. It wouldnt surprise me if those things started happening.
Some kernel developers have said they think things like Non-uniform Memory Access [NUMA] as well as an Enterprise Volume Management System need to be addressed in 2.7. Do you think this will happen?
We have a NUMA implementation in 2.6 and, while its probably not the worlds greatest NUMA implementation, its there and real and people are using it. When do you think that you and Linus and the kernel developers are actually going to sit down and look at what should be in the 2.7 feature set? Id expect the Linux kernel summit this July to spend a lot of time looking at the 2.7 development kernel and the 3.0 kernel. Microsoft [Corp.] continues to maintain that it has less security and vulnerabilities than Linux. Do you think this is a fair assessment? Bugs in the actual Linux kernel are fairly rare, even though we have had a couple of kernel bugs lately. But how that compares to the Windows kernel, I dont really know. If they say that there are fewer holes in their kernel, that wouldnt surprise me as most of the vulnerabilities are at the application level. More people are probing Windows, I think, as once you get an exploit, there are more machines it can take. But Ive also heard people argue, and Im inclined to agree with it, that Microsoft made some big mistakes 10 years ago with the design of ActiveX and their whole component model. This basically left them open to exploits when people became more security conscious over the last few years. Microsoft has a whole bundle of applications whose interfaces just werent designed for security. Im guessing that closing those holes now would break existing applications. Are we going to see a lot more aggressive security work in the kernel moving forward? Well, the 2.6 kernel was mostly a secure, enhanced Linux which the NSA and others worked on. Its a more sophisticated, more finer-grained security model than the traditional Unix ones. But I dont know if any of the mainstream developers have any plans to go beyond that in 2.7.

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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